Niceville Textile Artist (that’s the formal way to say ‘quilter,’ #TIL) and native Allison Frets turned the thing she hates the most about quilting into her new passion.
Fretts, known also by her artistic name Lottie Dal (her grandmother’s name), says lots of people do the one thing quilters hate – they receive a quilt as a gift and then store it away so it doesn’t get ripped, dirty or otherwise unpresentable.
That’s when she decided to take old quilts and turn them into works of wearable art. She takes clients’ old quilts and makes them into new jackets and other items of clothing. By making the quilts into the coast, she hopes to encourage people to use the quilts they have, because they can then be repurposed when they are older and worn out. “When you make quilts into coats, you put neglected art out into the world. It was full of holes and stains or was rotting in a cedar chest, but now it goes to the movies and gets compliments.”
In addition to her work turning quilts into coats – Fretts also upcycles damaged clothes to make unique new pieces and accessories. “My absolute favorite is working with vintage leathers and corduroys that would have otherwise been discarded.”
Lottie Dal got started as a business after Fretts sold a couple of her quilted jackets to a store in Midland, Texas called Midland Throw. After a couple of rounds of sales – things got serious. “I never had any expectations for my coats to actually sell. So, for an established boutique to want to feature my work is pretty special. I love thinking about my coats out in the world,” Fretts said.
Fretts says that she sources her material (old quilts) from the Niceville Bargain Box, other thrift stores, neighbors and family members. “Most of the quilts that make their way to me are damaged in some way – whether it be decompositon, rips, stains, or water damage,” Fretts said, “I am passionate about preserving the original maker’s work by repairing or using creatve cutting techniques to reshape the quilt into a coat that can be enjoyed for years to come.”