The 10 most “Poirot” fabrics you’ve EVER seen

I’m a multi-crafter. As quilting is one of my many hobbies, I enjoy hunting for fabrics in unusual themes and motifs that are of interest to me. Poirot has been no exception.

If making Poirot-themed throw quilts is too strange for you (and why should it be? I’m on my fourth or fifth one), perhaps you’ve been thinking of sewing up a tote bag or laptop cover. Why not make one that reminds you of your Agatha Christie interests?  🙂

My criteria for selecting the following fabrics for this post was that each one must represent at least two things that point to Poirot. All fabrics are 100% cotton. I can’t promise that you can necessarily track them all down, but I’ll provide information to help you with your own searching. One or two of these fabrics are somewhat dubious copyright-wise, and one or two aren’t for sale at all. But I hope all will inspire you as fabric-loving Poirot fans.  😉

1.) “Ladies and Gentlemen” fabric by David Textiles

For generic fabric, it hardly gets more Poirot-esque than this black-and-cream fabric. The texts say: “A gentleman is always well-groomed” (moustache), “A gentlman is always well-dressed” (hat and wing collar), “A gentleman is always well-prepared” (umbrella), and “A gentleman is always well-mannered” (hand writing courteous notes). I think you’ll agree that this is Poirot all over! I used this fabric, cut into strips, for my A.B.C. Murders quilt top.

2.) “Longfellow” by Windham Fabrics

I stumbled upon this particular print from the “Longfellow” line while searching for fabric with magnifying glasses (not easy). This one, representing some gentleman-scholar’s desk, features several things suggestive of Poirot: the glass, the pocket watch, old books, maps, and correspondence. The “Longfellow” line also has two other coordinating fabric prints with only pocket watches all over.

3) “Poirot Words” by Kelly Klages (Spoonflower)

I created this fabric– also in black on white– via Spoonflower for personal use (a.k.a., not for sale, sorry). At first glance they are just random French words and expressions, but careful Christie readers know that they are all very Poirot-esque utterances. I used a font reminiscent of that used in the television series. This fabric gets used in just about all of my Poirot projects.  🙂

4.) Moustache batik

I have no information on this multi-color batik fabric, but I was genuinely astonished at how POIROT it was. Many such moustache prints will throw in a motif or two that is not suggestive of our favourite Belgian, such as a pipe or hipster glasses. But this fabric stays so Poirot that you wonder if they didn’t actually have him in mind when designing it.

5.) “Murder on the Orient Express” fabric, by scrummy (Spoonflower)

This Spoonflower custom fabric obviously takes a lot of its imagery from the Albert Finney Orient Express film. The references to Christie and the novel are overwhelming, and include the title, Poirot, the train, the suspects, a view of Istanbul, the murder weapon, a newspaper clipping about the Armstrongs, the last words of the book, the clues, etc etc.

6.) “Poppy Lane” by Timeless Treasures

I love this particular retro advertising fabric in the “Poppy Lane” line, as it gives a nice, 1920s kind of setting to a Poirot project. I used it for this throw pillow. Some of the line drawings are rather art nouveau, and the fancy restaurant and car make you feel like you’re stepping right into Christie’s London. Some of the ads are in French, too. And I find that the black, white, and red go very well with many other fabrics I’ve found for these kinds of projects. These sorts of fabrics are really not easy to find.

7.) “Toile de Christie” fabric by artgarage (Spoonflower)

This Spoonflower fabric is fun because you can spy ALL of Christie’s famous sleuths– Poirot, Marple, Tommy and Tuppence. Yet it’s very subtle and doesn’t scream the fact to high heaven.

8.) “Gentleman’s Club” by Fabscraps

The “Gentleman’s Club” line (available in three colorways, if you can track it down) has a variety of vintage prints, but I like this one the best. It portrays an assortment of fancy waistcoats, with French script in the background.

