Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Foundation Paper Piecing + Needle Turn Appliqué: The Notorious R.B.G. is Ready to Join Her International Sisters

Do you remember seeing "a little secret sewing" on my to-do list last week?  I had SEW much fun making this "Notorious R.B.G." block for my quilting friend Preeti, based on her popular International Sisters Block Tutorial (find it on her Sew Preeti Quilts blog here).  

My Notorious Ruth Bader Ginsburg Block, Ready to Join Her Sisters

If you haven't seen Preeti's International Sisters blocks yet, you should pop over to Preeti's tutorial to read how the block came about.  Preeti stumbled upon a quilt block called African Queen a few years ago and drafted her own 10" finished version of the block when she was unable to find a pattern or instructions for making it.  Then she started experimenting with all different skin tones and it became an International Sisters block.  Here are some of Preeti's lovely International Sisters:

Four of Preeti's "Sunshine Sisters" (blocks and photo by Preeti Harris, Sew Preeti Quilts)

One of the great things about Preeti's International Sisters blocks is how fabulously they showcase wildly colorful print fabrics, and I think that is a big part of their appeal.  But of course R.B.G. needed to wear a plain black Supreme Court Justice robe instead, so I used a Japanese print from my stash for her background to set off the black dress and help her to work in a quilt with other sisters blocks, should Preeti choose that.  (She can do whatever she wants with it, or nothing at all.  There are no strings attached).

Justice Ginsburg at the 2015 Elle Women in Washington Power List Dinner

The red and orange Japanese print from my stash reminded me of this gloriously colorful embroidered Chinese silk kimono jacket that Justice Ginsburg rocked at Elle magazine's Women in Washington Power List Dinner in 2015.

My Foundation Paper Piecing Pattern, Created in EQ8 Software

In order for this international sister to be recognizable as The Notorious R.B.G., I needed to swap the head wrap for Ginsburg's trademark swept back hairstyle, topped with a crown.  I recreated Preeti's International Sisters block in EQ8 software, carefully following her tutorial specifications so the block would finish the correct size and with the correct proportions.  Then I just subdivided what would have been the head wrap with some additional seam lines. 

Foundation Paper Piecing Ruth's Crown

Foundation Paper Piecing Completed

Once I'd finished foundation paper piecing the four units that make up the whole block, I starched and pressed them nice and flat before trimming away the excess fabric 1/4" from the seam lines.  Then I removed the paper foundations and joined the units together.

Needle Turn Appliqué for the Broderie Perse Eyeglasses

I needed just a few more customizations for my R.B.G. block, and those were added with needle turn applique.  First, I cut out a pair of appropriately sized eyeglasses for my Supreme Court justice from Geekery "Spectacles" fabric (available from several Etsy sellers here).

Spectacles Fabric from RJR Fabric's Geekery Collection, Available on Etsy here

Back view of Appliqué Stitches

The white seam allowance was pretty skimpy in the deep V of the nose bridge, so there are LOTS of tiny stitches there to ensure it doesn't unravel.  For reference, those machine stitched foundation paper piecing seams have a stitch length of 1.5 and the seams sewing the sections of the block together are stitch length 2.0.

The "dissent collar" was done the same way, cut out of a Spoonflower RBG's Dissent Collar fabric (created by jbtsparkle, available from Spoonflower here) with a fat 1/8" seam allowance and then added to the already-pieced block by needle turn appliqué.

But something was still missing:

Tiniest Perfect Circle Template + Scrap of Kaffe Fassett Fabric = Jade Earrings

Justice Ginsburg Never Went to Work Without Her Earrings!

I used the smallest size of my Karen Kay Buckley Perfect Circles templates and a scrap of backing fabric from a recently completed baby quilt to recreate Justice Ginsburg's iconic jade statement earrings.

Properly Accessorized, Justice Ginsburg is Ready for a Day in Court

This block was a fun little diversion after wrapping up the two baby quilts.  I'm scheduling this post so it won't publish until after Justice Ginsburg has been safely delivered to Preeti.  I hope she likes it!

PSST!!  I'd Love to Quilt for YOU!

By the way, if you or any of your quilty friends has a quilt top or two that needs quilting, I'd be delighted to quilt for you!  My turnaround for edge-to-edge quilting is currently running about 2 weeks, and you can click here to find out how to book your quilt with me.

I'm linking up today's post with the following linky parties:


Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation  


Whoop Whoop Fridays at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Peacock Party at Wendy’s Quilts and More

Finished Or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts

Off the Wall Friday at Nina Marie Sayre

 TGIFF Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday, rotates, schedule found here: TGIF Friday


UFO Busting at Tish in Wonderland


Frédérique at Quilting Patchwork Appliqué

Oh Scrap! at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework

Slow Stitching Sunday at Kathy's Quilts


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I love it!!! Preeti will be in heaven seeing that block said...

What a fun block! Looks like you had fun making it too!

piecefulwendy said...

