It’s been a long while since I’ve posted anything that I’ve made. I haven’t really had much time to make things until just recently. Mark’s sister is due to have a baby next month, so I made this lovely quilt for the baby. His sister and her husband chose not to learn the gender of the baby ahead of time (which, for the record, I am totally behind, but my rant on pre-birth gender stereotyping children is probably not appropriately placed here).
For this gender-neutral quilt, I stayed away from the typical yellow and green non-gendered colors people usually choose for babies, and instead, I chose some really fun prints: a woodland scene in bright colors, some chevron, and another geometric print.
In order to achieve “gender neutrality” (using quotes because I hate gendering non gendered items) I made sure to include socially accepted “boy” colors and “girl” colors as well as “boy” shapes and “girl” shapes. Honestly, I could probably write a graduate thesis about gender and design elements, but, instead, let’s talk about this quilt!
For this quilting project, I finally bit the bullet and bought a walking foot for my sewing machine. A walking foot pulls the fabric from the bottom at the same rate that the top of the fabric is being pulled, thus eliminating puckers in the fabric and a LOT of headaches. I had no idea how much of a difference the walking foot would make when sewing pieces with thicker fabrics (quilting, and, um, my wallets?!), but I’m kicking myself for not purchasing one previously. Not only was I able to quilt the baby quilt frustration free, I was able to trace along guidelines in the fabric when appropriate. In the future, I will draw out my design with a disappearing ink pen, but I didn’t do that for this quilt because I didn’t want to risk the ink not disappearing. I tested out my walking foot on a piece of scrap fabric and some batting. I was impressed by how easily I could follow along the curves on the printed fabric.
I used four pieces of fabric, plus scraps of those fabrics to create the binding strip. I chose a flannel for the back of the quilt to make it soft for the baby. I refuse to quilt with “minky” because the fur flakes off everywhere and gets stuck in my machine. I also think “minky” looks (and sounds) tacky (#quiltsnob), so I stuck with flannel for the backing piece. Here is an image of the quilt before I added the binding. I liked the subtlety of the polka dots on the backing.
Once I had my fabrics picked out, I pieced the front together by pinning the three fabrics together and sewing, then pressing. The trick to making an interesting quilt out of just a few wide strips of fabric is to make sure the strips are all different widths, and are not symmetrical (as in two strip widths equaling the third). Using different widths of strips creates visual interest that would be lost if you were to use symmetry, so I pieced the front based on this idea. I cut the backing fabric and batting about 3 inches larger than the front piece, and layered into a sandwich (right sides out). I pin basted, and then quilted on my machine using simple wavy lines that somewhat followed the woodland patterned fabric. I then made binding from scraps of coordinating fabrics and attached using this tutorial.
Here is the finished quilt. I am pretty happy with how it turned out and that this quilt only took me 4-5 hours from start to finish, including the time it took to purchase backing, batting, and a walking foot.
Have you ever made or received a handmade gift?
For the record, my policy on gifts for occasions that have registries is to make one gift and buy a gift off the registry, or give cash as the second part of the gift. Registries exist for a reason, but I think it is more special to give a handmade gift. I learned the hard way that people want what they want, so to stick to the registry for at least part of your gift.