I belong to a yahoo group of quilters who love the work of Mary Lou Weidman. She does these amazing colorful and playful story quilts and teaches others to make them as well. Recently Mary Lou was diagnosed with breast cancer so our little group thought that it'd be fun to make her a bra quilt to cheer her up as she recovers.
We all made bra blocks (some were paper pieced and others were appliqued but all were colorful!) and mailed them to off to Carol. She took the time to piece them together and add three delightful borders. Then Carol mailed them to me for the quilting. I was tickled to see the backing fabric that she included. It was the perfect choice! We thought that adding little 5" squares of red or pink fabrics with thoughts/prayers/quotes and signatures of the makers would be good. There were just enough to piece them into a pixel heart.
Carol also included the black/white polka dot binding, already cut/pieced/folded and ready for sewing. Wasn't she a doll?!
Now for the quilting part of it. There were quite a few 3-D elements on the quilt that couldn't be removed for the quilting process - beads, ruffles, etc. Three buttons were safety pinned on by Carol who had removed them to piece the top together so those weren't an issue. So rather than using the IQ to stitch out a digital panto, I had to FMQ the quilt. As I went along it became easier and easier to do.
The big border has piano keys. These were also hand guided sans rulers. For the most part they're pretty straight. My APQS Freddie long arm has the Bliss table so that it moves very smoothly. If you barely touch it it wants to go in a straight line, either horizontally or vertically. After I was done I discovered a better way to do the corners so I'll keep that in mind for the next quilt.
The medium border has what I called looped triangles but I just saw them in Angela Walters' book Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters and she calls them wishbones. Again I found out a way to do the corners a bit more smoothly after the fact. And finally the thinnest borders were filled with pearls, or more accurately, pebbles. These were very fun to do and once again, they got better with practice.
The bra blocks had loop de loops for the backgrounds with an occasional heart stitched in. Not every block has one but there are quite a few. The bras themselves were first outline stitched and then a "necklace" of various sizes of loops or fringe were stitched. I figured that this would enhance the bras while giving them some quilting. The only variations were the few bras that were very different. For example, I quilted around the construction men and their faces. (Why would you quilt over them?) And the fussy cut bra was quilted around the elements.
This picture shows the borders and the background quilting on the bra blocks. This was taken after I had washed the quilt so the cotton batting (Quilter's Dream Deluxe cotton) had shrunk a bit and became all crinkly.
I used the freezer paper method to applique my two bra blocks, shown here. Then I used a tiny zig zag stitch on my sewing machine to attach them.
Lately I've been experimenting with doing a full float on quilts on the frame. It seems to work out well so that's what I did with the bra quilt. The thread was a pale pink 50 weight Superior Threads So Fine for both top and bobbin. It blended in very well with the backing fabric and was thin enough that it didn't stand out too much on all the bright colors of the top.
Finally, one of the signature blocks was forgotten until after the quilting began. So I pieced some pink polka dot fabrics to make it a bit bigger. There was leftover backing fabric and binding so those were pieced to make a back for a pillow. Now it's the perfect accent pillow to go with such a cheerful quilt.
Here's hoping that Mary Lou recovers quickly. She's such a cheerful, happy and generous soul. By tomorrow she should be resting under the silliest quilt that we could think of .. many, many bras of all shapes and sizes. Cheers Mary Lou!