First attemp at patchwork quilt!

(51 Posts)
FairyJen Mon 04-Feb-13 17:11:43

Making a patchwork quilt for my dd's birthday present. Her birthday is in may!! < panic stations >

I'm using old clothes from various family members etc do its really personal.

I have never made or done anything like this before! Today I have started cutting my squares and have realised I need more fabric and more pins!

I have a sewing machine but any advice, hints or tips would be welcome!

Or if you live in SE23 any fancy helping me... I provide coffee and cake!

Have I bitten off way more than I can chew??? Please help!!

flubba Mon 04-Feb-13 20:58:21

No you've not bitten off more than you can chew - it goes very quickly once you get going!

I did one recently with my babies' clothes to make a sentimental one for my kiddies here and would recommend that you try and keep the fabrics similar to each other, and 'jersey' fabric (t-shirts and the like) are tricky to keep square because of their stretchy-ness but perfectly doable, and if you're struggling to keep them square (you'll know as soon as you've cut a 'square'), you can put some interfacing on the back to stabilise it.

I did a step-by-step tutorial for my first ever patchwork quilt which you're welcome to use (if you can follow my slightly manic ramblings of course wink ) smile

FairyJen Tue 05-Feb-13 15:49:54

Have messed up already!! Got large squares 20x20 cm an small 10x10 thinking would use 4 to make up a 20cm square but they won't fit will they when seam is sewn in???


flubba Tue 05-Feb-13 15:53:58

You could always just use the 10x10s in single rows, and the same with 20x20s - and simply cut the edges to size (so you might have some rectangles at the sides)

FairyJen Tue 05-Feb-13 16:11:22

Oh pants I had it laid on floor earlier - the bits I have and managed to get it looking lovely. The fact that I now can't sew this is annoying. Do you think trimming the 20x20 squares will work so they match up the square made from 10x10 iyswim or is that asking for trouble?

FairyJen Tue 05-Feb-13 16:21:23

Would making 10x20 rectangles to got inbetween blocks of 4 and one large work? Realise am getting ahead of myself but trying to work it all out.

LtheWife Tue 05-Feb-13 16:23:56

Once you've decided on what seam allowance you're going to use you could always cut the 20x20's down to size. Of course that would mean the quilt would end up a bit smaller so you could either add a border around the outside edge or sashing between the blocks in a complimentary colour.

flubba Tue 05-Feb-13 16:33:33

Why won't you consider different height rows? I think it might look lovely and definitely 'patchy'

Hattifattner Tue 05-Feb-13 16:45:25

the first rule of patchwork....there is no rule. If you are doing simple squares, then mix it up!

If you are using clothing, can I recommend you buy some dylon starch and make your fabric really really stiff, it makes it so much easier to work with.

Dont fret about your 10x10 blocks being a different size - get them all made up and then look at how you can combine them. you can always stretch a block if its cotton. Draw the desired block size on a cork board, spray block with water and then stretch and pin. keep the whole block wet and, when all stretched, leave to dry.

look here

If you are using T shirt materials or anything stretchy, look at stabilising fabric before sewing.

lljkk Tue 05-Feb-13 16:52:30

I would put the 10x10 blocks in the middle & the 20x20 blocks around the outsides. What will you use for backing?

See if you can make a pattern out of the predominant colours, maybe stripes or wavy lines.

FairyJen Tue 05-Feb-13 16:56:44

I'm trying to work out math re trimming the larger blocks.

Am I right in thinking I need to measure 4 patch block once sewn then cut to that size that way when they (solid block and 4 patch block) are stitched together they will match size wise. Have I figured that correctly?

Plan on using a 1/4 in seam as that's what everybody else does!

Thanks for help smile

FairyJen Tue 05-Feb-13 16:57:49

Basically I need to take 1/4 inch off each side of 20cm blocks don't I?

FairyJen Tue 05-Feb-13 16:58:34

No I don't I mean 2 sides! Don't I?

God thought I had it then!

FairyJen Tue 05-Feb-13 16:59:48

Backing will be plain I think, am watching some vintage sheets on eBay which have tiny flowers on.

FairyJen Tue 05-Feb-13 17:01:15

I could just buy her a book instead!

OnlyWantsOne Tue 05-Feb-13 23:09:18

Oh bless you smile

I'm starting my first quilt when I get the chance. I have everything ready.

Material is ironed ready, bought some spray adhesive, got a rotary cutter & mat etc

All very exciting. Will start cutting my squares tomorrow. I'm going for 4" squares so cutting 4 1/2" squares to allow for 1/4" seam allowance.

