Being a quilter, an upcycler and a mum, it’s probably a little surprising that it has taken me this long to try my hand at making a memory quilt, but I have good reasons. The first is that I really like structured simple quilts with some sort of design and colour scheme which most of the memory quilts I’d seen lacked. Secondly because of the raw materials you are using, making a memory quilt nearly always involves stepping outside my comfort zone of constructing quilts with fabrics that are not 100% cotton.
I’ve sewn with jersey before and it’s always been a bit stressful, so I couldn’t begin to think how on earth you could construct neat squares of patchwork when it stretches every which way, then I stumbled across this blog post and had my moment of revelation!
The key to the jersey problem is Pellon SF101 Shapeflex Fusible Interfacing. It’s a very lightweight and flexible interfacing which you use to keep the jersey fabrics from stretching out of shape.
I used 3 yards of it (£19.50 including P&P) from here. I cut it into 6.5″ squares and then applied each square to the t-shirt or babygrow that I wanted to use and ironed it so the square adhered to the fabric. Then I simply cut each square out of the clothes (serious quilters would prefer a rotary cutter I suspect)
I used a loose pattern of white or low volume fabrics alternating with colours and ran the feature blocks diagonally across the quilt. It’s harder than you can imagine to take your scissors to much-loved items of baby clothes and one item in particular I just couldn’t bare to cut up so I left it out and assembled the quilt top without it.
Almost as soon as I’d done it I thought now what am I going to do with it? So yes, I unpicked the top line, cut the babygrow up and added a square of it (it’s the Little Red Riding Hood one if you are wondering).
I quilted it width ways and then started to quilt it length ways but found the jersey did eventually cause problems stretching slightly and bunching towards the horizontal lines. So I left it quilted just across the width. The finished quilt is fantastically soft, with a lovely thickness to it and packed with memories. There are gifts we were bought when Alice was born, items Jim brought back from a trip to America, a top I appliqued for her and a babygrow from the first pack I ever bought her. The only real problem is that I didn’t use anywhere near enough of what I had.
Baby vests in particular are really hard to rehome (even charity shops don’t want them) and precious items really need to be passed on to friends, which means you need to find someone with a baby of the right age. I loved this project and I’m already rounding up a collection of Theo’s t-shirts to make one for him too.
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