I have a feeling this will be a very popular block. Very clever, you!

Raewyn said...

Oh what a great idea! Well done - Preeti will love it :-)

Karin said...

Clever block, love it!

KaHolly said...

Pretty darned clever!

Ramona said...

This block is awesome! I love all of your details that make it The Notorious R.B.G.

Lakegaldonna said...

Rebecca, I absolutely love the RBG block. Thank you for providing the Spoonflower link and the eyeglasses link. I simply must make that block!!! Do you think Preeti will share it on her site? I am hopeful....


Marie said...

Fantastic interpretation of this block! I'm certain that Preeti is tickled.

SJSM said...

Definitely a timely tribute to an iconic woman. I think you will spur people’s imaginations to honor other women of distinction throughout history. I see someone using this model for themed quilts such as women for equal rights and justice, women of science, women of history such as Cleopatra and Elizabeth I, and women in different professions. What a creative use of a pattern.

LA Paylor said...

she will be missed... the voice of reason and balance. I LOVE what you did to make her, and the tutorial too. thanks for showcasing a strong woman here!

Preeti said...

RBG may have left her bodily form but she continues to live in our creative pursuits and our combined efforts for equality and justice. Rebecca, you made just one block but you poured your heart and soul into it and gave it life. You made RBG proud and I am just the happy, incredibly lucky recipient of the block. Paul is working from home these days and when he told me (over the phone) "you have a package", I made him facetime (he agreed reluctantly) so that I could facetime with Rebecca's Notorious RBG :-D I was not disappointed. The only disappointing thing was the hours between the facetime call and the time I could get home to hug my very own RBG. Lots of Love and Big Squishy Hugs to you, Rebecca!!!

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

Oh, look at that! I love your RBG block, Rebecca! I've made some International Sisters and wondered about making Ruth Bader Ginsberg, but you actually did it. She's perfect!

Quilting Gail said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE your RBG block! fantastic!!!

The Joyful Quilter said...

Oh, there's NO DOUBT that she will like it, Rebecca. Your RGB block is SEW perfect for Preeti!!

Frédérique - Quilting Patchwork Appliqué said...

Wow, that's a beautiful, clever block, a great tribute to this great lady. Love Preeti's block too ;)

Antoinette said...

Absolutely love the block. Very clever and creative. Kudos!

Bernie Kringel said...

Amazing!!! What a fantastic representation of RBG. Well done - love all of the important details that make it so accurate.

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

It's perfect!!!

Sandra Walker said...

Wow what a terrific idea and to send it to Preeti too, the creator of the IS blocks. Such fine detail, and executed so very well. I love it!

Gwyned Trefethen said...

I am in love! What a fabulous job you did reinventing a block to suit your needs. Then adding just the right flourishes with glasses and collar. Genius.

Allison said...

Very clever I love your block.

Linda @ kokaquilts said...

Amazing! I love the earrings, the glasses... very creative!

Karen's Korner said...

Very clever.

Sylvia@Treadlestitches said...

Wonderful! Amazing! Every detail so carefully thought out and executed. A true tribute to a hero.

Angela said...

Great block!

Genevieve Gerrard said...

Love love love this RBG block !

Karrin Hurd said...

Love, love, love the block! Great work and happy stitching!

Kim said...

Oh, what a fabulous block....such fun! It is perfect. How I miss the most amazing, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Cynthia Brunz Designs said...

I love it! Thanks for sharing with Oh Scrap!

la tulipe said...

Great block for a great Lady!!!

Marly said...

Amazing block and your creativity is a great tribute to a courageous lady.

Verov94 said...

Bel hommage.
Merci de m'avoir fait voir l'envers de ton travail, qui m'aide car je veux débuter le travail à la machine à coudre.
Tu pique sur du papier? Lequel?
Précision: j'habite en France, je ne trouverais peut être pas cette marque.
Bon dimanche

Rebecca Grace said...

Verov94: Salut! Oui, je couds à travers le papier avec cette technique. Ils vendent du papier spécial pour l'assemblage du papier de base, mais ce n'est que du papier journal ordinaire. J'ai utilisé du papier à copier ou du vélin et ils fonctionnent aussi, mais j'aime mieux le papier journal parce qu'il est plus fin. Le papier d'emballage fonctionnerait aussi.
Je reçois mon papier journal 8 1/2 "x 11" qui tient dans mon imprimante d'Amazon. Pour de meilleurs résultats, utilisez une aiguille plus grosse et une longueur de point plus courte que d'habitude. Cela facilite le retrait du papier après la couture. Merci de votre visite et faites-moi savoir si vous avez d'autres questions!

Quiltpiecer said...

Ooooh, I love, love, love your RBG block! I have the pattern for the International Sisters and thank you for the how-I-did-it post. I really enjoyed your post.

Sherry said...

Just found your RBG block. I love it! Is there any chance of purchasing the foundation piecing pattern? I love paper piecing. Thank you so much.

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