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New Finished Quilted Jacket Quilts to Wear

New finished quilted jacket is my topic for this week. If you are a regular visitor to the blog, you might be thinking ‘Hold on, I thought she was making a quilted tunic.’ As you can see from past posts and the photo below, I was. Right up to the last minute.

I lost count how many times I tried it on and thought the size was ok. However at the last try on, I realised once washed, it might be difficult to get on and off.

I gave it the over night test before I proceeded to make it into a hand quilted jacket.

new finished quilted jacket
new finished quilted tunic

My Favourite Wearable

This new finished quilted jacket is my favourite. Even though I had used my very best silk wadding and took care to trim away from seam edges, I must admit the tunic felt a little like getting into a straight jacket. This feels much more comfortable as a quilted jacket.

It was so easy to change it into a jacket, by just cutting up the centre front and adding binding.

Oops

I almost messed it up. I found enough of the same fabric to go around the bottom edge and up the fronts. Hurrah I thought. I cut it two inches wide, but then decided it was too wide. Not sure why but I thought half would do and worst of all, I cut two pieces before I realised this was not wide enough. Oh dear.

So I had to rummage through scraps. I’m surprised how many blue scraps I still have. Serendipity struck and I found a piece of my hand dyed cotton velvet, which I thought perfect for the neck. So it all worked out well in the end. I love the result and that’s all that matters. Dare I say that I am now wishing for cool weather so that I can wear it?

new finished quilted jacket
new finished quilted jacket

Two More To Go

I have another two more jackets on the go and hopefully the ecourse will be finished then. See all the ecourses here

So take good care until next time

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt

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Quilting Options for Quilts and Quilted Clothes

Quilting Options for quilts is all about the choices we make when finishing a quilt; whether that is a bed quilt, wall quilt or clothes. Our options are simple but include multiple choices. The basic choice is

Hand Quilting

Especially if you have pieced your quilt by hand, you might also opt for hand quilting. You then have two further choices:

Traditional style hand quilting with a rocking motion. You can choose to stick rigidly to competition rules and number of stitches per inch. Alternatively, you can go big stitch.

In this way you can quilt any style finished top from whole quilt to patchwork quilt.

Quilting options for quilts
Quilting Options

Domestic Machine Quilting

Usually the most popular choice these days because it is quicker.

Quilting options for quilts with machine quilting offer a wide variety of choices for the quilter, which tend to fall into categories delineated by the tools used:

  1. Usual foot with or without a marked top and straight line quilting
  2. Usual foot with or without a marked top and gentle wavy quilting
  3. Walking foot with quilting as above in 1 or 2
  4. Ruler work – this is using specialised rulers to quilt
  5. Free motion quilting using a special foot
  6. Decorative stitch

Each category above has many possibilities. At the moment I normally still use 1. or 2. unless I am quilting a large bed quilt, in which case I use 3.

It is amazing how much can be achieved with 1-3 but most would agree that if you can master 5, you’ll enhance your quilt no end.

You can see the options I chose for each of my quilting projects on the website

Quilting A Tunic

This weekend I have begun to stitch my hand stitched patchwork tunic. I am using the octagon shape to quilt my top with the quilting lines crossing in the centre. The kites I shall probably just use straight line stitch down the centre of each one.

I could go for an allover pattern, such as circles or wavy lines but I like to quilt sympathetically with the actual quilt top. This is simple straight line quilting, simply working from point to point of the octagon.

quilting options for quilts
Quilting the tunic sleeves

See you next week

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2021

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Quilting Hand Stitched Clothes and Wearables

Quilting hand stitched clothes was one of my intentions when I started quilting a few years ago and I am now making my own quilted clothes. The work of Kathy Knapp is awe-inspiring as well as inspirational. Highly desirable wearables that do not look too quilt-like but are made in the same way as a quilt is the way forwards.

