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Saturday, August 20, 2011

"Phat Quarter Magic" Tip of the Day: Cash for Squares!

A great way to recycle old clothing items which are no longer repairable or "hand-me-downable" - for REAL CASH - is to cut them into very carefully, neatly arranged "Phat Squares".

"Phat Squares" are squares of cloth and material arranged in either colour ranging, or pattern ranging patterns in order to stimulate the creation of a quilt, clothing item, or pieced cloth art, using your careful arrangement of colours and patterns.

They are most often cut into 5"X5" or 6"X6" squares, for quilting projects, and into long strips, when using men's shirt, or blouse material, which require larger pieces.

Smaller fabric art works often use "phat square" collections, in conjunction with cut images, which are then carefully interwoven into the final, sewn fabric project, be it blanket, pillow, jacket, or complex and beautiful, visual fabric cloth multimedia art image, tastefully framed. "Puffy quilt" art can be painstaking and incredibly beautiful.

The best "Phat Square" bundles are tastefully tied with a lovely piece of ribbon, and priced as a purchasable item, with enough squares included to be able to complete an actual piece of work, and, depending upon the richness and complexity of the cloth, and the size of the suggested project, can range in price from $1.99, or less, to up to 15.00 apiece, for velvet, brocade, antique, and rare cloth.....and all from recycled "materials"!

You can use pinking shears (the big zig zag scissors), but always make sure that you measure very accurately and carefully, and that your scissors are VERY sharp, when creating "PHAT SQUARE" project bundles.

It is also a wonderful way to preserve that favourite clothing item which you associate with a loved moment in your life, a treasured and valuable antique piece of cloth just not big enough to make anything on its own, and unique combinations of patterns and colours, put together with an artist's eye, as well as a kind, encouraging heart. For extra "wonderfulness", tie a little label on it, with a suggested project! Everyone needs a little creative encouragement! ....

(i.e. doggie coat, little girl's quilted dress, cover for Grandma's motorcycle (grin), designer quilted evening jacket for that favourite entertainer, a beautiful and dressy, glamourously long "dress vest" for a favourite Auntie, to wear with blouse and skirt, or dress - or something as personal and practical as matching cushions, for the outside patio chairs!

The idea of a homemade gift made from Phat Squares dates back to New Orleans, (among other moments in history) when rich brocade fabrics and garments were often smuggled in, or given to the "Very Special Ladies" in the French Quarter as gifts, by the "well to do", and then made into incredibly beautiful, complex, and unique practical, and wearable objects. The tradition, however, is also rural, and is connected, in unique ways, to the "underground railway" which ran from the cotton plantations of slaves smuggled from Africa and the Far Islands, into Canada. Complex signals and directions were sewn into blankets and items months in advance of plans to smuggle slaves northward, and used to guide the "lookouts", who viewed them by day, using simple clothes and blankets, hanging on the line to dry!

Hidden people then travelled by night, to safety, and freedom in the North, using those same directions, based on painstaking and carefully arranged plans, by very, very good people........Another wonderful and practical piece of "Sewing Magic!"

Quiet comfort, and the ability to make a living in caring, healthy ways will never go out of style....and neither will "Phat Quarters".

Take a look at your closet, and see how much creativity - and cash! - is just waiting for your careful and neat cutting, arranging, bundling and labelling.

God Bless, and Good Luck, should you accept this "Create with Love" mission!


Madame George xo