Somehow, writing this post seems to have taken almost as long as it took to create what this post is about! About half a year ago, while I was still pregnant, I discovered Spool. This is the site of an adorable store in Philadelphia that I hope to visit some day. At the time they had a wonderful quilt kit for sale, which I fell in love with instantly! They still have other quilt kits for sale, all of which look like lots of fun to me : )
Once it arrived, I had little to no idea where to begin. I mean, of course I had the basic idea down, but there were so many details yet to learn! I tried searching online and visited a good handful of sites, but in the end it was the local library that held the answers to my quilting questions. Some of the books I used are in the picture below. The one I used the most and found to be very helpful was Teach Yourself Visually Quilting. It was my main guide into this whole adventure of quilting!
First things first, I began by prewashing my fabric. Prewashing is important because fabrics (mostly darker ones) will often bleed the first times they are placed in water. This step prevents the bleeding from ruining the quilt in future washes. I did this by soaking each piece, one at a time, in a sink filled with warm water. I would resoak each piece, as needed, until the water was still clear by the end of the soak. Then I hung the pieces to dry.
The next step to was to iron the fabric. I sprayed this starch on the fabric before ironing, to ensure crispness. Crisp fabric is easier to work with and ultimately sew together.
What a fun color pallet! This fabric is 100% organic cotton from Cloud 9 Fabrics. Love them! They have a lot of fun fabrics.
I just love this fabric : )
My quilt had 49 squares to cut out : ) just a baby quilt. Once cut, I set all the squares out in the order they would be once sewn together.
And then I gathered them back up and stacked them row by row. (I also labeled each pile, as you can see from the picture below.)
Sorry, no more pictures until the very end!
To begin piecing the patchwork together, I started with the first two squares of the first row. Placing the right sides together (the two sides that will ultimately be on the top of the quilt) I pinned and sewed them together, allowing for a quarter inch seam. I proceeded to sew the third square to the second, and on and on, until the first row was complete. Then I continued on to complete the second row.
It is important to note that because my fabric is 100% cotton, I used 100% cotton thread. If it had been partially or all polyester thread, it would have been more likely to cut away at the fabric over time. Match your thread to your fabric. If your fabric is partially polyester, then your thread should be partially polyester as well.
With the first two rows complete, I ironed the seams of the first row to the right and the seams of the second row to the left. This allowed the rows to be sewn tightly together.
I continued with this process until all the patchwork was complete! Another thing worth noting is that the squares appear on the quilt top as 5.5 by 5.5 inches once sewn together, due to the seam allowance of a quarter inch.
With all the squares sewn together, my next step was to make the quilt sandwich! A quilt sandwich is the layers of the quilt: (1) the quilt top of completed patchwork, (2) the batting, and (3) the backing. My backing is the pink fabric with white polka dots. You should cut your backing to be several inches larger than your final backing will appear, to allow for seams and error. Once cut, find and mark the middle of each side; I placed a pin in the centers. Then, smooth your fabric from the center out. Place the batting on the backing (which should be right side down) and cut it to be the same size as the backing. The centers of each of the batting’s sides should also be marked. And this piece should also be smoothed from the center out. (Note: I prewashed my batting so that the quilt will remain smooth when washed in the future. My 100% cotton batting shrank, perhaps 5%, when soaked and would have given the quilt a crumpled, old-fashioned look after its first wash if I had not presoaked it.) The final layer, which is the quilt top, should be placed on top of the batting, right side up. This piece should also be marked in the centers and smoothed accordingly.
Next I safety pinned all the layers together, once again starting from the center and working out. Be sure your backing remains flat! Then I returned to the sewing machine and sewed through all three layers, horizontally and vertically across my quilt. I used the normal needle for this part and it worked just fine (some books and sites I read recommend using a walking foot to be used on the machine to help with sewing all the layers together, but mine worked just fine without it). With that finished, I sewed along four sides of the quilt, again with the machine.
Next I used my fabric scissors to cut the backing and batting to be even with the quilt top. Then I followed Sonja Hakala’s directions in Chapter 18 (from my favorite book mentioned above, “Teaching Yourself Visually Quilting”) to create a continuous binding strip for my quilt. My binding is the green fabric with white polka dots. Aside from a few helpful details that you can find in Hakala’s book, the simple story of how I attached the binding strip was that I ironed it in half (longways, of course) and then sewed the two edges to the top of the quilt, aligned with the quilt’s edge (once again with a quarter inch margin). I still was able to use the machine, through all five layers at this point! This left me with the creased edge of the binding to sew to the backing of the quilt, by hand. I used a whip stitch. The last step was to conquer the corners. I sewed all the way to the end of the side…
…and then simply folded the other side down and continued my whip stitch.
Imagine my excitement at this point!
Here we are!
And a close up…
All this for you, precious Baby Girl!