As we wrote in last week’s post on our DIY Exploding Zero T-Shirt, inspiration comes at us from every direction. Recently, our design team has been (almost endlessly) inspired by Eames: Beautiful Details. The use of color and form shown by Ray and Charles Eames is bright and modern, even by today’s standards. The image shown above at left inspired the swatch above right, and can be recreated using the basic instructions below in any combination of colors and techniques you choose. This is a perfect project for our Fat Eighths or scraps from your own stash.


7” x 9” cotton jersey fabric for top layer
7” x 9” cotton jersey fabric for backing layer
100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey scraps in various colors
Button Craft thread
Embroidery floss
Basic sewing supplies: scissors, pins, needles, ruler, rotary cutter
Fabric Markers

Alabama Stitch Book, Alabama Studio Style, or Alabama Studio Sewing + Design: All three of these books contain the basic sewing and embroidery techniques we used to appliqué the squares and add decorative stitches and beads.

To create your own version of this swatch, start by cutting two 7” x 9” pieces of fabric to use as your top layer and backing layer. Align your top and backing layers of fabric, with right sides up, and pin together. Next, cut 5/8” appliqué squares from assorted scraps using a ruler and rotary cutter, and arrange them on the background fabric to your liking. Use straight pins to keep the squares in place while you attach them using a straight stitch at each corner. You can choose to embellish some of your squares using different elements such as bugle beads, sequins, or French knots.

Use fabric markers to draw in any squares you have left open. Once the squares are drawn, choose squares to embellish with a whipstitch, bugle beads, sequins, or an “X” drawn with your fabric marker.

While this is interesting as a small project, we love the idea of making a much larger project (wall hanging, chair, or quilt) with bigger squares and more embroidery techniques. The color palette chosen was inspired by the warm colors used by the Eameses, but this would be equally beautiful in cooler tones of greens and blues or a lovely neutral palette. Experiment and have fun.



Fabric weight – 100% organic medium-weight organic cotton jersey
Fabric colors for appliqué – Apple, Autumn, Persimmon, Gold, Wine
Fabric color for top layer – White
Fabric color for backing layer – White
Button Craft thread – Dogwood #155, Black #2, Red #128
Embroidery Floss – Carmine, Black, Denim, Camel
Knots – Inside
Beads – Chop beads, bugle beads, sequins
Bead colors – Red, Black, Gold
Markers – Crayola Fabric Markers
Marker Colors – Black, Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue


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