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Modern Piecing

Modern Piecing

Modern Piecing Using Japanese Quilt Fabrics

Beautiful cotton prints from Japan are beginning to flood into The Sewing Workshop’s studio, and I can’t get enough of them! Since so many of the prints are wide open with large repeats, I found it interesting to think about breaking them up, using pieces and parts of the motifs, and incorporating non-Japanese-type fabrics left over from other projects. Modern piecing Linda-style (meaning I do not have a quilter’s mind or aptitude for traditional piecing).

The connections and lines of the Siena Shirt offer the perfect opportunity for piecing and having some fun without having to put too much effort into making a completely new design.

Sienna Back

FabricsI started by choosing 25-714-1, one of my favorite fabrics with a very large repeat designed by Japanese quilter Nani Iro

Then I gathered some other fabrics that had a similar weight but varied in scale and density of design and texture. I threw them out on a table, stood back, and observed them by covering one eye. By doing that, I could see which fabric stood out and didn’t fit in the mix, plus I could see the overall blend without looking at a specific fabric. With a little editing and the addition of two new fabrics, I landed on this group. Now it was time to decide what to use and where.


Japanese Cotton - Blue Bamboo Print 25-414-1.  Japanese Cotton Print - Yellow, Black & Cream 25-414-4.  Seersucker Narrow Stripe 27-513-2.  Loro Piana Wool/Lycra WOOLW1-013C.


I used the technical drawings of the Siena shirt from the front of the Siena and Cortona pattern as outlines for sketching some ideas, and for coloring some areas to get an idea of how to balance the design. (My favorite new pencils to carry in my travel bag are wooden mechanical pencils with colored leads by Verybest Supply Co.)


Other than breaking up the left front panel into two different fabrics with a strip of flat piping inserted between them to provide a transition and an outline, I simply used the regular pattern pieces included in the pattern to cut each out of a different fabric. Instant design!

Sewing it together was the easy part. I pieced the left front section first and then followed the guide sheet in its normal sequence. All-in-all, the project took a nice leisurely Sunday afternoon in my Eureka Springs, Arkansas sewing room to complete, all while watching US Open tennis. My two passions, all in one sitting.

I like how the shirt turned out, although we all laugh in the office about how it looks like a bowling shirt. But then again, bowling shirts are in fashion! Only Kathy can actually bowl, so maybe she will wear it to the lanes, with perfectly matching shoes and bowling ball for sure.

Alabama Chanin Weekend
New Fabrics