The Steamer Trunk Quilt


Where does the time go?.... I was planning to write up this piece on the blog last week and here we's the beginning of another week already!!!!  I have been working on a few things... a baby quilt (more about that soon)..... Putting borders on Will's quilt too...(more about that soon too) but, events outside the sewing room have taken over the last week or so.   A spot of decorating has been going on here and finally, I am so happy to have got our sitting room sorted out.  We moved into our house in June last year and although most of the house didn't really need decorating, the main Sitting Room, certainly did.  I had planned to have it all done by Christmas, but some water leekage problems caused delays and with hindsight, this was maybe not a bad thing.  We have weathered a Yorkshire winter in the house and seen the room in different lights and had more than enough time to decide what to do.  I am so excited by the results that I just had to make a quilt to go in there.   It is a lovely big room, with a beautiful wooden floor and a large stone fireplace.  It needed brightening up and I think I have certainly done that.  I had a vision of what I was trying to achieve, taken from a tiny cutting out of a magazine and the memory of a couple of houses that I have glimpsed over many years of moving around, one of them from over 20 years ago, but still indelibly etched on my mind.   Do you ever do that? Carry an image around with you that you know one day will suddenly be what you are looking for?  Anyway, we have gone from this - to this.  We are still waiting for the new sofas to be delivered, but I just love it's cheerful feel.  Yellow makes a room sunny all year around!

My Kaffe Fassett diamonds quilt will live in here... but, let's be realistic..... one quilt is simply not enough.  This time though it was a new idea, not an old one that sent me into a heady spin in the sewing room.   Perhaps it was the fact that our room has treasures from our from our travels are at the framers too.... or perhaps it was just that I picked up this pattern at the last quilt shop stop in Houston, before I left for the airport last month, because I am a sucker for anything to do with Steamer Trunks and that glamourous image of travelling in days gone by.  

The pattern is called 'Bon Voyage' by Coach House designs and in the cover picture, it is a collection of pretty pastel trunks, stacked on top of one another, as if waiting to be loaded up aboard a steamer bound for Suez or the midnight train to St. Petersburg.

Being more of a strong colour girl myself, I started rummaging in my stash for prints that reminded me of old Steamer Trunks.  It was easy.... the blocks started coming together rapidly - it is a fast and easy project.  A little bit of Anna Maria Horner fabric, a touch of Amy Butler and a dash of Kaffe Fassett and suddenly you have an explosion of colour.

Using these bold prints also allows some fussy cutting to use the design.  For example, I think this lovely circular motif will make a fab lock for one of the trunks.  

I used a new idea that I had recently seen on the internet to do this.  First of all cut out the motif with plenty of fabric to spare around the edge.  Lay it, face down on to similar size piece of muslin or any other old piece of fabric.  Stitch all the way around the edges, using your motif as your stitch line guide.

Then once it is turned out, give it a good press to be sure it is nice and flat.

I altered some of the fastening details - there is an assortment of templates for the locks and straps and you can fussy cut some fabrics to create the desired effect.  The appliqué bits and bobs are done using the freezer paper technique and I like to do this. 

I machined the pieces down though, rather than hand sewing them, partly because this is just going to be a fun quilt that will laze on our Chesterfield.

It was just a days work to get to this point.... and is a great project for a beginner.   I love how it looks and how the jumble of patterns and colours go together.  I still have alot of stitch detail to work, but I think that my Janome is going to help with this.   My luggage seems pretty exotic to me.... definitely headed to far away lands.   Now that I basically have my stack, I have to think about the accompanying background and I rather like the idea of newsprint and text fabric.  I am going to experiment with this idea, so hope you will come back next week and see how it is shaping up.   Oh and I think maybe a few luggage labels could be fun too... don't you?

See you soon, Ruby x