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Folk Floral Quilt Prep

Friends, I am so excited about this quilt that I wanted to share some information about the prep that has been going into it.

My guild (NHMQG), the Seacoast Modern Quilt Guild and the Cambridge Modern Quilt Guild are hosting Anna Maria Horner for 3 days of workshops in April next year and I was really hoping to take the Folk Floral quilt class, but it didn’t make the cut when all members were surveyed. Instead, I took the class on CreativeBug! I’m signed up to take a hand quilting class with Anna Maria instead so I’m thrilled! Perhaps I’ll even hand quilt this very quilt!

I have placed so many fabric orders and have barely made a dent in the blocks yet so I am hoping that sharing some of my prep will help you if you decide to make this quilt.


Image taken from here

Background Fabrics:

The sample quilt uses Anna Maria’s Skipping Stones fabrics for the background, but the one in the center looks like a fabric from Mod Corsage to me so that’s what I got. The fabrics create a really cool ombre affect that I wanted to copy because I think it makes the flower heads and leaves really pop. This need to create an ombre brings me to my first mistake. Obviously some of the fabrics are used more than others, but I just ordered 1 yard of each. [facepalm]

If you would like to create the ombre effect in the quilt size shown, here is what you need from center out. All blocks are 12.5×12.5 inches.

4 blocks of Mod Corsage Observations – Graphite. One yard of fabric will yield you 6 blocks and a little left over.

12 blocks of Skipping Stones Coloring Garden – Stone. Two yards of fabric will yield you 15 blocks. I think I could have gotten away with 1.5 yards if I had ordered it all in one go, but since I ordered 1 yard and then needed more I ordered a second full yard. 

18 blocks of Skipping Stones – Coreopsis – Cloud. I ended up needing 2.5 yards of this fabric. Based on my calculations I should have been able to cut 21 blocks, but I must have “fat fingered” the cutting at some point and only ended up with 19.

12 blocks of Skipping Stones Eucalyptus – Silver. Two yards of fabric will yield you 15 blocks. I think I could have gotten away with 1.5 yards if I had ordered it all in one go, but since I ordered 1 yard and then needed more I ordered a second full yard. 

4 blocks of Skipping Stones Overachiever – Mortar. One yard of fabric will yield you 6 blocks and a little left over.

Fun fact, with the assumption that you are using 44 inch wide fabric you will be able to get 6 blocks per yard of fabric. However, 1 yard of fabric is a mere 1.5 inches short of being able to get another 3 blocks!

I want to mention that I wasn’t able to find all of these fabrics for sale from the same retailer. I placed an order with and Amazon (who owns, but didn’t have the same fabrics listed which I found bizarre), for my first go around. When I had to reorder I used and a store on Etsy since not everything was available in my needed quantities. Thank goodness for free shipping!

I just did a search in my email and Hawthorne Threads announced the Skipping Stones collection in early 2016 so perhaps that’s why I couldn’t find all of it anywhere! Hawthorne still has 8 of the prints if you’re in need.

Flower Heads and Leaves:

I really wanted to use all Anna Maria’s fabrics for this quilt so I ordered fat quarter bundles of Fibs and Fables and Floral Retrospective. I also ordered a charm pack of Mod Corsage. And then read in the directions in Creative Bug that the scraps for the flower heads and leaves should be at least 8×8! I printed two of the templates and cut one down to accommodate the 5×5 charm squares so I could still use the squares. The way I look at it is this: All of the flowers are different anyway, why not have a few that are a tiny bit smaller? That’s life, your garden won’t always be perfectly symmetrical, but it’s still beautiful.

Of course, all of these fabrics came from different sources. What am I up to now, 7 online orders?


I decided that I wanted to use greens for all the stems. I thought about using the same Kona for all of the blocks, but in the end I decided to place yet another fabric order (#8) of Anna Maria’s fabrics from various lines in various shades of green!


Here are the fabrics I chose going clockwise: True Colors, Crescent Bloom in Turquoise, True Colors, Filigree in Lime, Halos Wideback in Glen, Loominous Yarn Dyes, Seedlings in Grove, and Loominous Yarn Dyes, Shadowed Path in Mint.

