Red, White and Friday…

And Modern.


This is Liberte.

It’s made with French General Solids – the gorgeous linen-like textured print that has been part of Kaari Meng’s collections since her first, Rouenneries.

After attending QuiltCon in Pasadena in February, we wrote about the use of solids in quilts, and we wanted to follow up on that by sharing a conversation we had with Kaari about the three quilts she showed made with her French General Solids.  Working with modern designer Alison Ostrin, they were as contemporary as any quilt exhibited and it raised the question of what makes a quilt or fabric modern.

So we asked Kaari about modern quilts and QuiltCon, and this is what she said:

To us, quilting is about history, color and shape.  We set out to design quilts that took inspiration from the traditional scrap quilts made by the Gees Bend ladies using French General solids.  We also mixed in a few “petite prints” – tiny prints that read as solids.  QuiltCon is a perfect opportunity for designers to try out new ideas and we were welcomed with open arms.  We found that it was not just a modern quilt show – it is an exciting, contemporary quilt show filled with new and experienced quilters, stitchers and crafters.

The projects were designed specifically for the actual colors of French General solids, and they were made with improvisational piecing.  Despite the traditional basis of the prints and colors in her collections, the resulting quilts are still very contemporary.


French Aprons – this quilt mixes French General Solids with prints from Petite Prints Deux.

With this modern take on a Log Cabin quilt, our classic French General Red was the perfect choice for the chimney-center in the block.

Using Solids from three different collections, this quilt mixes the Pearl and Roche from French General Favorites, the Woad Blue from Le Marais and the Indigo from Rue Indienne.  (Pearl and Roche are also part of Le Marais.)


This is French Blues.

Finally, we asked Kaari if she thought marketing her fabrics as “modern solids” made a difference in the perception of French General fabrics.

I think people were surprised to see us at QuiltCon and excited to see our solids being used in a modern way.  Our French General solids are an ideal modern fabric as the colors are based on natural-plant-colors.  While they have a historical context, they’re well-suited to being used in a modern quilt-design because they are easy to live with.  They have a “comfortable feel” to them.  Though the modern quilt movement is said to love bright solids, our colors offer a great, classic alternative.


The French General solids shown are – from the top: the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th fabrics are from French General Favorites, and the 2nd and 6th fabrics are from Ville Fleurie.

Three, four and five – blue, red and cream.

What do you think?  Have you made many quilts using only solids or near-solids like these French General Solids?

Happy Friday!



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7 thoughts on “Red, White and Friday…

  1. This is SO inspiring!! I love the look of linen but I don’t love the idea of sewing with it! Whenever I want a ‘not-quite-solid’ I reach for a tiny dot (Bonnie & Camille ‘Penny Dot’ and your basic ‘Tiny Dottie’ are favourites) but I can’t wait to try this xx

  2. I especially love the block in French Aprons on the top row on the very right that doesn’t square up. It looks so very irregular. These fabrics are great! They look so fun to play with…

  3. I hate to admit it, but I had no idea French General (longtime fav) had solids!! Where have I been?!! Thanks for this wonderful blog post, Carrie! I particularly like the top red, white, blue, grey quilt on top! I’m fascinated by “modern” quilts… have been attempting to move a wee bit more in that direction! ❤️❤️

  4. I love the French General solids and use them regularly. I am disappointed to see that the wonderful dark green from Fa la la la la is not included in the bundle. I used that for a background a few years ago and have almost used up all of the scraps from that project. Wish I could get more!

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