London Quilt

Our MINI car club does a Christmas weekend every year, and we usually have a silent auction for charity at our Saturday evening dinner and games night. I have donated a few table toppers for auction in the past, but this year I wanted to do a bit more. So, I began doing internet searches for fabrics with a British theme. It wasn’t easy to find this, and I put out requests on forums for ideas but none came. Then, I happened across this London panel with Big Ben tower, palaces in silhouette and a double decker bus in grey and red. It was $18 plus shipping. I grit my teeth, and paid full retail plus the shipping.

Then I was able to find a coordinating print in the same colors, amazingly not the same line! This was $14 plus shipping for one yard. Add backing, binding and batting, and I have over $50 in materials for this before I started.

I began by removing the selvedge edges on the panel and squaring it up.

Then I put a one-inch red tone on tone border on it to separate the panel from the print, and add an accent.

I added the outer border. Since the print was directional, I placed it so it was right side up at the top and the bottom, in case the buyer wants to hang it on a wall.

Next, loading it on the longarm, I found some red wide backing to use, with Hobbs 100% cotton batting.

I used a pantograph for quilting in a design called Wrought Iron, which brought to mind the iron gates of Buckingham Palace.

If you look closely, this pattern is quite close to the gold fleur-de-lis along the top of the black wrought iron fencing and gates.

It is quilted with silvery grey Glide thread, with a darker grey Bottom Line in the bobbin.

Quilting went quickly, and soon it was done.

I debated over the color of the binding, auditioning another red, and this grey dot. The grey dot won. I put the binding on the front by machine.

Then, I finished it by hand over a few football games.

All done, the grey binding is more subtle and doesn’t distract from the center panel.

I like the texture of the quilting.

The red backing looks great. I added fabric triangles to the upper corners so it could be hung on a wall.

These fabric corners would hold a long dowel on each end. They are soft though, so they won’t get in the way if the new owner wants to use it as a lap quilt, or keep in the car.

The final quilt size is 43-1/2-inches wide x 49-1/2-inches high, not to big for a wall hanging, and a nice lap size.

The charity this year is the Hickory Nut Gorge Outreach, which provides assistance to families in need for four counties in our area of Western North Carolina. Their programs to combat hunger include backpack programs for kids, a food pantry for families in need, and boxed food programs for Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. In addition they provide assistance with purchasing medications, utilities and rent for those in poverty. They sponsor children with an Angel tree each year to help each child on their list have a happy holiday.

The retail value of the quilt would be well over $100 which would go a long way to feeding families this holiday season. So, now I have a question for you, readers. Should we put this out for just bids at our dinner, which likely will not raise that much, or should we put it out as a raffle quilt, with the option for other clubs (or readers) to buy tickets? I was thinking it could be done similar to the online raffle I helped do for the Dahlia Quilt for Bullington Gardens in 2020.

Just in case you might have something, I am still looking for fabrics with a British theme, so if you have a suitable fabric in your stash you’d like to unload, let me know. I want to do another quilt for next year, and it might take that long to find fabrics!

54 thoughts on “London Quilt

    1. Robin RK

      I really like your 2nd fabric/border fabric. Can you tell me where you got it? Overall I do like your quilt! I’d like the fabric to be part of my British Quilt.

  1. Terri D'Ambrosio

    Put it out as a raffle quilt, I have donated a quilt twice to a tractor club in the past. The auction took place on the Saturday during the show. Both times I did this, the quilts brought in over $150.00 for the club.
    I would say the value of the quilts were around $130.00 for the materials to make the quilts.
    I did not put my time into the value of the quilts, that was my donation to the club. The $150.00 doesn’t seem like a lot, but it puts my name out there of the work I do. The same person now has 2 of my quilts and matching pillows.
    Your London quilt is very nice and should get your club some money.
    Terri

  2. Kim from TN

    A raffle would give it more opportunity to raise more money. I belong to a British Wives Club and I would love to know the name of the London panel maker and your cordinating fabric. I have made one for the club to raffle from a panel called Tea for Two by Northcott fabrics. I believe I bought the panel at Quilted Twins in Florida. It is a lovely China cabinet filled with pretty tea pots & cups.

  3. vivian383

    Definitely a raffle quilt! Its’ such a great theme quilt for your club I’m sure that the more exposure it gets, the more money it will raise. Good luck on your fabric search!

  4. What a beautiful quilt – made me so happy to see it all done haha. I would definitely put it into a BIG auction – more people to buy tickets and your club members still have a chance to win. I have some UK fabrics I could send (of course) – not big pieces but would be ok if you were doing something scrappy. Let me know a safe address for postage x

  5. jrp53

    With such a gorgeous quilt, and the British theme (especially with the changed monarchy this year), I would definitely make it a raffle. Auctions usually do not reach the value of quilts in my experience. Your design has given me a couple of Christmas gift ideas, too!

