I did not plan to make this quilt. I wanted new quilts or comforters for my bedroom but could not justify buying new ones when the old ones were perfectly fine and I was just tired of the way they looked. Then I started searching for the perfect duvet cover. I didn’t see anything I liked. Then I saw quilts I liked in a catalog and thought about making a patchwork design duvet cover. I started dreaming in patchwork and going on line and looking at quilting supplies and fabric. That’s when I got the idea of making quilts for my bedroom using the old comforter as the insides. Have I ever done this before? No. But the Internet is full of blogs and tutorials with information on how to do things. I read and watched videos. A lot of videos. I read books. The main idea I came away with is that a beginner (me) should start small. It was then that I remembered that a baby was due in our family in a few weeks and, if I put the (sewing machine) pedal to the metal, perhaps I could make a baby quilt.
What about the fabric? I knew the little Tater Tot was a boy. I had some great fabric I found at Jo-Mar in Philadelphia, along with some Bohemian Chic style tablecloths bought at deep discount. Not appropriate for a baby boy quilt. So I went looking on line and saw all these kits and jelly rolls and charm packs with gorgeous color coordinated fabric meant to be cut and sewn together. But that didn’t resonate with me. This project wasn’t about recreating someone else’s idea; I wanted to create my own palette and I wanted to recycle fabric. So I bought old clothes at thrift stores, and raided my small fabric stash and closet. A co-worker gave me fabric that belonged to her late aunt who had made baby quilts for her family. That seemed appropriate to use. I brought everything home, washed and dried it, ripped out the seams in the clothes and ironed everything.
Plumpton helped me to “audition” the colors. He took his job seriously!
I decided to make the quilt five (six inch) blocks across and down and to have blocks on both sides. Because I intended to do the quilting on my sewing machine and didn’t have a walking foot, I used a baby blanket for the inner layer. My first step was to cut out 50 blocks, arrange them in two sets of 25 and sew each set together.
One side sewn together.
After I completed both sides, I sandwiched the baby blanket in the middle using spray adhesive to hold everything in place and smoothed out the layers. I put in a few pins for added stability. Then I started to machine quilt. It was here that tips from two friends came in handy. I had watched one video where the quilter started machine quilting from an outside corner. “No,” instructed Jeri Beading Yoda, “You start from the center and go out.” And since I had never machine quilted anything, Susie B recommended I practice on some cheap fabric first. I’m glad I did.
I used a modified zig zag stitch because I knew my quilting was going to be crooked and this stitch would sort of hide that.
After quilting, I trimmed everything square and sewed on the binding.
Here I am machine stitching part of the binding. I did it over about three times before I was happy with it. I ended up machine stitching one side of the binding and hand sewing the other. You can see this technique here.
They say you should sign the quilt, so I did. I thought it was important to mention that I sewed it on a machine that had belonged to baby’s Great Grandmother Vicky. It wasn’t until after I signed the quilt that I remembered that Vicky had made me a beautiful quilted jacket on the very same machine.
Here is the finished baby quilt.