Adding the third dimension

Recently I was reading an article about dimension in quilts, particularly in relation to making them for children. Of course, when I came to find the article again to quote from it for you, I can't find it anywhere! So you will have to put up with my observations! 

When our youngest grandchildren were toddlers, I had a lot of fun designing wall-hangings for them. There are lots of things to consider in making projects for children. They need to be a suitable size, cheerful, not dull colours, age-appropriate and a pleasant shape. That's fairly easy to do and there are hundreds of wonderful wall-hanging and quilt patterns available.

What I was keen to do was to add the third dimension. I wanted to have my wall hangings tactile - designed to be touched, pulled apart, squashed, handled, and put back together again. With those goals in mind, my Match-a-Patch quilt was born.

Those soft, squishy, shapes pull off the quilt and then the little toddler tries to match the shapes and put it back together again. I love that it is educational and inter-active.

Having made one, I was hooked on the three-dimensional concept and that's when I started my "Cupboard" series - eight wall-hangings with removable parts.

If I have a favourite, it is probably My Kitchen Dresser - cups on their hooks, saucers and plates stacked neatly in their shelves and the coffee pot, milk and sugar all ready to be used:

As a bonus, the child learns to put things away in their proper place, and you have a lovely wall decoration when play is finished.

Then there is the gardening cupboard with tools hanging ready for pretend play:

Making the cantilevered shelf in the Laundry Cupboard was a challenge but it actually came together quite easily:

I smile every time I look at the little peg bag and iron!

There had to be something for the boys too so we have My Tool Cupboard, all the devices an aspiring carpenter would need, complete with a tool apron:

You can view my other children's designs here.

I stopped designing the cupboards when the grandchildren became too old for them, but there are still a few in my heart somewhere, so maybe I will pull them out onto fabric one day.

I am still keen on having three dimensional aspects to my adult designs too, and often try to incorporate the concept.  Even my new free Block of the Month, Shining Like the Dawn has removable parts! If you have any brilliant ideas on adding the third dimension, please share them with us.

The designing year for me began in earnest last week with contact with various magazine editors, so I'm enjoying starting new designs.  One of my quilts has just been published in Stunning Country Craft Vol 25 No 1:

I couldn't resist this gorgeous rose border fabric:

 I've been working with some beautiful oriental fabrics this week and incorporated some solid black fabric in the design. Note to self for the future - Do not use cotton batting with black fabric!!!  That innocent-looking, perfectly compressed cotton changes to a monster once it's handled a bit! Pushing a quilt backwards and forwards under a domestic machine doing miles of quilting resulted in bits of white fluff absolutely everywhere! The black fabric attracted it like a magnet. Lots of brushing removed some of it, but I resorted to a trick I learned from the girls at work many years ago - sticky tape!  That white fluff was one lot of third dimension that I didn't really need!

Happy stitching.


  1. So much brilliant creativity in these projects. You are one clever cookie.

  2. I just love all your cupboards, Val. Your new quilt is quite striking!

  3. Your projects always make me smile. If I only had time to make every pattern you create. Thanks for so much inspiration.

  4. Oh my goodness! Your baby patterns are just darling! What terrific gifts they would make. Thanks for sharing.

    Take care,
    Susan in Texas

  5. This quilt is so stunning! I love all those red roses!

    Beautiful job!!

  6. All your work is wonderful, clever and gorgeous Val. Might have to make a learning quilt for the grandies! Thanks for the idea! :)

  7. Oh my goodness these cupboard type designs are so cute. Love love love them. Wish I would have had these when my daughter was little. So creative

  8. Gorgeous work, I love the tool one for boys...... but they are all beautiful.

  9. Love these Val, what a fab idea!

  10. Your three dimensional interactive quilts are brilliant. I adore them all. Stunning red and black quilt with the roses. Your creative endeavors are amazing. Joyful Bliss...

  11. I'm so impressed with all the things you came up with from which children could learn. And that last picture is just a beautiful quilt. I still use tape, too!

  12. Quelle créativités, j'aime beaucoup
    douce soirée


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