As you may know by now I am the designer for The Quilt Show 2022 BOM. We named it Garden Party Down Under.

I’ve just checked the website and the kits are sold out!!

Sad for you but good news for me! If you’ve missed out and now have to use your own fabric I’m going to share with you how I chose my fabrics and show you my choices.

I was contacted by TQS in November 2020 about designing the BOM. Of course I was terrified that I would not be able to deliver something decent and stressed out about it. I took a deep breath, settled myself and as soon as I accepted the challenge I drew out a sketch of what I anticipated the quilt to be – and I’m happy to say that I pretty much stuck to that sketch – with a few adjustments of course.

garden down under

I am kinda old fashioned in that I draw my designs out on paper with a pencil and an eraser (which I LOVE – a nice big fat one!!)  I usually draw a rough outline and when I’m happy with that I then refine and refine – a process that I really enjoy… with lots of erasing.  I send all my drawings to my graphic artist – Danni – and she converts them into very professionally looking patterns!

Designing applique blocks is easy for me, however I was asked to include pieced blocks as well.  I designed the applique blocks first and as there were “small” pieces on these blocks I knew that the pieced blocks would have to also contain “small” pieces.  I googled lots and lots and lots of pieced blocks… and stressed out about this….mainly because I’m not very good with either machine or hand piecing.  I finally settled on two patterns – and included a small English Paper Pieced dresden in the middle of the blocks – just to make it more interesting!

The next BIG task was choosing the fabric.  This was at the height of Covid and lockdowns and we were finding it extremely difficult and frustrating to source fabrics and then to get the fabrics to me from the US.  Some of the fabrics – it would appear – would not be delivered to me until mid 2021 and that would be too late for me to use them.

I decided to think “outside the box” – and asked TQS if I could use my own fabrics to make the quilt and when the world settled down a bit they could choose fabric to kinda match what I’d used.  I was sooooo happy when they agreed.

How did I choose fabric

I set about choosing fabric from my voluminous stash.  My quilts are always very scrappy and usually contain between 50 to 80 fabrics.  In Australia our quilt shops don’t always receive full fabric ranges and I’ve learnt to choose fabrics from lots of different designers. 

I buy fabric for my stash – not for a particular quilt. 

When I visit a shop I walk around and pull out fabric that attracts my eye….fabric that I know will work with what I have in my stash (because I believe that I now have a “style” – I’ve been told that my quilts are easily recognized by the fabrics I use….maybe….)  If I like fabric for backgrounds I usually buy 1 to 1.5metres (1 to 1 ½ yard).  For my stash I buy either fat quarters or 30cm (a little more than ¼ yard) and sometimes 50cm ( ½ yard) if I really really like the fabric. 

With Garden Party Down Under I tried to curb my enthusiasm for choosing LOTS of fabrics.  Not sure I succeeded!! 

I like to have an even distribution of colour in my quilts so I’ll carefully choose, say 6-10 red/pink, 6 green, 6-10 blue, 6 orange, 6 yellow, 6-10 brown/grey, 6 purple.  For backgrounds I study the quilt and choose 3 to 4 different backgrounds – but they have to blend well together. I do take a lot of time with these choices, however I am quite disciplined and tend to stick to what I’ve chosen because I don’t want to procrastinate and waste time foraging through my huge stash.

Here are my fabric choices for GPDU. Keep in mind some fabrics are very old and may not be available and some fabrics have only been used in very small quantities – for centre circles of flowers etc. Some fabrics had no selvages so I have no idea where they came from…..


As this post if fairly long, I’ll continue my story in the next post. 

Next Article

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published