Using Scraps

An ideal way to use fabric scraps is the art of quilting hand stitched clothes. Small shapes from scraps can be joined using English paper piecing (EPP). We all seem to have more scraps than we can manage. EPP has blossomed into techniques such as millefiori. Small pieces are used to create stunning patterns. Depending on the size of your project, you’ll use quite a lot of them when making quilted clothes.

English Paper Piecing

I have a curious way of making EPP. Instead of gluing (yuk) or tacking (time-consuming), fabric shapes are pinned to card or paper templates. This makes the process quicker. Templates are unpinned as I go and I therefore use less templates too. Wrong sides together, the pieces are whip stitched. It is quite forgiving as long as you are fairly precise.

I enjoy the rhythm and restfulness of quilting by hand. Good light is essential. A magnifier is useful too.

quilting hand stitched clothes
Quilting Hand stitched clothes

Current Project

Octagons and kites are being used in my current project. The kites are joined in fours, making shapes that join onto the octagons. The octagons are quite large, so the project, although hand sewn, is coming together quite fast. The templates came free with a quilting magazine. Free downloads are also available on websites.

At the moment it’s more every day wearables than outstanding art. This is a tunic in the making.

Quilting hand stitched clothes
Quilting Hand Stitched Clothes

What’s Next?

A wardrobe clearout produced a pile of clothes that I no longer wear. They are all beautiful fabrics. So it’s scissors and seam ripper fun time. The plan is to produce wearables. The fabrics have been colour coded. Devore velvet, silk, jacquard, embroidered pieces; all just waiting for new creations.

An ecourse is planned, see all the quilting ecourses

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2021

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Knitting Patterns, Hand Stitching and Writing

My work life seems to happen in threes. This week it has been new knitting patterns, hand stitching and writing. I like to change tasks to help allay the pain that occurs particularly in my right arm and my neck. I find rotating what I am doing helps. A bit like crop rotation, or maybe not.

Hand Knitting Patterns

If you know my knitting, you’ll know that I like to have a project on the go. This is the final one of three in this yarn, although I have a bit of leftover yarn and will do something with that. There is a long and short version of this sweater with and without a peplum. I am slowly adding all my knitting patterns from the last 30 years to Ravelry.

Knitting patterns
Knitting Patterns by Karen Platt

Hand Stitching and Quilting

I am losing track of when I started this hand stitched jacket, but it is fun to pick up of an evening, when I remember and do a few rows. The hand quilting is not as even nor straight as I would like but it is all hand stitched and I am not a machine. I hold the fabric in my hands not in a frame of any kind. I have almost finished the back and I have one half of the front done. I think this one will be sleeveless. It has silk wadding, which I like for clothes. I lost a needle this week as I had to get up and answer the phone, and poof, it vanished. These hand quilting needles are so small, it is difficult to find them again.

hand stitching
Hand stitching a jacket, designed and stitched by Karen Platt

Writing An Autobiography

What’s so special about writing you might be thinking, but this is different. This time I am not writing a textiles or quilting ecourse or ebook; I am writing my life story. I want to get it all down in glorious technicolour before the colour fades, if you get my meaning. I want to see if I learned life’s lessons before I kick the bucket. So far I have written over 5,000 words. I think it will make interesting reading. If someone had told me I would write an autobiography, I would have laughed.

That’s all for this week, I shall continue with my knitting patterns, hand stitching and writing or maybe there will be another task to talk about next week as I keep on drawing and more.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2020

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Day 23 quilting of 31 day blog challenge

Day 23 quilting was to bring the new quilt to show. However, fatigue saw me having to put that down with just 15 cm (6 inches) left to do and a few ends to tie in. About another hour’s work. So look out for that tomorrow. Instead I am going to let you see a snippet of it and talk about hand quilting too.

If you are wondering how many of the other 60 quilters taking part in the 31 day blog challenge, have made it so far, check them out on Muppin, although I note that Cheryl stopped on day 14.

