When I was pregnant, a coworker sent me a photo of a patchwork quilt made out of baby clothes. I absolutely loved it! I’ve been thinking about that quilt ever since Andrew was born and I just told myself that I was going to make one. As I’ve said before, when I get an idea in my head, I just can’t let it go. As most parents know, babies outgrow their clothes soooo freakin’ fast! Then you’re left with bags and bags of clothes that your baby probably only wore once or twice. You basically have 3 options. You can give them away, save them or toss them. I decided to do a little of each. I gave away a lot of them but I saved my favorites with this quilt in mind. I also saved some of the basic stuff just in case we have another boy. A lot of people kept telling me to save ALL of them in case we have a boy next and I know that would save us money because we wouldn’t have to buy a whole new wardrobe when the next boy came along but honestly, I feel like I want the next one to have his OWN clothes you know? I want him to have his own identity and I want him to look at pictures when he’s older without Andrew sitting there saying, “that was MY shirt…that was MY jacket…those were MY pants”…etc., etc., etc. I want the next boy to feel special in his own way. I do realize that I keep referring to our second child as a boy (and no I’m not pregnant). I just knew that we were going to have a boy the first time around, and obviously I was right with Andrew. I also have a pretty strong feeling that we are going to have another boy next, I just see myself with two boys running around. Don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE to have a girl. I’ve always wanted one boy and one girl but I just have a feeling I’m going to be given two boys. Either way is fine by me, it’s a blessing and I’ll be thankful no matter what. Anyway, back to the quilt. I just have to let you all know right now, this is not a tutorial to follow. I’m basically going to just tell you all about MY process. I am a complete beginner and know nothing about quilting or even sewing. I just wanted to make this for Andrew and I wanted it to look halfway decent, I really didn’t care if it was perfect or done “correctly”. If you want some advice, watch YouTube videos for guidance on sewing. If you want a general idea, then you can try to follow this. So there ya go!
So here I am with my favorites of Andrew’s clothes and my goal was to finish a patchwork quilt for him for his first birthday, which is about a month and a half away. I really wanted to give him something special for his birthday, besides his mini recliner we bought him (soooo cute!). I started by cutting out the part of the shirt/onesie/pants that I wanted to use. I wasn’t worried about measuring at this point, I just cut them into large pieces and figured I would shape them later. I feel like this made things a lot easier. Now I had a big pile of these huge pieces and I had to decide what size I wanted the squares to be. I didn’t have an overall quilt size in mind so I really just picked a size I thought would work best for all the clothes. The newborn sizes are so small so I had to accommodate those. I went with a 4 inch by 4 inch square.
I cut out a bunch of 4″x4″ squares and laid them all out on the floor until I had a quilt size that I thought looked good. Keep in mind that the quilt will be smaller than it looks when you lay it out on the floor because you’ll lose some of the fabric when you sew the pieces together. Once I had all the squares arranged, I started sewing one row at a time. I took two squares and placed them together top side (right side) against top side (right side) so when you sew the edge and press them they lay the correct way. I didn’t even have to pin the two pieces because they were so small. I sewed them using a 5/8 inch seam and sewed the entire row together before I pressed them. I sewed each row together, ironed the seams down and then pinned one row to one row at a time. Does that make sense? So once you have the entire row sewn together, pin that to your next entire row (which is already sewn together as well) and sew the two rows together. Then repeat the process until you have a big square of patches which is basically the top of your quilt.
Here is what mine looked like once all the squares were sewn together.
Now I wanted to add a border and the backing. I went to JoAnns and bought two different kinds of fabric; one for the back of the quilt and one for the border on the front. I also bought a cotton batting for the middle. I had no idea what batting to buy so I asked the woman working at JoAnns what I should try and she suggested the cotton batting because it’s easier to work with on a machine since I was a beginner. I went home and this is where things got complicated for me. I am NO expert and definitely a beginner. I watched a few tutorials on YouTube about quilting but honestly, it was way too much work for me. I just guessed on the size of the border. I went with a 3 inch border; meaning I cut the border at three inches, so when you sew it to the patches the end result will be smaller than three inches…get it? I cut out two pieces of the border the same size to fit the length of the patchwork. I pinned them to each side and sewed them. I then cut out the width in a border which now included the two side borders. I pinned those and sewed those as well.
Now I have the entire top of my quilt sewn together. I decided to make it super easy and just cut out the batting and the backing the same size as the top of the quilt. Once I got everything cut out to size I pinned it all together. I laid the batting down first, then the backing on top of that (right side up), then the top of the quilt (right side down) on top of that. The idea is that you sew three sides together and pull the inside out so that there are no seams showing on the three sides. When it was all sewn together I cut off the corners of the entire quilt with scissors, carefuI not to cut the thread that I had just sewn. My mom told me to do this so when you pull it inside out, the corners don’t bunch up. So then I pulled the inside out and it looked great!
Now we’re almost done, yay! I just had to finish the bottom. Again, I’m a total beginner so I had no idea how to complete the edge by hand without having a seam show. I watched a few YouTube vides and found one that worked for me. I sewed the bottom edge by hand and it actually turned out okay!
It’s not totally great but it works.
My whole outlook on this the entire process was that Andrew is NOT going to care what this looks like. Seriously! Is he gonna care that the edges aren’t perfectly straight, or that I didn’t press the seams the right way so now the squares aren’t perfectly aligned? No, no he’s not. He’s going to cuddle with it and it’s really more for me than for him at this point anyway. I’m going to look at it and feel a wave of memories. Then 5 years from now I can tell him how I made it for him out of his baby clothes and show him pictures of how small he was and he’s going to laugh and smile and think it’s cool. Then 10 years after that he’s going to want nothing to do with it but someday after that he will again love it….and I ALWAYS will. That in itself is a special memory and it’s something we can keep forever and then laugh about how horribly made it is. 🙂