I mentioned in my July goal update that I did indeed finish and submit something for the Modern Quilt Guild’s Riley Blake fabric challenge but I’ve been delaying sharing it here because to be honest, I’m not really in love with what I made — a cathedral window pillowcase.
The 6 fat eighths from Riley Blake’s Cottage Garden collection were provided by the MQG and they sat on my sewing table for months as I debated what to make. The guidelines for the challenge said to 1) make something quilted, 2) make something you’ve never done before and 3) challenge yourself to learn something new. I remember admiring some cathedral window quilts back when I first started quilting several years ago but have never done one myself or learned the technique, so even though I toyed around with other ideas, I kept coming back to this one.
I used this tutorial from Moda Bake Shop, which was excellent. I changed the dimensions to make each of my windows slightly larger to allow a good peek at the large flowers and medallions on the fabric.
In retrospect, I think these fabrics, while lovely, did not actually lend themselves very well to this technique — and I didn’t realize this until it was too late. A different pattern featuring larger pieces probably would have worked better with this particular collection, since four of the six prints were large-scale. (The small fat eighth cut provided didn’t do me any favors either, since that size didn’t provide a lot of leeway for the kind of fussy-cutting I wanted to do.)
The technique itself wasn’t too difficult to pull off after studying the tutorial. The only part that turned out pretty wonky was the center “joint” between petals, where you can clearly see the raw corners of my underlying background squares. I’m not sure how to fix this. Perhaps I shouldn’t have flipped the petal seams quite as much on these corners?
Overall, I just feel a little “blah” about the finished pillowcase. I suspect the biggest factor in this is that I sewed it in a single afternoon — and it shows. It’s wrinkly and a bit uneven in parts, and that bugs me. Still, the cathedral window technique proved easier than expected and it was definitely a good experience to try once to understand how they are put together. I’ll certainly be less intimidated if I give it another go in the future, and will know better what type of things — print and color choice, allow time for careful sewing — to keep in mind the next time around.