Thursday, March 19, 2020

quilted clothes

Knowing that I take on custom orders, 
and use my earnings to help rescued women learn to sew, 
sweet Karen contacted me last fall 
to ask if she could pass along my contact info
 to a woman interested in commissioning a quilt out of baby clothes.

 I said sure!
 (and thank you!!) 
and that started a series of messages and plans, 
and in January I told Katie she could ship the clothes! 

We'd decided on simple patchwork,
 and planned for the more colorful pieces to form a heart,
and the lighter clothing and blankets and towels to be the background
 (I'm not sure I'd do that again, 
as Half Square Triangles out of stretchy fabrics were kind of a beast, 
even if they had been severely starched. 
But then, it does look awfully good....)

I got all cocky 
with how quickly cutting apart, starching, cutting 4 ½ inch squares
 and laying out the quilt went, 
and I texted Katie 
that we probably wouldn't even hit 
the lowest end of my estimated price range.

 Halfway through sewing the thing together, 
I had to text again and say,
 Ummmm. Maybe not... 

When it came time to sew the rows together, 
I got smart and pulled out the walking foot, 
which sped piecing up a little 
and I'm fairly certain helped (most of) my seams to meet up nicely.

The backing was a treasured jersey childhood sheet
 – about as un-square as it could possibly be. 
All four sides were angly. 

I folded it into fourths as best I could 
and cut it into a fairly decent rectangle
 and starched the heck out of it, too.

Once the starch was mostly dry, 
I pressed it and loaded up Lucy
then layered Quilters Dream Puff batting and the top. 

The quilting only took 3.75 hours,
 and I'm so so tickled with how it turned out. 

Jesse likes nature stuff, 
so I quilted in suns and seashells and leaves and flowers. 
And of course feathers, and even a few butterflies. 
Maybe some other things. 
It's been a few weeks, so who knows?
Silly me forgot to take pictures of specific motifs.
 Ah well. 
I did think to snap a picture of her name so they'd be able to find it.

I used the skirt portion of a 3T dress for the binding, 
and supplemented the length with a couple of strips 
from a Winnie-the-pooh blanket.
 I cut one lengthwise, and one width-wise, 
so put the join at the bottom left corner of the quilt. 

I'm famous for accidentally getting a seam in the corner, 
so it was no big deal to handle extra bulk of one purposely put there.

We'd discussed adding a bit of hand quilting, 
but I was so pleased with how the longarming turned out 
that I'd told Katie I'd be happy to add it,
 but I didn't really think it'd enhance the quilt
 and she agreed. 

So I decided to add it to the binding, 
and sewed it down by hand with navy perle cotton 
– which was a huge pain in the patootie
 and a super slow process. 
The needle just didn't like the knit. 
At all.
 Stitching through the flannel blanket went just fine, though. 
I was a little bummed I hadn't used more of that. 
But then I remembered
 that Katie had told me that dress 
was one of the really special pieces of clothing, 
so I quit my whining, 
and focused on how much they'll love it.

As soon as I finished the binding, 
I popped it in the washer
 that was already waiting 
with nice warm water and a touch of Dawn Pure Essentials. 
 I wasn't going to bother with color catchers 
since this was all worn clothing, 
but I noticed the water started turning a pinky purple right away, 
so I threw in a few,
 and some salt, too, for good measure. 
They came out saturated, 
but there was no misplaced dye on the quilt
 – whew! 

 I dried it about ½ way in the dryer, 
and then blocked it on Brandon's bed
 and let it air dry for 24 hours the rest of the way 
before snapping a few photos with Josiah's help, 
and sticking it back in the mail.

I'm really pleased with how this turned out. 
I was a little worried
 that a quilt made out of an assortment of special baby clothes 
 scream - BABY CLOTHES,
 but I don't think this does at all.
 In fact, Josiah said, 
“if you didn't know it was made from baby clothes, 
you'd never know.”

I hope they love it
and it brings comfort and lots of smiles for many years.

I was able to make this heirloom quilt 
for just $36.74 more than my low-end estimate
 (and, to be fair, $29.85 of that was postage, 
and I hadn't calculated that into my bid...) 
and best of all, 
I get to give 2 more sewing machines to Rahab's Rope 💗