Friday, September 13, 2013

A tale of two baby quilts

 Recently a dear friend (hey there, Julie!) asked me sweetly if I would be interested to make a couple of remembrance baby quilts for her. Her twin boys had achieved the ripe old age of 3 and she couldn't bear to part with so many of their precious little things from infancy. Knowing exactly how she felt (heh, I have a stash of baby clothes that get me all teary whenever I come across them, too), I happily agreed. She had kept batches of their little shirts and onesies and such and collected a couple of big (ulp!) bags for me. Here's just one of the bags...

Upon sorting through the clothes I realized several important things: A. they were all in very good shape (no horrible stains or damage) B. the colors and patterns were in a range that would harmonize pretty well and C. almost everything was a knit (i.e. t shirt material). A and B had me stoked., not so much. See, the trouble with t shirt knit fabric is that its so stretchy in every dimension. Which, of course, is why t shirts are so darn comfy and everyone has a zillion of them. But for sewing, yikes!  A nightmare! Cutting and sewing small shapes accurately and making anything that even looks halfway accurate was going to be categorically impossible no matter what I did.

Hmm. What to do, what to do?  I wasn't stumped--it was a fabric after all-- and I am the master, er, mistress of fabrics, am I not? Why, yes. Yes, I am. thank you very much. :)

SO... I explored my options and did some heavy cogitation for a couple of weeks. Finally, I decided that I would apply my favorite fusible interfacing, Pellon's ShirTailor,  to the little mini swatches of knit fabrics and then start cutting my squares from that reinforced and, more importantly, no longer stretchy material. Luckily the interfacing I use is not horribly stiff and scratchy; the resulting bonded fabric + interfacing will be a little less floppy but still be soft enough for cuddling.  4 inch side is my preferred square size--I've made several quilts based on that dimension and I find it just right. Allowing for a 1/4 inch seam allowance I thus cut 4 1/2 inch squares.

 So first I had to cut all of the little shirts and onesies apart, trimming out the snaps and other unusable bits. That took a peaceful afternoon just me and my fabric shears. You can see the pile above stacked up and waiting for the next step.

Luckily I had several yards of my interfacing on hand and could get right to applying it. Trim to match shape first, then iron. Accumulate another pile of interfaced swatches. Here's one ready for the stack. Guess what else I learned? I'm going to need a lot of interfacing. And when I say "a lot", I mean yards and yards. sigh. Which is fine. JoAnn's always has coupons and a single cut of a yard good counts just like any other item.

And here's the first square! Now, I just need to cut  a few more....

stay tuned!

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