It's a boy! Colourful baby quilt


I actually started writing this post earlier in the year, but when I came to publish it, it had disappeared! I have just been too cross to sit down and write it (again!) until now, but I hope you enjoy it.
Baby shower cupcakes - mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

My new baby nephew was born last month - a healthy, bouncing boy! When we found out my sister-in-law was expecting, we racked our brains thinking what on earth to get them?! We knew they didn't want anything, which meant we could be totally frivolous... but didn't want to clutter up the place with useless junk. And so the idea of making a baby quilt was born.

Like most quilting novices I opted for a ridiculously complicated pattern - a nine patch disappearing quilt. I was inspired after reading Bonjour Quilt's disappearing nine-patch post, and thought, well, imitation is the highest form of flattery.

As you know, I've been sewing for a few years now. I've made anything from dresses to curtains, but quilting was completely new to me (unless you count the crappy oven gloves I made for GCSE textiles). But I knew I had time (unless he came early) and decided I'd give myself about a month to get it finished before we moved in February. I'm delighted to say it really only took about 5 full days in the end.

So if you'd like to follow me through the process, here's how I made Harry's homemade baby quilt.

Step 1 - choose your fabric

My brother-in-law's favourite colour is orange, so I knew I had to incorporate that in the choice. I also wanted it to be bright and fresh and not all blue, so it could be something used for years to come! I bought all 6 types of fabric from the amazing Eclectic Maker, a beautiful shop in Worthing, UK that offers a fantastic mail-order service. Here are all the different types of material I went for:

Step 2 - your fat quarters

I cut up fat quarters of 7 various prints of fabrics into 16 squares per fat quarter. This gave me a total of 112 squares. Then I laid them out in a 3 x 3 block (9 individual squares per block), and joined them together, first by making 3 strips of 3, and then by matching the seams.

Once I had made 11 sets of squares, one by one I cut them into quarters - giving me 42 (and a bit!) pieces to use for the nine patch disappearing patterns. This is what gives you the variation in square and rectangular shapes and sizes, and mixes up the patterns from the different fabrics nicely. 

Step 3 - panels

I then took each new square and laid them out to make long panels. I actually laid this out on the floor, on top of a big tablecloth, as a) my own kitchen table isn't big enough, and b) I'm a bit anal-retentive about cleanliness, and didn't want the squares to touch the floor.

Lola attempting to photobomb me again!

By laying out like this, it also gave me a chance to step back and see how the quilt was taking shape. I could then rotate the squares if too many blocks of similar patterns were (or were not) lining up, depending on my preference.

Step 4 - strips

Once I was happy with the layout, I then worked down from top to bottom, sewing the squares together to get individual strips. This is where lining up seams became very difficult, and I wish I had invested in proper quilting cutters as clearly some of the squares were a bit off (ah well, let's just say it adds to the homemade charm)!

And don't forget to iron out all the seams as you go along!

Step 5 - combining strips

Once each strip was sewn together, I then began to sew the strips together - going from left to right. If you're not a practised sewer, it might be best to baste stitch the strips together to help keep the seams aligned. 

 I made sure my front, backing, and wading, were all wider than I needed too - just in case anything went wrong.

Step 6 - quilting

Now here comes the tricky bit. How to attach the front to the back AND stop the quilting inside from sliding around! I found this is by far the most challenging part of the process and, in hindsight, should definitely have basted it together first, instead of relying on a million pins! I started in the middle alternating between one length of horizontal stitches, to one vertical length. Then, just for an extra bit of pizzazz, I did some additional lengths of stitching 1cm apart, to give another dimension and some extra texture to both the front and back.

I opted for a plain back, in the green fabric, with thick cotton quilting (the thickest I could get in my local Hobbycraft store) and plain white cotton biased binding (again, from Hobbycraft) to finish the raw edge.

And here's the finished product! I hope it lasts for many, many years... despite what I'm sure will be a lot of spit-up and much, much worse.

A very naughty dog poking her head out from behind it there!
Want to know more about how I did this? Don't hesitate to pop a comment below! Also, next time I think I better address the state of the garden... it's had a serious overhaul since then so stay tuned to see what more homemade things I've been up to...

Laura x

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