I LOVE the fabric I bought and I can't wait. The bindin I have bought Pre made made is the same mustard yellow as my favourite material I will be using. Will post photos of it as i go and show you if you like?

Tonight I practiced getting the "grain" of the material right so that the squares are cut square but I'm not too sure about that aspect.

Urbanvoltaire Wed 06-Feb-13 07:12:57

Fairyjen I'm watching this with interest as I'm into doing a similar project for my daughter.

I live quite near you & have used a sewing machine for other craft projects so am happy to help you with that aspect......let me know if you fancy it!

FairyJen Wed 06-Feb-13 07:52:41

That was my mistake I didn't account for seam allowance! < plonker >

I have sewn a four block together so am going to trim 20x20 blocks down to match so hopefully will all fit together!

urban your far more organised and prepared than me! Help would most certainly be greatly appreciated!

FairyJen Wed 06-Feb-13 13:55:45

Pic on profile of what I have so far!

Hattifattner Wed 06-Feb-13 14:01:52

looking good!

flubba Wed 06-Feb-13 14:05:23

Looks lovely...

FairyJen Wed 06-Feb-13 14:06:42

Really? I can take criticism..

< dons hard hat >

flubba Wed 06-Feb-13 14:48:00

No, I do think it's lovely. Is that the full size of it? If so, I would probably think about placing the darker purple squares (from the smaller squares) symmetrically as you've had a go at placing the bigger ones symmetrically too. That's not a criticism by the way, it's a suggestion wink

FairyJen Wed 06-Feb-13 14:50:24

Not full size just what have laid out so far smile

flubba Wed 06-Feb-13 14:56:17

But you're going for a symmetricalish pattern?

FairyJen Wed 06-Feb-13 15:08:02

I don't know to be honest! I was thinking having the solid blocks in order but the smaller 4 square blocks a bit higgldy piggly. Is that daft?

flubba Wed 06-Feb-13 19:18:21

No, not daft - do as you want! smile It's your quilt after all.

When I was doing my first quilt, I did it with no pattern/symmetry in mind, but did, like you, keep the bold/dark colours separate. I have to say, I laid mine out about a zillion different ways before I was happy with it - but massively over-thought each square! grin

FairyJen Thu 07-Feb-13 08:19:43

Oh im the same lost track of how many times laid it out! Dp has had his hands on it am he is über finicky about symmetry do he has "fixed"'it for me grin

Will try put up new pic later

Hattifattner Thu 07-Feb-13 10:06:25

I find it best to sew 4 or 9 blocks together and play around with them that way. Otherwise you can get yourself in a right tis when you find you have put two colours next to eachother inadvertently!

HAve you considered sewing them on point...its no more difficult than a regular square setting, and you just need to cut triangles for the last bits.

look here

Another thing to consider is buying a length of a solid white or cream fabric and alternating coloured blocks with the solid - I love doing this and it creates its own harmony. You could of course alternate with a dark solid too!

How are you going to finish the quilt off? Tie or sew?

FairyJen Thu 07-Feb-13 10:15:48

I was planning in just boring stitching the ditch but I may well wimp out!

Hattifattner Thu 07-Feb-13 12:19:46

stitch in the ditch is good! Easy too and forgiving of most mistakes. grin Machine quilting is actually quite difficult and easy to get yourself snared up. Make sure you baste well!

Ive seen some commercial quilts that have large (1cm) stitches in embroidery thread running over the quilts - looks quite cool, although I would check for colour fastness. I dont think the actual quilting is done that way - its more decorative effect

FairyJen Thu 07-Feb-13 12:32:02

As a newby would you say it would be easier I tie then? My machine is ok/good but not excellent iyswim

MissMilliment Thu 07-Feb-13 12:46:57

When I made a quilt for DD out of her old baby clothes, I bought a load of medium-weight iron-on interfacing and ironed it onto the back of all my fabrics before I cut out the patches. That way everything was so much easier to handle and cut out, no fraying, and even the jersey/stretchy fabrics were fixed in position. It all gets covered by the wadding/backing fabric and didn't affect the softness of the finished quilt.

You'll be so chuffed with your finished quilt, OP, and I know from personal experience that the odd wonky seam doesn't matter in the end grin

MissMilliment Thu 07-Feb-13 12:48:03

I did a tied quilt - definitely easier and it looks lovely.

