In the last year I have found myself increasingly obsessed with fabrics, so I’ll be posting periodically on sewing projects (if you see something you love, feel free to contact me if you want a piece made!). Until the fall, I hadn’t sewn in a long time, or sewn properly for that matter, and I found excellent inspiration for stylish and simple to more complex projects in Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts. I have sewn a couple of baby quilts in the past, but never with proper instruction or finishing; this book provided all the basics to help me create a beautiful big girl quilt with the right finishing touches for Laurel’s transition from crib to big girl bed.
I love the clever construction of Last Minute’s Summer Breeze quilt, which creates the illusion of lots of individually pieced contrast blocks, but in less time. Given Laurel’s love of color (when I told her I was going to make a quilt, she asked whether it would have all the colors of the rainbow), I adjusted the fabric usage to include 6 instead of 4 contrast fabrics. But despite using more patterns, I also wanted to convey peacefulness (for sleeping time!) and nature. Luckily, I was able to find fabrics that met those parameters at the Cambridge Quilt Shop. The staff was unbelievably patient and supportive as I pulled down countless bolts of fabric and obsessed over the various combinations. I managed to find a lovely yet gentle (and yellow toned, Laurel’s favorite color) chestnut pattern for the main fabric, and then groovier modern floral/leaf patterns for the contrasting pieces.
The ultimate result is five columns (1, 3, and 5 in contrast fabric pieces; 2 and 4 in main fabric; you can see columns 1, 2, and 3 – partially – in the photo above). I followed the pattern to properly finish the quilt with a double-fold binding, which was time consuming but absolutely beautiful and professional looking. I also used another idea in the book and created a printed fabric label that read: “To Laurel, A special big girl quilt for my special big girl. Love, Mama, November 2007” As if I wasn’t already emotional about the project to begin with!
Laurel loves her big girl quilt and I am thrilled that she will get many years of use out of it. I also am grateful that Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts has fueled my sewing bug so effectively; I’ll be posting some more projects I have completed from this book, and then plan on heading to the drawing board to start designing some of my own.
UPDATE 1/25/08: Couple of useful project notes. I got the batting and label materials from Jo-Ann.com. I was really excited to see that they have a line of eco-friendly battings (made of PLA, a corn-based fiber!). I don’t have enough experience testing out different batting brands to say whether this is the Best Batting Ever, but the Eco-Friendly 100% PLA Batting worked fine for me and I’m using it again for another quilt project.
To make the label I used Electric Quilt Printables InkJet Fabric Sheets. They worked beautifully and easily. I’ll be posting soon on some other projects where I have used these sheets.