Hey Everyone, welcome back to Story Time Monday.
Back at the end of 2012 I received an e-mail asking if I made custom quilts and of course the answer was yes. This custom quilt request was a bit different in that it was to make a quilt from clothing. Sadly my client had lost her husband in August and she was wanting a quilt for her and her children to remember him by.
She made the trek up here to my studio from the city with two huge boxes of clothes. We went through some of my books and found a suitable pattern that would work with the clothing. I felt it would be much easier to create if it was a strip quilt and did not require the cutting of many little pieces seeing how the fabrics were of all different weights and types. We also needed a pattern that would look good as a somewhat scrappy quilt seeing how there would be so many different fabrics in it.
We chose the pattern On the Wild Side from the the book Strips & Strings 16 Sparkling Quilts by Evelyn Sloppy. This pattern ended up being perfect for the fabrics I had to work with. The only request my client had was that the sashing be with the blue jeans and I thought oh boy that is a lot of sashing as the quilt was to be king size. There were only 5 or 6 pairs of jeans in the box and I said there isn’t enough there. She assured me that there would be enough as her husband was well over 6 feet tall.
I set to work getting the fabrics ready – cutting them all was a huge job – far larger than I had anticipated. There were several blue coloured golf shirts and three other shirts in various shades of yellow, orange and rust. I decided that the blue fabrics would work best for the large rectangle in the middle of each block and the yellow, peach and rust fabrics would be the triangles at the ends of each rectangle. This would give some the quilt some symmetry and unity. As well the rust fabric was used as the corner stones between all the sashing pieces.
The rest of the quilt would be made up with all the other clothing. The dress pants being strong dark colours were cut into 1 ½″ strips to create 1″ strips in the quilt so not to overpower the other colours. The rest of the clothes were cut into 2 ½″, 2″ or 1 ½″ strips. I had a pile of them.
Because the fabrics were all different weights and types – some stretchy and some not so stretchy – cottons, polyester and rayon I had to find something to back them with otherwise nothing would remain square. I decided the easiest thing to do for a project this size was to sew all the pieces to muslin. This worked extremely well and the quilt stayed square. I ended up using my walking foot to do all of the piecing because of all the different fabrics I was working with.
The blocks were put together as three sections, the middle blue rectangle with the orange/yellow triangles on each end and two rectangles on either side made from strip sets. These strips sets I made by sewing the random strips together onto the muslin. From each set I was able to cut 4 rectangles. This certainly helped to speed up the process rather than making the individual rectangles.
Finally all 42 blocks were made, the sashing was added and I was ready to make the appliqué inset. The inset was a heart with some wording to send a message that Daddy was loved very much.
Quilting this piece proved to be a challenge. I figured that I would quilt it in sections and put it together in sections that way I didn’t have to handle a king size quilt under my machine. The quilting ended up being a huge challenge because of all the different fabrics and I ended up taking it to a long arm quilter. Jennifer from Century House Quilting did a fantastic job and made my life so much easier.
It was bound and ready for pick up. The day arrived when my client and her children pulled up at the door to see their memory quilt for the first time. They were thrilled and so surprised at how bright and cheery it looked. It was fun to see them look at the fabrics and point out what they were.
I am glad that I was able to create a memory quilt for this family that they will have to treasure for years to come and that will hopefully bring them much comfort to cuddle up and watch TV under together as a family.