Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Quilt

For the past couple of years, I've wanted to have Matthew's clothes turned into quilt.  There are a multitude of problems regarding all of this.  The first was finding someone to do it.  It had to be someone I trusted, I mean these are his clothes, when you don't have very many belongings that were touched and used by someone you miss in a short period of time, what could be a dirty, spit-up stained onesie to someone can be another's treasure. 

So, if I found someone that I trusted to make it, I would need to have them make my vision a reality.  I found a lot of really reputable people who have their own small businesses making memory quilts.  For anywhere from $400 to $1000.  That's a lot of money.  And you have to send your clothes to them, and wait 12+ weeks to get it back.  So, 12 weeks to be sure that you made the right decision.

The more research I did, the more I wanted to try it myself.  But, I was scared.  What if I messed it up?  And I'm not one to practice patience very well.  I mean, I prefer to make the girls things that can be done in a couple of hours. 

So, I decided to take it one step at a time.  I started by choosing which clothes I wanted to use.  There are a few outfits that are my favorites, and Dusty had a couple that were his favorites.  We kept some out and some I put in, especially my favorite sleeper because it was so textured.  We let the girls pick out some (well, Kaitlyn picked out Samantha's) to put on a teddy bear that they could keep and some to make into tiny pillows for them (Dusty's idea).

At this point, I had my clothes picked out and some receiving blankets.  Initially, I had wanted to back it with receiving blankets, but I ended up hating that idea, so I put those away.

I went through each and every outfit I wanted to use and cut out 3" squares from my favorites parts first and then filler pieces through the outfit, trying to use as much as possible.  On several pieces, my favorite part was much bigger than 3", so those I cut 4" with some 3" filler parts.  Then, I saved all the "scraps" from each and every outfit, just in case I find something else I can do with them.  I actually have an idea of making a teddy bear and filling the teddy bear with scraps?  Maybe attaching different snaps and buttons from the outfits to use as eyes and such?

I used card stock to make my squares, then traced them onto the fabric using a air erasable fabric pen.  Did you know that if you go through that whole pile and mark it, then go back the next day to start cutting, and continue it through the following day, many of those marks will have already disappeared?  Lesson learned.

Eventually I had this

Then, came the harder part, well, maybe not harder, more like tedious.  I cut out 3" pieces and 4" pieces of iron on stabilizer to attach to each and every piece.  Halfway through, I re-read the directions on the stabilizer and it said to leave a 1/2" seam allowance.  So, I started doing that.  If I did it all over again, I wouldn't have read those instructions because the ones with the seam allowance were SO much harder to sew together.

Once everything was nice and stable, I started laying out the pieces to decide how I want it to look.  I played and played until I got this.

I then had sneaky little fingers all over the place trying to ruin my fabulous design, so I had to sew it all quickly.  I went row by row and then attached each row until the were all nice and attached securely to eachother.

I decided to use some of my extra squares to make mini ones for each set of grandparents.  I wanted brown backing on ours and decided to do light blue backings on theirs.  I also used premade quilt binding, which took some playing with.

I learned a couple of lessons, the first being I should have binded it a different way, like by pulling the back up and folding it over the front.  I almost wish I would have used fleece on the back?  And I HATE, HATE, HATE the adhesive spray used to hold the layers together.  If I ever use the rest of that overpriced can, I will do it outside, with gloves on and plastic bags on my shoes so not a drop comes in the house.  It really, really sucked.

In the end, I had this

Someone saw a camera and had to get in on the action.

Our two mini ones.

And that, my friends is 500 posts.  Thanks for being a part of it all.


Christina said...

They came out beautifully.

LauraJane said...

These are beautiful. I love the quilt idea, it's a great use of his clothing and memorable as well. :)