Sneak Peek

Day 23 quilting progress. I must say that this new quilt is looking rather handsome. It is my most heavily quilted quilt to date. I am pleased with the way this has turned out. One of the modern quilts in my new Modern quilting ecourse, which you can take online. 2020 is my year of modern quilting.

day 23 quilting
my latest Karen Platt quilt

Lost And Found

I have been having a clear out, my work table is now clean and clear. Ready for me to start my new projects. I shall be art quilting and more. When I talked about UFOs a few days ago as part of this 31 day blog challenge, I mentioned my hand quilted quilt, telling you that I had used the fabric for workshops, forgetting I needed two pieces more for my handmade quilt. In my clear out, I found that fabric. Yes I had saved it as I thought. I have already started stitching.

Discount

Day 23 quilting discount – get ready for the new year and make yourself a brand new quilt with my digital fabrics. Take 10% off until end of the year 2019. What a great way to celebrate the New Year. Many of the fabrics are created in a series and therefore go together well. What beautiful quilts they make as a panel, accents or art quilts and some work well in traditional quilt designs too. Here is one of my favourite series, Kaleidoscope fabric:

Day 23 quilting
Copyright Karen Platt 2019
Kaleidoscope fabric Karen Platt
copyright Karen Platt 2019
Kaleidoscope fabric Karen Platt
copyright Karen Platt 2019

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Speaking at Quilting Shows 2019

speaking

Speaking engagements are my excitement for this week. Get booking please ladies and any men out there. First engagement of the year is 12-14th April 2019 at the British Stitch and Quilt Village at Uttoxeter, so please grab your space now to hear my take on colour in quilts. I am speaking at the same time each day.

At the moment my next speaking engagement is not until August 4th at the Festival of Quilts, where I speak twice on the same day, once on colour and once on design. So you can have a double whammy. Booking is not open yet, but keep your eyes on the website.

I have some more lined up, to be confirmed. Don’t forget you also have the fantastic opportunity to come to India with me, on a Colouricious holiday. The chance of a lifetime. I need 9 more people for this to go ahead, so please book on the Colouricious website today. 11 months to go, we leave on 7 January 2020.

I finished January with a sort of ho-hum week. Everything is hanging in the balance. People who were supposed to come back to me have still to do so. I wait with bated breath to see if it all comes to fruition. In anticipation, I had a lot of writing to do – contracts and so on. Lots of contacting to do, for if they don’t come through, trying to find someone who does. All under wraps and I have everything crossed to make it happen. I am hoping next week is the one.

Apart from the flurry of writing, I am hand stitching the calico quilt. When I am not doing that, I am writing up the pattern for it. Sore finger into the bargain – the only negative of hand quilting. The machine stitched quilt is ready to start again since the snowflake panels are now cured and ready to heat set then attach.

I am almost there with a hand knitting pattern too, just the last armhole bands and that pattern needs writing up too.

I took photos of the painting exhibition and I must find space for my paintings on my website again because I have given up on Artfinder, it just does not work for me. They have changed their costs twice, in their own favour of course.

Words, images and work copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Progress and only two weeks into the New Year

Progress is sometimes hard to come by. No matter how hard you try progress can be elusive. This happens in all walks of life and it certainly happens in textiles.

Sometimes it’s that the ideas will not come (never suffer with that one), often it’s not having the right materials and occasionally you are stumped in great need of a technique that you do not know.

Experimenting can help overcome this – trying out different things and thinking outside the box.

This second week of January 2019, I spent launching a brand new, exciting range of snowflake fabrics. There are a total of 16 mix n match fabrics in my new permanent range. I am delighted with these.

I also made great progress with my latest Winter Inspirations quilt at last. I am trying to ignore another idea I have had for a second winter quilt until much later in the year. This one has not followed my initial sketches too closely. I tried out an idea that does not work either, but I have a final design. I am hoping it comes together quickly now and will be added to the website by the end of the month.

I was more than pleased to return to hand quilting this week and a UFO that has been sitting there for a few months. I am hand stitching a patchwork jacket using a running stitch. The wadding is silk and the front is a patchwork of fabrics with a blue lining.

