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Style & Design

Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): 'Parks and Recreation' prop master Gay Perello's five favorite pieces of the year

(Page 5 of 5)


5. Leslie’s Unity Quilt

One of my favorite props I have ever made is Leslie’s Unity Quilt. Leslie wants to unify her family with Ben’s family, so each square of the quilt had to represent a family member including Ben and Leslie. Everything from picking out the fabric to coming up with ideas for each square was a blast. Even though you can think of many things that connect them, the image has to be quickly recognized and not too detailed. Working with writers and showing them samples of ideas was the first process. Also, deciding how big it should be and what style and color palette.

Once that was decided, I hired a great sewer who I knew could make this quickly but still have the homemade look and feel of a real quilt. She and I worked around the clock, cutting out patterns and elements for the squares. We used some short cuts with embroidery, but mostly it is handmade.

We had to have a square that gets written on (made into a happy face) and later gets cut off the quilt. I chose a waffle as the square because that would be easiest for Amy to draw on and quickly look like a smiley face due to the round shape.

Jeanie Joe, my seamstress, sewed Velcro around the square and made six backup squares for us to replace on set for each take. It worked flawlessly.

One of the squares, Smallest Park [the place where Ben and Leslie decide to reunite and take their relationship public] — I was told that it would never read on camera. I beg to differ, and it’s my favorite square, even though we ran out of time and they are missing their feet.

Read more:
Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): Inside ‘The Debate’ episode of ‘Parks and Recreation’
EW’s Complete Best & Worst of 2012 coverage
More Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes) coverage

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