Okay guys, I’ve baked up a batch of oatmeal cookies and brewed a pitcher of iced tea. So grab a cookie, some tea and settle in for a little (uhm, long) pattern review.
If you’re here from ‘Celebrate the Boy‘ … welcome! It’s so nice to have you.
This is my first pattern review. I spend 75% of my day with my six year old son OR with myself. Two things to keep in mind as you stumble through this grammatical nightmare, okay? I tend to write like I talk … a little here, there and lots of ‘…’ to pause and catch my breath :).
** Warning – This is 30% pattern review, 70% rambling and thoughts by me. I’m apologizing now for the potential waste of time reading this. 😀 **
A little over a year ago I came across a fabulous blog, Oh, Fransson! I’m sure many of you know just how wonderfully creative its author, Elizabeth, is … seriously, I am in awe of all that she creates and the amount she creates. So anyway, in reading her blog and looking through her Etsy shop, I spotted her “Simple Modern Baby Quilt” and knew it was just what I wanted to make for my son.
I loved the ‘simple and modern’ look … seriously, it is the perfect description.
First, I printed the pattern (yes it’s big at 33 pages, but it’s full of details wonderful for those new to quilting) and read through it several times. Then knowing I was making this for a full size bed, did some simple math to figure out how much fabric would be needed for a larger version of the quilt. I decided I would basically make (4) quilt tops and then sash them together to make one quilt top approx. 80′ x 90′.
Knowing my material requirements, I set about picking out fabrics and choose the main prints (for the centers of the blocks) from David Walker’s Robots line. I wanted colors that would match the current stripes in my son’s bedroom (I’m keeping those up as long as I can … they were not easy) and this line had a bit of each color in it. Once I received those fabrics in the mail (I *heart* online fabric shopping … so much better than dragging my son and/or husband along with me) I went to a local quilt store and picked out coordinating prints for the outer blocks. I picked based on colors from the robot prints. The solid blue is Kona cotton picked out at my local JoAnns (not the biggest color selection, but you can’t beat the 40% off when you need a lot of fabric. Not my favorite color of blue, but it works well with the prints and with the paint/color scheme already going on in my son’s room.
Following Elizabeth’s suggestion, I used her *ingenious* ‘Your Quilt’ page to attach fabric samples to keep all my fabrics/blocks straight.
I did not pre-wash my fabrics, BUT I also backed my quilt with a traditional cotton backing. Elizabeth calls for a micro-fiber or chenille backing which is why she tells you to pre-wash. Listen to her, she knows what she is doing (I on the other hand am making this up as I go :D.
I managed to cut all my fabric with in a few weeks of getting it purchased. I choose not to fussy cut the centers of my blocks for two reasons … money and time. I was trying to make the quilt as economically as possible and I wanted to save time … my cutting took quite a bit of time since it was all x4.
** Note – you should really follow the pattern as you sew, even if you pre-read, read and read again. Especially if a year goes by after you’ve read the pattern and cut your fabric. **
FAST FORWARD ONE YEAR::
Seriously, I saw those piles of cut strips and freaked out … just freaked out, put it in a box and tried to forget it. But my son remembered and kept asking when I was going to get to his quilt (oh he knows how to get to me). So I was determined to get this quilt done for his 6th birthday and re-do his room in a robot theme to go with the new quilt.
So, I pulled out the box … was surprised to see all the pieces cut (I apparently had repressed all the cutting when I freaked out). Hurray! A big step done.
I started to piece the blocks, but did I refer back to the pattern? Nope, just did it … and did it wrong. My top/bottom are my sides and vice versa. Good thing this wasn’t a deal breaker.
Once all my blocks were sewn (all 100 of them) I followed the easy peasy pattern chart and layed them all out creating (4) quilt tops. I then attached the (4) quilt tops with 5″ sashing in between to create one quilt top.
Then I tried it on the bed for size … yea another picture!!!!
I was very intimidated by the size at this point and while I really knew I should add sashing to the top, bottom AND sides … I only added it to the top and bottom (3″ sashing). Making my final size more like 80’x85′.
Then I pieced the back from what I had left. No pattern, no plan … just getting the most out of what I had. I had to break into my Amy Butler full moon dot fabric (in tangerine … tied as my favorite with the lime). I was on the phone with my bestie … I told her it was really hard to cut into. She said that seeing as how I could hardly part with it for my one and only child, she didn’t expect to ever receive anything made with Amy Butler. She might be right.
I then pinned my bottom, batting and top. Except I made the sandwich upside down and ended up pinning the bottom. I wasn’t about to undo the pins, so I went with it.
Having read/watched most of the free motion quilting you-tube video’s by Leah Day, I set up my work station with extra tables and my ironing board to create a bigger platform for my quilt to rest on. I started in the middle of my quilt as recommended. I did not roll my quilt at any point. The middle was the hardest. I wore grippy garden gloves and had to pay extra attention to the pins since they were upside down. I only went through one (yikes!). See my ever present companion, Starbucks Iced Tea?
**Edited to add – I used a ‘free motion’ pattern for the quilting. Elizabeth gives a great tutorial of this in the pattern, but even more detailed on her blog. This isn’t drawn on, you just go for it! Also, this was not my first time free motion quilting. I’ve done quite a few table runners and a few baby quilts, just nothing of this magnitude. Last, I have to thank my pretty sweet sewing machine for making it perhaps a bit easier with it’s extra wide arm/plate. I *heart* quilting with “Miss J.” **
I think it took about 4-5 hours (and about 13 bobbins) to quilt the entire top in a free motion pattern. I did it in 3 different shifts.
I used blue variegated thread on top and a solid blue (matching the Kona) on the bottom. I wish I had used the solid on top too … oh well, live and learn.
I did not add the applique, but I think it is adorable and should be a requirement on the original sized version.
As I mentioned above (what, you forgot … since that was 30 minutes ago when you read it?) I backed my quilt in a more traditional manner, but Elizabeth gives great instructions on backing with a micro-fiber or chenille. So soft and sweet for a baby quilt. I followed her instructions for traditional binding.
My husband can’t understand hand stitching the binding to the back of the quilt, but I love it. I’m cozy under the quilt with a 2-3 hour excuse to sit and watch TV. Or a movie … in this case, The Taking of Pehlam 123 … it’s a good thing I was looking down for much of it.
Pattern grade – A+
Skill level – Beginner up to Advanced Sewer
Time Investment – Approx. 20 hours
Wow factor by recipient – AWESOME!!
Husband requesting quilt – Guaranteed
And did you see this ‘Celebrate the Boy’ post … Bot Camp tutorials? Hello perfect timing. I need to sew up a few pillowshams AND have added the rocket mini quilt to my to-do list. Love it!
THE GIVEAWAY, FINALLY …
Phew … if you just read that, you’re awesome. If you just scanned it, you’re still pretty great :). Either way, you deserve a prize. And guess what? I have three ‘Simple Modern Baby Quilt patterns’ to giveaway thanks to Elizabeth! Just leave your name and if you want … link me to a favorite quilt on flickr. Because I like to see other quilts and I *need* ideas :). Comments open until Wednesday, March 3rd.