Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Dress That Kept On Giving

Potpourri, 2003, 49x27 inches

Back in 2002, for less than $10, I picked up a formal dress at a thrift shop.  This particular dress had a large floral fabric in the sizeable skirt, and a smocked top in coordinating colors.  The dress might have best been described as gaudy.  One of the quilts that made use of this dress was Potpourri.  The floral fabrics in this quilt came from the skirt of the dress.  The dark border fabric in Potpourri was a velvet upholstery fabric that felt good to the touch.  
Potpourri, detail

When I quilted the piece, I free-hand machine-stitched flowers and leaves on the solid pink and green areas of the quilt. 

Johnny's Garden, 2002, 29x23 inches

Johnny's Garden also made use of the fabric from the dress, and all the flowers in this quilt came from the skirt.  In 2002, I raffled off this quilt to raise money for Toys for Tots.  This quilt hadn't really had a name, and when a fellow named Johhny won it, the quilt became Johnny's Garden.

Cherry Blossom Time, 2002, 23x32 inches

Cherry Blossom Time also benefited from this dress.  The trees and bushes in this quilt came from the smocked top of the dress, and have an interesting raised texture.  The blue and green background was made from strips of fabric sewn together in a large log cabin pattern set on the diagonal.  The Asian figures were fussy-cut from another fabric.  I passed this quilt on to a friend who owns The Quilted Butterfly, a fabric shop.  In return, she gave me a credit for buying fabric in her shop.  :o)

And now back to Potpourri!  It was a sizeable quilt, 49x27 inches, and, though I put a lot of time and effort into it, I never cared much for the finished result.  I think it was the lack of composition, or focal point, and that there was no good place for the eye to rest when looking at the quilt.  Years ago, I gave several of my quilts to my nephews, including this one.  When the nephew who owned it got married, the quilt fell into disfavor, and made its way back to me this past summer.  Potpourri came close to getting tossed, but I was still taken with all the quilting I'd done on it and couldn't quite let it go. 

Potpourri 1, 2011, 9x12 inches

At the time, I was just getting into the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative, and got the idea of cutting up Potpourri and making it into small 9x12 inch quilts to donate to AAQI. 

Potpourri 2, 2011, 9x12 inches

I ended up getting three small quilts out of the original Potpourri.

Potpourri 3, 2011, 9x12 inches

The three new Potpourri's went to Houston in October for the AAQI's big annual fundraiser, and they all sold, each earning $36.70.  All in all, I think I've done a fine job of putting that original $10 dress to good use!


Vicki Lane said...

I love what you did with that gaudy dress! Way to go!

Michele Bilyeu said...

Your work is just lovely! And the idea of using one piece to create three and then for a wonderful cause like AAQI...perfect!!!!! That is truly the dress that kept on did you!