We’ve written about Pat Christie’s creations before. This lady knows how to turn mundane materials into works of art. The things she churns out from her home-based workshop always make it to Shunyi and city charity bazaars. Her constant hits include bags made from Shanghai silk, all-purpose bags with the clever tagline “My Dongxi” (literally, My Things, but also a play on the Chinese phrase mai dongxi, which means to go shopping), and colorful dimsum steamer organizers.
Another project close to her heart is what she calls t-shirt quilts. Pat takes twenty t-shirts and uses the parts with logos or designs to make the top surface of a twin-size quilt. The backing is then chosen from a variety of fabrics that Pat has accumulated over the years, specifically for her crafting projects.
What began as a project to help preserve some Beijing memories for her son before he went off to college has now grown into one of Pat’s favorite pastimes in Beijing. To date she has made quilts with the same purpose, as a reminder of personal highs for expats in Beijing, as well as producing quilts commissioned for charity fundraising events. All proceeds of personal commissions go to Roundabout.
Working in close association with Roundabout, Pat receives dozens of t-shirts with Beijing international school logos. Once she has the twenty coordinating ones that she needs to complete one quilt, she then sets about preparing all her materials. The t-shirts are cut into squares or rectangles depending on her design, they are laid out, and the matching border and backing fabrics are chosen. She frequents Muxianyu fabric market when she needs to find something new. She then begins by hand sewing the t-shirt squares onto the borders then finishes off with machine-stitching everything into place.
Not one to waste any craft material, Pat then sets aside the remaining portions of the t-shirts and transforms them into long strips of fabric that she then sews or weaves into cloth rags. These rags are a particular hit at the factory her husband manages. Pat likes knowing that her projects generate minimal waste and she encourages even her household staff to think of ways to use up scraps of fabric from her projects.
Once asked if she would be willing to make a quilt to be raffled off at a fundraising event, Pat set off to work immediately. She used “Beijing moments” t-shirts, the likes of which proclaim “I climbed the Great Wall” or featured popular tourist destination icons. She completed the project in a week and then gave the quilt back to the organizers. Raffle tickets for the quilt alone were snapped up in no time, and raised RMB 4,700 for the beneficiary.
To set an appointment with Pat for your personal quilt, call 134 0101 5228. Prices start at RMB 900, with all proceeds going to charity.
Photo courtesy of Pat Christie
Dana is the beijingkids Shunyi Correspondent. Originally from the Philippines, she moved to Beijing in 2011 (via Europe) with her husband, two sons and Rusty the dog. She enjoys writing, photography, theater, visual arts, and trying new food. In her free time, she can be found exploring the city and driving along the mountain roads of Huairou, Miyun and Pinggu.