Introducing Flight Patterns by Tamara Kate
Hi everyone! I am Tamara Kate, the newest licensed designer to join Michael Miller Fabrics, and am so thrilled to be here!
At the Spring Quilt Market I introduced my first two collections, Flight Patterns and Les Monsieurs, and I am here to give you a personal introduction to them, just as they are hitting stores. First I will focus on Flight Patterns and then will be back soon to tell you all about Les Monsieurs (if you have an adventurous little boy in your life, you won’t want to miss my next post!).
So, how did Flight Patterns come about? Well, I live in the land of long winters, Montreal. I designed this collection in the early months of last year when claustrophobia was setting in and I was dreaming of being outside … of fresh air, spring breezes and bright dappled sunlight that warms your skin; of lying in the grass on long summer days, letting your mind dance; and definitely of the magic of nature, the incredible detail and symmetry in a butterfly’s wings, natural geometric patterns and the flow of migration.
As much as it is about all of that, Flight Patterns is also about my love of color. Joyful, pure explosions of riotous color, but in a decidedly feminine fashion.
I set to work with pen and ink and drew patterned butterflies, moths and other winged creatures that all seemed to be searching for some color. Then I pulled out my highly neglected watercolors (I typically do most of my design work on the computer) and had some fun with a multitude of colors, and the first pattern, Dappled Migration, came to life. The other patterns followed, all keeping a sense of movement evident throughout.
The collection is printed on Michael Miller Fabric's gorgeously soft Cotton Couture base cloth. That means it is an heirloom quality cotton that has a luxurious silky hand, it drapes beautifully for garment making and it is a dream to piece or quilt with.
And because of the range of colors I included in so many of the prints, if you are in need of some solids to work with them, the line co-ordinates wonderfully with a high percentage of Michael Miller’s vast range of Cotton Couture solids. Here are just a few suggestions. I will be doing a much more complete post on this over on my blog in the weeks to come.
I created a small quilt that I think effectively shows how the prints work together harmoniously and I wanted to share a simple tutorial for it with you.
The Dancing Light Quilt uses all eleven prints from the collection. It would be perfect as a baby quilt, but I actually designed it to be used as a play/reading mat in the little spot in my daughter’s room where light comes in the window in the mornings, where I often find her curled up reading, enjoying the early morning sun.
Dancing Light Quilt
Finished size: Approximately 40” square (mine is 39” x 40”. That’s just the way I tend to sew … imprecisely … I’m working on it).
Materials I used:
- A fat quarter of each of the 11 prints in the collection
- 1¼ yards of Cotton Couture Lipstick
- A 42” square of quilt batting (this gives you a bit of “just in case” extra all around that will be trimmed at the end)
- Thread & white quilting thread
Here’s what to do:
First cut pieces for the quilt top as follows:
- 45 pieces 4½” x 8½” of Flight Patterns fabrics (that’s 4 of each of the 11 prints, plus 1. I cut 5 of each, then when laying them out, decided which I would keep in). I tried to choose areas of each fabric that were interesting on their own for randomly flowing patterns, or centered for more geometric ones. The patterns should be running vertically on the rectangles.
- 10 pieces 4½” x 4½” of Flight Patterns fabrics (again, I randomly chose which of the eleven to omit).
Lay out the pieces randomly in 10 vertical rows as follows, keeping all patterns facing the same vertical direction (See Diagram 1):
- Row 1: Lay 1 square, then 4 rectangles, then another square end to end
- Row 2: Lay 5 rectangles end to end
- Rows 3 to 10: Repeat first 2 rows.
Then play with the arrangement, moving patterns around, trying to find a balanced, random look.
Working one row at a time, start sewing the pieces together (using ¼” seams), right sides together, across the 4½” ends. Press seams toward the bottom end of each row. Pin and sew (from the top of each row down) the rows together (again with ¼” seams). Press all seams in one direction across the back. Quilt top … done!
Cut the piece of Lipstick Couture Cotton to be an inch or two longer than the quilt top. Lay this piece on a large flat surface and smooth out any wrinkles. Lay the batting on top (smoothing again), and then the finished quilt top (right side up) on top of the batting. Pin these layers together and then hand baste. Using a long ruler to make sure the sides are straight, cut the batting and backing to align with the quilt top.
I love hand stitching, so I opted to hand quilt this one following the printed patterns on each fabric piece as much or as little as I felt like for each one.
For the binding, cut:
- A full width (45”) of the remaining Lipstick fabric, 4” wide.
- 2 pieces 4” x 22” of each of the other 3 solid colors
Randomly cut these lengths into shorter pieces between 3” and 12” in length and then (again, randomly) sew them together, end to end, to form 4 strips of equal length. Press all seams open.
Do the following steps (A to E) for all four binding strips, referring to Diagram 2:
A - Right side facing out, press the strip in half along its length.
B - Then fold one long edge in to meet this fold line and press.
C - Right sides together, using the long edge of binding that was not folded toward the center, pin the strip to an edge of the quilt top, centering it. Measure in and mark 1” from each quilt edge. With a 1” seam allowance, sew each side from mark to mark, making sure not to catch the binding from the adjacent sides.
D - Trim the short ends of the binding strip to ¼” outside the edge of the quilt on all sides. Temporarily unfold the folds you made in steps A & B, then press this ¼” to the wrong side of the binding, flush with the quilt edge.
E - At each end, measure & mark 2” from this folded edge along both long edges. Fold & press from this point to the center folded edge point. Refold folds A and B and flip the binding toward the back of the quilt. You should now have nicely mitered corners.
Using an invisible stitch, hand stitch the corners to each other on the front and back. Hand stitch the binding in place all along the back using an invisible stitch. Finito!
In hopes that I have inspired you to make this quilt or to create something of your own with Flight Patterns, Michael Miller is generously offering a bundle of Flight Patterns to one lucky randomly drawn individual. All you have to do is leave a comment below to try your luck.
Thanks for spending a wee bit of your day here with me. I will have more tutorials, giveaways and other fun events on my blog over the next while to celebrate Flight Patterns & Les Monsieurs . I’d love it if you’d stop by to take a peek from time to time … You can also find me here on facebook.
See you back here soon for Les Monsieurs!
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Love the fresh designs. Pen and Ink and watercolor effects are something I love and this gives that impression.