Silk Crazy Quilt - Completion!

Done and on the wall! Woot woot! Here’s a brief history of this project. Silk Crazy Quilt, 2008 - 2010 Random log cabin technique. Scraps of silk, satin, velvet, and brocade foundation pieced on recycled muslin. Sashes and corner blocks made from recycled wool suiting.

From 2003 - 2006, I made my living as a seamstress. I had the great privilege of creating costumes for bands, dancers, actors, divas, plus-size (and proud of it!) women, and people who just like to dress up. I saved scraps from my client’s projects and squirreled them away in my stash. The colorful bits in this quilt are potent reminders of this time – the thrill of self-employment, the anxiety of not knowing where next month’s rent was coming from, the creative vision of my clients, and the daily beauty I was blessed to be a part of.

Toward the end of this period, I worked as a sample sewer for a fine women’s wear tailor. The studio was beautiful, full of light, and stocked with industrial sewing machines and an industrial iron. My job consisted of sewing up fitting muslins for custom garments, and making size sets of basic garments in dark wool. I spent long hours learning how to execute couture sewing techniques, started a love affair with industrial sewing equipment that continues to this day, and rescued fabric from the trash.

This quilt is a melding of these very different sewing experiences. The riot of colors remind me of clients who became friends and allowed me the peculiar intimacy of clothing them. The sashing and corner blocks remind me of the patience and discipline the tailor’s craft requires. Both experiences enriched my creative life in ways that surprise me anew every time I sew.

I believe the highest value in scrap quilts is how they serve as keepers of memory. Long after the garments are worn out or passed down, these little left-over bits of fabric linger on and remind us of their source. The scraps in my quilt remind me of the people who trusted me with their ideas and their visions, provided a livelihood, and deepened my experience of making. I am grateful for them all.