Diamonds are a guy’s best friend

I finally finished my submission for the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival!


So a funny thing happened on the way to the sewing machine, well, a minor setback… or three.

I wanted to do something relatively easy for this submission because I was also going to submit Color Theory to this year’s competition. I kept the shape simple and I knew I wanted to work with a familiar technique, so I went with fusible applique (After Zapped!, I learned a ton!)

The gimmick for this garment was that I wanted to use all overdyed, commercial, black and white prints. I had a ton of smaller pieces of B/W prints that I had collected over the years and needed to do something with them. I also found a few good prints at the Houston Quilt Fest last year and after low-immersion dyeing all of them, I started to work on the motifs.

I never really intended to work on solid black, but when I started to layer prints on prints, especially in contrast colors, the overall appearance was drastic and jarring. I had already gotten some Burma silk at Quilt Fest and decided a neutral background was the way to go. The diamond shapes were actually supposed to be random, Asian lantern shapes, but I didn’t really have the time to research them all and I knew that the intricate stitching around them wasn’t an option with the clock ticking down, so I settled on a simple, familiar pattern.

The quilting on this piece was relatively simple because I think it reflects the rigid lines of the diamonds better.

I made the beaded motifs on the waist cincher using the beads my friend Shanni gave me and some purchased buttons. I love it when I can use other things, like jewelry making, on my pieces. If I can make a component from scratch, even if it’s a little time consuming, it makes me feel that my piece has that one, personal element that no other submission will have


 By the way, photographing black on black quilting is damn near impossible! I took some advice from my friend Jeanie (seriously check out her site, she has the best embroidery and design software). She said that to get the best results, you need to have the light source at a perpendicular angle to whatever you are photographing. I don’t think Irving Penn would be jealous of my picture-taking skills, but the results are just what I needed!

I hand sewed all of the sequins on the skirt and all of the bugle and seed beads on the waist-cincher. All of the beading is very subtle and really only noticeable in the light. It’s little details like that, that really matter to me when designing. Anyone can point out the elephant in the room, but it’s probably better to notice the black panther eyeing you from the dark (I have no idea what that means, but it sounded great in my head).

Here is what the original blouse looked like.


It is a really simple shape, but after I got it on the mannequin, the red seemed off and distracting. Originally, this was supposed to go from yellow at the top, down to turquoise at the bottom, but I tried to cram too many colors into the space and it kinda failed.

Option #2 was a solid black china silk that I crazy-pleated, to give it texture. The pleats are tacked to a silk organza underpinning for stability and to retain the shape of the top. I am MUCH happier with this combination because it seems more elegant to me.

When I posted a pic of it on Facebook, my friend Maureen said she could see someone wearing this look while sipping a cocktail. I had already decided on an olive green Thai silk for the lining and the name Diamond Nightfall, but after Maureen made this comment, I changed the name to Diamond Cocktail. How could I not?!?

Oh hey, here is something fun, the label.


My sister turned me onto Leslie Riley’s Artist Transfer Paper. Admittedly, I’m not too crazy about the way it leaves fabric stiff. I think it’s fine for things that are going to be hung on a wall or quilted, but for a label on the inside of a garment, it’s just not going to work, in my opinion. I needed to get the label done and was to the point where I couldn’t proceed without it, so I bit the bullet and used the ATP; only, I boo-booed. Because of how the paper is pressed to the fabric, you are supposed to print it out in reverse so the wording and images come out the correct direction. Oops. Since I was basically going to have to throw out a sheet of it anyway, I decided to play with it on some silk organza. It’s a good thing I did because the ATP transfers the image beautifully to the organza and all of the stiffness bled through the sheerness and it retained most of its lofty hand. Actually, you could get two for one on the sheer fabrics. If you’ll place a scrap piece of muslin on the ironing board, under the organza, the image will print onto both fabrics. The organza will be clear and sharp and the muslin’s image will have a slightly vintage feel to it. Also, the bonus to the organza was that I could still use the incorrect printing by just flipping the fabric over. I think I’m going to make all of my future fabric labels like this.

OK, that’s enough for now. Ask me any questions you have about this or any other pieces, in the comments section.

Haute Couture week is quickly approaching, so I’m sure I’ll have some choice words.

Also, I’ve already started preliminary work for my Houston submission. This one is going to be a TON of work, so I’ll try to document as much as possible.



2 thoughts on “Diamonds are a guy’s best friend

  1. It always is fascinating to me how an artist such as yourself works through a piece and the piece itself seems to “speak” to the artist. I think there is much more about the creation of art and its relationship to the artist than is dreamed of on our philosophy. This is a beautiful and elegant work. Good wishes to you for its competition. I am very hopeful thinks work out and I actually get to the MAQF and will see it in person. I am delighted you will be sharing your work on your Houston entry also. I think I owe you a mug rug. LOL

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