9.) “Poirot” by erinejanosik (Spoonflower)

This Spoonflower fabric shows imagery that was most obviously taken from the television series. Shown are (Suchet’s) Poirot, the silver-topped swan cane, the vase brooch, a cigarette case, pince-nez, a tisane glass, and a quote from The Mysterious Affair at Styles.

10.) Assorted moustache fabrics by Riley Blake

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For #10, I’m breaking my rule about only showing fabrics with two or more Poirot characteristics to bring you my personal favorite of all-moustache fabrics. Riley Blake’s come in a vast array of variation, including black-on-white, multi-color, tiny white on red, and tiny pink on grey. Very fun, colorful, and versatile!

Prize giveaway: pocket watch pendants!

Hi all! Inspired by the Etsy seller whose merchandise I previously blogged about here, I decided to make a few “Christie text” pieces of my own. I offer two samples here for a prize giveaway– a 24″ ball chain necklace with a magnetic-opening, glass-faced pocket watch pendant, and a small pocket watch key fob. Both feature text from pages of a real vintage Poirot novel (sorry, book purists). The larger pendant measures about 1 3/4″, by the diameter of the silver circle, and I’m including a few charms that you can keep in or take out as you like– a key, a tiny enameled moustache, and five faceted emerald beads. The text of the key chain pendant is covered with a protective acrylic dome. The winner gets BOTH. Fun!

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To enter this prize giveaway, all you have to do is share one of your favorite Poirot photos, here or on Twitter (in reply to contest tweet). Do this any way you like, even if you can only link to one you find online. It can be from the television series or something else– artwork, an original Christie cover, Albert Finney, whatever you’d like. Next Saturday, I will draw a name at random from the entries. You’ve got one week!

Good luck!  🙂

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New quilt top, inspired by The A.B.C. Murders

Because you can never have enough Poirot-themed quilts…  🙂

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This black-and-white fabric below was so Poirot, I just had to get it. The phrases above the symbols read: “A gentleman is always well-groomed,” “A gentleman is always well-dressed,” “A gentleman is always well-prepared,” and “A gentleman is always well-mannered.” That’s Poirot to a tee, is it not??  🙂

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The fabrics of red and charcoal squares repeat “A B C” and feature lots of typewriters, one of which features importantly in the book. And the black “French phrases” fabric was my own custom design.

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A new prize giveaway!

It’s been a little while since the last giveaway, so I thought I’d make something new to send to some lucky Agatha Christie fan out there. How about a set of six handmade notecards? These cards come in a variety of colors on nice-quality cardstock with blank white interiors and envelopes. Assorted French greetings pop off the luxuriously-moustachioed paper background, while shining platinum frames add just a touch of glitz.  🙂

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To have a shot of winning, just reply to this blog post or message me on Twitter to tell me your favorite Poirot short story. I’ll enter your name, and on Thursday next I’ll draw a winner. It’s as simple as that!

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Another Poirot quilt!

Or, at least a pieced-together quilt top. I’ve yet to actually get it quilted up. Anyway, here it is, in all its moustachioed glory. As always it is (of course) very square.  🙂

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You can see that I once again used my specially-designed Spoonflower fabric, featuring many of Poirot’s trademark French phrases, as corner blocks.

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It probably sounds crazy, but I have at least two other distinctly Poirot-themed quilts still in the back of my mind to create…

Partners in Crime… and a new prize giveaway!

What Poirot blog would be complete without a nod to the other books by Agatha Christie that feature Hercule Poirot as a fictional character? I’ll start with what is probably my favorite non-Poirot Christie: the Tommy and Tuppence collection, Partners in Crime.

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Tommy and Tuppence stories are always a treat because, despite certain moments of implausibility when things sometimes get a little international-spy-crazy, the two main characters are simply SO well drawn and interact so wonderfully. The stories tend to be light-hearted and hilariously funny, and anything farfetched just adds to the fun. Partners in Crime has some aspects of unique brilliance: the two main characters are posing as a fake detective agency while solving genuine mysteries, and for inspiration, they choose to solve each case in the style and idiom of different fictional detectives. It’s really a great way for Christie to show off her talent and a treat for mystery-lovers to see her characters tackle the modi operandi of their favorite sleuths!

