The Dear Jane quilt is a sampler quilt that consists of a total of 225 different blocks: I know right, lots! This does allow the Dear Jane quilt to use a lot of different techniques, which makes it very suitable as a sampler quilt. A sampler consists of a lot of different blocks, allowing the quilters to show of their skills. The Dear Jane uses round shapes, patchwork, applique and reverse applique to mention a few. The pieces are very tiny and most blocks very complex, so the Dear Jane is generally considered to be a remarkable achievement when a quilter finishes it. This makes it a very good quilt to practise one’s skills, and to proof to other people one has the skills.
The Dear Jane gets her name from Jane Stickle who made the original quilt. Another lady named Brenda Papadakis saw a photo of the original in a magazine and became fascinated by it. She decided to work out how to make the quilt for herself. Many events later this led to fame for the Dear Jane and many many quilters embarking on the Dear Jane journey every year just like me. The picture above is of the original Dear Jane quilt.
For me, this quilt is going to be a master test for my hand sewing skills and a way to get familiar with as many techniques as possible. My dream is to sell my quilts and patterns later on in life, and my Dear Jane will become an important proof of expertise. Additionally, it is vital to practise a skill such as hand-sewing to familiarise your hands with the movements in order to make them instinctive. When you sew a lot the movements become ingrained into your brain making them a part of who you are, which I believe will improve my quilting. Also, practically speaking, putting hours into your craft helps to improve it as well.
As a colour scheme, I decided to go for only solid fabrics, which are fabrics without motif and of one colour. This is very different from the fabrics I normally use so it will be interesting to see how this turns out. Traditionally Dear Jane blocks consist of two different fabrics: a background colour and another one, which I decided to stick to for mine. For the background, I use four colours: red, green, yellow and blue, which I plan to order as visible in the picture above.
The picture above shows the design of the Dear Jane. All the coloured in blocks are finished. This is a great way for me to keep track of what I’ve finished. Also, it motivates to see a design like this slowly fill in. This picture will be updated when more blocks are finished. In later blogposts, I will talk about all the blocks that are finished and my experiences while making them. I’ll link to those blogposts below. You can also look at my DeviantArt account for the quickest updates on my Dear Jane process, because I usually post sooner there than here. At this point, I’ve finished five blocks and really love making my own Dear Jane so far. I am learning a lot, and my fingers are already slowly learning the sewing movements.
More Dear Jane stories:
- How I design: colours of the Dear Jane.
- Nature in the Dear Jane sampler quilt.
- The link between the American Civil War and the Dear Jane quilt.
- Dear Jane has beautiful curves.
- A milestone: halfway the middle squares
- Quilt techniques: applique
- Quilting patterns 101: the nine patch
- My Dear Jane deflowering: A-1: pinwheel gone awry
See my DeviantArt or Instagram (username: bella.g.bear.art) for more artwork and WIPs. You can also follow my blog by clicking on the button on the left or by filling in your email address. There will be a monthly update at the end of every month and a new blogpost every Sunday or Monday.