Baby Clothes Quilt
This definitely takes the cake for one of the hardest projects I have done but thankfully I have learned so much along the way. I’m here to share all the goodness I learned with you!
At first I thought no problem I have done quite a few adult t-shirt quilts what can be so different with a baby t-shirt quilt.
Well I was sadly mistaken there is a whole heck of a lot different. Let us just start off with you have a lot less material and room to cover up mistakes. Baby cloths DO NOT lay flat. Lastly its quite hard to chop us precious baby cloths.
So where to start… let’s start at how I decided a layout. I took all the outfits and laid them out to see what all I had. I had about 25 pieces. I had quite a few Christmas pieces, so thats what gave me the idea to combine the Christmas outfits on a few blocks so the quilt wouldn’t look so Christmasy.
I had some bibs and hats too I wanted to incorporate so I decided at the end I would appliqué those onto instead of trying to make a gazillion blocks.
Next I had to decide my quilt block size. By combining the Christmas outfits into two blocks I had about 20 blocks worth of clothes total. I wanted the quilt size around a thrown (50” x 60”). I also already knew I wanted sashing(boarders between each block) and an overall boarder.
Quick math. I took 50 divided by 4 and got 12.5. So if I did a 12.5” square and have 20 blocks my quilt would be 4 blocks wide by 5 blocks long. So that would make my quilt a little bigger than throw size by the time I add sashing and borders.
Now comes the extra tricky part cutting up the most precious cloths to hopefully turn them into something to cherish and adore. Cutting the first onsie is the hardest. I would cut the onsie in half from the back about a half inch off the seam.
This next step is SUPER important. To help the outfits lay flat you need to do some tailoring. Place the onsie with right front side facing you. Lay the sleeve over on top of the onsie on the seam. Smoothing the seam flat. Now pin in place so you can start about two inches up the seam from the armpit. Back stitch then sew down the arm seam and about an inch from the arm pit take your seam out about a half inch from the original seam. This is key to the outfit laying flat!
Next I would trace around the onsie on some Lite Heat & Bond. I used this over a cotton fusible one because it has fusible on both sides and two because its much thinner. If you don’t know baby clothes are oddly thick. Especially the cotton onesies, so I needed to reduce bulk anywhere I could.
I would press this to the piece of clothing being extremely careful not to stress the outfit as I applied the Heat & Bond.
Now after applying the Heat & Bond I would take some super sharp scissors and make a clean cut just inside the seam to the front of the onsie. The Heat & Bond keep the fabric from unraveling or fraying and now you have a clean cut to zigzag stick or blanket stick the onsie to the block of fabric.
Now I would center the outfit onto the block making sure the collar of the outfit is at least a half inch down from the top edge of the block. This is important so your seams are not super bulky as you are assembling the quilt top.
Once I fused the onsie to the block I would simply zigzag around the whole garment being carful around buttons or anything that might break my needle. Take you time here if you go too fast the fabric will bunch or the thickness of the seams will cause your tension to get weird and your bobbin might come through to the front. So slow and steady is best.
That is how I handled all of the onesies, jumpers, and any other clothes. The interesting part came when I had to turn costumes into blocks.
For costumes just flip that sucker inside out and rip the seam so you can have a front and a back. Keep in mind my blocks are 12.5” so if the front has a bunch of cute details but they are spread more than 12.5” apart I can not just cut a square out of the front of the costume and make a block. This is where all the deconstruction happens. For example on the snowman costume I wanted the buttons and the scarf but they were spread more than 12.5”. So first I checked the back piece of the costume to see if I could cute a 12.5” square as my block base and I could so check! Next I cut the buttons out and ripped the scarf off the front of the costume and appliquéd both to the 12.5” block of white fuzziness I cut out of the back of the costume.
Now the Mickey Mouse costume was more challenging because I was probably a 3T so the details were way more spread out. Fist I new I wanted the ears somehow on the block plus the bow tie and the red pants with the yellow buttons. I ripped the ear off the hoodie and then ripped those in half so I would have two circles. Then I cut the back of the costume off the front. Now I needed to somehow shorten the bodice of the costume, so I simply folded the costume in half vertically marking where the top of the yellow buttons were and sewed a new seam. The got rid of the mid section of the costume but let me keep the top of the blazer, bow tie, and the red pants with the yellow button portion.
I put the ears on the block of fabric first and then laid the shorted costume on next. I had to cover up more of the ears than I wanted too but I felt the whole costume being on there was a tad more important.
The only other challenging part was woven clothes because when you cut them they tend to just unravel. For these make sure you cut on the back of the outfit about an inch in from the seam so the middle seam keeps all the woveness together as you apply the Heat & Bond.
I used 2.5” x 12.5” sashing and 2.5” corner stone blocks to give the quilt a cleaner look.
When it came to quilting this it was challenging only because the thickness of some of the blocks was impossible to fit under the foot of my longarm machine. I did my best to secure the fabric on the block I could. I chose to quilt pebbles on the block fabric. I chose ribbon candy for the sashing because I love how fluid it is and I need to practice it so what better time. I used Hobbs 80/20 for the batting, Glide Monofil on the top thread, and Glide Khaki 24525.
I chose triangles, echoing, and heirenbone on the boarder because it was a little boys quilt. I didn’t want to many swirls on a boys quilt.
I had so much challenging fun creating this and I know it will be cherished. If you think you want to try this you so should. Just take your time and know its not a quick process, but the end result is so beautiful and heart warming to see it all together.