Wedding dress front on memory pillow sham

A New Wedding Dress Memory Quilt Idea

This was a very special project:

4 pillow shams created by combining the materials from 2 wedding dresses!

Memory quilt from wedding dress

These bridal gowns belonged to life-long best friends.

My client commissioned 2 sets  of 2 pillow shams—1 for  herself and 1 for her dear friend in honor of their upcoming 60th birthdays. Isn’t that an incredible gift? Each set has the front of 1 dress and the back of the other, plus some extras. The dresses each had a different look but were in a similar creamy-white shade.
Memory pillow from wedding dress, flowers, lace and rufflesWedding dress front on memory pillow sham








Both dresses had pretty necklines and buttons up the back, which made lovely focal points for the shams. One dress had long, sheer sleeves so I included one of the sleeves on one of the pillow covers. That dress also had lots of embroidered flowers on a sheer material, so I used those flowers as accents on all the shams. I managed to cut the 4 sham fronts from 1 of the dress skirt linings, so they’re all the same background.

Bridal bouquets includedWedding flowers sewn on memory quilt pillow

The bridal bouquets were included in the box, with the instruction that I was to use any bits I might have a use for. I took apart the silk flowers, removing the plastic bits, and stitched flowers and ribbons to the shams. Each woman will have bits of her bouquet, and that of her friend, on the front of her memory sham.

Accents and decoration

Vintage wedding dress flower on pillow sham

The woman who commissioned these had sent her mother’s wedding veil crown and a bit of decoration from her mother’s wedding dress to be included in her shams. I think they add such a lovely touch and sense of love. Each pillow has parts of 2 hankies the women used in their weddings. One of their mothers crocheted the lace for both of those handkerchiefs.


Memory pillow sham





The flounce/ruffles from the bottom edges of the 2 dresses made pretty trim for all 4…..with only a few inches to spare! 



Accent colors

The accent color for one of the weddings was pink, and the other.was royal blueBack of bridal dress pillow shams, fun paisley in wedding colors

My customer asked if I could incorporate those colors in my design somehow. We talked about a piping for the pillows. As I worked on the designs, I decided the flounce ruffles would be enough accent for the fronts of the pillows and decided to use those extra colors on the back. I found a bright paisley satin print that included the royal blue and pink in its color scheme. I’m of a similar age as my customer and the current popularity of paisleys brings back lots of memories for me of the 70’s, so I thought she would appreciate that design–and she did! Besides, I got a pretty good sense of this lady as being a lot of fun and a bright personality and this fabric seems to reflect that as well.

Wouldn’t this be a lovely idea for mother & daughter dresses?

Memory quilt wall hanging for a business

I was very honored to receive a commission to create a commemorative wall hanging for a business! Cambridge Brewing Company, a microbrewery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is celebrating their 25th anniversary. CBC is a microbrewery whose award-winning beers are being distributed in increasing numbers of states.

72″ X 42″

Lots of memories!

I received a number of t-shirts, baseball team shirts, and even a baby t-shirt (“Brew Baby”—so cute!) I got creative with many of the t-shirts, slicing and dicing and putting them back together.

business t-shirt quilt

Photo transfers

I was sent digital photos of murals at the brewery/restaurant and other images which I printed on fabric to include in the memory quilt. I use a product called Transfer Artist Paper (TAP) to transfer images from a special paper printed on my printer to cotton fabric. As you can see, it works beautifully.

Each piece is framed with hand-dyed and batik fabrics which have been strip pieced into interesting sections themselves. The earthy colors are inspired by the colors in the Cambridge Brewery logo.


 Beer Labels

Another important aspect of this commemorative wall hanging is the beer labels. Again, I transferred the digital images of the labels to fabric and sewed them into the quilt. I carefully free-motion quilted (stitched) around the images on the labels to highlight and give them texture. Then each label was framed with my own fabrics in a contemporary manner before applying to the black background.

beer label transferred to fabric

I found a great themed fabric that featured glasses of beer on a black background which I used for a border around the whole piece. There is a pocket sewn along the top edge of the quilt (on the back) through which a dowel or rod can be inserted for hanging the quilt.

The deadline for finishing this piece was met and I received word that the quilt was very well received.

Here’s to Cambridge Brewery’s continued success!

Today I finished a unique quilt.

This one is made primarily from school sports letter jackets. Nice 40th  birthday gift for a guy to re-live his glory days, don’t you think?

Sports Letter Jacket Memory Quilt


Things I liked about this one:

I cut the ribbing off the bottoms of all the jackets and made the border/binding around the outside of the quilt with them;

ribbing used as binding
photos on memory quilt
 I found a buffalo check in his school colors for the back
(notice the strips are on the bias for contrast with the squares);
buffalo check background
Quilting around lettering and graphics besides the
free-motion quilting make the front AND back interesting and textural
free motion quilting memory quilt

This isn’t your average t-shirt memory quilt!

Unless your average day involves being a sound engineer for famous rock bands!

T-shirt Quilt Rock Bands

I make lots of memory quilts, the majority of which are memorializing loved ones who have passed away. The baby clothes quilts are always uplifting. And the beautiful emails I get from my customers are so heartwarming. But once in a while I get a really fun job like this one!

The girlfriend of a guy who does the sound engineering for rock concerts commissioned a quilt from his t-shirts. There are some big names in there (like the Rolling Stones in London.)


T-shirt Quilt Rock Bands detail 2


I know people commission work from me when they don’t want run-of-the-mill memory quilts, I don’t tell people how many shirts to send me. I don’t have a set formula for what size I am going to cut the shirt fronts. And it doesn’t end with fitting everything into a grid! I do lots of free-motion quilting outlining and highlighting the graphics on the t-shirt fronts, which makes the backs of the quilts really interesting, too.

T-shirt Quilt Rock Bands detail (back)




After seeing her final photos, my customer wrote me:

I am beyond blown away by your artistic vision. It is quite apparent you take pride in what you do! I love the black on black stitching of the front graphics on the back. It creates a simple but powerful look. Thank you for all your hard work, I’m so happy I found you and can’t wait to see it in person 🙂

This is what makes it all worthwhile!

Wife’s Shirts Hold Warm Memories

I recently shipped a memory quilt made from women’s blouses. A sweet man from New Orleans commissioned this quilt from his wife’s clothing, telling me he remembered her wearing every single piece.

My customer’s request was “keep it simple”—he didn’t want any fancy quilting/free-motion stitching or modern styling. So I accommodated his request for simplicity with clean blocks with sashing and backing from a subtle white-on-white print. 

Memory quilt from old clothes

Women’s blouses are smaller than men’s shirts so, when cutting squares there are fewer creative options. Each block was going to have the button tab as no blouse was wide enough to make a block with just the pocket, for example, like I do with men’s shirts sometimes. So to add variety, I ran the button tab diagonally on a couple of the blocks. A couple of the blouses had square cut-out necklines, so I added fabric behind the cut-out.

shirt blocks

I like to include special features of clothing, so I did include the entire collar on one blouse, carefully stitched down so it wouldn’t make a dramatic shift in texture. Another blouse had pretty white collar and cuffs, so I ran a sleeve diagonally across the block and the white cuff makes a nice accent.

A couple of denim shirts with Disney embroideries were included in the box. I cut the Disney characters out and appliqued them on another denim shirt, basically combining 3 shirts in 1 block.


Upon receipt, this is what my customer wrote to me:

“It is beautiful and brings back so many good and beautiful memories. Again I thank you from the bottom of my heart. What a great job! One more time, thank you, thank you, thank you”

I’m so touched and grateful that I could bring that kind of joy to someone.


memory quilt from shirts

I’ve recently shipped out a commission for 5 colorful memory quilts. These quilts were made in memory of a man who passed leaving a wife and 3 young boys. Each of them and his parents will receive a quilt to honor his memory.


The customer requested the quilts be made in Modern style and sent me a box of 80 beautiful dress shirts. I wanted to be sure to distribute the materials well throughout all 5 quilts so first I cut all the shirts apart. I saved the collars, cuffs, and button tabs for a friend who is a multi-media artist. (I just love recycling textiles!)   I sorted and grouped the materials by color groups so as I work and know a color I want, I’ll know where to find it. Solid white and pale blue shirts were set aside to use on the backs of the quilts, supplemented with some other pale colors.


Depending on my mood each day I chose a set of colors to work with. This type of piecing requires lots of cutting, sewing, re-cutting, sewing again..and so on.


Working this way I created sections of unmeasured sizes, but most were 18″ – 30″ on a side. I do love the challenge of keeping it interesting, being imaginative.

I layered batting and backing and spent meditative hours quilting these sections. They were still pretty wonky around the edges at this point, but I leave them that way until I’m ready to put a quilt together.

Putting a quilt together is a big jigsaw puzzle—-balancing sections of shape, color and pattern with enough material to fill the requisite 55″ X 70″ (times 5, remember!) I really loved the whole process!

shirt quilt


The Broach Foundation for Brain Cancer Research is a Texas-based 501(c) charity that has raised over $1,000,000 to help fund research and find a cure for brain cancer. Please consider them for your charitable donation: The Broach Foundation


The Gift of Commissions

Art Quilt Pet Portrait

“Your package was delivered yesterday and there are no words to describe how beautiful and perfect the dogs came out.  Your web site, the photos do not capture the beauty of your work.  

It is funny how things happen I found you online and just knew you would do a great job and I am totally impressed with the finish work. 

Thank you again and again.
Dog Portrait Art Quilt
I share this email referencing these art quilts because it meant so much to me. I absolutely loved working on this commission and I’m pleased with how these pet portraits came out. The most important thing, though, is how the client felt about the pieces I created.
Accepting commissions isn’t like creating pieces for art fairs or galleries where you hope someone will like it and purchase it. I’ve done that and it has its own challenges. Customers commission quilts from me because they already have an idea of what they want, they just need it made. My job is to bring their dreams or desires to life. I try to incorporate my artistic vision and expression into a piece that not only meets the desires of the customer, but exceeds them.
One of the things that continues to touch me deeply is the trust my clients offer me. I’m a complete stranger from the big world of the internet. I understand that. I share these excerpts from emails not to brag, but to share my appreciation for the trust someone placed in me. I’m always grateful that someone had faith in me and absolutely delighted that they are so pleased with my work! What a wonderful way to spend my time—artistic self-expression and making dreams come true!

This has been a wonderful, surprising 6 months for me/my business. The commissions began really rolling in this summer—to the point that I had to turn down commissions for Christmas beginning in August!!! 

The quilts I’ve been creating the last few months have run the gamut from baby clothes quilts to very creative, client-driven projects.

This quilt was created with dresses—-my client’s, her daughter’s, and her granddaughter’s! Included were all kinds of textiles including beaded dresses, velvet, knit and vintage. Lots of great memories sewn up in this one!

Crazy pieced memory quilt

















Here’s another quilt, and a very different one. This is a block-style quilt from men’s shirts. This man was a horse-shoer and see the sashing strips? Horseshoe fabric! The whole back is this fabric, also.

quilt from shirts

This batch of shirts included a number of solid shirts. The western pocket shirts had interest, the stripes looked interesting, but I thought the solid blocks needed a little something “extra”.

free-motion quilting


I did free-motion quilting on these blocks—each unique. I think this quilt is different and interesting–not too busy but not just boring blank squares, either!



free motion quiltingquilting

shirt quilt






See the heart quilted on the red block? Representing the love between these 2 folks.