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  • Nicola

Off to join the Circus...

Can you remember the first time you saw a circus tent magically appear in the park, transforming a once familiar scene into an enchanted place where anything might happen? And then there was the anticipation of the show: the excited chatter in the queue; the enticing aroma of candy floss and popcorn; before reaching - at last! - the shadowy entrance to the big top; passing from a summer afternoon into a world of wonder.

Inspired by old circus posters and vintage toys, the Vintage Circus Sampler has a whimsical cast of circus characters, all performing under a dazzling Big Top.

Let me introduce you....

The Juggling Bear & Performing Seal

These two characters - and their friends - have some simple touches of embroidery to give expression to their faces. Their juggling and balancing balls are added with raw edge fusible applique, finished with machine straight stitch, giving you lots of opportunity to fussy-cut your favourite scraps.

Nimble Elephant & Ringmaster's Dog

Our elephant and dog - along with the seal - are poised on classic circus podiums, made from triangle-in-a-square units created with my trusty placement template technique. And that hoop? Simple fusible applique.

Noble Lion & Circus Wagon

Our lion's magnificent mane is, in fact, a classic Dresden plate, with a tiny tweak to create his ears. And his colourful cage uses a time-saving strip-piecing technique to create those evenly spaced bars.

Stately Giraffe & Magician's Rabbit

From the tallest to the smallest, all of the blocks are conventionally machine-pieced. I've created my characters with a Fat Eighth bundle of Tilda Fabric's brilliant Bloomsville collection, combined with their classic doll fabric, which adds beautiful texture to my blocks.

The Big Top

Our circus characters are collected together beneath the Big Top - flanked by fussy-cut balloons - which is, appropriately enough, the biggest block in the quilt and hints at its showstopping setting...


The Vintage Circus quilt is made with two background fabrics: a neutral - Tilda solid in dove - and a contrast print. Tilda's teal Sophie print adds a little extra drama to the blocks, but you could choose a solid or a blender to make the quilt your own. And of course, every circus needs some colourful bunting: the fun border uses the delicious scraps from creating the blocks. A stripy binding adds the perfect finishing touch.

The quilt finishes at 57" x 71", which it makes it the ideal dressing for a child's bed or an inspiring wall-hanging for a play room. You can buy the Vintage Circus PDF pattern here - the pattern book will be available on Amazon and in the shop in a couple of weeks - and find beautifully curated Vintage Circus kits at Got Kwilts, here (please note that kits do not include the pattern). Richla is also offering Vintage Circus as a Section of the Month which will run from August to December - sign up here! - and I will be sharing tips and photo tutorials to make sure your quilt is a roaring success (see what I did there?).

Now, I wouldn't recommend candy floss in the sewing room (too sticky) but I thoroughly approve of popcorn.

Let the show begin,

Nicola xx


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