Type of item: Functional
Style: Whimsical, Casual, Eco-Friendly, Cute
The baby clothes my daughter wore from birth to one year of age, hospital wraps, batting, backing fabric and thread.
What was your inspiration?
Like many mothers I felt attached to my little girls baby clothes and hospital wraps, and wanted to hold onto them. But I also realised that it was pointless keeping them tucked away where I would never see them anyway. So I decided to make a quilt from them. It was painful cutting them up at first but my daughter (who is now 3.5) still enjoys all the cute pictures, frills, pockets etc so it has definitely made it worthwhile. I also enjoy fond memories when I look at the fabric. I occasionally hide a treat inside a pocket or two for her to find and she loves it.
As for the design, I started out by randomly sewing bits together, making sure that I included lots of points of interest by incorporating in the frills and pockets from the clothes rather than just the motifs. Once I'd done a couple of sections I came up with the people design across the centre and the squares down each side to give it a sense of balance and make it a little less random. Having said that, its still pretty random and busy to look at! For a long while after I finished this I didn't consider if to be a real quilt because I had slapped it together so haphazardly.
What are you most proud of?
That I managed to sew together all those tricky fabrics that were extremely daunting to quilt with. Most of it was stretchy, and a lot of the winter clothes were very thick. It washes up great though when I chuck it in the machine time and time again, and I'm proud to have made a quilt that caries so many memories. I am currently working on one for my son; it is of course a completely different design to this one though!
What advice would you give someone starting this project?
I've since been told that stabilizing fabrics with light weight fusible interfacing before you cut them makes stretchy fabrics easier to work with. Stretchy fabric can also continue to stretch and end up ballooning out if you have large, unstitched areas. The interfacing also helps to eliminate this problem. Luckily this wasn't an issue for me because most of my fabric pieces were quite small.
Be aware that it is also very difficult to get nice tidy corners and seams when you are sewing together fabrics of radically different thicknesses and textures. Let it go; your little one is not going to care :)'
My main object when I did this quilt was to make as many points of interest for my daughter as possible. I succeeded in that but it does tend to give adult eyes a headache! I could have calmed it down a lot by making the entire central design rows of people. Looking back, I sort of wish I'd done this. But maybe that's an idea for another day...