There is some history behind the lap size quilt shown here. The story needs to be told but it begins a few decades in the past. There was a time when kitchen staples like flour, sugar, and rice could be purchased in fabric sacks with stitched seams. The cotton fabrics used for the sacks were colorful and they were often based on current themes like movies or nursery rhymes. Feed sacks with flowers and fruit were most often re-used as dishcloths or kitchen curtains. You could even find a thrifty housewife using feed sacks to make children’s clothing.
Making quilts from available fabrics is not a novel idea. My favorite quilt history book, “A People And Their Quilts” by John Rice Irwin, tells stories of Appalachian quilters who never purchased quilt fabric from a real fabric store. Sacks of well-worn jeans from the thrift store often made the warmest quilts even though they were also the heaviest. But a heavy quilt meant warmth in a home with only a fireplace and no modern conveniences.
My Brighton Bling quilt is certainly not an example of necessity. Like most quilters, I have enough quilt fabric to keep me busy for a long time! But once I discovered Brighton jewelry and the pretty fabric bags they give you to store your necklaces, earrings, and bracelets, I wanted to find a creative way to make use of their lovely little bags. You can find Brighton jewelry at many malls or even at their web site. If you love wearing costume jewelry (or even the real stuff) and you get hooked on it, you might need to find a use for those pretty bags too. My first Brighton necklace and bracelet was a birthday gift from a special friend. That was at least 10 years ago and I still get complements every time I wear them. I recently learned that the fabric bags are made from the same fabrics they use to line their purses. Since the linings vary with different purse styles and since styles change every season, the jewelry bag fabrics change too. Shown here are a few bags and my first Brighton necklace. (Thank you Phyllis!)
When my sister called and wanted an idea for using up some Brighton bags, we put our brains together and came up with a quilt. I pulled out my bags and started looking at all the pretty fabrics. I began by taking one apart. The older bags were more challenging because they used some seam tape to hold the ribbon casing together. The newer bags were more simple. Once the bags started piling up, I saw how pretty all the ribbons looked and I decided to add those to my project too. I traded bags with friends. And a couple of friends were very willing to share bags with me. I even found that Brighton bags are a common item on eBay. I ended up with a good variety of bags and then I looked in my stash and found a perfect tone-on-tone fabric to complement the bags and tie them all together. Then I sat down at my computer and started designing a simple quilt. While the quilt design can be used with Brighton jewelry bags, it certainly is not limited to that source. You could use left over fabrics from the pretty dresses you made for your daughter or grand daughter. You could use any collection of fabrics in your stash! And since it is meant to have a “scrappy” look, all those scraps that are sitting around in your sewing studio will look just fine. Your imagination is your only limitation!
When the top was completed, I took it to my longarm quilter along with a Brighton catalog to use as inspiration and asked her to quilt hearts in the corners. Here is a close up of a corner and the design she chose. She wasn’t familiar with Brighton when I first talked to her. But I think she did a great job!
My Brighton Bling quilt is a great cuddle quilt with grandkids and it keeps me warm on evenings when I am watching TV or reading a book with my tablet. Each fabric is a reminder of the friend who gave me a piece of Brighton jewelry or an occasion when I chose my jewelry for a special event. If you want the pattern, just click on the download link and you can make one too!
Download the PDF version of the pattern here. Brighton Bling Quilt