Hi, my name is Ruth and this is my blog to show & share my quilts that I give to family & friends.
Simple designs that may inspire you to make one too.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Fancy Fox Quilt - Retro Style (#46)

I loved making Elizabeth Hartman's Fancy Fox Quilt with Riley Blake Shades (here) - but it was time for a whole different look and feel: beautiful coordinating  Retro 30's Child Smile from Lecien was perfect.
Fancy Fox quilt made with jelly roll and Essex denim
It took a while before I settled on these medium to small colorful prints from Lecien - I had my heart set on the 'Joie De Vivre in Beryl' by Frances Newcombe and Essex black yarn dyed linen. 

After making a few blocks, I felt the large floral design distracted from the simple beauty of the fox face. 

Fabrics like this lavender Dot to Dot Mixmaster (Robert Kaufman) look great however, as do cross hatch and burlap textured looking cottons from Carolyn Friedlander, Timeless Treasures & other manufacturers.  
Fancy Fox quilt from Ye Olde Sweatshop
1.5" sashing in Essex denim linen was sewn around every side of the fox block and trimmed to 8x10" unfinished, not much waste at all.
Fancy Fox quilt made with jelly roll and Essex denim
Lots of ironing & starching made the cotton & linen easy to handle - and using a scant 1/4" seam is a must with the different fabric weights. All seams are ironed open.
Fancy Fox quilt made with jelly roll and Essex denim
All piecing & quilting was done using Aurifil 50wt. Dove #2600.  A wavy serpentine stitch follows the larger seams, and the wavy stitch again into a 3" diagonal diamond pattern overall. I changed needles twice to keep everything sharp and the thread worked beautifully through the heavier Essex linen and the delicate backing. 
Fancy Fox quilt made with jelly roll and Essex denim
Not being a free motion quilter, following the seams and doing a grid pattern looks rather simple when compared to intricate FM designs that add lots of pizzazz.  But, every time that Aurifil looks so consistent as it sinks into any weight of fabric - I do a happy dance.
Fancy Fox quilt made with jelly roll and Essex denim
Lastly, a nice binding is this Hatch Basic in Graphite by Timeless Treasures - not heavy looking like a flat black but dark enough with a hint of texture.
Fancy Fox quilt made with jelly roll and Essex denim
There are 64 foxes so a 4" border all around allows them space to float and not run into the edges.  A beautiful rainbow of foxes made with a fun pattern that works every time.

Retro 30's Child Smile Spring 2015/ 2.5" sushi roll / Lecien
Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in denim (Robert Kaufman)
Far Far Away 2 (Unicorns in Blue) / Heather Ross
Hatch Basic Graphite /Timeless Treasures (binding)
Fancy Fox Quilt Pattern by Elizabeth Hartman
Aurifil 50wt. Dove #2600 & Medium Grey #1158
Warm & White batting
Size: 65" x 81"
December 2015


  1. I have just seen this on Pinterest and come over for a look, it is stunning. x

    1. Dear Kay, thank you so much for your very kind comment :)

  2. This is beautiful! Has the Essex Yarn Dyed held up well? I've read horror stories of people having it unravel and pop seams (especially with a scant 1/4" seam). Do you wash your fox quilts often, and have they held up? (I love both! The "manly" version is fun, but I do love this beautiful rainbow of fox color! :) )

    1. Thank you Nancy for your lovely comments :) Here is what I do with Essex Yarn Dyed and I have made many washable grocery bags and quilts with it and never had a problem. I always pre-wash on HOT and dry the fabric on HOT. That tightens up the weave and any pulling or fraying on a finished product is minimal. When making quilts I use starch and also a very small stitch (on my machine that is a 1.5 or 1.8). On these fox quilts I used a 1/4" seam, not really a scant 1/4". All the times I have used yarn dyed or real linen I just use a 1/4". I also press my seams open and quilt on the seam line. I don't know free motion so I quilt a grid look and that allows me to sew on the seam in a wavy stitch or large zigzag. I have made lots of grocery bags with essex linen as the lining and many quilts (snowballs and fox) using it and never ever had a problem. A #14 needle helps since it is thicker fabric. And my quilts and bags go through a front load washer and dryer all the time and do great. The one thing I can say is that the essex linen doesn't soften up as much as I thought it would. An alternative that gives you a nice denim look but is thinner and has more drape is Kaffe Fassett shot cotton.(I get it on-line at Fabric.com or Hawthorne Threads) But prewash for that too is essential and it is thin - but when I make another fox quilt I will use the shot cotton and use a scant 1/4" like I did in the Day of the Dead Slide Show quilt posted under 2017 at the top of the blog. Please don't hesitate to let me know how your quilting goes :)

    2. Wow, thanks so much for the speedy reply! Your tips are really helpful and I will keep them in mind as I start to work with the Essex.

      I'm a dedicated prewasher, but I don't usually prewash (or dry) on hot. I re-prewashed my Essex stash last night, and going with hot settings on the washer and dryer really did make a difference. I measured after the washer and the dryer, and the dryer did most of the shrinking (I lost ~2" on the couple of yard cuts I have), which was very informative.

      It's also very helpful to hear your feedback regarding the hand of the Essex... I've heard a lot of people call it "soft," and it's not really a word I'd use to describe it myself. It's okay, but if my goal is "soft," it's not going to be my first choice. I really like the Studio E Peppered Cottons for a soft shot cotton. I like the beautiful range of colors in the Kaffe shots, but they're so lightweight that I'll admit they freak me out a little! I'm always afraid they won't hold up to much abuse (I have 3.5-year-old twins). The Peppered Cottons have a nice hand and drape with a little more heft. (I also really loved the Windham Artisan Cottons, but the colors were limited and they were limited run, apparently.) I've purchased a couple of half yards of the Andover Chambrays to try out, too. They seem on par with Peppered Cottons for weight (heavier than Kaffe, lighter than Essex Yarn Dyes), though they're definitely not as soft after prewashing. There are a couple of really gorgeous colors, though! We'll see how they sew up.

      Still, none of the other shot cottons/cross weaves/chambrays seem to emulate the tweedy look of the Essex Yarn Dyes, so I think there will be a place for them. (Also, this is my way of justifying fabric purchases, hah!)

      I'm going to start on the twins' quilts, which will use both Peppered Cottons and Essex Yarn Dyes, after I finish a top for a wedding quilt for my cousin. I'll keep you posted! And I'm so glad I found your blog!

    3. You are amazing and think you should write your own sewing blog! I have put a contact email on the front on the PAGE section - and can't wait to hear and see what you come up with. I am so excited to try the other cottons you wrote about. I think we are both on the hunt for soft but organic looking weave cotton. If you have any questions or just want to share - please feel free. Not being in a guild or having sewing friends its always fun to hear new ideas on fabrics and patterns. And if you ever want to make those twins a minky quilt I will make a tutorial for you - they will love you forever! :)