Paper Piecing in Rubber and Chihuly Improv

Creativity comes rushing in at least for me in frantic bursts. And ideas are served up best with some great materials to create with. This last week I gathered together a suede coat donated by a friend, some scrap upholstery leather and left over coat leather and a motor cycle inner tube.


An encounter with a paper piecing pattern I have wanted to try and a desire to use nonstandard materials for this very traditional quilting method collided and a bag front in paper pieced suede and rubber materialized.  Of note I did have to rely on my industrial machine to piece these together and ended up quilting them down to a heavy interfacing to help it all lie flat.  It turns out rubber doesn’t iron very well.



Encouraged by some instagram friends to make this a girl bag instead of a boy bag and the fact that it was rocking a Joan Jett/The Runaways vibe (thanks Kirsty) set the stage for a “Cherry Bomb” back with reverse appliqué in leather and rubber.


I used some leftover coat leather for the sides, bottom and handle. If you look closely, you can see a 007 insignia barely visible on the bottom, a remnant of the coat with that marking that was donated for my creative cause.



It’s already been claimed by an interested friend (to be honest with most projects, I can’t wait to give them away fast enough so as to clear my space and brain). Although not shown, the bag has an inserted zipper pocket inside and a magnetic clasp at the top. The bag design from top to bottom is my own.


I completed the first blocks for our first Bee Sewcial month this last week as well.  This month’s inspiration was the Chihuly exhibit in the Denver Botanical Gardens. What an interesting exercise this was. I feel a bit like I am in art school watching myself and everyone else make their self portraits.  I find myself surprised how different all our blocks look from each other’s (heck, my three blocks don’t share much similarity).  I wish Stephanie the best in putting them all together into a cohesive creation (no small feat).


I experimented with curved piecing (which was a tad tricky when trying to make the vertical “glass” overlap) on the first block above.

On the second block influenced by some of the “hard lines” of other pieces in our group, I improv pieced triangles together.  I  inserted some pieced blue orb scraps that were cut from a failed too literal attempt at stacked blue glass balls.


The last block is probably the most “me” and was inspired by some of Sarah Nishiura’s work. I needed a break from all the red I have been working with so concentrated more on the blue and yellow colors in Chihuly’s work trying to mirror the vertical bursts of blue and yellow glass seen in the garden.


I have made some more wonderful connections this week, there is more collaborative work coming and I am anxious to start hand quilting my 5/325 quilt.

Happy Monday all,


13 thoughts on “Paper Piecing in Rubber and Chihuly Improv

  1. After seeing the rubber paper piecing blocks on Instagram, I wondered what you would create with it. The bag looks great, and I hope said friend gets a lot of use and love out of it. The Chihuly blocks have been fun to watch as well. As you said, there is quite the diverseness between them, but at the same time, I think the colors will pull it all together. It will be neat to see how it finishes out. And thinking about Chihuly always makes me think of my husband’s cousin who used to work as a glass blower for Chihuly before opening his own glass studio. I’m gazing at 2 beautiful blue glass ornaments he made for us years ago and thinking that all the blue represented in these blocks is highly appropriate. 🙂

  2. Happy to take a partial muse credit here (very partial) as this bag is such a good one!
    Chihuly – his forms and colours are just so gorgeous. Great idea for a bee, you really have to think for that one.

  3. Have been wearing my scarf…lots of compliments. The squares are so cool. My fav is the second one. I went to Chihuly’s workshop/museum on Lake Union several years ago. There was a glass ceiling down a long hallway full of his creations. Also, a swimming pool with lots of glass balls. He has quite the collection of Pendelton Native American Blankets. Must take inspiration from them. Your second square reminds me of the blankets. Love, Mom

  4. Your work is so amazing! I have such an appreciation for your piecework. I have so little patience for all that cutting. If I could get results as impressive as yours, I might try. Love the bags! The combination of the rubber and leather are brilliant! I will be getting a machine soon :). Be on the look out for all of my knock offs of your fab bags.

    1. Bianca my friend, do you recognize that coat? It is the one you donated to me. I am so thankful for you and for it. (I figured you might have gotten tired of my shootouts to you in my blog). I am waiting for a pattern to come and then sending it and fabric your way so you can participate our group quilt. Although the piecing might seem tricky, you have such a good 3D mind I am certain you can do it. Hope the holidays treated you all well. xo

      1. It is so funny, it got cold this week and I was looking for that jacket 🙂 I never get tired of shout outs, but I’m sure your readers do 🙂 I’m so glad you’re getting use out of them. I have been reorganizing my sewing room and it is a grand task! I may be sending you some more leather soon! I’m really looking forward to participating in the group quilt 🙂 ; I hope I do you proud.

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