How many game shows have you heard the phrase, ‘Open the Box?

Well, on my visit to PANICO’S I got to Open the Box …. Two boxes of beautiful fabric. Thank you PANICO’S for this amazing opportunity to write for you and to for setting this up.

Like many of us ‘quilter’s’ we take forever to decide on what to do with our fabric. Yes, I know we struggle to cut into it, all we want to do is look at it and stroke it and this also happened with this fabric collection. However, I had a blog to write as PANICO’S supplied me with some of their new collection, Sarah’s Story by Moda. And what a story to tell so on with the show….

About the Fabric

Sarah’s Story was designed for Moda by Betsy Chutchian. It is a collection of reproduction prints available in a range of colourways. The range of colourways include Indigo, Sky, Cream, Sweet Cream, Butter, Turkey Red and Saddle. PANICO’S have the Indigo and Sky in stock (and may have even more now).

The designs include: Floral abundance, Petite Dot, Ripples, Leaf and Berry, Sweet Duet, Bridle Path, Fallen Leaves, Delicate Vine and Pretty Posy

Sarah’s Story is a premium cotton quilting fabric, 44 inch wide, with soft, smooth surface. It handles beautifully when sewing and cutting with minimal creasing. It does fray slightly so you might want to take this into consideration if using it for small piecing and cutting. Recommendations for washing suggest using a Machine cold wash and tumble dry on a low heat.

It is available as yardage, charm packs, layer cakes, jelly rolls and fat quarters. Check with PANICO’s as to what they have in stock. I know they will have fat quarters available and will cut to order if needed.

The Story Behind the Fabric. 

Designer Betsy Chutchian was inspired by three antique quilts in her collection dating from the 1830-1840s and from Sarah Josepha Hale (1788-1879). Having done some research myself I can see why Sarah’s Story needs epitomising in fabric. She was truly a remarkable women of her time and throughout her life.

In 1837, at the age of 49 years Sarah, became the Editor of the 19th century’s most successful woman’s magazine when Louis Godey merged his magazine with the Ladies magazine (later to be renamed the American Ladies Magazine). Through her editorial role she was the leading influencer of fashion and all matters concerning the keeping of a home. Sarah held this role until she was 89 years of age; a remarkable achievement in the 21st Century, never mind in the 1800’s!

Her other amazing accomplishments include:

• Wrote the nursery rhyme ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’

• Organised women’s clubs to raise money to complete the Bunker Hill monument

• Helped found Vassar College to champion women’s education and women in the workforce

• Helped found the Seaman’s Aid Society

• Advocated for 17 years for legislation establishing the national holiday of Thanksgiving, finally granted in 1863 by Lincoln

• Supported married women’s property rights

• Published numerous books of poems and prose

• Actively promoted the idea of music and physical education for children

• In 1852 she introduced the word “lingerie” as a euphemism for undergarments

It’s hard to believe that she thought that home was a natural place for women given that her overarching aim was to ensure women were educated through the magazine and her continual goal to improve “the moral and intellectual excellence” of women by taking steps to ensure they could access higher education in the fields of medicine, science and teaching

Never a suffragette though, Sarah endorsed the “secret, silence influence of women.” She believed women had much more power than by doing things ‘quietly’ from the inside.

What to Make With the Fabric

Never have I been so inspired by a fabric back-story. So … what to make with this amazing fabric? Something special? A pattern I have never made before? I wanted something that would really bring Sarah’s Story to life. Heading to quilters cache was a great place to start, and to my surprise, I found a block called Godey’s Star dating back to an 1850’s. A strong bold design that would show off the fabric to it’s best and, given Sarah had given 40 years of her life as Editor, it was just PERFECT.

I took the original template, doubled it in size and made a sample block:

After consideration I thought a 12½ inch block was too big … a 9 ½ inch block seemed a better option. So, pencil and ruler became my tools of the day to rejig the size.

For each 9 ½ inch unfinished block:


[A] 1 – 3 ½ inch x 9 ½ inch strip

[B] 2 – 3 ½ inch x 3 ½ inch squares

[C] 4– 2 ¾ inch x 4¼ inch rectangle

[D] 4 – 4” inch x 4 inch squares of contrasting mixer fabric

For a quilt top approx: 46 inch x 46 inch You will need:

16 – 9½ inch unfinished blocks – I made 4 blocks of each fabric designs

4 – 2 inch x WOF for the inner border – I used the mixer fabric

4 – 3½ inch x WOF for the outer border – I used WOF from each fabric

Wadding and backing as required

My quilt top uses the Indigo collection with the Floral abundance, Petite Dot, Ripples and Leaf & Berry designs.

Sewing Instructions

Start with the corner pieces. Pin the longer side of piece C to piece D as in the picture below. Sew using a ¼ inch seam. Press the seam open. Now repeat with the other side – overlapping at the pointed end.

Press and trim to size – 3 ½ inch x 3 ½ inch square.

Repeat for all blocks.

Take piece B (3 ½ inch square) and sew 2 corner pieces to either side making sure the points are facing in the right direction. See below.

Now attach piece A (3½ inch x 9½ inch strip) using a ¼ inch seam. Press and repeat for all blocks.

When all your blocks are finished decide on your layout. Sew each row of blocks using a ¼ inch seam.

Add the inner border– I used a 2 inch strip of Riley Blake Mixer (grey) (available at PANICO’s).


Then add a wider outer border – I cut 1 – WOF x 3 ½ inch strips of each fabric (4 in total). As I chose to use each of the 4 fabrics in the border I found I needed slightly more fabric but was able to use the left over fabric from the blocks.

Press again.

Add wadding, quilt and bind as desired.

Want to make it bigger? Simply add more blocks!

I hope you enjoy making this quilt as much as I did. I’m very pleased with it – the photo’s do not do it justice. Why not have a go at making your own and post or share some pictures on UKQU social media, my twitter account @quiltsewgo and not forgetting PANICO’S facebook group

So finally … a huge thank you to PANICO’S for supplying this gorgeous fabric, giving me the opportunity to review Sarah’s Story Collection of fabric. Thanks too.

Don’t forget to head off to PANICO’S or check out their  shop here if you are in or around the Stockton on Tees area and check out their Facebook page. Better still check out our UKQU shop for details of how you can order this and more through their online store.

Happy Sewing Everyone

Carol L

Twitter: @quiltsewgo