Community Quilt Project 2017 with Patrick Grant

In May 2017 we were very excited to team up with Community Clothing to celebrate the first ever National Festival of Making in Blackburn. 



We exhibited modern quilts by local makers in the Community Clothing shop and began producing a very special Community Quilt of our own. 

The design of the quilt is made of blocks, each representing a spool of thread, celebrating the rich textile heritage of Lancashire.

We asked people to bring along their own fabric square for the centre of the spool, and to share the stories behind them. We also had a selection of fabric from local mills like Cookson and Clegg to sew into the quilt. 

Over 2 days we had 80 people take part in our project. It was a heartwarming and exciting experience to be part of.  Our youngest contributor was Alfie, aged 4 who helped his mum on the machine. Our eldest sewist was Millie G, aged 84 who told us snippets of her life as she pieced her block - and made us laugh a lot. 

Many people sat at a sewing machine for the first time in their life, and overcame that initial fear of the unknown. 

A massive thank you if you are one of the people who came along to support this project!

So many tales of cloth emerged, and all of them have been recorded in our guestbook.

Patrick Grant pieced the first quilt block of his sewing career, using fabric printed for his E Tautz menswear collection.  

I stitched my block which includes fabric cut from my grandpa Stanley's sailor collar.  He served in the Navy in World War 2 and went on to build boats and caravans in Nelson, Lancashire. He was a very creative person, and a huge influence in my life. 

We have not yet decided on a final destination for the quilt but it will be in Blackburn where the public can come and learn all about its story. 

 What happens now?

We had such a wonderful reaction to the project that we wanted to continue it with community support, and now need to piece all the blocks together.  We also need to design the back and sew through the layers to quilt it. 

In September 2017 we are joining the Fabrications Festival to finish off this modern heirloom and would love more people to get involved.

You are all welcome at the following events: 

Sewing workshop at Community Clothing

When: Saturday 9th September 2017 10am to 4pm

Where: Blackburn. Community Clothing shop, 14-16 Lord St, BB2 1JX

What to bring?  Just yourself and a willingness to cut, press and sew. 

Do I need to book? No - it will be an open workshop just like at the Festival of Making.  You can call in for 15 minutes, 1 hour or all day if you are free. 

Selvedge Maker's Fair 

When: Saturday 23rd September 2017 10am to 4pm

Where: Pendle Heritage Centre

What to bring?  Just yourself and a willingness to try some hand sewing. 

Do I need to book? No - you can call in for 15 minutes, 1 hour or all day if you are free. 

If you have any questions about participating then please email

For project updates follow @jennismithsews on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as well as Community Clothing via the website and Instagram 


Thank you also to our sponsors Aurifil Thread, Hobbycraft and Vlieseline for helping to make this happen by providing thread, tools and wadding for the Community Quilt.