Collaborative Baby Shower Quilt

Clearly, it’s been a while since I’ve posted.  Clearly.    While I don’t have the excuse of an adorable addition, like Ms. Marie and her little one, Mattie, I can draw on her experience to post:  The threecleversisters host a baby shower!  Last winter, we descended upon Marie’s Brooklyn, NY apartment for a baby shower without the standard baby games but with a little craft time – quilt making!

A few years ago, I attended a baby shower in which the guests all decorated scraps of fabric that included quotes, images, or messages for the little one and his family.  The host then used those fabric scraps to create a flag decoration for the nursery.  It was such a charming idea, that I promised myself that I would do that for someone.  When Marie and I hosted Sara’s baby shower, I was in law school and there wasn’t any creative energy.  Marie, then, was the likely recipient.  I offered to do a flag or a quilt. She did the quilt.

The activity required a bit of coordination and fortunately I flew JetBlue to NYC so I could check my bags, with all the supplies, for free.  I bought some stencils from Lotta Jansdotter and Martha Stewart along with Martha Stewart’s paints.  We did some test squares – using my mom, aunt, cousin, and grandma as guinea pigs over Christmas.  It was a great way to get some of them involved since Gami, Kate, and Aunt B weren’t able to attend the actual shower.

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kclever & GG

kclever & GG

GG's contribution to the quilt.

GG’s contribution to the quilt.

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I also contacted several of Marie’s college friends and some of her husband’s extended family about decorating squares.  So many people were invited to the shower and so many people wanted to participate, the quilt was larger than the typical lap quilt.

The shower was held in January in Brooklyn.  That means there wasn’t a lot of space for 15+ people who were invited.  Fortunately, the weather was on our side, and though it was a bit chilly, we expanded the craft portion of the shower to patio.  No baby games on this one — what mom really wants to do the circumference of her belly anyway?  We CRAFTED!

Supplies 8404379025_8c12f8a399_o 8404377917_0204d83792_o8405471582_75f663659c_o

 

By the time I had collected all the pieces, I had 32 squares.  I planned to make a piece with the baby’s initials or name once she was announced, but 33 square does not make a normal looking quilt — 11×3?  Nope.

Instead, I chose to make a square for each of her initials.  I printed out MASSIVE font each letter from my handy Microsoft Word program and used that as an applique.  I was thrilled by how nice it turned out.

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The number was 35, 7 x 5, and with the borders and 62 x 96 in (approximately)!

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The Baby Quilt!

The Baby Quilt!

 

Pop of Color: Potholders for Becky!

Last year around this time, I made some potholders from scraps. They were so charming, that I thought I’d do it again.  This time, I bought fabric and made scraps from it – kind of defeating the purpose of “using scraps” but I do like how they turned out.

My friend Becky in Butte Falls (shout out to the loggers!) had recently redone her kitchen in black and white.  I decided for her birthday she could use some new potholders and then I added a “pop” of color.  I chose red because

(1) it’s a great contrast with the black and white

(2) I had scraps in my scrap basket!

(3) Becky likes red.  The Butte Falls Loggers’ color is Green, and as their #1 fan (has she EVER missed a game?) she wears green a LOT.  But, she did admit that she likes red.

And so, I cut 2.5 in strips of the three fabrics in varying lengths from 1.5 to 3 inches.

I sewed them together, alternating.

I sewed the small strips into big strips and then into one continuous big strip.  Next, I cut the big strip into equal pieces, sewed four or five together length-wise to get a rectangle for the front of the potholder.  This time around I used heat-proof batting and sandwiched that between the front and solid squares.  Voila!