  6. Margaret Nelson

    I would offer it in as many places as possible and not just at the dinner.

    I doubt I have the fabric you seek but if i do I’ll let you know. My stash would be lighter and yours a little heavier. 😆

  7. Julie

    I think you generally get a better return on investment with a raffle vs auction. People who don’t count the cost of fabric (not to mention quality issues) & the amount of labor required may be thinking of a dollar amount that more closely aligns to a manufactured quilt retailed at a department store.

  8. jseccurrtwcnyrrcom

    Your London quilt captures the essence of the city! The quilting pattern accentuates the quilt and photographed well!

    My view is that a web based raffle would reach a wider audience and would bring in more money for a worthwhile cause. If permissible, perhaps you could sell tickets at the mini auction event and then do the drawing later in the evening.

    If I come upon UK fabric, I’ll send it your way!

    Jo Anne

  9. I agree with others a raffle would probably raise more – at auctions people never think of the cost it takes to make the item and think of what they pay in a store which in a lot of places is not much. You were so lucky to find the prints and the panel – I hate to pay full price now they have raised the prices so much.

  10. Lovely project. My sister in law makes raffle quilts to raise scholar ship money for kids in her community, and they often bring several thousand dollars. Be sure to state that this is a custom project. Best of luck with raising funds. I think raffles do so much better than auction items.

  11. Mary Ed Williams

    What a lovely quilt. I agree with the others that a raffle would definitely bring in more money. It still amazes me that people don’t accept quilts as art. I’ve heard that if you get the bidders to drink enough alcohol, bids are higher. Not sure about how much the maker should drink. I still steam about my ribbon-winning quilt bringing $75 at a Ronald McDonald benefit. I agree with others who have decided to just give money. Enough of my complaining- I need to let it go, huh? Your London quilt is great!
    Mary Ed

  12. Betsy Pompi

    Did you contact Amy Smart at Diary of a Quilter? She has done a line of fabric that is England based. More importantly, she may know of online shops in England that you could contact.

  13. Rita Harley

    I LOVE IT !! What a great cause …
    We do not own a MINI …but I did study in London one summer in high school …
    This project is beautiful …and all the fabrics go together so beautifully!
    I think a raffle would bring in so much more in donation revenue !

  14. That’s such a fun quilt, Carole, and seems perfect for your car club! I really love the border fabric you found to go with the panel. I don’t know a thing about how to get more money out of it for your charity, so I’ll just say I’m hoping it makes lots of money for you!

  15. Niki barber

    Love the quilt, great job! You might ask a couple other members of your group about a raffle. It may raise more for your charity than within your group

  16. Sharon F

    I’m in the camp that thinks you will raise more money by raffling your quilt than by auctioning it. You will reach a wider audience with a raffle, and I think it’s easier for people to spend $1 – $20 for raffle tickets than $100+ at an auction.
    I also second the suggestion to check Amy Smart’s shop at Diary of a Quilter. She has both British themed patterns and fabric.
    I’m hoping for a quiet week with time to work on a couple of projects.

  17. Catarina

    I have been making cat-themed quilts for a local cat rescue group for several years. At first my friend auctioned them and they did bring in a fair amount of money. But then she changed to a raffle and the quilts brought in even more money. And the point is to raise as much as possible to help the cats with food and medical. The raffle tickets are $25. I think people are more willing to part with $25 for a chance to win the quilt. Just as an FYI, the quilts are twin-size, like about 66 x 80 or so. Ada Montessoro Baltimore

  18. lois92346

    How lucky you were to find a coordinating print that matches the panel so perfectly. I agree with everyone about going the raffle route vs an auction. Please keep us updated as to the raffle sales.

  19. Candy

    Your quilt is fabulous! Perhaps for another year you could souvenir tea towels with a British theme, used as a panel like you did in the center of this quilt. They could be made into table runners or small wall hangings. Just a thought. I’ll keep my eyes open for something suitable for your purpose. Good luck with this year’s fundraiser.

  20. Jean McKinstry

    Wow !!! Raffle it, this is a beauty and your talent and skill all helped along with huge generosity will make this a sure hit. Prices, we all think about that now, I am making a wall hanging for a dear friend, and need to have 3 words machine embroidered. I guess whatever the charge is, far better than my applique thoughts.

