Wednesday, March 13, 2013

My First Quilt: Progress Report

One of the reasons I bought a sewing machine was because I had a goal to sew a quilt. To me, making my own quilt is the pinnacle of domesticity. My bonus dad and his wife made one for me about fifteen years ago and it's one of my favorite things. I just love knowing that they spent so much time together making something just for me. In this high-tech world, quilting is a low key way to make something practical and sentimental.


After I bought my sewing machine, it sat in our new linen closet for a few months until I talked my friend Nicole into teaching me how to use it. The first thing we made was unpaper towels.

I didn't mess those up too badly, so one night inspiration struck and I made a curtain for our flex room out of a bedsheet. 
DIY Bedsheet Curtains

So now that I'm feeling relatively confident in my skills, I'm ready to make my quilt. I credit our son for inspiring me. We were in the fabric store when he spotted some Thomas the Train fabric and asked if I would make him something out of it. I was quite happy with the fabrics I found to go with it.
Fabric bought: February 21, 2013
Then I used PowerPoint to play with patterns. 
Playing with patterns: February 24, 2012. Option 1. 
Option 2
Option 3
Option 4
Option 5
Then I washed the fabric. I learned later that this wasn't necessary.
Washed fabric: February 25, 2012
Next, I recruited my hubby to iron the fabric. 
Ironed fabric: February 26, 2012
And then my pretty pile of fabric sat for three weeks while I dealt with my brain-injury induced headache. (I get injections every three months for my headaches. It wears off toward the end, and I have 2-6 weeks of pain and fatigue until my new shots).
Fabric ready to cut: February 26, 2013
I'm two days away from injection day, but I'm happy to say that Nicole and I got together to cut our squares today!
Cutting squares: March 13, 2013
The only new supply I bought for this project was the 6.5" quilting square. 

Since I bought the fabric on a whim, I didn't have a solid idea of how much fabric I needed, so I just bought a yard and a half of each. D chose option 4 above. I counted it up and found that I needed 19 red, 45 Thomas, 12 yellow, and 12 stripe. I had no idea if I would have enough fabric, so I just started cutting. 

I laid out the original design, but I wasn't quite convinced it was right.

So I added another red/stripe row to make it symmetrical.

And this is when I learned that I needed to have something for the back of the quilt. Um...oops. I only had one Thomas square left, and decent stacks of the rest. I am five squares short of what I need. 


So, Nicole and I have a Joann's date tomorrow to see if I can a little more of the stripe and red fabric. I think I'm going to keep that Thomas square in the middle.

Tonight I went back to PowerPoint and tweaked my front pattern to include the stripe directions. This will be my guide as I start stitching the squares together.

And I made a template for the back.

I would have liked to put some of the Thomas fabric on the back, but the pragmatic side of me wants to buy the least amount of additional fabric as possible. I thought it was interesting that even though I bought the same amount of fabric for each design, I didn't get the same number of squares from each. I tallied up the squares I'll need:
Are you a quilter? Share your best quilting tip for me below!

Check out our "Learning to Sew" board on Pinterest

***Updated 3/20/13*** 
I'm DONE! Photos and an updated post coming soon. Here's a sneak peak:

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6 comments:

  1. Crazy awesome! The thought of making a quilt is enough to send me into the corner of the room, balled up on the fetal position. I admire you. Hugely.

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    1. lol. I have to say, I'm pretty proud of myself! I had this idea in my head that making a quilt was the height of domesticity! What I found is that is really fun and addicting. I need to post about the rest of the process because I have finished it and...started my next one! :-)

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  2. Congrats on finishing your first quilt! You have definitely more ambitious than I have with the sewing machine. :) I am also amazed at how organized you were with the whole process.


    P.S. I love your missing sock board. :)

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    1. Thanks! I love seeing my son cuddle up with it! I'll post a photo of that with my follow up post. I think the organization was necessary for my sanity. You should have seen me muttering to myself trying to figure things out!

      You can see how I made the sock board here: http://www.dejongdreamhouse.com/2012/07/seeking-sole-mates-missing-sock-holder.html

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  3. I learned this tip when I sewed for a bikini shop hundreds of years ago and I use it when I am sewing quilts.

    Sew the first two squares together. At the end, do a reverse stitch about 1//2" back and then run it out to the end of the squares, DON'T STOP AND CUT, start your next squares, do a reverse stitch 1/2', sew to the end, reverse stitch, and go to the next. Do not stop and cut after you sew each set of squares. It saves so much time to sew a whole bunch of squares together and then just snip snip snip.

    I hope I explained it well enough.

    Love the primary colors.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for the tip! I have lots to learn!

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