Friday, August 11, 2017

Improv Stripes

For a while now, I've been an admirer of modern quilts and especially those that are improvisational. I have been following Debbie of A Quilter's Table via her blog, as well as Flickr and Instagram. When she issued a challenge a few weeks ago, I decided to give it a try. The challenge is called Improv Stripes and you can see the description here.

My first attempt involved two coordinating fabrics. I made one block with some pretty skinny stripes first:

Back of block with skinny stripes

Front of block with skinny blocks

After this block I tried more chunky blocks and found those to be more fun for me. It is lots easier to make the blocks flat if the stripes don't overlap one another. And I like the look of the more chunky blocks.

I arranged the blocks free-form, layering the raw edges until it pleased me. Then I added a cotton flannel batting and a striped linen piece for the back. The striped linen piece came from a thrifted shirt. My quilting is simply more-or-less straight lines that are 1/8 to 1/2 inches apart.

The quilting stitch runs across the linen stripe, creating a wavy look.

I was enjoying the freedom of overlapping the oddly shaped blocks and so left the edge of the quilt raw too. I simply top-stitched it densely along the edge. The resulting 23x25 inch quilt had great body, just right for a bag of some sort.

I'm pretty pleased with the duffle and think I'll use it quite a lot. It has a good feel to it. Also I have fond memories of previous sewing projects in all those stripes.

It is not finely finished and I am happy with that. The entire project was a good exercise in letting go of my need to strive for perfection.

I used the block with skinny stripes to make another small bag but it is not nearly so satisfying as the larger one.

If you are interested in seeing more responses to this quilt-along, check them out here on instagram. There are so many pretty and inspiring quilters out there! And thanks to Debbie for her inspiration and leadership in this fun activity.


  1. I just can hardly believe what you made with your blocks. Just really nice and fun to have something so unique. Wonderful! Thank you for sharing AND sewing along with the QAL!

  2. These look great! I like how you used the quilted fabric, too. Thank you for the inspiration.

  3. Bravo, love the bags, both of them! You've inspired me but right now I'm putting together a new floor loom.....