Hi Angel! Have you gotten to meet baby Francis yet? From the pics I've seen, he is such a cutie pie! I was so surprised to find out that our friend Kristina gave birth to a second baby boy. I was convinced she was pregnant with a girl this time. Good thing I waited until after the birth to go fabric shopping for my little gift! I sewed, finished and mailed it last week, and the post office website just confirmed K received it yesterday, so I think it's safe to blab all about it!
To welcome Francis, I decided to make a baby quilt. I know, I know, I already have a quilt in progress, but in my mind, this was going to be a quick and easy project. Plus, gifts take priority over personal projects.
Here's a glimpse of the finished project (fresh out of the dryer):
Let me first tell you about my inspiration. I put together my quilt "pattern" from seeing this Road Trip Quilt by Cluck Cluck Sew and this Boy Quilt by Noodlehead. While I tried to use stash fabric for some of the coordinating prints, I did go shopping at one of my local fabric shops, The Quilting Loft in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, to find a central "theme" print and a couple of good coordinating prints. I also purchased a soft, simple flannel for the backing at Joann's.
For my "theme" print, I chose Teeny Tiny Zoo in Chocolate, by Alexander Henry. I'd never seen that colorway before! I love how it's boyish without being the traditional blue and cars/trains/soccer balls. Here it is along with the collection of prints I assembled to go with it. I ended up not using that bright orange solid, too much!
Shortly after making my fabric purchase, I saw this Simple Modern Baby Quilt by Oh Fransson. I took it as a good omen that my favorite quilter had just worked with the same print! I think I like her coordinating choices a bit better than mine. Oh well.
This quilt was so straightforward to make and was completed (start to finish) in about 5 days' worth of my kiddo's naps (average 3 hours). So roughly 15 hours total. I will take you through each day's steps.
I decided the final size of the quilt would be determined by the 2 yards of flannel when washed and shrunk. For piecing the front, I simply cut the fabric (in its original width) into a bunch of strips:
- one 1/4 yard (9 inches) and two 1/8 yards (4.5 inches) of the theme print;
- two or three 1/8 yards (4.5 inches) and 1/16 yards (2.25 inches) of each of the coordinating fabrics.
I started to sew all the strips together in an order I had roughly pre-arranged in my little notebook. I sewed everything with a 1/4 inch allowance. It was super fast. I got about a third of the sewing done after the cutting during that first day.
On the second afternoon, I finished sewing all my strips together. The length wasn't exactly what I'd had in mind, so I cut a few more strips and added them on each end. Based on the little feet I see in the picture below, I believe this was a very short nap day, so I did this work with the munchkin running around. I ironed all the seams to one side on the back, then ironed the top nice and flat. And I trimmed the edges on the quilt front. That was about all I could get done that day.
It was time to assemble all my layers: quilt top, cotton batting, flannel backing. Instead of basting the whole quilt prior to quilting, I "table-top basted" it, which means I just flattened and pinned the quilt's layers in increments, basically whatever would fit on my dining room table. I quilted that increment, then went back to basting the following increment, etc.
For quilting, I simply sewed straight lines 1/8 inch from each seam, top-stitching over the seam allowance on the back. Again, super fast! You can see the big tube of rolled quilt on the right on my sewing machine foot as I reached the end of the quilting.
Here's the whole thing quilted.
I then trimmed all the edges nice and straight and perpendicular to each other.
Time to make the bias tape for binding, the dreaded task in this project... I used some Kona Cotton in Chocolate, which I cut diagonally in 2-inch strips, sewed together then ironed through my one-inch bias tape maker.
I opened it, and pinned it flush with the edges of the quilt. Then one edge at a time, I sewed right into the first fold.
I ironed that seam nice and flat, then folded the binding over and pinned it very carefully -- keeping in mind I would have to stitch in the ditch the next day.
Final step in this quilt-making process: finishing the binding by stitching in the ditch on the right side. I had meticulously pinned the binding in place the previous day, and meticulously stitched with the machine, removing pins as I went and religiously checking the back. It worked really well -- much better than my previous attempts at such things. I only had a couple of gaps to fix up with hand stitching.
Here's the finished, bound quilt (notice my 6-month pregnant belly protruding in both pictures, he he).
You can see, some stuff isn't perfect like my corners. But for the most part, I am really happy with the result of my stitching-in-the-ditch effort. This quilt would not have been done in 5 days worth of naps if I'd had to hand stitch that whole thing together.
All that was left to do was throw the quilt into the laundry -- which I was able to accomplish right before Ben woke up from his nap! I was a bit nervous about the result of washing and drying, but it turned out great (though a bit wrinkly!). I hope Kristina likes it and that Francis will enjoy some cuddle and play time with it!
I was inspired by that Road Trip quilt too, it seems like the perfect beginner's quilt. And, I love stripes! Looking at all that bias tape makes me feel tired, what was the hardest part? Or is it just tedious? I never seem to make long cuts like that accurately. In my perfect world bias tape would cost about half as much as it does now and it would be standard to make bias tape to match all fabric produced. Ha!
I love the colors you used, the print with the dots is very fresh. I like the subtle colors used, that over the top blue/boy thing gets old especially with two boys in the house.