RJ’s Baby Quilt
I started with the baby clothes quilt with RJ – it was the first time I had done a quilt with baby clothes. I mostly do just tshirts and I had done another clothing quilt but it was from adult’s clothing, not a baby. The first hurdle is figuring out the design or layout. The onesies, shirts and other custom blocks are all different shapes and sizes. Some of them need to be a certain size to make sure the design doesn’t get cut off but other items are too tiny to be the same size. So first, I laid out all the shirts in an approximate order based on similar sized items. Then I measured each shirt and wrote down the minimum size that it could be cut without cutting off the design and the maximum size it could be cut. I took the minimum and maximum measurements to try to find the best row heights and column widths to make at least most of the shirts line up in a grid. Next I identified blocks that would need to be appliqued or have other special stitching – bibs, hospital shirts, pants, etc.
I had to go very slowly through the layout since I wasn’t accustomed to designing the layout this way – usually I make all the tshirts the same size which makes for a uniform design that is pleasing to the eye and easy to cut/stitch. Eventually I got it all interfaced and worked on the custom blocks. It also took me a little while to figure out what would be the best option for each item (how to sew it down, how to cut out extra/unnecessary fabric, etc). It ended up coming together wonderfully and I did a meandering quilting pattern all over the top.
After RJ’s quilt, I moved on to Danielle’s double sided t-shirt quilt. One side of the quilt had a standard quilt block layout and went very quickly and smoothly. On the other side, I had to piece together all different sizes and shapes (similar to RJ’s quilt) so it took a little longer to figure out how to fit them all together. Once I sewed the top and bottom pieces and layered them onto the quilt machine, I started doing a meandering quilt pattern. At first it was going really well but eventually my machine started having some issues (probably due to having shirts on both sides so there was more stretching of material). It was frustrating getting everything set up to finish the last portion of Danielle’s quilt – it came out nicely, I just may have pulled my hair out in the process, LOL.
After completing RJ’s quilt, I wasn’t too nervous about the layout. The only major difference with Emmy’s quilt was that Danielle sent me many more clothing articles for her quilt than RJ’s so I had to find a way to include all the clothes without making it look cluttered or making the blanket much bigger than the other one. I think I was able to squeeze it all in nicely without cutting off the designs or missing anything. I was pretty nervous when I started doing the quilting after how much frustration I had working on Danielle’s quilt (plus I lost about 2 weeks trying to get my machine to stitch through everything properly and I didn’t want to spend another 2 weeks on Emmy’s). But when I put it on the frame it sewed beautifully! I had two thread breakages but they were minor and barely slowed me down. I stitched very carefully around items that had special features like buttons, ruffles or bibs and it came out great! I really like the cute pink backing and border fabric I picked for Emmy and I hope she likes it too. Overall, Emmy’s went even smoother than expected!
Working on these quilts was quite a learning experience and before I forget, here are a few things that I will try to keep in mind in the future:
- Baby Clothes Quilts take longer to plan and stitch than Tshirt quilts and should be priced accordingly
- Baby Clothes Quilts pricing should include a set number of applique or special items and then it would be an extra fee to add more special items (these types of things drastically increase the labor involved)
- I wouldn’t try to do a more sophisticated quilt pattern (anything besides meandering really) on the baby quilts because there end up being some items that need to be quilted around instead of through and would mess up a pattern
- Significant extra time and care is required on double sided quilts for the quilt machine frame setup
And lastly, my workout today: I met with a new intern at my work named Colleen. We ran an easy pace to the bridge and back (maybe 3mi) before work. It went pretty well and I think she is going to keep running with me :) Yay!! Now it's off to bed to get ready for a tough run tomorrow morning!