Around the World Patchwork Quilt

It’s not always clothing!

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Some of you may know about my around the world skirt, a labour of love that took me many years of research and planning. I collected each piece carefully from my travels, from friends or colleagues during their travel - yes, I am that person! - and from vendors I meet in all kinds of ways.

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I loved working on that project, and have been itching to do something similar with fabrics from as many countries as possible - 26 are represented in this quilt!

It’s made up of the scraps left over from my sewing projects, and the samples my vendors send me. I test each piece carefully before I decide to work with a specific cooperative or seller, and these samples are a great way to expand my textile anthropology knowledge. And of course, there’s no point wasting any of them!

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I like to use scraps as facings in my pieces for you, turn them into pockets or reinforce collars and cuffs with them. The larger pieces go into a ‘one weekend’ box - and this was that weekend!

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Each patch is 26x9cm, with a 1cm seam allowance added. I stitched the pieces together to create long strips, which I played with to get the arrangement I wanted.

Where possible, I’ve tried not to space out the patterns, designs, and colours. This isn’t always possible of course, so I didn’t sweat it. Sewing is a joy for me, and a therapy so there’s no point stressing out about it!

As a design feature, I added two long strips of the smaller samples I get from my Japanese and Indonesian vendors, to the middle of the quilt. The rest is just improvisation!

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I decided not to use a batting for two reasons - first, I live in Spain where the winters are laughably comfortable, so there’s no need for insulation!

But more importantly, this is a zero-waste project, and there’s literally no sense in me buying something specifically for a scrap-busting quilt!

For a backing material, I used a large throw I picked up from an artisan’s market in Greece, second-hand. It’s from India, and has been block printed as you can tell, on cotton with beautiful slubs on it. I love the texture and character it gives the piece! I couldn’t find out much more about it since it was second-hand, and actually used to decorate this particular seller’s stall! I just loved it so much.

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I can’t wait to get cosy under this in the coming months! Each piece tells a story of the people who wove, spun, dyed, and designed it, of the cultures they come from, and their approach to textiles. I won’t be able to focus on Netflix with all these amazing stories in front of me!