From the moment I first laid eyes on Observer by April Rhodes through the tiny window that is my iPhone screen I knew we had to be together. Call it love at first sight, call it fate, call it whatever you like but know this…
That I like to be EXTRA dramatic about fabric that makes my heart sing. Ha!
So how ’bout a little drama, eh? How’s about I bend your ear for a moment and wax poetic about all the reasons why I love everything April Rhodes and think she is one of the most exciting fabric designers to hit the sewing world in recent history. See what I mean? Major drama. The kind I reserve for things I am obsessed with.
The true reason I was so immediately enamored with the collection was the palette. These have long been my favorite colors and I have rock solid evidence to prove it.
I mean, can I really be expected to not grab at a collection that goes so seamlessly with my wedding photos? A match made in heaven, amiright?
If the first thing I noticed about the collection was the palette, the second thing I noticed was how the collection as a whole seemed to be “texture focused” rather than “motif focused”. This concept interested me a great deal. I am always striving to incorporate textures to in my quilting. Not just with the quilting itself but by mixing different types of fabrics and substrates together in a single project. I feel textural interest adds an unexpected dimension to piecing. It beckons the beholder to come in close to examine the details, to feel the different fabrics, to OBSERVE and experience the object.
Once I’d had the chance to fully process all the fabric designs I realized that in addition to the colors what I loved so much about April’s new line was her fresh perspective on how to curate a collection. It seems that the most common way to design a fabric line is to have a series of picture motifs organized around a specific theme or storyline. What I see here is a series of contrasting textures anchored by a gorgeous color palette. There is still a storyline but it just feels much more fluid, more open to the interpretation of the maker. Rather than the fabric tell you what it is, it invites you to look inward and explore what you want it to be. The full range of values, color temperatures, and textures really opens up the possibilities for crafting the mood you want to convey with your project. I think this approach is quite brilliant and the result is perhaps the most “fashion forward” line of quilting fabrics to hit the LQS in awhile.
At first sight I knew what I wanted to do with the line. The bicolor blues and yellows along with range of values told me it would make perfect pieced clamshells. My first task was to separate the line to a range of values from light to dark so I would be able to create level of contrast I desired. This is how the split went. Lighter values for one section of the clam, darker values for the other sections. Light and Dark and Scrappy all over.
I cut all my clam pieces using a Steel Rule Die I had made by the lovely people at Custom Shape Pros, whom I highly recommend. If you are looking for a specific die and can’t find it anywhere these are the people you need. They work with all the major die cutting companies and the do custom designs. I highly recommend them. If you’d like to see a short video of my die cutter in action you can find that on my IG feed right HERE.
I could not be happier with how these Clam Shams turned out. They are exactly what I pictured they would be. To construct them I pieced the clam shapes as a unit and appliquéd them on top of some gorgeous cotton/linen that I had in my stash. The linen along with a smattering of The Denim Studio by AGF gave me the texture that crave. I am particularly proud of the mitered flange detail around the edge. I absolutely love them.
Thank you so much for following along. April has an amazing blog tour lined up and if you don’t want to miss out on any of the observer action you can find the full schedule on her blog. Next stop in the tour is with the one and only @giucy_giuce on Monday September 12. Don’t miss out!