(This post was written by Monica Mihajlovic, my fabulous ornament design partner. You can find out more about Monica HERE.)
As any seasoned quilted ornament maker can tell you, certain fabrics do not lend themselves well to our craft. Knit, silky, stretchy, and satiny fabrics are challenging to work with, and they rarely produce the nice, crisp fold lines that we love so much. (As on the Basic Star Pattern, found HERE.)
So what’s an ornament gal like me to do with these types of fabrics?
A terrific option is making a kimekomi style ornament, like The Ornament Girl’s Moonlight pattern (found here).
But if a quilted ornament is your desire, you may need to stiffen the fabric before using it. Some crafters use liquid fabric stiffener to make certain fabrics easier to cut and fold. Other crafters suggest using fusible interfacing to provide extra support. But regardless of HOW you do it, stiffening fabric takes extra time. And since I rarely have extra time... I tend to avoid using slinky type fabrics all together.
Enter: The Parasol Pattern.
This pattern is a GAME CHANGER! Parasol is now my favorite ornament pattern for all those soft fabrics that I have avoided for oh so long!
I recently used Parasol to make a very special memento using this rayon shirt...
What’s so special about the shirt?
I was wearing it on May 22, 2011 – the day that my family and I survived an EF-5 tornado in Joplin, Missouri.
We had no idea that what started as a beautiful Sunday morning would later turn into a nightmare, and our lives and our community would be changed forever.
Our house was located just one block from the center of the deadly tornado, and only a few tattered walls remained after the storm ripped through our neighborhood. Thankfully, those precious walls happened to be the ones where my family and I had taken shelter. (I love those walls!)
The tornado either destroyed or took nearly every material possession we owned, but it didn’t matter to me because everyone in my sweet family was ALIVE! I was beyond grateful for that. So – with only our rain-soaked, debris-covered shirts on our backs – we carefully climbed out of the rubble. As we walked away from the sad, roofless remains of our home and began our “post-tornado” life, we didn’t yet know that 160 members of our community had just lost their lives in the storm.
Most of the clothes we wore that day were covered with filth and tiny pieces of insulation, and no amount of washing could get it out. Almost everything we wore had to be thrown away... except my shirt. My rayon shirt had a few little holes in it, but it washed up fine for some reason. And so I kept it. I’m not sure why. Maybe because it was one of the few things that I owned BEFORE the tornado that I could still call my own.
I couldn’t wear the shirt again, but I didn’t want to throw it away either. And since I didn’t know what to do with it, I eventually shoved it into a drawer – when I had a drawer to shove it into – and forgot about it.
I came across my tornado shirt the other day, and I instantly knew that it was (finally!) destined to be more than a space-filler in my dresser drawer. Using my new Parasol pattern, I created a special keepsake ornament to represent my family’s survival of the 2011 Joplin tornado. Although it is not the most beautiful ornament I’ve ever made, it certainly is one of the most meaningful to me.
The silver ribbon and embellishments are reminders that every cloud (or tornado, in this instance) can have a silver lining. In our case, the silver lining was the abundance of kindness, thoughtfulness, and generosity that our family received from countless friends, family, and strangers during the difficult days, weeks, and months following the storm. That, too, was life-changing.
One of the things that I love most about making ornaments is that they often become keepsakes symbolizing a special memory or milestone in someone’s life. And I am so excited that the Parasol pattern lets you quickly and easily create these types of keepsakes using fabrics that you might not use otherwise.
So go ahead... get out that bridesmaid’s dress that the bride
lied about promised you would be able to wear again... or the satiny costume fabric left over from making a superhero cape for your grandkid... or (God forbid) your rayon tornado shirt... and make a Parasol ornament with it! No fabric stiffener required!
Monica (Staci Ann's design partner in crime)