One of my husband's cousins recently lost a baby to stillbirth, and the cousins sister asked if I could make a quilt for them. As with most tragedies, this was totally unexpected and we wanted to get the quilt to their family as soon as possible, but still make sure that it would be special.
This quilt was so fast to do that I was able to get it done in less than a day, including the embroidery on the corner square.
We wanted this quilt to seem like a baby quilt, but be large enough for older brother and sister to snuggle with for comfort. We also wanted to represent the whole family, so we chose pinks and blues since the baby girl who passed away has an older brother and sister.
And we added the parent's names carved into the tree with the children's names higher up in the tree.
To make a similar quilt, you'll need:
1/4 yard of 9 different fabric (Fat quarters work great too)
1/2 yard binding fabric
2 yards backing fabric
60" x 60" Package of Nature-Fil Bamboo Blend Batting
Basting Spray (Optional)
Or since I was using fabric on hand and only had 6 prints to work with, I doubled up on some of the prints. Basically, you'll need 2 1/4 yards of fabric from the quilt front in 1/4 yard increments. I do NOT prewash my fabrics. Instead I make my quilt and wash the quilt after. This gives is a charming worn and antiqued look. I generally have not have problems with fabrics bleeding as long as I remove the quilt promptly from the washing machine.
The finished side of this quilt is 42 1/2 inches by 59 1/2 inches.
When choosing fabrics consider:
Consider both the scale of your prints as well as the colors when choosing fabrics. For a quilt with large blocks like this, you're going to want 1 or 2 prints with a large scale. For me, that's the Wander Woods print with the children, trees, and deer. Each square of those squares is a picture on it's own and there is no repeat within the square. I used both a pink and a blue version of the Wander Woods print.
Then choose a few medium scale prints. For me, that was the print with the fireflies in the jars. The print is large enough that you can see the pictures from a distance, but there are some repeats within each square.
Then you'll want to choose some prints that are "blenders" or look like solids from a distance. For me that was the bright pink and blue squares. When you look closely there is a lot of fun visual texture with leaves and twigs, but from a distance they look almost like solids. You NEED several prints like this in a quilt to keep it from looking too busy...but if you have too many prints like this, the quilt can look a little flat.
It can also help to choose some bright and some lighter prints to give variety.
All of the fabrics I used came from the Wee Wander line by Sarah Jane Studios for Michael Miller Fabrics. I picked mine up from several different shops when I find them on sale. They're still widely available in local fabric shops and Fabric.com has most of them.
Each 1/4 yard of fabric will give you 4 9-inch squares. Use a rotary cutter and ruler if you have one. The more accurately you cut your squares, the better you corners will match up.
Arrange your Squares:
Lay your squares out in a 5x7 arrangement. You'll end up with one extra squares. I prefer to have my squares look random, but balanced. Check to make sure your brightest and most striking squares are fairly evenly spaced.
Sew your blocks together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance and press seams. (I prefer to press mine open. Some quilters press to the side.) Pin at the corners to ensure they match.
Layer and Baste
I prefer to use basting spray to baste my quilts for machine sewing. It's really fast and easy. On a protected surface lay out your batting. Then lay your quilt top over it smoothing it. Pull your quilt top back to the middle and spray the batting with basting spray. (Be sure your surface is protected from overspray.) Resmooth your quilt top starting from the middle and working out to the sides. Repeat for the other side of your quilt top. Trim batting even with quilt top. Turn the quilt top over and repeat for the quilt back.
This size quilt is quite manageable on your how machine, especially if you've used basting spray. You can quilt along the seam lines, but I like the look of diagonal lines through the squares.
Cut 5 3-inch strips of your binding fabric. Sew three of them end to end. Press the strips in half the long way.
Use the two short pieces for the top and bottom binding of the quilt. Line both raw edges of the binding up with the raw edge of the quilt. Sew with a 3/8” seam the binding to the top of the quilt, sewing through the binding and all three layers of the quilt and trim even with the top and bottom of your quilt.
Fold binding around to the back. Pin. Stitch “in the ditch” from the top of the quilt through to catch the binding on the back.Repeat to attach binding to sides of the quilt, except cut the binding and extra ½ inch long on both ends, so you can fold under the raw edges before stitching.
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