In theory I will use each of them for 10 blocks, but I may play favorites. The strip of fabric is 1 inch wide and Anna Maria suggest it be at least 18 inches long so if my calculations are correct, you could order 1 yard of stem fabric and have enough to make 72 stems.

I’ll be using some of these for leaves as well.

Various Other Bits:

I also ordered a 12.5×12.5 inch ruler to make cutting the blocks super simple. It had actually been on my Amazon Wish List since last summer so this seemed like a good time to go for it!

Speaking of cutting, I bought an 18mm rotary cutter. In the Creative Bug class Anna Maria says not to use a rotary cutter for the flower heads and leave shapes, but I am hoping that the small one will make easy work of this process and then I will end up with circle and leaf shapes to use for a future project. We shall see!

And my last additional bit is a 4 pack of 50wt Aurifil threads in various shades of grey so I can match my thread to my background fabric.

The sample quilt uses a vibrant pink for the border, but I have no idea what to use for mine yet. I love the pink, but it’s not usually a go to color for me. Part of me is thinking Emerald Green, but I’ll cross that bridge when I’m closer to having finished blocks!

I’m heading to the Cape for a quilt retreat the first weekend in October and am planning to work on these blocks in between some Christmas present quilts I have in process. Check my Instagram for progress shots and when the quilt is done I’ll be sure to share it here!


Fabulous Flora

On March 22, 2014 I posted a photo to Instagram asking people to tell me which pattern to make next: The Mortmain or The Flora.  I went with the Mortmain (seen here) and made a muslin of Flora within a few weeks.

Wellll, it took 3 years, 2 month and about a week for me to get back to her. I needed to do a full bust adjustment and had no idea how to at the time so I just said to hell with it and used the skirt a bunch of times.

When I saw the Outback Wife line of Bark Cloth by Gertrude Made I thought it would work perfectly as Flora and set to work drafting my FBA! With 3 years of alterations under my belt it was easy peasy!

One of the first Indie patterns I ever made used Bark Cloth from Grey’s Fabric and I always look for it now so I was very excited when this collection was released. I first learned about it on the Village Haberdashery Instagram, but ordered mine from Red Thread Studios to avoid pesky customs charges. Side note: If you have a good source for Bark Cloth please send it my way for future projects!

I was tempted by the navy blue color way of this fabric, but have been drawn to warm colors lately and decided to go for the mustard. Without further ado, here is my Flora!

FullSizeRenderI made two modifications to the skirt. I used the Flora skirt pattern pieces, but gathered them instead of the pleats and I added pockets. I feel pretty strongly that all dresses and skirts should have pockets, it makes life so much easier!

A lovely dress deserves lovely insides so I lined this bodice with orchid colored stretch silk from Mood. Whenever someone complements me on the dress I say, “Wait until you feel the inside”. Luckily with the high neck, folding the top down slightly still leaves quite a bit to the imagination.

My best friends sister is getting married in October and I think this might be my dress for the special day. The mustard color will go perfectly with the turning leaves of NH in the fall. Plus, it’s great for twirling!

PS- I’ve made a second Flora since this one and somehow figured out how to bind the neck with bias binding instead of a lining while keeping the straps as written. Stay tuned for another post on that!

My 2017 #VintagePledge

During 2017, I, Carolanne Donovan, pledge to sew at least 3 garments from Vintage patterns and blog about them.

I participated in the pledge in 2015 and only made 3 of my pledged 6 items, whoops!

I decided to not make a pledge in 2016 and honestly ignored my vintage patterns. Why? Because some new thing came out that I just had to have. On the bright side I didn’t add to the collection.

This year I’m back at it! I’ve been posting about my makes less frequently so part of my pledge is to also document the garments with blog posts. Perhaps I will finally finish my swing coat or maybe I’ll end up making 3 of the same dress. We shall see. Here are a few of my favorite vintage patterns that will likely be making an appearance this year!




The Maker Movement

I was interviewed two weeks ago by Boston Chronicle about my sewing experiences and wanted to share the video clip here!

