It’s always a privilege to be offered fabric to review and to have your interest piqued by giving you a description of fabric from India, you do wonder what’s going to drop through the letterbox and who from! Firstly, thank you to UKQU.co.uk for asking me to review the fabric and to Sew On with English Rule for providing the fabric. For any of you living in the Hunstanton area you may know them by the name Sew On & Sew Forth. Well, they’ve had a name change which reflects another part of their business where they make a wider range of quilt Rulers and Templates, hence the English Rule incorporated into their logo. Check out their website for all the details of what they have to offer.
So, to the fabric. A lovely parcel of 5 x yardage and 2 Jelly Snail Rolls dropped off by carrier on that horrible wet and stormy weekend. Unusually, all the fabrics sent to me were plain/textured look designs rather than the usual all patterned so my mind started to think about what to do with them.
I knew nothing about the fabrics, they’re not fabrics I’ve considered using before simply because there aren’t any locally and, like so many quilters, I prefer to see the fabric first. Some research was much needed. Neither did I know anything about the quilt community in India so something else to research which I will tell you about later. I emailed Mark at Sew On with English Rule and he rang me the very next day to give some background to the fabrics and their plans for the future.
All the fabric lengths retail at between £12.50 and £14.50 per metre and all are approx. 58” wide.
The FOREX, MEGHA and MEGHA 2 fabrics are all a linen weight fabric with a 80% cotton 20% synthetic mix. They have a nice soft feel to them, the FOREX in particular.
FOREX is a softer quality cotton available in 10 colours. This one is an orangey/gold colour with pink weaved through.
The MEGHA 2 (yellow) was slightly stiffer than the MEGHA. The MEGHA fabric is shot through with a pale-yellow fabric and MEGHA 2 fabric is shot through with a white fabric, giving them a both a lovely and unique appearance.
The RESHAM fabric has a silky feel to it, a fine 80% cotton 20% synthetic blend and could be used as a blender fabric for quilting. This was my personal favourite of all the fabrics.
The TAKA (dark cerise with a blue thread weaved through) is an 80% cotton 20% silk blend fine fabric with a very soft feel to it. This fabric is available in 20 vibrant colours.
With my dressmaking’ hat on, as well as being used for quilting, they would be ideal fabrics for summer weight jackets, skirts, trousers and dresses etc.
I cut off a reasonable sized square of all the fabrics to hand wash and they washed fine without any shrinkage. They were all dried naturally and pressed with a both a steam and dry iron (except for TAKA and RESHAM which I used a medium heat for) and they held up well to a good PRESS.
I did make a quilt with one of the Jelly Snail rolls but haven’t machine washed it yet as I need to finish of with backing and wadding so am unable to comment on how well the Merigold/Sapphire cotton fabrics used held up under the washing process but, for pressing – I found a steam iron on a medium to high heat the better option.
They all cut easily and cleanly with a rotary cutter and scissors although some did fray slightly. The cotton silk blends cut very easily with the rotary cutter too.
The JELLY SNAILS from Sew On with English Rule are made from their handpicked Indian Fabrics and cut in-store to the desired sizes.
Sew On with English Rules website states that,
‘All Jelly Snails are made from Cotton/Synthetic 80/20 mix fabric from Cotton silk*, MEGHA, MEGHA 2, Resham, and Sonata collections. Each Jelly Snail consists of 24 ~ 2.5″ wide strips, 58″ long. Apart from the stripey, which is 35″ long 100% cotton.’
I was fortunate enough to be sent 2 Jelly Snail rolls. One was a Cotton/Silk fabric mix – Rainbow and the second one was the Sapphire and Merigold 100% cotton linen weight pastel-coloured fabrics. Both the Sapphire and Merigold fabrics are shown as available by the metre in store. I did find some of these were stiffer than others but not sure whether it was the Sapphire or Merigold fabric. The stiffer of these would definitely work well if you wanted to make a Roman blind.
The strips were, as stated, 2.5” x 58” and Jelly Snail rolls are priced at £22.50. I didn’t have any of the stripey fabrics to check the measurements of, but the website shows that they are £15 per Jelly Snail which reflects the difference in fabric length.
So, what to make and which fabric to use to show off the fabric.
After much deliberation I chose the pastel-coloured Jelly Snail as I knew I could make a reasonable sized quilt top out of it. I came across some Donna Jordan free patterns and decided to make the Jelly Roll Drag Race, I also used the TAKA cerise cotton silk fabric as the contrasting colour.
The link is below if you like the pattern. You can also access a You Tube video to show you how to make it.
All the instructions for making Donna Jordan’s Drag Race quilt top are in the free pdf pattern and do watch the video to see how she makes it. It’s really easy to make, although it can be a bit fiddly.
Because these Jelly Snail strips are longer than a traditional Jelly Roll, I cut each strip into 3 making them about 19 inch in length and split them across 3 piles of fabric.
Take the first strip and the cerise strip (2.5” x 6.5”), place at right angles to each other and sew across diagonal as shown at 1.
Rotate 90 degree as shown at 2.
Take the next strip, place at right angles and sew along the diagonal as shown at 3.
Keep adding the strips until you have one very long strip. Watch the video to see how you piece the strips together. If you find it easier you could mark the diagonals first as shown at 4 and make them up in batches. Making up the quilt grows fast as you are doubling up each time you sew the rows together.
Here is my completed quilt top. The size of this is approx. 40” x 62”
I quite like it without a border and the pastel colours look much better than the photo shows. All that’s left is to add wadding and backing fabric then quilt as desired.
If anyone has any queries about the fabric, then do check the Sew On with English Rule website; their contact details are under the contact tab. Mark, the director is very knowledgeable about the provenance of their fabrics and will be only too happy to answer any questions you have.
Quilt Community in India
I mentioned earlier that I didn’t know much about the quilt community in India and, as I like to add some background and history into my blogs where possible, I just had to turn on my laptop and do some research. It took quite some searching, and a lot of time, but I persevered and found some starting points to share with you. Here goes:
I’d heard about Kantha embroidery but not really looked at it in any detail. Check this out if you would like more information.
Traditionally done by hand, Kawandi is a style of quilt created by the Siddi people of India, but this tutorial shows how a variation can be done by machine.
For any of you who like using scraps of fabric then try this website link for an idea of how to use them up. I think I’ve found my next ‘scrap project’ and it uses the quilt as you go method too!
Godhadi quilts of Goa
Finally, I also found some free magazines on Quilt Stories, India’s first quilt magazine. You can download some pdfs to read later.
I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did.
Once again, I’d like to thank Mark at Sew On with English Rule for the lovely fabric and UKQU.co.uk for making this happen.
I’m heading to Scotland for a few days away soon and I think I’ll be taking a bag of my scrap stash and trying my hand at Kawandi quilting. Why don’t you try it too?
Happy Sewing Everyone.
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