Building Gotham City

Fabric architecture is where it’s at for me right now.  I’m currently building a Gotham-ish cityscape, complete with bat signal, as a baby quilt.  The design has been sitting on my laptop in Inkscape for a few weeks now, but I’ve only just in the last few days had a chance to implement it.

gotham

This is my approximate design.  Lil bit on the busy side, eh!  From a design point of view, the important features are the buildings.  The HST background is kind of a placeholder – the intention was always to create a “night sky” look with midnight blue/purple/blue gradient, using randomly oriented HSTs to create more movement and texture.  After I’d drawn this, I was rather intimidated and unsure where to start with it.  Part of me wanted to start with the buildings – they’re in the foreground, after all!  But because of all the partial HSTs between the buildings and the fact that several buildings required a degree of foundation piecing, sorting the HSTs out first made more sense.  I had three midnight blue FQs (one solid, two with rather lovely star prints) earmarked for the night sky, and I needed to know how far down I needed bring them to create the look I wanted.

gotham_0905_4

I used two different purples to bridge the gap between the midnight blue and the dark blue that’s mostly around the buildings.  Once I had a good grasp of what colours each row of HSTs consisted of, I started assembling buildings and putting the top together.

gotham_0905_9

A good start!  There’s some serious fiddle in this quilt; quite a few bits finish at only 1/4” wide.  Luckily, the Pfaff is fantastic for this stuff.  I’ve equipped it with the straight-stitch plate to stop smaller pieces from being eaten by the needle hole, and everything is going together really well, barring instances of user error!  More about that later, though.

I started off intending to just use the six grey FQs I bought in Birmingham, but I quickly realised that I wanted a greater variety of greys, so I dug out the left-over Shimmer 2 FQs I used for my sister’s Weekender bag, and picked out the ones I thought would work.  The nice thing about using these is the fact that they add glitter and a sci-fi impression that I would not have got from the prints I started off using.

gotham_1005_1

I’m glad it’s a decision I made early on, before I’d got too far across the quilt.  I’m trying to keep the metallic prints more in the centre, though.  You can see the sky gradation happening here; I’m quite pleased with it, although I think I could have done with one more FQ of midnight blue and nixxed the all-purple row.  I’d say “maybe next time,” but that’s a big maybe!

gotham_1105_3

The problems with making this have been a combination of a lack of time, leading me to rush at it a bit, and the fact that I didn’t really write a proper cutting/piecing guide for myself.  I have a (occasionally hilariously wrong) cutting list and for piecing I have my laptop sat on my sewing table so that I can squint at the .svg in Inkscape and try to figure out what goes where.  It’s not ideal!  So there have been… issues.  More haste less speed and all that.  I’ve demonstrated that adage frequently in the last few days, given my habit of joining things the wrong way around or upside down.  The tall building on the far right in the pic above is a good example; it somehow managed to cause me a lot of hassle because I hadn’t formulated a sensible plan for piecing it, and an extra-special “duh!” moment happened when I thought I’d got the whole thing all done, only to lay it out on the floor, step back and then groan loudly when I realised that I’d managed to join the very top layer on upside down without noticing.  I did briefly consider leaving it, but then I sighed wearily, grabbed the unpicker, carefully excised it, flipped it over and put everything back again.  Ufff.

gotham_1105_4

However, I feel like I’m on the home straight with this now, barring too many more stupid mistakes.  Two more buildings are nearly done and I hope the two remaining ones won’t cause any trouble.  *crosses fingers*  Joining everything together has been interesting too; there’s a lot of partial seams and the HSTs are no help in this regard, although they look so good that I wouldn’t want to lose them.  I am in abject terror of someone asking me for the pattern because I’m not sure I can make sense of how I have gone about putting this together.  Between the foundation piecing, HST craziness, partial seam nightmares and the fiddliness  of some of the buildings, I wouldn’t know where to begin trying to explain it to someone else!

Oh, and my cutting table now looks like this:

gotham_1105_1

This is what 50 Shades of Grey was all about, right?  😀

Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday over at Blossom Heart Quilts and Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts.  🙂

12 thoughts on “Building Gotham City”

    1. Thank you Alison! 🙂 Grumbling aside (I’m British! It’s a national pastime!) I am really really happy that it’s coming out looking so much like the starting image. Not sure about patience though – there’s quite a few swears sewn into those seams, lol!

    1. Thank you so much, Jayne! I’m quite looking forward to seeing the finish too, lol! 😀 I only have two last buildings to make up now, and I already have backing and batting, so I will baste it this evening and quilting will happen tomorrow. *rubs hands*

    1. Thanks Sarah! 🙂 I’ve kind of surprised myself with this one a bit – I hoped it would work, but I didn’t quite believe it would until it started to come together. Luckily, I’m a bit odd and I enjoy a certain amount of fiddly detail work like this (I used to paint a lot of D&D/wargaming figures, which involved dotting eyes on wee chaps 28mm tall!) However, for my next trick I may need to make something a bit more large-scale, lol! 😀

  1. Holy amazeballs, Batman!! I love this so flipping much!! And making it up as you go is part of the fun with this sort of thing. Hard fun. Very hard fun.
    If anyone asks for the pattern, just tell them “sorry copyright issues” because this pattern would deserve to sell for like $25 for all the work it’d take to write up. Although if you left off the batman symbol, you could do it. So okay, nevermind. Make the pattern and sell it for $25 like the Jen Kingwell patterns. This thing is brilliant.

    1. *blush* Thank you Anne! <3 It was certainly a challenge, but one that I actually really enjoyed tackling. "Very hard fun" sums it up perfectly, lol!

      I didn't recognise Jen's name right away, but I recognise her My Small World pattern – I've seen it popping up around and about. 🙂 Some of the others look familiar, too. She has some lovely designs there. *holds up hands guiltily* Alright, I confess! 😀 The thought of leaving off the bat signal (it's only machine appliqued on, after all) and seeing if I could turn the pattern into something sale-able had wandered briefly across my mind, but then wandered quickly out again because I thought the complexity would be too off-putting and difficult to explain clearly. Hmmm. It would definitely need some tweaking to fix the more egregious bits of assembly nonsense (looking at you, world's most absurd partial seam and you, block of 1/4" x 1/2" ridiculousness) before it could be allowed out in public. But at least now I've made it (and it is completely pieced, promise!), I can see where the rough bits are.

      I shall see if I can hammer it into something someone else can make head or tail of, then, while the construction process is still fairly fresh in my mind. Even if it doesn't become a published pattern, I may want to make another sometime and I know damn well that I will forget how it was all supposed to work if I leave it too long! Luckily, I'm about to go dog-sit in darkest rural Dorset for about four weeks; all that peace and quiet would be a good opportunity to make some notes and draw up some piecing diagrams… 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *