Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Baby Quilt - Finito!

There is something about having a baby that makes me want to sew things I usually have little to no interest in sewing - like a quilt. Don't get me wrong, I think quilting is amazing - they look like works of art. Its just usually not my thing I suppose.

But this little ragamuffin baby inspired me to sew her a little quilt. I began the quilt about 2.5 months ago, my most long-term sewing project to date. To begin, I went to Patchwork House in Hawthorn. I was lucky to choose such a place as the woman working on that day was so patient with me. She helped me choose my five fabrics, work out a size, and suggest a few quilting layouts. She was also wise to make me go home with just the fabrics, and come back when I had sewed them together for the batting and backing fabric.

Using Michael's scientific and logical brain, a design for my squares was settled on, which he then helped me choose where to place each fabric. I then sewed them with the machine. Then I went back to Patchwork House, got some lovely soft organic bamboo batting, and chose a backing fabric. There was a different woman working that day who was equally amazing, and helped me choose thread, and work out a quilting design. And she alerted me to quilting pins - weird curved safety pins that worked a treat. Away I went and did the quilting by hand. I gave myself a significant scab on the tip of my middle finger (I've since bought myself a nice rubber thimble).

Last saturday I went back for the final time and chose some fabric to make bias binding with. Saturday arvo I made the binding, and I started to machine stitch on one side of the binding, using my walking foot on my machine. Sunday arvo/evening I hand-stitched on the other side. That little part took about 3.5 hours - thank goodness for rubber thimbles.

Two intensive washes later, to get rid of my fabric pencil marks from drawing on the quilting design template, I have a 40" by 45" baby quilt ready:

I love it - apart from one thing - there seems to be too much excess fabric pillowing up - maybe I didn't quilt enough or firmly enough? Any quilters out there have any advice? The pillowing seemed to appear after washing, as well as a mild amount of pilling on the blue fabric - I can't imagine why, they are 100% cottons, and were most certainly not cheap (about $26/m).

I still think it looks really pretty, and I'm very proud of it - do you think it's suitable for a little baby girl?


  1. It's beautiful. I love the backing fabric. I'd love to hear more about how you quilted it by hand. I have a quilt top I made, um, over a year ago and I have no clue how to go about the actual quilting part.

  2. I'm a quilting novice, so no advice on the pillowing effect I'm afraid. However, I would like to say that it looks lovely! Your chosen fabric patterns and colours are devine! I'm sure you're little bundle of joy will be very snug in it!

  3. Its beautiful Rachel, funny, I just blogged about a quilt too!

    So much for my guess the other day! I'm thrilled for you to have a daughter, having 2 of them myself.

    As to your sagging issues, I factor that each block in the quilt is about 8 inches, from your dimensions of the total quilt being 40" square. Generally quilting lines should be no more than 2 inches apart. I think the original purpose was the quality of the internal batting - ie. scraps, but also it would stop this type of bagging happening.

    All quilts wrinkle and pucker, and that's why they're beautiful. You could definitely save this by quilting another box inside the squares, echoing the ones you've already done. But I wouldnt bother. I think its perfect. and little Miss Boo Dogg will love it too.

    So much beautiful love energy in a quilt for a baby.


  4. I think it looks lovely, bags and all... Did you pre-wash the fabric? I've heard that sometimes quilters don't because they like how the fabric wrinkles when washed after quilting...

  5. I think it's gorgeous and most definitly suitable for a little girl.I have never attemted a quilt myself but I don't think the pillowing of the fabric matters it looks lovely as it is.

  6. I think it looks lovely. Makes me wish I'd taken up sewing BEFORE my kids came along:-) Ah well, c'est la vie:-) And congratulations on the baby girl/ foetus:-) I have 3 of them myself and they are great fun! My boy will be spoiled rotten by his sisters I am guessing:-)

  7. Such a cute quilt. The colours are lovely. I've always liked the pink and blue combo for a girl's room. All pink is too much.

  8. Quilts are heirlooms - and 'little one' will have this forever Rachel. There are perfect quilts and quilters but I love the imperfect, those that tell a story. I love the quilts women made in the depression using any fabric they had including old blankets, suitcoats, flour bags, whatever.
    The puckering can happen from lots of reasons, not tacking with all layers smooth, not using a frame, not starting quilting from the centre etc and yes quilting lines need to be close together ....but it really does not matter...you have made your own story. Just gorgeous.

  9. The pillowing is probably from the batting shrinking when you washed it. As you haven't got that much quilting on it then it would create a "pillowy" effect rather than a crinkly effect like you get when it's quilted closer together

    "sew red hot"s comment that quilting should be 2 inches apart isn't quite right - there is a minimum amount but it always depends on the batting you use, often it's up to 8-10 inches apart. That's also not going to make a difference to "pillowing" but is to do with how much quilting is needed to stop the batting itself falling apart.

    It should be alright as it is (if you're worried you could call the patchwork house and confirm how close the batting needs to be quilted, but if they helped you with the quilting design they should have thought of that already), and if you're still not happy you can always add another line of quilting in the squares as suggested by sew red hot above.

  10. (I meant, but forgot, to say - the quilt is super cute by the way!)

  11. Absolutely adorable. You did a wonderful job and it's perfect for a baby girl.

  12. Thanks everyone! And thank you for all the suggestions and advice. When I go on maternity leave, I think I might quilt a square inside the other squares, and see how that goes.

    I definitely did a few things wrong, upon reading your tips! I didn't start in the centre and work my way out and I didn't pre-wash the batting. Ah well, it is my first quilt, and a good learning experience!!

    I do want to make another one, but I think I need a break first. But they strike me as good projects to just do a little bit at a time on - maybe perfect for when our new little family is settled into its new routine!

  13. It's lovely Rachel!
    I don't always pre wash my batting but i do pre wash the fabrics. I also like to quilt quite heavily to stop large areas of puckering. Some like to wait until the end to wash to create the puckering on purpose.
    I think your batting shrunk, how did you wash the quilt? Change your washing care depending on the composition of the batting.