Posts Tagged ‘fabric vases’

The Idea Warehouse

August 7, 2013

I’m going to my first Studio Art Quilt Associates meeting this weekend. We’re supposed to bring something – one thing – that illustrates our quilting style. That is a more complicated assignment than you might realize.


I could bring a work-in-progress, such as this vase I’m making from some fabric my friend Margaret Misegades gave me.


Lani Longshore vase pieces


I could bring a work-currently-abandoned-but-not-forgotten, such as the quilt book my friend Ann Anastasio and I started to write.


Lani Longshore face designs


I could also bring one of the many storage units tucked around my studio holding notes and ideas for future projects.


Lani Longshore shelf


You get the idea. As prolific a quilter as I like to believe I am, there are stacks of books, fabrics, notions and sketches all around my studio. It is a the place ideas go to hide, to party, to have a mid-life crisis and emerge as something entirely new. Define my style? Wait, I’ve got some notes on that –


Lani Longshore file






February 20, 2013

Yes, more fabric vases. I found the right combination of darts and gathers to make the vase curve.

It curves!

It curves!

Cutting a wedge and satin-stitching the edges together gave me a much smoother curve.

Cutting wedges makes a smooth interior, too.

Cutting wedges makes a smooth interior, too.

Eight wedges are needed, and they’re bigger than you might expect:

wedge from fabric vase

The vase puckers a smidge when gathered. I’ll cut slightly larger wedges for future vases, but I have the essentials down. Now to look for embellishments.

Gathered, not beaded

Gathered, not beaded


Experiment, Take Two

February 14, 2013

The nasty cough that is going around found me, so while I was sniffling on the couch for the last week I spent some time thinking about my curved fabric vase. One of my quilting buddies (thanks, Jan Maxwell!) showed our friendship group a product she had found for making purses. It is called Soft and Stable (, looks like lined foam, and held the promise of being just what I needed.

Before I cut into the fabric and foam, however, I decided to do a proof-of-concept piece. I took a square of canvas, cut it into a circle, marked some darts and sewed. Then I gathered the top edge. This is the result:

Canvas proof-of-concept, with darts

Canvas proof-of-concept, with darts

Next, I gathered my supplies:

Soft and stable, fabric

The product instructions claimed that sewing around the edges would be sufficient, so I assembled the three layers:


Then I sewed two circles – one around the outside edge and one in the center for the base. After that, I marked where the shaping would go:

first stitches, layered bowl

For this piece, I decided to sew ribs rather than darts:

fabric bowl, ribs

This created a nice, shallow bowl:

flat bowl

Since I wanted a shaped vase, I sewed a casing to the top edge, ran some ribbon through it and gathered it up:

From the side . . .

From the side . . .

. . . and from the top

. . . and from the top

The end result is closer to the shape I want. Soft and Stable is a great product for this application, and I think I can achieve my goal. For the next version I’ll go sew darts rather than ribs, which should create a gentle, gathered curve. I’ll also cut a wider casing. The 1″ strip I cut was so narrow after subtracting seam allowances and turn-over that it was necessary to use many naughty words before the bodkin would slide through easily.

While I can’t say I’ve enjoyed being sick, I must admit that the enforced stillness gave me an excuse to take the time I needed to think through the next steps in my design. My reduced energy level encouraged me to do a simple version to see if I was on the right track. Now if only I can be this methodical when I’m feeling energetic and anxious to just get on with things.

Art of the Western Part of Livermore

September 12, 2012

The desire to make art won out over the desire to tidy my art-making space. It started with the Challenge project:

The interior of the bowl – African fabric

The exterior – not African fabric

Then I realized it will need some embellishing to turn seams into features:

The dart makes the bowl curve, but needs beads

So I started on another project with the leftovers:

The box worked well, so I tried a vase:

The pattern called for a square or round base, but I wanted to try something different:

I went back to square containers, but used cityscape fabric:

These might become holders for notepads and pens, or they might become something else. I can see creating an entire city out of these, and peopling it with toy soldiers on the battlements, little goats and horses grazing in the open spaces . . .

Maybe I should think about cleaning up again.

The Year So Far

September 5, 2012

In case you forgot, my year starts with Labor Day. The year so far is three days old, so don’t laugh at my prideful happy dance. After weeks of accomplishing basically nothing, I managed to get something done. I don’t even mind that what I finished wasn’t on my to-do list.

Making something from this was on my to-do list.

Fabric from Africa

This is the fabric from the latest Challenge project. We’re to make something lovely from it, which will go to an auction to raise money for Alliance for Smiles (and thank you, Shari Wentz, for coming up with the idea).

I’ve been wanting to make fabric vases ever since I received some of Lori Vogel’s treasures when she moved:

There are some great ideas in Linda Johansen‘s book Fast, Fun & Easy Fabric Vases, and I was ready to do my usual leap feet-first into a project. Then I noticed a scrap of pre-quilted fabric and some left-over piping.

“Self,” I said, “the technique for these vases requires an awful lot of satin stitching. Why don’t you practice on something else before you cut into the fabric you can’t replace?”

I started by making a cuff and inserting piping, and I’m glad I did. My long absence from sewing did not improve my skills, and trying to get the cuff and piping straight was more interesting than you might imagine.

Once I relearned straight stitching, I started satin stitching the seams:

My original plan was to make a round base and sew the top to that. I decided that would be more fun than I wanted right then, so I used the quilter’s go-to technique for making a tote bottom.

The vase-cum-lidless box stands on its own, although I suspect I will need to insert a base (or maybe a soup can) if I want to stand pencils or tools or even silk flowers in it. But that is a project for another day.