Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Making of Madelyn's Quilt

My sister asked if I would make a blanket for Madelyn's "big girl" bed, so a couple of months ago, I began the process of making this quilt for my niece. This was my first attempt at a big quilting project. I've made several  quilted craft items, and a few patchwork bags, blankets, and tablecloths, but nothing this big.

When I was visiting my family in July, my sister and I went fabric shopping in hopes of finding the perfect fabrics for Madelyn's quilt. Kelly wanted colors to match Madelyn's room which were mostly pink, green, and a little red.

Dolly Dresses 
Fabric line by Holly Holderman for LakeHouse Dry Goods

After going to several fabric and quilt stores and not finding what we wanted, we decided to try our luck online. I came across several different fabrics before Kelly and I decided on the fabric line, Dolly Dresses by Holly Holderman for LakeHouse Dry Goods. I had used LakeHouse fabrics for other projects and absolutely loved the prints and quality. Kelly was drawn to the line because of the pink bunny fabric, bunnies are a favorite of Madelyn and it was perfect to be able to include them into her quilt.

I was like a kid in a candy store picking out which fabrics to order! I used 3 different online quilt stores to get the Dolly Dresses fabrics that I wanted. My favorite quilt shop was The Quilted B. They were wonderful to deal with and even sent me a quilted pin cushion with my order!! Got to love the freebies!

I decided I would make a Rail Fence quilt which is a perfect pattern for beginners like myself. I asked a quilter friend of mine for advice on quilt making and after meeting with her one afternoon, I walked away with many great techniques to help my quilting project go smoothly. I learned so much in the two hours that I spent with her, and knew my project would be a success thanks to her invaluable help.

The first step in my quilt making was cutting the fabrics in to 4inch strips. After the strips were cut I sewed three different fabrics strips together, side by side, making one big strip. Then I used a 10 1/2 inch square ruler to cut the strips into squares.  Once all the squares were cut, it was time to figure out my pattern. I used the living room floor to lay out the 63 squares and played with arranging them until I was happy with the design.

After I figured out the pattern of the squares,I numbered each square with a sticky note so it would save me any confusion while sewing them together.  I sewed squares together, one row at a time, and then sewing the rows together as a new one was completed. Below is the finished top of the quilt.

The next step was pin basting. First I taped the bottom piece of the quilt to the floor, making it taut without wrinkles. Then I placed the cotton batting on top of that, followed by the quilt squares. After the 3 pieces were in place I started pinning. I used about 400 large safety pins to hold the pieces together. The pin basting is what keeps the three pieces of fabric held together, without bunching up while sewing.

When all the pins were in place I started the machine quilting and I chose to "stitch in the ditch."  I thought this would be the easiest technique for me since I would be using my sewing machine which isn't a special quilting machine. The fabric was a little bulky to fit under the sewing machine arm, but I managed it fine, and it was easier than I expected it to be. 

After the three pieces were quilted together, I made the bias. My friend gave me a great print out on how to make and sew quilting bias so this went very smoothly. The tedious part for me was the hand-sewing. The bias is machine sewed on to the front of the quilt but hand-sewed on to the back. It took a good 12 hours to complete the hand sewing. This was hard for me because I'm not a TV watcher, and find it difficult to sit down for long periods of time without being able to multitask. I think if I could have packed the quilt into my suitcase, and worked on it during all of my airport appreciation time, it would have gone faster but unfortunately it was too big to fit into my suitcase. I did, however, take it to a couple of  the boys' piano lessons, and managed to watch a movie or two while stitching. 

And here's the finished quilt!! I also made a matching pillow sham. I didn't have a pattern and had very limited fabric leftover so I did what I could to make it cute.

This is the front of the sham......


And the back.

And here's the "big girl" sitting on her big bed with the new quilt!

Yay! It's done! I enjoyed every part of making it and think I might have caught the quilting bug!!


Steph said...

I *love* it!!!

Esmerelda said...

Very special! You are a great Auntie.

Kelly said...

Great Auntie is a HUGE understatement. :)

We love love love the quilt! Madelyn gets super excited for bedtime now. It's so sweet.

Lisa Leggett said...

Wow! It's fantastic!! You did an amazing job! She'll have that quilt for the rest of her life, and when she has kids of her own, a hundred years from now, she'll tell them, "my auntie made this for me when I was a little girl."

Beautiful work!

Laurie from Amish Country said...

Wow! I stumbled across your blog and added you to my blog roll. I want to save these directions. You did a fabulous job! So beautiful!

Lois Evensen said...

Wow, what a beautiful project! You did a fantastic job. :)

Angie Ochoa said...

Very pretty quilt! I just happened to stumble across your blog. I've only tried small, crib sized quilts, but I'm wanting to try twin size.

Lori W. said...

Very cute!!! Thanks for posting!!!