Monday, November 23, 2015

Vintage Shirting Scrap Lab - Day 1

Barbara J. Eikmeier's Vintage Shirting & Dress Prints 1880-1910 collection was recently used in the Scrap Lab feature of Quilts and More magazine. 

If you're not familiar with Scrap Lab, here's how it works: Three designers receive a specific set of materials (in this case, forty-two 5" squares of the Vintage Shirting & Dress Prints collection) and are challenged to make something using these fabrics. We'll be sharing all three projects here, as well as insight from the designers about what they created. Grab a copy of Quilts and More (winter 2015) issue to find directions for the projects. 

First up, the fabric line's designer, Barb Eikmeier! 
Barb used the 5" squares to create a Log Cabin tote bag. 

"Images are used with permission of Meredith Corporation and Quilts and More magazine.
Copyright 2015."

Q. Was it exciting to find out that your fabric was being used for Scrap Lab?
Barb: It was at Spring Quilt Market in Minneapolis that I was introduced to Jody Sanders, editor of Quilts And More. She was holding a stack of charm packs of Vintage Shirting and Dress Prints and told me it would be featured in the Scrap Lab. I was thrilled, not only because my fabric collection was selected but also because I love the Scrap Lap feature. It is always interesting to see how three different designers approach a project with the same materials.

Q. Why did you choose to make a bag?
Barb: Right away I had to let the editor know what type of project I would make. It was at the busiest time of my teaching schedule and I figured if I made a bag I wouldn't have to sew on a binding. Maybe that makes me lazy but I prefer to think of it as time management!

Q. Why Log Cabin blocks?
Barb: I love Log Cabin quilts. If I had to choose just one favorite traditional quilt pattern I'd choose the log cabin. I had just taught a class making coasters using Marti Michell's log cabin ruler so I knew I could make cute little log cabin blocks. The only thing I needed to figure out was if I could cut all the pieces from one charm square.

Q. How did you decide on fabric placement within each block?
Barb: I have an antique quilt made with 7" log cabin blocks where the logs finish at 1/2". It was my inspiration for making the blocks with a light/dark split and using all the same fabrics instead of making them scrappy. There are more medium and dark prints in the collection than shirtings so by assigning the light blue prints to the light side of the blocks it worked out evenly.
Barb's antique quilt

Block close-up

Q. What did you choose for the lining?
Barb: The lining is shirting print 120-11151 for no other reason than I had a fat quarter of it already cut. Time management, remember?

Q. What do you envision the bag being used for?
Barb: The bag is just the right size for a tablet, a Kindle, or an ipad. Or a sandwich and an apple!

Q. Tell us about the red centers in each block.
Barb: There were fewer red charms in the pack than blues and shirtings so by making the centers red the splash of color is spread evenly throughout the project. My antique quilt has pink centers which may have also influenced my choice of putting the red in the centers.

Q. Did you use up all of the 5” squares?
Barb: Once I decided to make log cabin blocks I challenged myself to use as many charm squares as possible although it was not a requirement to use them all. The handles are pieced from charm squares cut into strips, each block uses two charm squares and three more are used for the red centers. If only I had sewn the last two squares right sides together and put a pocket inside the bag I would have used up every charm in the pack, but I didn't think of adding a pocket until later!

Q. Can you share your impressions of the other two projects featured?
Barb: I got a little sneak peak at the other projects a few weeks before publication and was really tickled to see what Sherri and Monique came up with. Their projects capture their own creative personalities and showcase my fabric collection in ways I wouldn't have thought of myself. That made it really fun to be a part of the Scrap Lab feature.

See more Scrap Lab projects featuring the Vintage Shirting and Dress Prints collection!

Learn about Monique Dillard's table topper here.

See the entire Vintage Shirting and Dress Prints collection here.
Visit Barb's website here.
Find Quilts and More magazine here.


  1. Gorgeous bag and log cabin is one of my favorite block!

  2. I love these fabrics--I'll be on the look out for them!

  3. I love scraps and challenges. What a great idea to combine the two.