Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Baby Quilt and a Bridesmaid Dress

My daughter was in a wedding last summer with a friend she had grown up with.  Rebecca and I love Pinterest!  A few pins we've seen especially have gotten our attention - making baby blankets out of bridesmaid dresses.  We loved the idea!  What do you do with all of those beautiful bridesmaid dresses anyway, but hang them in the closet or sell/donate them?  Making a baby blanket for a friend using the bridesmaid dress you wore at her wedding seemed extra special and a wonderful keepsake.  Rebecca wanted to give it a shot!

Rebecca has worked on a couple of baby blankets for her friends.  A couple of years ago, I showed her how to make baby blankets using two yards of fabric for the front, two yards for the back (solid front/back), and polyfil quilt batting for the middle; cutting 5 inch square pieces from extra fabric that are folded in half, pressed, and folded in half again and pressed to make little triangles, which are then pinned and sewn in a row around the edge of the quilt.  I showed her how to sew it all together, flip it, and then press and tack the quilt.  The whole process is pretty simple.

Fast forward to this Bridesmaid Baby Quilt.  The dress Rebecca wore in the wedding was dark purple satin and the baby will be a boy.  Hmmm... how to make that work? 

 Rebecca decided to make the quilt a patchwork quilt to best incorporate all the colors.  Rebecca chose dark navy flannel (her friends' baby room color is dark blue), gray/white chevron fabric, and the purple satin.  We think it turned out magnificent!  And what a keepsake for mom and baby!

The patchwork pattern wasa little tricky for us beginners as it was a little tricky to get the seams all straight and lined up, but with me talking and Rebecca sewing, she got it.

I can provide step by step instructions if you like, but for now I just want to show off the steps in pictures and let you see the finished product.  

Here's how Rebecca made a Bridesmaid Dress Baby Quilt AT HOME MY WAY:

Bridesmaid Dress Baby Quilt

  • Fabric in various patterns so that you will have two yards for the top, two yards for the back, and another 1 1/2 yard for the triangles.
  • Sharp scissors or a rotary cutter/mat (sharp is the key word LOL)
  • Pins
  • Bridesmaid Dress (cutting it was SO SAD and hard to do and note that satin is creepy/crawly - tough to sew)
  • Patience for working with the satin :)
  • Polyfil Quilt Batting
  • Thread
  • Sewing Machine (that doesn't jam up and/or make loops in the back-see more on this below LOL)

We worked on this baby quilt for about a week.  It was a little time consuming but well worth the effort.  We both finished this project feeling inspired to buy dresses at thrift stores for making adult quilts, etc. (saving $$$ that way); maybe making keepsake quilts for children with wedding gowns? (for me, I liked this idea as my girls will never wear my gown; maybe the veil, but never the gown; and we have also read about making christening gowns for babies with wedding gowns which is another wonderful idea.  I'm not sure I could actually cut up my wedding gown - it was just a thought LOL.

First thing:

Rebecca decided on the pattern for her quilt.  It took lots of playing around to get something where the colors were well balanced, keeping in mind not to use too much purple satin for a boy baby quilt.  We made a simple drawing assigning each pattern with a number/letter like this:

Rebecca cut the big squares for the top of the quilt 15" squares of the two patterns of fabric she used, counting from the drawing how many she needed.  

She cut the small squares that made up the center block 6" square, and then adjusted using seam allowances so that the finished center block was 15 inches.  

It WAS kind of hard to cut that beautiful bridesmaid dress. Here it is right before the cutting started:

Rebecca cut the small pieces six inch squares to make the center quilt block.

I showed her how to cut 5-inch strips, then fold over and cut to make a square, to the cut pieces for making the triangles for the edges.  You then have to fold in half, press, and fold in half again to make a triangle; press.  Remember to press satin with a thin tea towel between the hot iron and the fabric, or use a cool setting for pressing satin.

Rebecca started with the center block and trimmed it to equal a 15-inch block like the other pieces.  She sewed each strip, pinning each piece so that the seams all match up to a finished sewed row of quilt blocks; then sewed the rows together making sure the seams lined up.

Here is Rebecca sewing on my OLD machine.  My husband got this for me the first Christmas after we got married.  I was 18 years old!  It is very special to me, but the little stinker was a real pill while Rebecca was sewing.  I spent literally hours trying to re-thread it so keep it from sewing loops in the back.  Let me just say we all had to have great patience working with this old machine.

Thankfully, my daughters bought me this new machine for Mother's Day!  I was so exited!

I don't know if I can get rid of my old machine because I sewed many outfits, Halloween costumes, and Christmas presents with her, but I am so thankful not to have to fight it any more!  I think I'll treat her to a cleaning and service and pass her on to Rebecca !

I used my dining room table to tack the quilt with yarn, the last step.  Rebecca was working two jobs that day and the baby shower was the next morning, so I helped out, just a little.

This baby quilt was truly a labor of love.  Fighting the sewing machine, figure out the dimensions, dealing with crawling satin, and Rebecca's new baby kitty - all at the same time, was a little intense, but we got it and we both just love the finished product!

Rebecca's friend was completely surprised and immediately recognized that Rebecca had used her bridesmaid dress.  There were lots of ooo's and ahhs at the baby shower!




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