The major Poirot book reference is that of The Big Four, though Poirot fanatics may also notice nods to Roger Ackroyd and more. The little grey cells are mentioned fairly early in Partners in Crime, but the very last chapter of the book is reserved for a case solved in the style of Hercule Poirot. It’s called “The Man Who Was No. 16,” in reference to “The Man Who Was No. 4.”

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‘So it is,’ said Tuppence. She lowered her voice impressively. “This is our last case. When they have laid the superspy by the heels, the great detectives intend to retire and take to beekeeping or vegetable marrow growing. It’s always done.’

‘Well, sir, why not use your little grey cells, and see what you can do.’
‘It’s easier to use your little grey cells in fiction that it is in fact, my boy.’

‘He is the 4 squared– in other words, he is now the No. 16. You comprehend, my friend?’
‘Perfectly,’ said Tuppence. ‘You are the great Hercule Poirot.’
‘Exactly. No moustaches, but lots of grey cells.’
‘I’ve a feeling,’ said Tuppence, ‘that this particular adventure will be called the “Triumph of Hastings.”‘
‘Never,’ said Tommy. ‘It isn’t done. Once the idiot friend, always the idiot friend. There’s an etiquette in these matters. By the way, mon ami, can you not part your hair in the middle instead of one side? The present effect is unsymmetrical and deplorable.’

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Speaking of that last quote: if you like the book, you might also need the audio book. Read by Hugh Fraser, it’s almost worth it solely to hear the voice of Hastings himself call his own long-standing character “the idiot friend.” 🙂  There’s another reason to love this particular audio book– it features a bonus interview with Fraser in which he waxes eloquent about the challenges of recording about a million audio books (I forget exactly how many hours he’s recorded, but it’s insanely impressive), the technique of Agatha Christie, working on the show, and other fun stuff.

Now to the prize giveaway…

This one is a little bit girly, I suppose, but I can’t help occasionally making girly things. I dabble in crafting as well as the fine arts. In honor of Christie’s Partners in Crime, I offer you a pair of bracelets, embellished by yours truly… one to keep, and one to share with your favorite partner in crime. If bracelets aren’t your thing personally, the pair of them would make a great gift for any girl. They are 7.5″ and extend to 8.5″, and they feature two halves of a “partners in crime” heart, tiny key charms, and some of my favorite sea-glass-colored iridescent beads.

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I’ll ship these anywhere in the world. To win the pair of them, just share this blog post on Twitter or Facebook and send me your name. I’ll pull a name from a hat next Wednesday and announce the winner.  🙂  Bonne chance!

Poirot-themed quilt top

Anyone who knows me well knows that I like to art-and-craft in a wide variety of media and styles. So making a Poirot-inspired lap quilt seemed like an inevitability. When this thing’s done and quilted up, one can read or watch Poirot in quilt-y comfort while sipping a hot chocolate. Is not that a beautiful and consoling thought?

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It is true that the floral batik is not the most Poirot-esque of fabrics, but I had all the other fabrics I wanted to use in hand already, and thought that one would help pull together the dark multi-color batik of the sashing and the ivory-and-brown tones of the pocket watch fabric. As it stood, I felt the black and white would clash too much with the off-white and browns. I suppose I could have found a fabric that used brown, black, and white and pulled it together that way, but I didn’t want to leave the quilt in that color scheme. I like colorful quilts. It’s busy, but the black-and-white pieces pop and the rest is colorfully muted. Works well enough for me.  🙂

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Naturally, the quilt is very square-oriented and symmetrical. Particularly fun was using the black-and-white custom-printed pieces which I designed via Spoonflower, with many of Poirot’s most typical French phrases. I’m still contemplating whether to add a little moustache in the dead center.

