Reproduction Gypsy Wife: Constructing the Sections: Sections 2, 3, 4 & 5

The Reproduction Gypsy Wife is progressing well. I have cut all of the remaining strips, which I did for Sections 1 through 7 in one go, so that I could control the positioning of the fabrics, and not have any patterned fabrics in a block touching the same fabric in a strip. Because Sections 1 through 7 overlap weirdly with each other, I thought it was safer to cut all the strips and then start piecing. 

My design wall is so full (with sections 8, 9 & 10 and the strips in order) that today I set up an emergency extra design wall by hanging a piece of cream coloured flannel over my studio door (I weighted it so it wouldn’t fall off by pinning it to another piece of flannel the same size on the back of the door). It was really useful, so I think I’ll make a ‘proper’ extra design wall for the door, which I can use for projects when my existing wall just gets overloaded.

Design wall

One very full design wall: with sections, parts of sections and strips still to be sewn

So, still working from left to right, I sewed together the blocks and strips for section 5…

Section 5

Reproduction Gypsy Wife: Section 5

Then section 4 (the easiest of all: two blocks and one seam!)…

Section 4

Reproduction Gypsy Wife: Section 4

Followed by Section 3, which has a very fiddly 1 1/2″ strip section at the top (which I  sewed as one piece together with the 3 1/2″ inch strips below, and then cut the two strip sets out of the whole)…

Section 3

Reproduction Gypsy Wife: Section 3

Section 3 contains the second of the Moda Marble strips that is wider than 1″, the green on the left. Alongside all the 19th century reproduction fabrics, I used 8 Moda Marble colours in the quilt, and wanted them all to be included in the strips. So I used the six 1″ strips in the top for them, plus two standard 1 1/2″ strips. They are fairly evenly spaced across the quilt top, and provide areas for the eye to rest (briefly!) from the onslaught of patterns. That is why I used them to border the blocks too.

At this point, I decided to carry on with the upper sections, instead of making Section 6, as it extends beyond Section 3 anyway. So I moved on to Section 2, which is a very weird shape, as it has one long strip on the right side that joins to section one (so this has to be sewn as a partial seam, although it is not marked as such on the pattern).

Section 2

Reproduction Gypsy Wife: Section 2

So now I am going to carry on with Sections 1, 6 & 7.

If you are making your own Gypsy Wife, for sections 1 through 7 here are two tips to make it easier: firstly there are a couple of partial seams necessary that are not marked on the construction diagrams (although they supposedly do indicate partial seams), so take a moment to review your stitching order before you start sewing the components of a section together. I’m glad I spotted this in time, and so didn’t get into trouble or have to un-stitch something! Partial seams are also necessary when joining sections 1 through 7 to each other. 

Secondly,  because the diagrams are not to scale, it is practically impossible to work out how all the strips line up from one section to another just from the diagrams: you have to look carefully at the photo of the original quilt as well: every now and then what looks like a line-up on the diagrams turns out not to be. I suspect Jen Kingwell struggled with this as well: there is actually a point in the original quilt where one of the fabrics doesn’t run all the way through. 

Now that the riot of reproduction colour that is my quilt-top is taking form, I have started to think about how to do the binding: a reproduction fabric? A Moda marble fabric? A scrappy binding? I don’t know yet. And what to use as a backing? Suggestions are welcome!

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