Tag Archives: “Fabricadabra”

“Fabricadabra” Book Review

Paula Nadelstern’s work has weathered the ebb and flow of fashions in original quilts to be featured in art museum solo shows. That’s where I had the joy of a personal tour of her work as part of a workshop I took. What did I make in the workshop? Not much. But I did cobble together a pillow using her template and fabric matching techniques that my son now has.

paula-workshop-giftThis pillow is a sterling example of how critical good fabric selection is to succeed with Paula’s techniques. I chose the wrong fabric – a pseudo symmetrical one that didn’t join up right.

But, C + T has just published a book that gives you a chance to have a go at Paula’s methods in a simpler fashion than her previous kaleidoscope books show. “Fabricadabra: Simple Quilts, Complex Fabric” has many quilts made with her disappearing edge techniques by many people.

fabricadabra-1I thought this was a slick way to make a quilt that looks complex. It works because it uses Paula’s kaleidoscope fabric as cheater cloth.

fabricadabra-2The secret to this quilt is a carefully marked layout of equilateral triangles.

After you gawp at the quilt gallery (some lovely ones were made by Vicki Welsh) Paula gets down to fabrics and methods. I assure you if you read the methods first you might not get to those pretty pictures.

There’s nothing wrong with the explanations, but painstaking care is needed to have fabric motifs match. As Paula says at the beginning, a simple method isn’t the same as an easy one. This is a woman who figured out how much the width of permanent marker lines drawn around shapes add up to over the top of a quilt.

Some of the easier looking tips involve sashings and cornerstones. The pages below show the source fabrics and the resulting sashing. No, these techniques are not for those who dislike fussy cutting or mind a lot of fabric waste.


In fact, Paula’s techniques are ideal for the detail fixated person who fusses over every step. I know just the person, but she doesn’t read this blog. While I may use some of Paula’s ideas, I know I won’t stick with the level of painstaking detail needed to match fabric patterns seamlessly. The pillow shown above is the picture that will save me a thousand words on the subject. That said, this book offers an excellent explanation of Paula’s techniques and wonderful pictures of quilts made using them. It’s neither a pattern nor a theory book, but gives detailed steps to draft your own quilts.


Filed under Books