Since we created Casa Latina, my cousin Nora and I have wanted a symbol that would represent us not only as a company, but as a people.
Ideas came and went, but nothing tugged at our hearts, so we concentrated on other aspects of our company.
Creating a symbol was put on the back burner. Then, during one of our weekly meetings, Nora looked at me from across the table and simply said, “Quilts.”
I continued to work and without looking away from my laptop, I said, ‘Nice idea, I just don’t know if I want to start playing around with the sewing machine any time soon,’ and we left it at that.
Or so I thought. Quilt, Quilt, Quilt kept repeating itself inside my head. Finally, I looked up from my laptop and said, ‘How about a Patchwork Quilt?’ Nora was already on another train of thought; it took her awhile to realize that I had not ignored her suggestion.
I got up from my chair and said ‘What a great idea, Nora.’ The wheels in my head started turning. I said: “How about a Patchwork Quilt put together not with our own fabric, but with fabric sent into us by our viewers?”
We discussed that we would ask for fabric not purchased from the local store, but for fabric – about a half yard of it – that actually found its way from countries like Colombia, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Spain etc.
The quilt would represent all the Spanish-speaking countries in the world, and each patch sewn onto it would represent its sender and country of origin. A big smile spread across Nora’s face.
We unknowingly started to work on the symbol that would represent us as a company, and allow us the opportunity to unite all Spanish-speaking countries. The Latin Patchwork Quilt would become our flag of honor.
The patchwork quilt has a long history dating back to the 1800s.
It may have been the European women who brought quilting to America, but many other ethnic groups have added their own traditions to quilt making.
As you can see, I’ve taken many liberties and the one pictured here is my modern interpretation of a Patchwork Quilt.
What you are going to need:
- Collect all the fabrics you are going to use
- Lay the fabric out and review them (look at size and colour)
- Decide how large you want the quilt to be
- Decide the size of the patches (remember count twice, the quilt has two sides)
- Purchase adequate padding (sold by the yard)
- Purchase strong tread (try not to use white if dealing with many colours)
- Sewing machine
Once you have cut the fabrics to a relatively good size, try a Practice Pattern Layout. A practice pattern layout is the term I give to placing the fabrics out on the floor and placing them first by size and second by color and pattern. Do not go crazy with the cutting of the fabric; the size of the patches may change as you start to sew the pieces together.
Make sure to set the sewing machine on a strong table, with a comfortable height as not to hurt your back while you are sewing. If you are at the sewing machine for the first time, you are going to be sitting there for a while, so make sure that your table height is good and your chair is comfortable, not cushy.
The pieces can be as small or as large as you desire. Try mixing the sizes; it gives the quilt a more detailed and intricate look.
Remember to step back and look at your work as it lies on the floor. Do this often. Patchwork looks different from a distance than it does from a foot away.
Also remember to check the seam each and every time you sew one patch to another. Make sure the seam is straight. It is very difficult to go back and fix after the entire side has been done; the quilt gets really heavy.
Take a 10-minute walk, and when you return get on your hands and knees and check the seams again. Take the other set of patches and set them on top of the finished side. If you made a patch a bit smaller, feel free to cut a little. But be careful. You can always make a big patch smaller, but you cannot make a small patch bigger.
This is where the project starts to get a bit tedious. You have to match the patches and cut and measure as you attach, while remembering to flip the fabric over, so that both sides look exactly the same. Take a lot of deep breaths, check twice before you cut and sew.
Lay one side of the quilt facing you, then place and stretch the padding on top. Finally place the other side of the quilt facing away from you. Pin it down with pins, be careful, those pins really hurt when they stab you.
Get someone to help you; getting this entire piece through the sewing machine is going to take time and patience. Think of it as putting together a giant pillow case. Once again, lay the quilt out on the floor and make sure all three sides have been sewn together. Recheck the seams and make sure every stitch is in its place.
You must consider the thickness of your new quilt before sealing the forth side. The fourth side will be sewn in the same manner as the other sides, except that the forth side will only be sewn ¾” of the way.
A small opening must be left to allow the quilt to turn itself inside out. The small area that was left open can be sewn in two different ways. It can either be sewn by hand to hide the stitching or it can be sewn by machine, but a small seam will be noticeable.
It is time consuming and at times you may want to walk away, but I promise you that once it is completed you will love it for years to come. Have fun and please send me pictures.