Els Mommers – Architecture – Saban Cottages

Since we came to live on Saba, years ago, I am in awe of the original Saban cottages with their red roofs, white walls, green shutters and especially the beautiful decorative trims in all different kind of designs called gingerbread. The gingerbread dates back to the Victorian era and was brought to the Caribbean by Europeans.

I painted the blue background and cut out two different freezer paper stencils to create gingerbread trims. The fabric was divided in 4 different panels . On two of them I stenciled the trims and made two more panels with Saban houses with painted trims on it. But it was too hard to get a nice composition,  so I decided to change the lay-out and i.s.o. a cottage I added the first original village sign of Windwardside , a painted hummingbird, trees and flowers.

Technique: stenciling, painting, stamping, appliqué, embroidery, machine-quilting

Materials: Cotton, batting, fabric paint, acrylic paint, freezer paper, wool yarn, chiffon.

Thanks to Heleen Cornet for the use of the drawings of her book: Saban Cottages.

Gingerbread patterns and Windwardsign are from F. Brugmans’ book: The Monuments of Saba.




  1. carolinehiggs

    I love the ‘gingerbread; a lovely glimpse of Saba life with vibrant colours which reflect the climate!

  2. joanbrailsford

    I love the gingerbread details, and the way you have added a shadow really gives a lifelike 3D effect. I am also in awe of your painting skills in adding the hummingbird. Lovely

  3. So pretty! I too have always loved ‘gingerbread’ trim, which can be seen on many old homes here in Canada too — even on those made of brick and sandstone. The Saba cottages are so fresh, crisp and pretty with their red roofs — and the flora and fauna you have added are delightful. 🙂

  4. I like your gingerbread trims too, the first ones I saw were at Niagara on the Lake in Ontario ! the all scene is so illuminated that we can easily imagine how it must be on Saba !
    Bravo !

  5. Such a bright quilt, I am intrigued by the shadow effect. The attention to detail is your trademark. Bravo

  6. English quilter

    What a well researched piece. I would never have associated gingerbread trim with Saba. The painted background with the hummingbirds is beautiful. I love all the tiny details you have incorporated in such a small space.

  7. Els, I love the detail and the color. The two convey the sense of the sea nearby, and the beauty of the buildings.

  8. http://ekeskleurdesign.blogspot.no/

    Tropical colours, nice shadows and a very balanced composition. I understand your love for the gingerbreads, and you designed them beautifully with your stencils.

  9. I too love the Gingerbread detail and the shadow you created. We have a similar trim on old Victorian cottages. The four pieces go well together.

  10. The cottages remind me of my recent holiday with the cottages built for the early French settlers in Akaroa, NZ, I love the lacework on the buildings and your layout. Portrays a lovely sunny day.

  11. Lovely bright colours and lots of detail. I hope your island is really so cheerful.

  12. So nice how you created the shadow of the gingerbread. It looks so real! I also love your details and the hummingbird.
    Some day I will come and see it with my own eyes.

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