I finished a cardigan and hat and started knitting a cabled waistcoat. I have altered the basic stitch pattern to make it unique to me. I think this really is the last of my Rowan lightweight double knitting wool bought in the 1990s!

Enjoy your creative projects, whatever you are making. See you soon when I will be telling you of my first speaking engagement at a quilt show in April.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Festival of Quilts Quilting Countdown 3

Quilting countdown for the festival made great progress this week. My aim last week was to finish more quilt tops, then in the last ten days before the show to quilt everything. The hot weather is still playing a part in how much quilting I can get done. Therefore I took the decision this weekend to actually start quilting.

It was therefore a week of straightening up, making borders, backing, pinning layers and actually getting on to that machine and quilting. This is the reason for the throat space and walking foot attachment. I highly recommend you get a walking foot if you do not already have one.

I had a slight hiccup attaching the walking foot. It just would not fit. When I re-read the instructions, I understood what I was doing wrong. I had removed the usual presser foot but not the foot holder. I also have the guide attachment to help keep stitching straight, but I did not attach it this time as I am following the triangles on the quilt itself.

I had attempted to quilt on the Singer Confidence without a walking foot – I am still trying to unpick it. It’s so annoying. I have to admit I was nervous. In fact that was the reason for putting off the quilting. I just had to bite the bullet.

I tested that my needle was not hitting the walking foot plate. I also tested a few stitches on a scrap piece of fabric and off I went. It was just great I am relieved to say. Much easier than I imagined. I am not working on a full-size quilt, just a lap quilt. This is the way to start for all you beginners. My beginners ecourse will show you how.

When I am not on the sewing machine, I am quilting by hand. The hexagons is one new quilt design I am trying to finish for the show. If you wish to learn quilt design, this is the ecourse for you.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2018

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Textiles Update Hand Knitting and Quilting

My current textiles work in progress and finished work. Just a quick pictorial update on what I have been making so far this month. I have knitted the back and half a sleeve of a wool sweater I have designed. It is my signature textured style. I am undoubtedly in love with cables. The knitting pattern will be available shortly.

The rest of my textiles work was all quilting. I made a crazy quilted picture. I have decided I like it the other way round, but it was designed this way to fit a frame, so this way it will stay! I added embellishments and it will have a narrow ribbon border so that it fits the mount. Easy enough to do – draw the mount size on paper or fusible wadding/interfacing/web and add half inch all round. This is your design space. Add fabrics as desired and stitch in place.For this piece I worked without any kind of interfacing and added fabrics one by one.

I am also working on a new oranges and lemons quilt, but have not photographed yet. Just finished the cutting stage. Today I started making fabric decisions for a new quilt to be mounted onto a canvas box frame. I was going for blue but changed my mind and I know just what fabric is missing now. Thank heavens for stash.

In the evenings, I continue to work on my hand stitched calico quilt. One border is finished and the quilt is now sashed. Plenty of sore fingers there.

These finished textiles quilt designs and more will be on my Festival of Quilts Stand C5 8-12 August 2018. See you there.

Yes, textiles design often looks as messy as that pile of fabric 🙂 I do stash neatly, honest!

Happy making.

Designs, photos and words copyright Karen Platt 2018

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Exclusive – How To Really Cost a Quilt

Anyone who has studied business should be aware of how to cost a product. However, for some makers that are usually hobbyists or makers for friends or for anyone who is baffled, here is the ultimate low-down on how to cost that quilt.

A few guidelines to start with, which should go without saying but you’d be surprised! Ensure you are actually proficient enough to make a product for sale. Many times I have seen posts on social media saying ‘My friend wants to buy this. How much should I charge?’ Sadly the accompanying photo is one of a crumpled, badly made object.

Be professional. If you are not up to making a quilt at ‘for sale’ standard, then do not accept payment. If you can do it, then charge accordingly. Never think this is pin money or a hobby.

Business Practice
Far too many people think they can sell without telling the tax man. Do not do it. Even if it is for friends and family, you could be in violation of business law. Ask the taxman, they will tell you if you are taxable. Be aware that selling on Etsy, eBay, Facebook and other social sites means you can be found. Be honest.

