Wearable quilts

Wearable quilts

Quilts To Wear from 1982 is a good example of never judging a book by its cover. I spotted this edition in a charity shop, intrigued by the title on the spine. The 80s (not in a good way) front cover makes it look kinda boring, but the content is anything but - straight on to my favourites pile it went! 

These quilted garments are where fashion intersects with art. The details, colours and shapes have been so well thought out and the stitching, by hand or otherwise, has obviously been laboured over for so much longer than is necessary just to make a functional garment to wear. These wonderful pieces are the very definition of slow fashion - I found myself hoping they have been passed down and treasured as they deserve to be.

Hats off to maker Jo Diggs for the stunning appliqué jacket above, resplendent in velvet and corduroy in shades of pink, purple, red and orange. Anyone who's seen my work will know that I like nothing more in a garment than a landscape and/or tree. This is pretty much perfection as far as I'm concerned.


Above: a long quilted cotton lounge robe by Harriet A Thornton. I wouldn't mind lounging in that!

This gorgeous pinafore has something of the Clothkits about it. It's described as a flocata - a garment traditionally worn in northwestern Greece - and this version was made by Charlotte Patera using reverse appliqué on cotton. The splits at the front (super practical if this dress is ankle length) remind me of the aprons worn by potters when sitting at the wheel. I love a pinafore and making it quilted really takes it to the next level.

Next, feast your eyes on this beauty! In a book with plenty of competition, this has to be one of my favourites. Star Spangled Vest was hand quilted in gold metallic thread on rust-coloured satin by Colleen Craven. What I wouldn't give to see a colour photo. It makes me really really want to quilt on something shiny!

Lastly, the back view of a spectacular pastel-coloured shadow quilted (I just had to look that up) coat by Joy Stocksdale. I mean just imagine the stir you'd cause turning up to any occasion in this.

As well as images of all these incredible works of wearable art, Quilts To Wear (Bell & Hyman, 1982) provides quite a bit of info on design and technique. One of the best £1s I've ever spent in a charity shop.

There's an incredible amount of inspiration in this book that keeps on giving - plenty for at least another post, so watch this space! 

Of course patchwork and appliqué are also the best ways to recycle and repurpose preloved fabrics... to see some of my quilted garments made from reclaimed materials, click here!

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