Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Christmas Economy Block Quilt - How I'm Making it and Fabrics

If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably seen my Christmas Economy Block Quilt.


I've always wanted to make an Economy Block Quilt and after I saw Tasha's darling one last year, I knew it had to happen.


I'm currently in the middle of making this quilt and hope to have it finished in the next few weeks. Every time I post pictures, I get lots of questions about how I'm making it, where I get my fabrics, and other general questions.  So today, I thought I'd put all the information in one convenient spot. 

I used Tasha's tutorial over on Instagram. Her directions are simple and I love that the blocks are oversized so you can trim them down perfectly. My blocks are measuring about 10.5" unfinished, which will be 10" finished. They really are the perfect size for a couple of reasons:
1. They aren't too small that I have to make a kajillion.
2. They are large enough that the center print is perfect for fussy cutting larger scale prints.  I'm making 42 blocks which will yield an approximate 60" x 70" quilt.

Besides Tasha's quilt, my inspiration for this quilt came from Amy Sinbaldi's Christmas quilt I saw on Flickr years ago.

photo credit: Amy Sinbaldi from her Flickr
photo credit: Amy Sinbaldi from her Flickr
My vision has evolved over the years to an economy block quilt, but I still love the vintage look and design of Amy's quilt.  About three years ago I started searching for fabrics. I didn't have any Christmas fabrics like that in my stash, so I slowly began to pick up prints here and there.  When I find a print I love, I purchase at least a 1/2 yard if I want to fussy cut. When purchasing, consider the scale and repeat of the print. If it's larger scale, you may want to get more than a 1/2 yard. If I really love a print and see myself using it for other projects I get at least a yard.


The most asked question when I share my progress on this quilt is where I get all my fabrics. I literally have picked them up from just about everywhere. (local quilt shops, online shops, JoAnn's, Hobby Lobby, my mom's garage, etc.) I'm always on the look for fun vintage/vintage inspired Christmas fabrics.  Like I mentioned above, when I find a print I love, I get at least a 1/2 yard. This is mainly to allow for fussy cutting, but also to use in other Christmas projects. I love sewing for Christmas!

Many of the prints in my quilt are out of print. I struck the jackpot last year on eBay when I found a seller destashing many of the Christmas prints I was searching for. Some of them I paid more than I've ever paid for fabric, or will ever pay again, but it was one of those times I wanted to pay more because of the vision I had for this quilt. So if you have your sights set on some out of print fabrics, be prepared to pay more as they are hard to find.

If you are wanting to collecting some vintage or vintage inspirited Christmas fabrics, here are some of my tips for finding them.

1. Search eBay and Etsy regularly for vintage Christmas prints. Search  using "vintage Santa fabric", "retro Santa fabric","vintage Christmas fabric, etc. Or if you're lucky to know the name or manufacturer of the print try that too. Usually around July/August, I see a big increase of "new" prints since Christmas projects are getting on people's radar.  If I'm looking for a specific type of print, for example candy canes, I would search "vintage candy cane fabric" or just "candy cane fabric". I also search by just manufacturer name because many times the person selling knows who made it but not necessarily the name of the print. I often search "Alexander Henry Christmas fabric" because they are great at producing vintage inspired prints. I do the same for "Timeless Treasures Christmas fabric", "Michael Miller Christmas fabric", etc.

2. JoAnn's. The last few years JoAnn's selection of vintage Christmas fabrics has been fabulous. (With the exception of 2016, which has been pretty terrible in my opinion.) Whenever I mention JoAnn's I get asked about quality. When selecting fabrics, I go off the touch and feel of the fabric.  If it doesn't look or feel right, I don't use it. Here's my thinking, these quilts only come out for about 6 weeks a year, then are put away. They aren't being used everyday or going out to be judged. So for me and my purposes, I'm fine with the quality and haven't had any issues, as long as I stay away from fabrics that don't look or feel right.  I have another Christmas quilt with JoAnn Christmas fabric and I haven't had any issues.  One thing to consider. If you purchase a fabric from JoAnn's with lots of red, navy, or other saturated color, I would definitely prewash to cut down the chance of bleeding. Also make sure you use a Shout Color Catcher the first time you wash your quilt. (Which is my practice with any quilt the first time I wash it.) There's my two cents on using JoAnn's fabrics.

3. Basics. For this type of quilt I think some great basics are essential to break up the prints.  You can never go wrong with:
- a good polka dot (my favs are the Riley Blake swiss dots both white and La Creme)
- stripes (Bonnie and Camille and Tasha Noel are ones I've used in my quilt)
- gingham (Bonnie and Camille and Riley Blake)
- metallic gold polka dots from Hobby Lobby that I've loved using
- red and green basics from various Bonnie and Camille lines
- small scale Christmas prints (holly, Christmas trees, snowflakes, etc.)  these I've picked up at JoAnn's and from various designers
- other lines that are currently available that I've used in my quilt are Little Joys by Elea Lutz/Riley Blake, Pixie Noel by Tahsa Noel/Riley Blake, Christmas Kitsch by Anna Griffin

Below you'll find some fabric pictures with sources/manufacturer. I've included the fabrics I get asked about most frequently. This information is correct to the best of my knowledge.  Some of these are near impossible to find, but you never know! Keep looking and you may just get lucky like I did!

The Santa Claus print is currently available on eBay as I'm posting this, but just on the solid cream background!



The Alexander Henry print is near IMPOSSIBLE to find now. If you find it grab it! It's one of my favorites and I finally found it last year on eBay. I saw some a few years ago on Etsy, on the green background, but I waited too long to get it.  The print is much larger scale than I anticipated so I got creative with my fussy cutting. 
The Michael Miller print was available at Hobby Lobby earlier this year (2016). I went and asked the ladies at the cutting counter about it and they said it was a type of fabric they couldn't reorder. They only would get more if the warehouse sent more out. I heard many people couldn't find it at their Hobby Lobby stores. Sorry! It is available on Etsy and eBay, but at insane prices, $16.99 for a HY. I purchased mine at Hobby Lobby. I was on search for this print for years.


Those cute Santas are a JoAnn's print from a few years back. I bought some when I came out initially, but didn't get nearly enough. I was lucky and found some last year on eBay, the person was practically giving it away, so check there. I always see it pop up each year, but it's gone quick.


 Santa's Village is currently available on Etsy. 

There you go, I truly hope this was helpful! Happy vintage Christmas fabric searching and sewing!

LeAnne :)

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for your detailed post. I love this idea and may try a few blocks this weekend! Great excuse to stash more Christmas fabrics😄!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're so sweet to share all this great info! It's so interesting to hear your process. I'm loving your blocks so far, and can't wait to see your finished quilt!

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