This summer, Hawthorne Threads started putting out their own fabric lines. They all looked really cool, but with so many fabric lines coming out these days it got lost in the shuffle. But luckily, I subscribe to their newsletter and they featured a great mosaic of their Bengal line that I just couldn't get out of my head.
Hawthorne was kind enough to send me a bunch of fat quarters from the line, and an amazing backing fabric. Because they're digitally printed, it all came on one giant cut of fabric. At first I was pretty surprised at how strange the fabric was. It's pretty stiff, probably from the printing process, and it's a tight weave, similar to Art Gallery, so while it cuts amazingly, you really need a sharp needle to sew it. My Juki was able to sew it without a problem, but it was loud, like it had to punch through the fabric.
The other strange thing, was when I quilted the fabric, every last needle hole was very pronounced. You could see through them, when you held it up to the light. Once you washed it, everything was fine. The fabric softened up really nicely and all the holes closed up. Now, you can't tell it apart from a quilt made from any other fabric, and I wouldn't worry about mixing these fabrics with others in a quilt.
I will say, that I had some bleeding. Hawthorne suggests you wash your fabrics first, probably because it's so stiff from the printing, and it has some excess dye. I'm a sew first, wash later girl, so I ignored this tip and threw it into the wash with two color catchers. Neither color catcher got any dye, and the front was perfectly fine, but the back bled in a few spots. I'm hoping that the more we wash, the lighter they'll get.
Anyway, back to the quilt. The mosaic from the newsletter was just squares of the one print from the Bengal line. So I got every color of that print, cut it into squares, and sewed them together.
Because they were printed on a very wide fabric, I had a bunch of fabric leftover with a couple inches of the print, the selvage, and then the extra white fabric beyond that. I cut that to the width of my squares, and added it around the edges to bring it out to the size of the backing. So all along the edges, you get little peaks of the selvages and Hawthorne's tag line "from two love birds who love fabric."
I love the backing! Most of their lines feature a backing like this and I was so excited that they offered to send me one for this quilt. While I was sewing, I had the backing up on my wall and I kept humming "Eye of the Tiger." It was very motivating.
I just love all the little details that they put into the backings. It's huge, but you can spend a lot of time picking out different shapes and doodles.