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“Agatha Christie”-themed paper snowflake cutouts

Well, why not?? Nothing says “first snowfall of the year” like curling up with a hot beverage and your favorite Agatha Christie.

Hence, I present you with some Christie-themed paper snowflake cutouts!

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Okay, that’s about the only logical connection I can make between those tiny, delicate, fractalized bits of winter fluff and murder most foul. I’ve made oddly-themed paper snowflake cut-outs before, so I just thought I’d give this theme a try, too. Not recommended for general Christmas decoration, but hey, for a wintery murder mystery party…? Or, you know, just to freak out your husband.  🙂

The technique for folding and cutting a standard 6-point snowflake is pretty common, but the specific designs here are my own. You’re welcome to use them if you want to; they are universally free for anyone crazy enough to want to try this project. I include specific instructions for cutting out the Poirot design below.

First, gather your materials: an X-Acto knife, a very sharp pair of scissors (I like the Cutter Bee scissors by EK Tools), a metal ruler (optional), a pencil, and a piece of paper. You want paper that is relatively thin but not tissue-y, as you’ll need to cut small pieces of it with your knife. Origami paper would doubtless work well; I like using plain white paper from the printer. A piece of paper that is too small will be more difficult to fold and cut through.

1.   Fold paper diagonally to make your large triangle; if your paper is not already square, trim the excess rectangle using the ruler and your X-Acto knife. Scissors work, too.

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2.   Fold triangle in half again.

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3.   Now you’re going to fold this triangle into “thirds,” keeping the center point of your square as the bottom point of your folded paper. It takes a little practice to learn where to make your alignments along that top edge. Steps 3 and 4 go together, so take a look at the photos…

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4.   …And after you’ve folded the right corner up, fold the left side over so that it’s lined up along the far edge. You want the outer edges as closely and compactly lined up with each other as possible.

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5.   Next, you’re going to cut off the top part, going through ALL the layers (if you peek on the reverse side, you’ll see where all the layers are) at an angle. It doesn’t matter at which angle you cut; different cuts give different results.

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6.   Here’s where your snowflake design begins to differ from the standard snowflake– the cutouts you draw need to be only on the top part of the design. Leave plenty of space underneath. This is the design I used for the Poirot snowflake.

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7.   Cut out the design with scissors (or the knife, too, if you have any fiddly bits you’re adding in) and unfold.

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8.   Here’s where the secret of the designs come in, the element particularly dear to the heart of Poirot. You’ve been using radial symmetry (the sort that flowers have, for example) to make the snowflake. You’re now going to finish the design using bilateral symmetry (the sort of mirror-reflection symmetry that the human face has). In this case, we’ll do Poirot’s face.

I would recommend that, whichever design you choose to use or invent, to sketch out the whole thing first to get an idea of what you want the finished product to look like. Then fold your drawing in half to get a more accurate idea of what “half an image” should look like before you sketch it into the snowflake. I didn’t use any picture or model for my Poirot face, although I’ve drawn Suchet’s Poirot so many times I can probably render it in my sleep by now. This doesn’t matter– with the right clothes and moustache, the guy in your snowflake WILL be Poirot. Anyway, this is a paper snowflake, not a formal exhibit piece.  🙂

Fold the snowflake in half, the top point facing straight up. Line up the points as closely as you can before creasing, but don’t worry if they don’t align perfectly. Draw your design on, and any additional cutouts you want to add to the design.

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9.   Carefully, carefully cut the design out with both scissors and your knife. Use scissors wherever possible, if you’ve got a good, small, sharp pair. In that larger area unreachable by scissors, I cut a small hole with the knife, and then finished the job with my little scissors. The eye and the wing collar were the only parts I needed to cut exclusively with the knife.

Unfold… and voilà! What facial symmetry!

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There you have it… paper snowflakes suitable for a snowy evening of murder and mystery!