Monday, December 17, 2012

Rob & Kim's Fandango Duvet Cover Finished

So, if it isn't obvious already, I'm a little obsessed with fabric designed by Kate Spain.  One of the first lines of hers that I saw and fell in love with was Fandango.  I had bought a little yardage of it from Hancock's of Paducah without having a real plan, but when I saw it in person, I knew the colors were perfect for my brother.  I was home after Christmas last year, and I showed him the fabric and asked him if he'd like me to make him a new duvet cover, and he chose the design I'd just used for my friend Anne's baby quilts.

The duvet top, with a small double strip of fabric that will fold over and encase the duvet almost like the old style of pillowcase.

My brother is a pretty special guy.  He actually inspired my interest in quilting by teaching me a really cool quilt design back in college, having learned it from his wife, and he helped me complete my second quilt (the first being more of an opportunity to show off cross-stitch).  I wish I had a picture of that little quilted wall-hanging we made together - I gave it to my best friend at the time, and it was really cool. Anyway, my brother is a professional potter who runs a studio in Athens, GA, called Good Dirt.  He is talented in so many ways, and I'm so proud of him for pursuing a career where he can teach, help people (he does so much for his community and for charity), make incredible art, use his science background and all of his skill sets, and spend quality time with his family, like walking his son to and from school.  A Rhodes Scholar with a D.Phil. in molecular genetics, he certainly could have been pushed into a career that didn't satisfy him, but he was brave and decided to pursue his artistic side, even though he works like a demon for a lot less money and accolades than he could have received if he'd taken a more traditional path.

So, I'd managed to get my hands on 2 charm packs of Fandango online, but I needed more fabric to make what amounted to two quilts sewn together!  Thanks to the awesome folks at one of my local quilt shops, Tomorrow's Treasures, who kindly sold me 1/8 yards from every bolt of Fandango in their collection with no argument about minimum cuts (so grateful), I was able to make this awesome duvet cover for my brother and sister-in-law, and I even finished it in time for Christmas this year.  Less than a year for a project of this size...I really must love my brother!  ;)

The back of the duvet cover.  The area on the right is actually at the head of the bed, so when they fold down the duvet cover, all those lovely blocks will show.

I pieced and quilted the front in 4 sections, which I then joined using a bit of trial and error.  I tried to take pictures to write a tutorial for how I did it, but I've realized that it really will depend on what you are trying to join as to the best way to approach the technique (plus I can't really show what I did in pictures that well).  On the back, I quilted it in two segments.  The blocks were one unit, and the fabulous print was quilted separately, and then they were joined.  I did a much better job on the join on the back, as it turned out.  Another great reason to practice an idea on scraps first to work out the kinks.  While the front required a lot of hand-sewing to create a smooth seam on the inside, the back was able to be pieced entirely by machine (and still looked really neat thanks to careful pinning on the back while slowly stitching from the top).  Luckily, that is the side that will be more up against their bodies, so a nice smooth join is more important on that side in terms of comfort.

While I did straight-line quilting with my walking foot on the entirety of the top and the pieced section of the back, I'd been practicing my free-motion quilting on all these charity quilts and decided to give it a go on the print fabric by following the design in the print - a great no-mark method for quilting.

Here's a look at the inside of the duvet cover, so you can see the quilting pattern better.  I wasn't perfect, but I think it will give it a nice light texture and a little added interest, and I used a thread that blends so any wobbles were less obvious.  Also, you can see in this picture that I made a hemmed facing to finish the bottom edge of the top, since I didn't want to disturb the pattern with any type of binding. I also did some other lovely couture touches, that unfortunately are hard to photograph, but I'm very proud of the workmanship in this's really well-made and should last them a very long time.  I hope it doesn't get too crinkly after it is washed...I love the crispness of the piecing and the quilting as it is.

And, as usual, I'm not sure whether I like the front or the back more.  I love reversible quilts, even if they are a lot more work!  It was pretty hard for my mom to photograph this monster, but I'm hoping when my brother picks it up from my parents around Christmas that he'll be able to help her take some pictures where you can really see the entire might take the whole family to hold it up!  Two quilts in one gets pretty heavy!  I also can't wait to see it in place on his bed...a bed that he made himself in a lovely craftsman style (did I mention that he is also an expert woodworker, or that he engineered and manufactured his own colored concrete countertops in a nice terra cotta to go on top of cabinets he built from scratch, or that he made his own sink out of porcelain?)  That bed/house deserved a finely made quilt to pull all the colors together, and thanks to Kate Spain's lovely fabric line, a nice design by Cindy of Hyacinth Quilts, and a lot of time and effort by me, I think this fits the bill!  Now I just need to make coordinating pillowcases for both Rob and his wife, Kim, with a bit of yardage and the little tiny scraps I have leftover from the top (and by little, I mean little)!  :)

Quilt Stats:
Rob & Kim's Duvet Cover
Fabric: Fandango by Kate Spain, Kona Snow
Thread: Gutterman and Mettler
Size: ~74" x 76"
Quilting: Straight-line and Free-motion
Special techniques: Precision piecing; Quilt-as-you-go and joining multiple sections, including hand-catching/tacking seams with invisible stitching; Hemmed facing; Enclosure flap with french seams; Zig-zag finishing on inside seams to prevent fraying & flatten seaming


  1. I too am a big fan of Kate Spain! Your quilt is gorgeous!!

  2. Wow, this is A-MAZ-ING! I love the quilting and all the special touches. You must have spent so much time working on this. Your brother is going to love it!

  3. OMGosh, Elle! This post was so worth the cup of coffee I got just for it!!! I love that you used the same pattern as the baby quilt, which I love!!!! This whole post, with all it's love and beauty is just so GREAT!!!!! (And congrats on winning the Honey Honey from Miss Spain herself!!!!!!) I am certain your brother is as thrilled with your abilities and gifts as you are with his! You've made my day!

  4. What a work of love! I'm sure your brother and his wife are going to be so thrilled. And they'll be wrapped up in that love when they sleep under it.
    Linda F.

  5. Elle! This is just lovely. What a treat for your brother. And a sweet post about your fondness of him.

  6. It's awesome. And it sounds like you could bottle your brother and sell him on the black market!!! What a loving sister you are!

  7. Elle, your quilt and the story of your whole process are inspiring! There is nothing quite like a handmade gift, created with such love -- and i'm sure your brother and sister-in-law will treasure it for many many years. I am so touched that it was Fandango that you used. Thank you for making it look so good. Big hugs, kate PS: i love Cindy's patterns, too!


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