how to make a quilt (jen style)

Friday, October 16, 2009

1. Browse crafty quilting blogs for months, looking for inspiration.
2. Drool over all the really amazing fabrics that are out there to choose from.
3. Decide that you must start making a quilt. today. right now.
4. Drive to the Wal-Mart in the next town, since there are NO fabric stores in your town, and you've heard this WM is nicer than the one in your town.
5. Search WM high and low for fabric.
6. Find none, as for some reason WM has gotten rid of it's fabric department.
7. Fume.
8. Head to Goodwill.
9. Get 4 or 5 100% cotton mens shirts and a bed sheet.
10. Make quilt!

Okay, so I did eventually drive to Columbia to get fabric for the back and the binding, but the front of this quilt is made from old shirts and pillowcases and a bed sheet! If I don't immediately follow through on a creative urge, it never gets done. Heck, even when I do follow through on a creative urge, if it's something that takes more than an afternoon, it often doesn't get done.

Enough about my process. I finally gave the quilt to my dear friend (whose baby is only a few weeks away from arriving!).

So I can share the pics with you :)

1. Choose your pattern. I decided on the a baby sized stacked coin quilt. Inspiration aplenty is on Flickr. There's also a tutorial from Moda.

2. Choose your fabrics. I didn't really follow any one tutorial or set of directions. Just used my graphic design "skills" and a bit of math to figure out how many pieces to cut how large. Mom & Dad weren't finding out ahead of time if it's a girl or boy, so I tried to go generic without going the pea green & sunshine yellow route.

3. As I found out later, it pays to be really, really precise in your cutting. For the most part, I did good. A few times, though, my pieces were too small. I thought I'd just do smaller seams to make up the difference. It was a pain. And nothing lined up, really. But I didn't mind. And I don't think the baby will, either.

4. Lay out your pieces, try to make it look random yet balanced, then take a picture. The picture helped me keep sewing things together in the right order.

5. Don't lose your glasses. I'm officially old enough to need them for sewing and sometimes reading. How did that happen?

6. Basting a baby-sized quilt wasn't so bad. Not sure how I'll do if I ever graduate to a full-sized quilt!

7. Quilt it! This was actually fun. I didn't even try to keep my lines straight. I think this is my favorite part of quilting…the texture that the actual quilting process gives to the blanket. I used clear thread, since my front was so light and my back was so dark. I didn't really want the thread color to be showing. Though I sometimes like that look. My walking foot was vital to this step.

8. The binding wasn't all that bad. I used Heather Bailey's tutorial for this. I'm not great at the hand sewing part of it, but hopefully I'll improve with time.

9. Hunt around for a cute quilt model. Good thing for me, I live with one!

10. You have a quilt! Now wrap it up and give it away!

So, from the first photo I took of my materials to the final photo of the finished quilt, it was 3 months and 10 days. Somewhere in there, you just may find yourself waiting to get the right materials/tools for part of the quilt (my walking foot), so you'll have time to make a matching bib.


Anonymous said...

I just spent 4 hours working on a baby quilt today...and decided to have cider & a cookie and look at blogs to transit before starting dinner.. and you post about a quilt! I'm combining a front & back from 2 different baby quilt books and will finish the back tomorrow. Then on to the front (less to piece) and then to the quilting & binding. I'm a little intimidated by the binding - so I might call if I get stuck.

What is the walking foot? Do I need one? Are they pricey?

Also have inspiration from a book called Sewing Green - want to make pajama bottoms this week as well....we'll see how the inspiration flows!


Victoria said...

That was AWESOME! Though, I don't plan on following through with any of that soon.

Was that "Wilson" from Home Improvement? Didn't know he lived with you guys. :)

Dave said...

No that was me blowing my nose


Victoria said...

Um, IF I ever have another baby & you make a quilt - don't let Dave anywhere NEAR it!!!!!!


becky said...

It's beautiful! You are so inspiring. I remember when I used to do all that stuff. Mom used to make some awesome quilts too. Maybe I should get back into sewing...I can see it now...dogs stealing pieces!

jen said...

hey, hey, the gang's all here…just like old times :)

Andrea…sending you an email.

Vicki…I won't let him blow his nose on a quilt for you!

Becky…you should start sewing again!! You would need a non-dog room to dedicate to it, though!

Christina said...

So impressed!!!! You did a great job and it's beautiful. PS stinkin cute bib too by the way! Missin u!!! xoxox

Anonymous said...

I am wishing we lived close by and I could come over and learn some of this stuff from you! I am making a wool quilt (have been working on it since last spring!), but it is not going to look a fraction as amazing as yours. It will mostly be practical. I wish I could ask you for creative advice and tips.

I love your purses (from the other post), too!