MissMilliment Thu 07-Feb-13 12:50:20

Oh, and when I finally had the blocks laid out how I wanted I took a photo on my phone, and numbered all the pieces on the back (in pencil so it didn't show through).
Will stop hogging your thread now blush

Hattifattner Thu 07-Feb-13 12:51:52

tied quilt is much easier than stitched, and you could make the ties part of the design using a bright coloured tie!

If its your first quilt, I'd recommend it, simply because once you have the top finished, you will want to get the rest done quickly!

FairyJen Thu 07-Feb-13 12:54:22

I've Definately discovered the "loveliness" of wonky seams blush

Hog away all input is welcome and appreciated! smile

mamij Thu 07-Feb-13 12:58:05

Have always wanted to do this, but never brave enough. Only have so-so sewing machine experience. But will give it a try now.

FairyJen Thu 07-Feb-13 13:18:00

mamij defo try it! I have never sewn or anything before but already I'm in love with this! Is very cathartic in a way!

Be warned tho it is even more addictive than mumsnet! You have been warned grin

This has a lot of info

jaynebxl Mon 18-Feb-13 20:56:07

I'm really interested in this. I've saved various bits of clothing from my children and want to make them a quilt each but I was thinking of putting a border on each square of their clothing patches if that makes sense? Has anyone else done this? I just like the look of patchwork that has borders.

flubba Tue 19-Feb-13 06:47:08

I haven't tried that. Would you border each one the same? If so, would you border each one separately and then join them or try and border them all to one long strip of binding?

jaynebxl Tue 19-Feb-13 07:21:39

Well I'm still kind of thinking it through Flubba, and haven't done one like this before, but I'm thinking I would border each one the same, and make them up separately so I would end up with a pile of squares each with a plain border, then use strips of another fabric to join them all. Not sure if I'm explaining it clearly!

Carolra Tue 19-Feb-13 07:34:55

This is such a lovely thread!! I'm a quilt novice currently working on dd's 1st birthday present as well (her birthday was over a month ago now, so I'm running a bit behind, I figure it just adds to the charm!). My first few quilts were done with stitch in the ditch, I prefer the way it looks to tie ins but I think it's just personal preference. I had no problems machine stitching with my clunky old machine. I'm trying to do free motion quilting on this one though... And it's a struggle... My only advice it to take your time, she won't mind if its "late" and you'll be much happier if you enjoy doing it rather than rushing to finish. Can't wait to see it though, what you have so far is gorgeous!!

FairyJen I think your patchwork so far looks lovely!

I would have done what you did and cut out my squres wrong, and then corrected it like you did, trimming the bigger squares a bit!

I have only ever made one quilt, that I finished recently, made up of 3" squares cut from my scrap fabric. It is completely random with no patterns at all. my first finished quilt

I just stitched in the ditch and my seams were wonky too, but I love the end result!

I got so addicted after that that I am in the process of making another one, out of 1.25" squares of my scrap fabric this time. I must be mad, but I need 1650 little squares to make it.

Hope you're getting on ok!

Jayne you could make a border around each sqaure, and then more borders around it all, but it might be easier to just have the squares share borders, more like this

or have them on an angle like this

When you come to quilting it all together, roll it up and then just have the length you are sewing unrolled , and roll up the other side as you go along, it is easier to manage than a bit mass of fabric.

If you have the right needle you should be fine sewing it all together with your machine.

jaynebxl Tue 19-Feb-13 08:20:44

Overmydeadbody that does look good, but what I have in my mind is something I saw someone do for their children years ago, but I can't find any examples now!

flubba Tue 19-Feb-13 09:06:56

I understand what you mean jayne - and think it will look lovely - especially if the borders are contrasting colour to the joining strips. It'll be a lot of work though I imagine, but am sure it'll be worth it. smile
>>quickly waves at over smile <<

>>waves back<<

Yes I agree, I'm sure it will look lovely, especially if you have what you want in mind!

Today I feel very excited because I just came back from a charity shop where I found four double flat sheets, 100% cotton, nice heavy good quality thread count, for 50p each! They will be used to back and sash some of my future quilts! grin

Two of them are lovely old 80s style pastel striped ones, so much fabric for so little! They are in the washing machine now getting cleaned.

BigPigLittlePig Tue 19-Feb-13 21:33:21

Ooh have just stumbled across this thread - ideal. I've been saving some of dds clothes to make a patchwork quilt but no idea where to start. Am going to have a nosy at the link someone posted up thread. It could be a long, slow process as I don't have a sewing machine so will have to do it by hand... We'll just have to see whether I have the patience to finish the thing!

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