“Bright, summer fabric packs to review .. I have two to send out. Who is interested please!” said Sylvia.  “Me”, I said and then the wait began.  Actually, I’d forgotten about it  until I came home from a stressful day at work to find a small packet posted through the door.  It wasn’t until I opened the envelope that I realised what it was and why it was there.

Now Sylvia had said we had to make something to really showcase the fabrics and I’d been trying to think of ideas while I was waiting.  It’s hard when you have no idea what the fabric was going to be, summer fabric could cover so many things.  As I opened the package, I was really hoping it was fabric that I would love and would inspire.  Was I disappointed?  I certainly wasn’t, this is what I found. (You’ll have to make do with the paper info sheet I was sent, it seems in my excitement, I forgot to take photos of the actual fabric bundle.  I think I was too busy stroking it!)

The fabric was from Makower UK, part of the Andover Collection. As the name suggest, Sweet Shoppe Too is the sequel to Sweet Shoppe.  It’s a good quality 100% cotton fabric which has a gorgeous smooth feel.  It was a delight to stroke it as it came out of the wrapper.  With candy dots and candy stripes, it made you feel happy just looking at it.

My first thoughts when I saw it?  Happy, colourful, summer, children, playing, joy, hot summer days, pretty much in line with Makower’s own description. “Whimsical, bright charming colour palette of bias stripes and spots. Perfect for adding a pop of colour to modern quilts, projects for kids and the colour enthusiast.

So, what was I going to make?  I spent a few days thinking about it and, as I wanted to use all the fabric sent, I decided on a quilt.  Although I had an idea of how to showcase the fabrics, it took on a life of it’s own and the design developed as I went along.

The samples I had weren’t quite 10″ square so from each one I cut a large rectangle 41/2″ wide, a 41/2″ square and two smaller squares. The first blocks I made were using the smaller squares paired with some white on white fabric I had in my stash. Now I was ready to start playing with the layout.  This was the first layout I had by the end of my first sewing session.

I left it on the board overnight and when I came into the studio the next morning, I rearranged it all.  I wanted to make sure I had a decent sized quilt by the time I finished, so this was the second layout.

It still didn’t really gel, so I had another play with the arrangement and then I was almost happy.  I was happy enough to start on the next stage of sewing.

Now I was closer to the final layout, I started joining the rectangles and squares together. I used plain white fabric from my stash to get all my rows joined together.

I now needed some more fabric to use between the rows and form my final layout. Fortunately, Sweet Shoppe Too has been available since January so I was able to purchase some more from a local fabric shop. I  decided on the Candy Dot C1 Concrete. With my extra 2 metres, I had enough to do 4 1/2″ strips between each row.  You will notice that the layout changed yet again!

 

I wanted to add more strips to either side and to the top and bottom.  The side ones I kept at 41/2″ and the top and bottom strips were 3 1/2″.  That used up all of my extra two metres (apart from the off cuts from each row) and I now have a complete top. (I’ve just noticed I having it hanging upside down!) 

It was lovely to sew using such summery fabric whilst listening to the wind and rain outside.  I could help thinking how often our summer weather is interspersed with the grey days and rain.  Maybe I will get a name for the quilt from that thought, or maybe not. I will contemplate that thought whilst deciding on the backing fabric and the quilting.

Makower UK have a free pattern using Sweet Shoppe Too if you need some extra inspiration.  The fabric is now available in shops from £12 per metre.  Lady Sew and Sew have a quilt kit available for the free pattern priced at £75.

This is definitely a fun range of fabrics to work with. Children and the young at heart will love it. Not only is it suitable for quilts, I can see this making beautiful dresses and rompers for the little ones, play mats and bags. Let your imagination take you on a wonderful Sweet Shoppe Too journey!

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