Saturday, 9 November 2013

Floor blanket for baby

I've wanted to make a small baby blanket/play mat after seeing some really cute chevron fabric in John Lewis, there are so many nice fabrics, I didn’t want to use it up on small projects, but instead I wanted to display it in a large chunk so it could be fully appreciated! I had never done any quilting before this and it was such a good starter project. I didn’t have any cotton batting and didn’t really want to buy a load in case it didn’t work well, but a friend suggested a cheaper solution-thermal curtain lining! I can get it for £4.50 a metre in John Lewis and it’s really wide as it is used to curtains, so it works out really rather reasonable. They grey fabric I used came from a double bed sheet that had a tear in it and couldn’t be fixed, so good up-cycling there! I made a paper pattern of the size I wanted and then divided it up with a pencil until I was satisfied with the division. I then cut along the lines I'd made and used the paper as my pattern pieces, adding 1cm when I cut out the fabric. then I simply stitched them together. Once I had made my back and front, they had to be “basted to the batting” (batting is the filler that goes in the middle, you can get 100% or polyester and you can get it different thicknesses depending on what you need) . There are several ways that you can baste (which basically means temporarily joining the fabrics together so that you can stitch them on the machine without them moving)
1. Basting by hand-hand stitching the layers together in big stitches to stop the layers shifting around when you stitch
2. Basting spray-Spray on quilting adhesive that sticks the layers together and doesn’t affect the finished look or feel of the fabric (this seems to be the most popular and easiest)
3. Quilting safety pins-(they look like normal pins but have a kink in them, although I used normal ones and they worked fine) joins the fabrics together and can be removed as you sew.
I decided to use the safety pin method as I was in a hurry (like usual!) and didn’t want to spend ages hand sewing. I used the walking foot (good tutorial here: Anyone Can Quilt) to stitch the layers together, I didn’t do anything fancy, just straight lines so as the stitching didn’t distract from the fabric patterns. I thought I had to use bias binding to bind the edges of the quilt and really wasn’t looking forward to it as I’m hopeless at getting the binding to sit equal on the edge of fabrics-BUT hope was at hand! I found this amazing photo tutorial from Old Red Barn Co and Diary of a Quilter that shows how to bind a quilt using strips of fabric. It means you can make your binding out of whatever you like, make it matching if you need, and it’s much easier to get it equal and professional looking. You do half of it on the machine and the other half hand stitching, but its really vey quick and easy, so don't be put off! One thing i'll say is, that I found the more lines I added the stiffer the blanket got, so now it is definitely more suitable for the floor and not so much for wrapping a child in, I’d like to try and make a more flexible one in the future, and might try some free machining,  so watch this space!

Here you can see the full blanket and how I divided up the strips of fabric, with the grey in between. I had originally bound the blanket in yellow, but it looked horrible, and so I ordered the aqua green fabric from e-bay. It's not 100% cotton, which is a shame, but the colour was perfect and I was in  a hurry to get it done to be honest!

This picture shows how I bound the corners, and also shows a bit of my straight (ish!) stitching across the blanket.

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