Accepting A Commission
1. Can you produce exactly what the person is asking for?
2. Who is providing the materials? If it is the purchaser – you need to ensure they are providing you with top quality materials, or you need to exempt yourself from the results of washing etc with regard to different materials that shrink at different rates; thin, worn materials that might fall apart; material that might colour bleed. I much prefer to select materials myself.
3. Delivery – is it a realistic time schedule? Ideally you want to set the delivery date yourself but it must be agreed. If it is imposed upon you and you cannot meet the deadline, you could be in breach of contract.
4. Ensure you know what is being asked of you with regard to size, fabric, binding, and any other requirements.
4. You will need to be specific about cost. There is no reason, if you are producing a professional product that you should not charge accordingly. Quilting is a skill that is often under-rated. Some quilts are quicker to make than others.
5. Get it in writing and produce two copies, one for the buyer to keep and the other for your records. Ensure both copies are signed.

Working Out The Cost
There is much more to costing a quilt than one thinks (especially buyers!), so ensure you factor in everything.
A. Materials – fabric, wadding, quilt label, thread, one sewing needle, rotary cutting blades. Anything used in the quilt, which cannot be used is charged at cost. Some makers might factor in a small profit margin here. You have taken the time to purchase these goods and need to add shipping costs too. Things that are purchased but can be used several times over such as sewing machines and tools are assets and for these you would factor in a percentage of the cost of the tools and machinery you have had to buy to make that quilt – that specialist ruler, the longer machine. My advice is use the best fabrics available and charge accordingly. You are producing a heirloom, something that will last a lifetime and beyond. Include any embellishments such as buttons etc.
B. One day you will have to replace that machine. Factor in a percentage of your running costs, including servicing and repairs. Also factor in a cost for electricity and any other running costs. If you have a website or pay for advertising or exhibitions, then factor a percentage of these in too. It is a matter of working out how many quilts you will sell a year, dividing your running costs by that number and finding out the running costs per quilt.
C. Design cost if applicable including any meetings and delivery time.
D. Time to make the quilt – again be professional, charge the going rate. The minimum you should charge is the minimum hourly rate for your age. You might wish to add more for experience, complexity of design. If you are a slow quilter, you might like to charge the bare minimum. If it takes you 3 hours to do what it takes most people one hour, then one hour would be the charge. What I would not advise anyone to do is just charge 50 pounds or just times the materials by two or whatever nonsense someone has told you. This undermines professionals and demeans quilting as a whole.
E. Are you taxable? Take into account the amount you will have to pay in tax.
F. Do you belong to any quilting associations that you have to pay for? Factor a small percentage in.
G. Add delivery costs if the quilt is not being collected in person.
H. Profit margin? That’s your time spent quilting at the hourly rate you have set. If you are embarrassed about your hourly rate when questioned, then just give the price for the quilt as a whole. You might want to factor in a small percentage for extras.
I. What if things go wrong? So you thought that quilt would take 20 hours and the machine was not working right and you had to unpick. The truth is that it is hard to cost this in – your buyer is not to blame. It is however wise to factor in a couple of hours extra on every quilt so that over time, if things do go wrong or simply take longer than you thought, you are covered.
J. You cannot price-match major retailers and mass-produced quilts, so just concentrate on providing a unique quilt with a personal service, made with love. At the end of the day there is a limit to what the market will pay, but this may be much higher than you think if you have identified your market correctly.

Be aware of what is tax deductible when you declare your income:
If you are using part of your home to make a living, you can claim a percentage of heat/light/telephone etc. Know that if you use part of your home exclusively for business, such as a home studio that has no other purpose, that you can be liable for Capital Gains tax when you sell your home. So sometimes it is better to use the kitchen or spare bedroom. The products you buy to make the quilt are tax deductible as allowable expenses. The assets, you are allowed to take a percentage until such time that they are defunct, sold or replaced.

Copyright Karen Platt 2018