My latest DIY project was a patchwork quilt created from my granddaughter’s old clothes. Knowing it would be a BIG project, I started last winter and just finished in time for her 5th birthday last weekend.
The bigger the desired quilt, the more squares you need. I was making a quilt for a double bed, so I needed lots of squares. These are the original squares, and the piles of nine squares (for the nine patch block) laid out on my dining room table…
When researching ideas, I loved the look of the “disappearing nine patch” quilts. This pattern is a variation of the traditional nine patch block quilt where you sew nine squares of fabric together into a three by three block. The twist happens when you then cut the sewn blocks of nine squares through the center both horizontally and vertically. This gives you four larger squares, each with different shapes in it so the nine equal and square blocks have “disappeared.” Experiment with the layout before you cut through the centers so you know which fabrics will be more dominant in the final pattern. For example, large patterns should be placed in the outer corners of the original nine block so they will not be cut.
You then arrange these four new squares and the four squares from each of the other cut nine patch blocks into an attractive pattern.
This will create your quilt top layer. Here are a few pictures of my assembled (still unpressed and unquilted though) quilt top…
Once all your blocks and squares are cut, arranged and sewn together you will require a coordinating backing fabric. The size of quilt will dictate the size of the piece of fabric you require. Your third layer of the quilt will be your batting which goes between the quilt top and the backing. This is my pieced backing (I used fabric I had on hand and pieced it to fit) and the (white cotton/polyester) batting…
Sew the batting to the wrong side of the backing piece, then sew the backing and quilt top together with the wrong sides together, leaving one short side unsewn. Turn inside out so both right sides of quilt top and backing are showing and then stitch the last side. There is another method that involves binding, but it is much more labor intensive. You sew the batting to the wrong side of the backing piece as above, pin those two layers to the quilt top (so batting is in the middle and right sides of both quilt top and backing are showing). Then add strips of backing (or other coordinating fabric) to all edges to “bind” the layers together.
Other than being very time consuming, the DIY project went well. One of the problems I did encounter with this patchwork quilt was the size of the clothing I had to use. All were baby clothes, so quite difficult to get many 6 inch squares from any one piece of clothing. Next time (if I ever use this pattern again) I would go smaller and use 4 inch squares. Another discouraging fact was that these pieces of clothing were made of different types of fabric, some much stretchier than others. That made matching the seams of the blocks very difficult. The best advice I can give you when creating this type (or any other for that matter) of quilt is to iron/press between steps. Iron your fabric before you cut it into squares, before you sew the squares into rows or blocks and your seams after sewing the rows and blocks and borders together. You will thank me for this advice when your seams are easy to match together and turn out nice and straight!
My granddaughter loved the finished product, (as much as any five year old can appreciate a quilt) but I think her mother appreciated it even more as it invoked a trip down memory lane.
3 thoughts on “Patchwork quilt DIY”
Well done Lori! Your patience amazes me.