The Parasol Pattern & a ‘Tornado Shirt’…

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(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.

Until now.

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

Happy Ornament-ing!

Monica (Staci Ann's design partner in crime)

The Parasol Pattern is available HERE.

Other parasol ornaments to inspire you...

No tags 17 Comments 1
17 Responses
  • Terry D
    March 15, 2018

    Monica, what an incredible journey. Do grateful that you and yout family survived.
    Your work on creating patterns and sharing is far from over. God Bless you and yours.

    • Monica
      March 15, 2018

      Thank you so much, Terry! It’s truly a joy to create and to enjoy this craft along with all of you!

  • Leila Deal
    March 15, 2018

    Monica, I know God was with all of you that day! What a wonderful way to honor Him, preserving the shirt in such a beautiful way! I pray God will bless you always in all you do.

    • Monica
      March 15, 2018

      Thank you, Leila! I appreciate that so much!

  • Sharon Zepeda
    March 15, 2018

    Monica, What a beautiful way to bring something wonderful out of something so devastating… So happy that you and your family came through this sad time. When we get to purchase this pattern I will always think of you and your story while I am making it…God is good!!! Blessings to you and your family…

    • Monica
      March 15, 2018

      Thank you, Sharon! Yes… Beauty from ashes! :)

  • Robin LaFollette
    March 15, 2018

    Monica, Your journey has brought you such strength and you are inspiring in so many ways to all of us. I love the new patterns, and the ornaments shown are just stunning. Can’t wait to buy it! God Bless you!

    • Monica
      March 15, 2018

      Thank you for those very kind and uplifting words, Robin! And I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone else’s versions of Parasol when it’s released! :)

  • Pam
    March 16, 2018

    That is a beautiful journey. Looking forward to seeing this pattern.

    • Monica
      March 22, 2018

      Thank you, Pam! :) I can’t wait to release it soon!

  • Shirley
    March 16, 2018

    Monica, I am so glad that you and your family made it out safely. And I love the color your shirt was. The Lord was surely looking after you on that day. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

    • Monica
      March 22, 2018

      He was indeed. Thank you, Shirley! I love that color too… one of my favorites. :)

  • Julie
    March 21, 2018

    Monica, what an incredible story! You’re ornament is beautiful! I really like “the silver lining” statement because in all you went through you did find the silver lining, which is something we’ve all had to do in our lives and need to continue to do.
    The red top has a beautiful story to tell.
    Best Regards.

    • Monica
      March 22, 2018

      Julie, thank you for your kind words. I do try to find the silver lining and keep a positive attitude when hardships come my way. There are many blessings to be thankful for, even in the midst of difficulty.

  • Judy
    March 21, 2018

    Thank you Monica for sharing your God story with us! One of the the things I love about this group is the openness of Stacey and the other ladies. We can all be friends even if we don’t meet but I hope one day we will. You are gifted with unique creativity and I pray continue success for you. I look forward to being blessed by your designs and words of encouragement. Have a great day.

    • Monica
      March 22, 2018

      Judy, your kind words touched my heart. Thank you. I feel blessed to share my ideas and to be inspired by all of you. And I really love how making ornaments brings us opportunities to build lovely and encouraging friendships! <3

  • Paulette Snyders
    March 23, 2018

    What an amazing story! Being from California I can’t even imagine what a tornado can do but the pictures really tell the story. Loved the flutter fold. This is another fold to use for graduation gift ornaments with a charm of year and grad picture!

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