Friday, July 6, 2012

Seminole Patchwork

Seminole patchwork was developed by Native American Seminole women in south Florida in the late 1800s. It was, like so much patchwork, originally a product of necessity. A bad winter made it impossible to travel to down river for new supplies, so the women used up the last strips of old fabric. These designs were first painstakingly constructed by hand. They used these very intricate looking bands to decorate their garments. The advent of the sewing machine in the early years of the twentieth century revolutionized Seminole design and production.

Women began creating more elaborate patterns which often reflected their individual tribes. A competition developed among designers. All of this was fueled by the fact that tourists were willing to purchase clothing that was decorated with the patchwork designs. By the 1920's, Seminole women were actively courting the tourist trade and had begun using prints in their patchwork design.

Here is a jacket I made that incorporates several Seminole bands.

Would you like to learn to create your own Seminole patchwork? Join me in my upcoming class at Quilt University. In this class you will create bands of your favorite fabrics, sewn together in fascinating arrangements that can look very complex.  I guarantee they are easier to sew than you might expect at first glance!

You will use rotary cutting, strip piecing and re-sewing to create the patchwork.  We will begin with simple designs that you can sew in an hour and then progress to more complex designs that build on your new-found skills. You will learn to make eight different bands during the 3 sessions. 

The basic technique is familiar to many quilters: sew strips of fabric together, cut them into pieces and then sew them back together again. The bold, graphic designs that result from this process have many uses, not only as embellishments for clothing.  In class you will learn to create a totebag, bolster pillow and a wallquilt.

Class starts on July 20 and one lesson is presented each week.  The classroom remains open until September 1 so you have lots of time to make your bands and share your results with your fellow students. And the cost is only $27. 

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