Crazy Quilts Patterns

Awesome Crazy Quilts Patterns

While patchwork quilts are defined by the use of geometrical pieces sewn into a symmetrical pattern, crazy quilts patterns are made of pieces of fabric of irregular shapes sewn together onto a foundation fabric. They are embellished with embroidery and not quilted (these quilts do not contain a layer of batting). These quilts were simply tied at regular Crazy Quilts Patternsintervals.

Though not certain, it is possible that this type of quilting was being used in Colonial America, since fabric was rather a precious commodity and every scrap would have been saved. However these fabrics would have been plain woven fabrics and the quilts made with them merely every day use objects, made for cover.

Crazy quilts as such became popular during the Victorian era at the end of the nineteenth century. Americans became enthralled with Japanese designs after the Philadelphia Exposition on 1876. The Aesthetic Movement that started after the Exposition influenced fashion and decorating trends in the use of rich fabrics such as velvet, silks and taffetas. These quilts were perfect to decorate parlors as throws, pillows and as bed quilts. Many crazy quilts have survived because they were not made to be used as every day bedding, rather as “best quilts”. Though the fabrics utilized in these quilts are rather fragile, they made more durable by being sewn onto a muslin foundation, helping them survive the passage of time.

Another factor that contributed to the crazy quilt fad was the price of silk becoming more affordable after silk started being produced commercially in the United States. The mills started selling silk remnants in packages specifically for crazy quilts. These quilts also incorporated mementos in the form of silk ribbons, tobacco silks and ribbons, and remnants from fancy clothing, such as wedding gowns. They were heavily embellished with embroidery outlining the patches and within them. The patches werer normally both outlined with embroidery stitches in contrasting colors, using stitches like herringbone, chain, fly, stem and others and also patches contain embroidered figures, sometimes realistic portrayals of animals, people, flowers and every day objects, sometimes whimsical versions of them. These motifs were embroidered with satin stitches and outline stitches. Sunflowers and lilies were favored as embroidered designs, as they were symbolic of the Aesthetic Movement.

The crazy quilting fad didn’t last very long. The same women’s publications that encouraged the style at the beginning of the period were speaking against it in five years’ time. Thrifty homemakers continued making these quilts, but no longer using the fancy fabrics. Cottons, wools and twills were used instead and this second generation of crazy quilts became utilitarian objects.

To make a crazy quilt, a foundation needs to be cut out of muslin or any other lightweight woven fabric. The size is determined by the size of the block, plus a seam allowance of a quarter inch all around the edges of the block. A pattern needs to be drawn or printed on the muslin foundation (it is possible to print on a computer printer if the fabric is ironed to freezer paper). There are many free patterns available on the web suitable for these quilts.

Fabric scraps of all sizes can be used to piece crazy quilt blocks. Just as in the nineteenth century, a quilt maker now can buy scraps of fancy fabrics such as velvets and silks or use leftover cotton fabric scraps from quilting projects.

The fabric pieces need to be sewn onto the base fabric by the sew and flip method, that is by stitching down the piece on the printed lines of the muslin base, right sides together and flipping it so the right side of the fabric sewn shows. Pin the next piece of fabric and stitch down the same way, covering the raw edge of the first piece. Continue adding pieces in this manner until the whole foundation block is covered, covering the raw edges of each patch with the next patch added.

The next step is to add embroidery to the block, both on the seam lines and on patches. There are lots of embroidery threads to choose from, that range from cotton six strand cross-stitch thread, to metallic threads and silk floss and narrow silk ribbon.

Contemporary crazy quilts are embellished with buttons, beads, lace pieces, doilies and so forth. These can be addedCrazy Quilts Patterns after the embroidery is completed or mixed with the embroidery stitches (as in beaded embroidery). Anything goes, there are no hard and fast rules in crazy quilting.

Once the required number of blocks are completed, these need to be sewn together in rows and the rows joined to make the quilt top. Since crazy quilts have no batting, the top has to be placed side up on the backing fabric, and both layers need to be tied together with ribbon or thread at regular intervals. The quilt’s raw edges can be finished using the knife edge traditional method. It consists in turning one quarter inch seam allowances towards the inside of the quilt, both on the top and the backing, then stitching the two layers together using an invisible whipstitch. Crazy quilts can also be bound using ribbon or single fold bias tape.


For more information on making a quilting block click here!


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