2Create in Color »

Masthead header

Quilt Top: Retro 70’s Donated Fabric


Making the best of donated fabric can be quite a challenge! The quilt guild I belong to does a lot of community service projects including making quilts for foster kids and shelters. We receive a lot of donated fabric which can make it tricky to put together attractive quilt tops. 

Since this is one of my favorite games to play EVER, I’ve worked through the fabrics a few times and put together “kits” for those who want to grab a bundle to take home to cut and piece a quilt top. 

A couple weeks ago, I finally made it to our morning community service get-together after literally months of absence. But I wasn’t in the mood to lug my sewing machine around, so I thought I’d just grab a bundle and cut out a quilt top. Off the top of my head, you know. Just make it up as I went.


I was feeling ridiculously creative and adventurous, I guess!

I went to high school and college during the 70’s. (Yes, I’m old in years. Hopefully it doesn’t show too much — do I have e-wrinkles? Lucky for us, we have my co-blogger Sam to keep things young!) Anyway…

There’s something about the music, colors, and other cultural influences of that era of one’s life that stick with you forever. I adored the rust, blue, brown, and tan combinations during that time. This “cheater” quilt fabric (looks like pieced quilt blocks, but isn’t) in all the 70’s colors put a reminiscent smile on my face the minute I saw it. 

The dresden plate “cheater” print needed to be cut up, but I didn’t want to cut it into small pieces; there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of “cheating” now, is there? When it comes to quilt tops for a charity project, I think not! 

After rejecting some of the bundle and searching up some better fabric choices — who DID put that bundle together??? — I cut it all up, then piled it all up to bring home. Then we enter the Gail-time-warp, and it sat there for the last 9 days. Which really isn’t long in the Gail-scheme-of-things, but this isn’t a project just for me, so… 


Finally, yesterday, I got out my mom’s 1974 Husqvarna Viking sewing machine to stitch these strips up. I figured it was appropriate, right? The brown machine perfectly matched the brown fabric, hee hee! Man, that sucker is heavy though! No way I’m ever lugging that to a class or a quilt meeting.

I have some additional narrower brown strips cut; I may add them around the edges. Haven’t decided. But these charity quilts are finished “pillow” style (think of making a pillow, but with no stuffing) and therefore don’t have a binding put around the edges. I think a dark border around the outside might look nice here. Maybe I’m avoiding it because I’m bored with long straight seams for now? Could be! 


Getting creative with a restricted selection can be a fun challenge. Think of the Iron Chefs — they do it all the time! I had some fabric fun, got a quilt top put together for charity, did some sewing finally. 

I hope they find someone who likes retro stuff to give this quilt to! 

Happy Memorial Day weekend, even though this isn’t a patriotic project…



Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *