On this particular quilt, it all started way back when I was working on the Care Bear Stare for my 3-year-old niece. I quickly figured out that even though I had never done any actual patchwork, this whole "find a panel and sash it" thing was fun, and pretty expedient. So, I kept my eyes out for other panels I could use for my other nieces. I found this at Hancock's for not too expensive, and at the time I thought it might be good for my then 8-year-old niece.
Of course, then time marched on, and I tried actual patchwork and decided I liked it, plus it occurred to me that at 8, my niece was old enough to pick her OWN fabric (and I'm really glad she did in the end - for I would never have guessed her taste but what she chose really made Batik Beauty into a stunning quilt) So this panel went into what I like to think of as "Deep Stash," that place at the bottom of the stash where things I have no plan, and no coordinating fabric for, go.
It stayed there until this past September, when I just happened across a link to 100 Quilts for Kids. I wanted very badly to contribute a quilt, but at the time all my quilt tops were spoken for, and I wasn't really in a position to buy more. So after a day or two of stewing, I finally remembered that somewhere, in some remote corner of my stash, I had this panel. I dug it out, and thought, this will be easy - I'll just put a Disney Princess border around it to meet the minimum size for my local charity, and then back it with one strip of 45" wide fabric!
Famous. Last. Words.
First off, I have since learned that "Sale" dates at my local Hancock's are actually code for "dates this section will be too picked over to bother with, starting at noon on day 1" - sigh. I had hoped 40% off a licensed print would mean awesome Disney Princess fabric super cheap, but what it actually meant was "if you want licensed fabric, your choices are John Deere and... John Deere."
I looked around and with that level of target fixation, there wasn't a lot else that inspired me - except for a cute non-disney princess print by Hi-Fashion Fabrics that featured a little blonde princess with a castle a bunch of rainbows, and a unicorn. Unfortunately, it was also very pink, and so to get it to work I needed a contrasting band of color. Here's what I came up with:
And you see how suddenly it's not just slap on a border any more, right? And it gets worse than that - my panel starts at 36x45 (roughly) but 1 1/4 inches of blue sashing take it up to 38.5 x 47.5. The individual princesses on this fabric are easily 6" tall and 4" wide, so adding even just one princess' worth of fabric to each side puts me at 46.5" inches in width, well outside the 45" maximum I would be able to back without piecing. D'oh. So on the bright side I can make the borders 7-8" with total impunity, but on the not-so-bright, there goes my afternoon as I sash and piece the backing. So much for piecing AND quilting in the same day.
I decided to "frame" the panel with the blue, and since I had to buy extra lenget for the backing anyway, I was able to position the princess all "right side up" on the quilt, which required a little fussy cutting around the corners. Overall, I was pretty happy with the final product:
And this is somewhat of a milestone moment for me, because the backing is all princess fabric, and pieced with only 3 pieces. It was bound to happen eventually.