I’m going to jump straight in by saying how much I love this quilt. It was so much fun to make and came together really quickly (well in quilting terms anyway!).
This is the Fancy Fox pattern. I’ve had my eye on this pattern for a while and purchased the PDF from Elizabeth’s Oh Fransson website. I debated using some Liberty to make up the foxy faces after seeing a version by Little and Lots; however, I have another Liberty quilt on the go so instead I decided to use fabrics from April Rhodes ‘Wanderer’ range for Art Gallery Fabrics. Orange features heavily in the range which I thought would be perfect for the foxes.
I made the smallest size, Baby quilt, which has a total of 20 foxes. I chose 10 fabrics, 5 light and 5 dark, and cut two faces from each. I ran out of light coloured fabric from the Wanderer range and picked ‘Firefly Sigh’ from the Hello! Bear range by Bonnie Christine as it complemented the other colours well. The eyes and noses are in Caviar, and the cheeks are in Creme de la Creme, both from the AGF Pure Elements range.
For the background/sashing I used Cirrus Solid in Ash from Cloud9 which is a lovely soft yarn dyed fabric. For the binding I used Serape Dream since it encompassed all the colours within the quilt. The back of the quilt is a piece of vintage Viyella fabric in a lovely sea green colour – the Viyella is 55% merino wool and 45% cotton which makes it extra snuggly. The wadding is bamboo.
Cutting out the fabric was straightforward, but you do need to use a rotary cutter and ruler, and I was lucky enough to be able to just cut the required strips of fabric straight off the bolt which made it even easier and meant minimal wastage. You can get two fancy fox faces out of each 2.5 inch strip of width of fabric (which was 44″ wide in my case).
I made the first fancy fox following the instructions just to get my head round the order of construction; however, it was a lot of up and down between the sewing machine and iron which wouldn’t be practical for the whole quilt. In the end I chain pieced as much as possible to speed things up.
I separated out all the pieces into piles so that I could do the same step for all the faces at once:
- Sewed black and coloured eye units together – then pressed them and cut down to size
- Sewed completed eye units to cheeks & sewed black nose to nose unit – then pressed all these in one go
- Sewed eye/cheeks to nose units (paying attention to make sure the black eyes were closest to the nose) – pressed
- Drew the diagonal line on all the ear pieces, then sewed all the left ears first, cut the chains, and then sewed all the right ears – pressed
- Sewed forehead to completed lower face and sewed forehead to ear unit – pressed
- Drew the diagonal line on all the lower cheek backing pieces
- Sewed the left cheek, cut the chains and pressed
- Sewed the right cheek, cut the chains and pressed
The blocks were then sewed to the background as per the instructions. When sewing the final vertical strips together I got a bit ahead of myself and didn’t pin it which has left one column a bit offset from the rest – I wasn’t bothered enough to unpick it all though!
I did experiment with using some rayon threads on some scraps – it looked good but I was worried the sheen would detract from the foxes. In the end I used Gutermann sew-all polyester thread. I colour matched my top thread to the grey of the background fabric, and matched as best as possible the bobbin to the backing. I stipple quilted an all over design that worked out better than my first attempt on my Wonky Log Cabin Quilt. This time I set the speed on my machine to medium (rather than fast) and I had much better control. I stuck with wearing my washing up gloves which again worked a treat – they grip the fabric really well and allow you to keep it nice and taught. I also remembered to quilt right off the piece onto the wadding to make sure that all the edges get well covered by the binding.
This type of all-over quilting does use quite a bit of thread – I went through almost 200m of grey thread for the spool and 100m of green thread for the bobbin. (This doesn’t include thread for all the piecing.)
The stippling also created another dimension to the quilt top which I really liked – the shadows make it all seem much more 3D.
I cut 2.5 inch strips from my binding fabric, joined them, and then pressed in half lengthways. I sewed this on to the right-side of my quilt with a 1/4 inch seam, pressed it to the back, and then hand-stitched it down. I attempted mitred corners – some are better than others!
All in all I managed to do this quilt over 4 or 5 sessions of 2-3 hours each. So long as you chain piece the top together it should be a pretty quick make. I wouldn’t like to attempt cutting it out with scissors though, so a rotary cutter is a must. I really love how it has turned out and definately plan to make another one in the future…maybe a Liberty one after all!