Wednesday, October 15, 2014

"Downstairs Collection" patterns for Andover Fabrics

Back in May at the Pittsburgh Spring Quilt Market I had the good fortune to meet several of the folks at Andover Fabrics, among them the very talented Kathy Hall who designs the Downton Abbey fabric collections. I am a big Downton Abbey fan and love the clothes and hats on the show, and I was interested in using some of their fabric for a new hat pattern. As it turned out, they were looking for someone to make up a fascinator with some of their fabrics, the Downstairs Collection in particular. Kathy, in addition to being an awesome fabric designer, also has a whimsical side, and wanted some fun little hats that could be worn to a tea. On their fabric story board, they had some child-sized silverware next to the Downstairs Collection, and she wanted some fun embellishments like that for the fascinator designs. When I returned from the show, I started keeping my eyes open for accents for the hats, and lo and behold, I ran across a child's toy silverware set at a local antique shop just the right size for the little hats! I paired it with a toy teacup and crocheted doily for a little vintage downstairs tea look.
I do like to offer a few choices in my patterns, and so I decided to add a funky sewing fascinator to the mix complete with a useable pincushion and mini-sewing tools! The long decorative pins in the pincushion added just the right touch.
I needed one more look, and decided on a fun folded fabric rose nestled on a soft bed of tulle. This is such an easy flower to make, and the downstairs line of fabrics was the perfect choice for a soft, feminine feel.
I'll be demonstrating how to make these flowers at Houston Quilt Market next weekend in my booth # 929, and will also have the patterns available, here's the pattern, one size fits all, worn with a little hairband or comb.
Around the same time as the Spring Quilt Market I also lost a dear aunt, my mom's sister and last remaining sibling. It was very sudden, she did not suffer long, but at the same time it was a real shock for her family and many friends. She was a strong country woman who still raised her own vegetables in a little garden and loved to cook and sew, and I was blessed with some of her hand-embroidered linens when she passed. I knew I wanted to do something special with them and also something to honor my Aunt Catherine, and the Downstairs Collection really blended beautifully with her linens and some other things I'd been collecting.
I decided to do an apron pattern and named it "Nana's Apron" after her, as her grandchildren and their mom all called her Nana. The pattern has 2 versions, one I made up just in the Downton Abbey fabric, and the other I mixed up the fabric with the vintage linens: dresser scarves, little embroidered doilies, etc. The pattern is adjustable to fit most sizes, you can see on these sisters, they're wearing the same size apron so it's pretty flexible. A pullover style that ties in back or can wrap and tie in front, the apron has 2 big patch pockets for holding recipes or the necessary tissue for drying a little one's eyes. We shot the pictures at the Old Stone House for a true authentic look, yet the apron has a contemporary feel to it too and is super-easy to make, good for beginners! Here's the cover photo,
 this will also be at Houston Quilt Market...hope to see you there!