Design Wall: How Long Did That Take?

Quilted Apron finished and in progress

Kristine Lundblad of The Quilting CompanyName: Kristine Lundblad
Title: Associate Editor for Modern Patchwork, Quilting Arts, and QuiltCon magazines and Quilting Arts TV
I live in: The Boston area

My quilting life: I started quilting in the late 1980s when I needed a baby quilt for a dear friend … and I became hooked shortly after. I remember a particular ‘aha’ moment while at a “mystery quilt” sewing class; as I neared completion of the quilt top and the design was revealed, I immediately began redesigning the placement of color and shapes in my head, asking “what if?” Working to improve that critical eye has been a decades-long pursuit. As my curiosity about quilting continued, I explored art quilting and then found modern quilting, which feels like my most comfortable niche.


“How long did that take you to make?”

I’m often asked this by non-quilters, aren’t you? Usually, I can’t answer—when you’re ‘in the zone,’ you don’t notice time passing and certainly don’t account for it. And I usually work on projects in bits of time at the end of the workday or between other tasks, because those small commitments of time add up. We probably spend a lot more time on our quilts and projects than we think, especially if we are not interrupted by hungry children, dogs needing to go out, or the setting sun.

This quilted apron was designed by Jen Carlton Bailly.

This apron with quilted pocket was designed by Jen Carlton Bailly.

My co-worker Rose DeBoer (Managing Editor of Modern Patchwork, Quilting Arts, and QuiltCon magazines) and I just partnered on a project: reworking a charming quilted apron by Jen Carlton Bailly that first appeared in Modern Patchwork Winter 2014; the new apron will be featured in the September/October 2018 issue of Modern Patchwork in fresh new fabrics. We were on a deadline so splitting up tasks and sharing design decisions was crucial. We were both very conscious of time—because we didn’t have much of it! So, for fun, we kept track.

With Jen Carlton Bailly’s acrylic templates and project directions in hand—plus gorgeous linen-blend fabric from Robert Kaufman Fabrics [Forage by Noodlehead (aka Anna Graham) overprinted on Essex Collection]—here’s how Rose and I split up the tasks:

Some of the beautiful prints from the Forage collection by Noodlehead for Robert Kaufman Fabrics.

Some of the beautiful prints from the Forage collection by Noodlehead for Robert Kaufman Fabrics.

Cutting:

  • Rose cut the ‘pie’ shapes of the Drunkard’s Path blocks from a variety of Forage fabrics.
  • I cut the ‘L’ shapes from gray Essex fabric.
  • Rose also cut the backing, waistband, and ties for the apron from the Essex.
  • Total time: 2 hours

Sewing blocks:

  • Rose and I each made 16 Drunkard’s Path blocks; pressing and trimming them to size.
  • Total time: 2-1/2 hours

Completing the apron:

Making extra blocks allows flexibility when arranging them in the final design.

Making extra blocks allows flexibility when arranging them in the final design.

Total time: 6-1/2 hours—working together in my sewing room we split up the steps to create the finished project:

  • Together we arranged the blocks; we only needed 24 for the apron but the extra blocks gave us the flexibility to create the nicest arrangement.
  • Rose pinned the blocks in pairs and handed them to me.
  • I sewed the blocks together in units, then rows, then into the complete front pocket of the apron.
  • Rose pressed the seams as I sewed.
  • Rose basted the pocket with batting and backing. I marked and quilted the pocket.
  • I sewed the ties. Rose turned them right side out and pressed them.
  • I basted the pocket onto the apron backing.
  • Rose pressed the waistband and I sewed it on.
  • Rose prepared the pleats in the ties and I sewed the ties into the waistband.
  • And then the apron was complete!

BTW, Rose was the one who carefully read the directions and coordinated the whole project.

So, in 11 hours, working together, we made a beautiful, handmade apron. We both love it and it was time well spent. That’s how long it takes, however, to make a really nice project.

I would encourage you to make one. Treat yourself to lovely fabric and maybe make two while you’re at it—one to keep and one to give to a special someone. Then, when you’re asked how long it took to make say, “More than I thought it would—but worth every minute!” They will surely be impressed.

The quilting on the front pocket highlighted the pretty prints in the project.

The quilting on the front pocket highlighted the pretty prints in the project.

The other question I often get is, “How much would you sell that for?” But that’s a subject for another time. 🙂

You can see the updated apron in Modern Patchwork Magazine September/October 2018, but if you can’t wait, the original pattern is available to download instantly.

Kristine

Discover more inspiration from Jen Carlton Bailly!

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