I first learned about the quilters of Gee’s Bend a couple years ago, African-American women from a community in deep-South Alabama that was isolated for many years. They made quilts to keep their children and grandchildren warm and did it without rotary cutters, mats, or fancy sewing machines.
As the story goes, art collector William Arnett traveled to Alabama to track down a quilt he saw in a photograph. He knocked on doors until he found the quiltmaker who said she may have burned it with some other old quilts to keep away mosquitoes the week before! Luckily she found the quilt and offered it to him for free. He paid her a few thousand dollars for that quilt and several others. Skip ahead to today and Gee’s Bend quilts are taking modern quilting and the modern art world by storm.
Many of the quilts are made with used men’s clothing and other discarded fabric. They defy traditional quilting rules and burst with color.
My little quilt inspired by these women’s work started when I wondered what to do with the scraps from my patchwork skirt. I had a piece of ‘made fabric’ about 48” x 12”. I cut it in half and sewed the two strips together which formed the center of my quilt. It wasn’t a perfect square and that’s what made me think of the Gee’s Bend quilts. So I started adding solid and print strips around in log cabin fashion. The strips are all unequal widths and when one wasn’t long enough I added material and kept going.
I never once squared it up! That was probably the hardest part. It’s not very clear from the way my quilt top is hanging in the photos, but it’s pretty wonky and I love it that way. My son Connor called dibs on this quilt when it’s done. I was shocked that he wanted it so badly, but I think letting my quilt keep him warm at night will continue the Gee’s Bend tradition. 🙂
Sew an organizer covered with pockets that you can hang in your closet! This easy sewing project is great for organizing sewing and craft supplies, fashion accessories, bathroom necessities, gift wrappings, and more. There are pockets on both sides plus a big interior pocket so every bit of space is used. I’ll show you easy step by step instructions for sewing this organizer and putting it to use in your home. Get sew organized today.
At my daughter Chloe’s high school (can you believe my baby started high school???), the lunch lines are so long that she has been skipping lunch! She’s always starving by the time she gets home because she doesn’t want to carry a big lunch bag as well as her heavy backpack – poor girl!
I am so in love with the beautiful look of simple patchwork quilts with lots of squares. This is the perfect way to use up fabric scraps like I did, or you can make a beautifully coordinated quilt with pre-cut 2 1/2’’ square fabric pieces that come in mini-charm packs.
I’m also in love with the process. If you feel like quilt making is your escape from the world and sitting down to sew for a few hours makes your troubles fade away… this is the quilt for you!
Sew an easy beautiful apron with this free sewing pattern that only uses one yard of fabric! Whether you are sewing for yourself or for a friend, an apron always comes in handy and makes a great gift. This blog post includes a link to a free template that I digitized for you.
Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂
I’m so happy with my new purse I can hardly contain myself. I’ve made a few bags before, but none of them have turned out so cute or professional looking. Maybe it’s the real leather handles that I used for…
There’s nothing more magical than Christmas treats! It’s what dreams are made of:) These felt Christmas donuts are perfect to use as yummy holiday décor or even play food for the little ones to make believe with. Come learn to…
There are so many great book reviews going on right now! I was very excited to be invited to join in the fun for Sumiko Fujita’s 318 Patchwork Patterns. This book is not new. It was originally published in Japanese in 2005. After being out of print and hard to find for years, World Book Media has finally released an English version.
Sew a classic signature quilt with my free fat quarter friendly quilt pattern! This throw sized signature cross quilt pattern is fast and easy to make. It’s the perfect quilt project for a beginner or anyone who wants a fun…
I did a paper on the Gee’s Bend quilts this year. Aren’t they just amazing! I love the abstract strength they each have. And that they’re being shown in real art museums!
Yes, yes, and yes! Thank you for sharing. 🙂