  21. Ah, London, billed as the greatest city in the world! Your wall hanging is amazing, well done, and I would also say offer it as a raffle to generate more funds. Guess that would be more work for you to organize and run?
    I generally pay full price for fabric and supplies here, we dont have the coupon sales like your country seems to have. Now and again the shops might have a few specials.

  22. Kathy

    I would go for the raffle! Your work is outstanding and it would be great to share in writing how this project came about!

    Well done!

  23. Sue

    I think a raffle would be your best option for raising over $100. Many people would buy multiple tickets at $1 apiece. The other option would be to start the bidding at $75 to $100

  24. Susan

    I have been to these type of charity fundraisers and they have stated a minimum bid on each item. It usually starts with the what the donor says it cost to make or put together. I have never seen an item not raise more than the minimum bid. However, depending on the crowd and what else there is to bid on, a raffle could raise more. Depending on the cost of the raffle tickets if there isn’t enough interest in the item, you face the same dilemma. Since you have done this before and have some idea how much certain items raise, either as a raffle item or bid item, I would suggest making your decision based on that.

  25. Joan Sheppard

    We so an online auction every year for the puppers. Mostly we encourage a little friendly rivalry as some people see an auction as a time to find a bargain if they “wait it out”. Putting an actual price tag on it is difficult – we know it’s value of $ of good plus time – just “thinking” can take a good deal of time. I’m sure this will be a big winner with your club – it’s adorable! Doesn’t everyone have a quilt in their car! Thanks, j

  26. Carolyn M in Tucson

    Check on the blog Diary of a Quilter by Amy Smart who loves England. She has designed fabric designs for Riley Blake with British themes.

  27. Hi Carole: I enjoy following all your activities — your words, the photos of home, plants, wildlife, quilts and much more. This quilt turned out very nice. I was thinking in my mind as I read your words of the similar considerations I go through, as well, when looking at a panel print and how to enhance it. And yes, cost can add up when the search to find the right complimentary fabric eventually says, this can work. I have done that on occasion, too — part of the intrigue to see what can be found that satisfies. A nice finished project.

  28. It’s a great quilt. I hope it is appreciated enough to raise money for such a worthwhile cause.
    Nicola Dodd of Cakestand Quilts is running a ‘London Town Sampler’ BOM. I guess the pattern will be available to buy once the BOM finishes. It doesn’t require UK/London prints. Might be an option for you if you make another UK themed quilt?

  29. Well, I’m such an England nut — and especially London — that I would bid very high on this. Probably make the $100 mark, especially because it’s charity. (What a lovely lap blanket in an open-topped British car, too!) But you know your group better and if you think the raffle is the deal, that’s a possibility. Although how does the raffle work — one higher priced ticket but multiple opportunities to win different things? What’s the collective prize value and would the ticket price match it? How many items are up for the raffle?

    If they are doing it by individual tickets for item, then how much is the ticket price and how many other items are up for raffle? If you’re buying tickets for 10 or 15 things at $5 or more a crack, soon you’ll start making decisions. Could you sell 20 $5 tickets with the other items that would be offering individual raffle tickets? If you did an auction on it, I’d do a live auction, not a silent one or an online one. You need the energy of people bidding. (It also helps to have a couple of plants in the audience to get it started, and at least start it at $75 so you’ll get to the $100. Also, if you do a live auction, have any/all the items on display prior, with a good description or even you telling about it. I liked the part about the fleur de lis and the palace — that’s the kind of detail that makes it special. (The quilting is gorgeous, by the way.)

    Our group has never had much success with online raffles. Often you are preaching to the converted and you may need additional people to boost the bid. You might also have to deal with postage if the buyer is out of area. And it can be harder to show, although you would have the advantage of doing a video — show you sewing (fake it) and your inspiration. It’s a tough call but you know your market best. Good luck. It’s great!

  30. Lynda Duncan

    That is such a great quilt for your Mini Club auction! I love the quilting on it tying i. So well with the print and theme. I think you would raise so much more money with a raffle, and lots more people would have an opportunity to possibly win the beautiful quilt.
    Lovely job❤️

  31. Barbara Yoder

    I would recommend a raffle. Our guild has raised money for charitable causes using raffles and that was successful. I’ve watched another organization (Mennonite Central Committee) auctions for fifty years and I’ve seen money raised by auctioning quilts go down steadily especially for the last 15 years (no event during Covid). It has been so sad to see beautiful quilts, some precisely hand quilted, sell for less than the cost of the fabric.

  32. Thunder Quilts (BarefootThunder)

    Amy Smart has a union jack pattern, and I believe she did a fabric line. Not sure if there is any around any more, but it might be worth looking into. She did a blog post about her flag quilts.

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