Sunday, August 30, 2009

First Blog and Quilt Made Out of Baby Clothes

Hi! I'm Anne and this is the first post of my quilting blog. I have loved viewing blogs for new quilting ideas and see what amazing things people are doing with fabric. I've been quilting for over 10 years, mostly baby quilts for friends.

I was just in San Diego visiting an old friend and found myself returning with a carry-on bag full of her 2 boy's old baby clothes with the task of making 2 keepsake quilts for her family. I wish I had taken more pictures of the process b/c it was my messiest project yet. How they make baby clothes out of knits is boggling to me as this fabric was very difficult to work with. I am not a perfectionist quilter. If I had been. I think there is more I would have done to stabilize the material (like stabilizer?) but in the end I really liked the way it came out and think the sentimental value will overshadow the quilting imperfections.
To start, I divided the clothes into those with feature objects and those for borders. I "fussy" cut out the features with as much extra surrounding fabric as the clothes would allow. Then I cut up the border fabric clothes, just cutout off the seams and edges to get pieces of usable fabric as large as possible.
Above are the finished squares. I looked at the size of the largest feature object for the square center then added 2" to arrive at a block size of 8" cut, 7.5" finished. I saved very large objects for the back stripe. Realising the fabric is not as easy to work with as quilter's cotton and I because I didn't want to do any more measuring, I cut a fabric 8" square templates. I used a cheap sheet from Kmart that was fairly thin. Then I pinned the feature object to the middle of the fabric template and just lined up border fabric so it framed the picture nicely. You can see that each border is a different size. After sewing each side of the border I trimmed the fabric to the size of the template. This way I did not have to measure and cut my border fabrics, which would have been a disaster with these knits. Some block came out a little uneven and had some mild rippling at the seams. I tried using spray starch to no avail. If I did this again I would try ironing a light weight stabilizer to the border knits before sewing.
I used a walking foot to sew the blocks together, which helped a lot with minimizing the bunching. 1/4 inch seam. The seams were thick b/c of the knit fabric and template layer. I used the thinnest quilters cotton craft batting and that was enough to not feel the seams, though overall with the knits, batting and flannel backing it's a pretty heavy weight quilt and would work better as a wall hanging than usable quilt. Next time I would add a hanging sleeve before doing the binding.

The finished quilts!

I stitched in the ditch around the outside of the blocks only. The binding is from their baby blankets.

The back included a strip made from some of the larger fabrics placed between the flannel swaddle blankets they were sent home from the hospital with.

And some close-ups of the blocks... a nice way to remember the boys from their baby years.

Well, I send them off tomorrow. I'll miss them but know they'll be loved.

Happy Quilting!


  1. I don't think your friend is going to notice (or be bothered) by any of the
    "imperfections." These are wonderful keepsakes and so perfectly sentimental (those kids had pretty groovy outfits, too!)

  2. Making a memory quilt is nice! You can start with the newborn baby clothes up to the time when your baby is a year old. My mom made me one when I got married. It really made me smile! I am also planning to do the same with my own kids in the future.

    Jerri Washam