17424708_1289528097801474_7441091979689375043_nClick on the image to view the video or visit the WCVB website.

This piece of the episode also features Gather Here, which is a fabulous store I have shopped at many a times and taken classes at so be sure to watch and hear from Virginia, the store owner.

I didn’t even realize until I saw the episode, but my segment is very Cashmerette Harrison focused! I was wearing a Harrison dress, they shared a picture of me in my chambray version, I was sewing up a purple sleeveless version (that I’m wearing as I type this) and I was cutting out another sleeveless version during the filming. I’ll give you one guess what my current favorite pattern is 🙂

Exploring Bag Making

I’ve been following Noodlehead since I started quilting and it honestly never dawned on me to make one of her bags. It never dawned on me to make a bag period!

The hardware and lots of pieces intimidated me a bit. I toyed around with the idea of making some simple tote bags, but I have so many tote bags. Free bag with this purchase, free bag with that purchase, etc, etc. If I was going to make something it was going to be awesome and not even in the same realm as a free tote!

When I saw the Noodlehead Explorer tote I knew it was time to take the plunge. The pattern is very cute and although I made this version exactly as the pattern says it also has a lot of potential for hacking. I’m thinking magnetic snaps instead of a zipper, no front flap, extra pockets on the inside, the smaller version with the cross body strap; so many possibilities!

I had purchased some waxed canvas 2 years ago from Gather Here when I toyed with the idea of the tote bag so I decided to use what I had on hand and make the entire bag with it. This cut down my number of steps because I didn’t have to interface the main body of the bag. The lining fabric, Biology, is also from Gather Here.

I found conflicting information about whether waxed canvas can be ironed so I used a scrap to test it out. The test piece seemed fine and was much easier to handle post ironing. Once it cooled off though it was back to it’s rugged-ish texture. I decided to go ahead and iron all of the yardage.

My iron leaked a bit and left some discoloration on the bag, but it looks sort of cool. I think if you keep your iron to a no steam setting and don’t have a leaking iron like I do you’ll be fine to iron it. My piece of fabric had been folded in the closet for 2 years so getting those creases out of it before cutting was important to me. You can see the color “issues” here.


I used my walking foot for most of the construction and found it must easier when going over the bulky areas than with my regular foot. The walking foot also helped with the topstitching (and there’s quite a bit of top stitching!). Instead of following the directions for where to put the top stitching I just used different little bits and bobs of my walking foot and followed along. This made my life a lot easier and my top stitching is very even and straight.

I ordered a small turn lock, but I got sick of waiting for my order to arrive and decided to just go with the only turn lock they had at JoAnns. It matched the rivet I had used on the back pocket so I’m fine with it, but the one I ordered was cuter.

This was my first time installing hardware other than rivets and jean buttons! I won’t lie, I was intimidated. You have to cut a hole in your flap to install the turn lock so if it’s too big, you have to start over. Mine looks a little crooked, but not so much that I would redo it. I’ve ordered some more in various colors to keep on hand from Pacific Trimmings so I’ll be prepared for future bag making endeavors. Here I am pulling my lip balm out of the back pocket, with it’s lovely rivet!


The thing I liked the least about making this bag is also something about quilting that irks me. No pattern pieces! For this bag I drew the pieces onto my fabric and then cut them out, but since the waxed canvas yardage was so large it meant I couldn’t see the grid of my cutting mat which is something I pay very close attention to when cutting out pieces for quilting. I can use a ruler to get the right size, but the giant grid makes me feel better about lining everything up exactly right. Since I really like this bag I decided to make my life easier for future versions and cut the pieces out using poster board from the craft store.

Speaking of future versions, I already have one in the works. I found a seller on Etsy who hand waxes cotton, linen, denim and canvas so there are over 50 combinations available! For $10 I ordered swatches of all 50 so I can plan ahead.

And one last photo for you, the inside of my bag! I’ve only been using it for a few days, but of course it’s already filling up!


Special thanks to Derek from my work for taking these pictures while he had the camera setup to take head shots!