Amy Butler Kimono Style PJs debut

Remember this?  Remember my teaser that this would eventually be modelled on a very special baby?  Well, it’s been a year-long wait, but here it is!

the making of a t-shirt quilt

A friend of mine recently abandoned her full-time gig (as a lawyer) for her part-time gig (volleyball coach/teacher/mentor).  Now the Division I athlete, 3 time coach of the year, and amazing person in general, is completing a teaching fellowship program with Teach For America in the deep south of good ol’ Jackson, Mississippi.  Inspired by her dedication, I wanted to do something special for her.  We’d talked in the past of sewing and t-shirt quilts. This was the perfect opportunity. I  offered to make a t-shirt quilt of all her Ashland HS volleyball t-shirts.  She graciously agreed (I would be destroying about 15 t-shirts with the weak promise of a quilt, afterall).

T-shirts and fabric

Finding a complementary fabric was easy because I just had to go with a volleyball theme.  Next I sorted through the t-shirts to get a general idea of what was what.  There wasn’t much planning, just kind of diving in.  Next, I cut the shirts into rectangles (removing and casting aside the collars and sleeves).

I also chose to iron-on medium weight inter-facing to keep the t-shirt fabric in place.  I think I bought about 10 or 15 yards of this stuff — lucky for me it was on sale for $0.50 a yard for a while!

It seemed that many of the t-shirts designs were about 10 inches in length so I cut accordingly, alterating or expanding dimensions as necessary.  I also try to keep similar designs to similar shapes.  When that was all done, I laid them out and just played around till I got something I liked.  Once again, the handy computer labels were used to label each square (“1A, 1B, etc.)  When it was all said and done, I had decided on 6 rows.

The tricky task was cutting strips to fit between the squares so that all the rows would be of equal length.  Again, there was no plan and I scribbled my measurements on any scrap of paper I could find for that night.

my scribbles...

Each row took approximately an hour or so, and that’s about all I could devote on week nights.  Too many times I goofed on the 1/4 in addition for the seams, but I had the comfort of knowing fabric could give and I could lop off a side or two here or there to accommodate.

Here’s the quilt, ready to be, um, quilted.  It’s not the most pleasant task for a mid-July day with temperatures in excess of 100, but I have a July 21st deadline, so there’s no energy to waste complaining!

Embellished Tee’s

While visiting Clever Sister Marie in NYC, I had the opportunity to stroll from store to store (those not in the Rogue  Valley Mall).  Though I definitely pushed my budget, one of the items I fell in love with (in that I like to shop on vacation kind of way) but did not buy was a t-shirt with fabric flowers accessorizing it.  It’s not that I didn’t like it, but slowly learning more about the magic of sewing I’m a little critical about spending $$ on a t-shirt that I can make on my own.  And, so, after a little searching on the Internet and researching from the pricey but pretty catalogs waiting for me upon my return, I decided to give it a shot.

I picked up some simple light-weight cotton t-shirts at a local discount fashion store (okay it was Old Navy — we do have that) and then matched them with some bedazzled tulle type material at JoAnn’s fabrics.  JoAnn’s is very good for such a thing!

First, I cut 2 in strips, the length of the tulle, and sewing them lengthwise inside out.  And, here’s the only tedious part of the process, turning them right side out.  The thinner the strip, the more tedious it is.  I then snipped and hemmed them into smaller 4 to 5 in segments.

Sewing the Strips

I folded and played around with the shape until I came up with something I liked.  I quickly pinned it and tried to secure it with the least amount of crazy stitches, preferably a simple “x” that held together each old.

I tried on the shirts so that I could, ahem, strategically place the embellishments.  I hand stitched these on as well, being careful only to sew the bottom layer of the embellishment.

Detail

I also had a few pretty buttons as the final touch to hide or maybe just detract from the “x”.  Voila!  And, of course, I haven’t made one for myself yet, although I’m on my third gift–so many May and June birthdays!

It comes in Yellow too!

This will have to do until I get a better model...

I also had a few pretty buttons as the final touch to hide or maybe just detract from the “x”.  Voila!  And, of course, I haven’t made one for myself yet, although I’m on my third gift–so many May and June birthdays!