Friday, July 08, 2005

Create a Baby Heirloom Quilt

Do you need a unique gift idea for a new baby who is about to come into the world? Maybe your best friend or a relative you have been close to is going to be a parent for the first time? You may want to consider handcrafting a very exclusive gift for this new little person who is about to be born.

The thought of making a quilt may send many people into a fit of laughter. That is fine, but for anyone who enjoys working with crafts this will be a much cherished gift. It no longer needs to be all of those miniscule stitches taking hours to sew. You may end up being very surprised at the small amount of time this project will actually take.

We all have thoughts of quilts being made by our grandmothers and their mothers but with the technology of the sewing machines many of us now own, it is very simple to craft an heirloom quilt for a special baby.

Before starting with the actual work, you will need to decide what size you want to make the quilt. Since it is for a baby, it really should not be any larger than the infant blankets that are sold in stores. Also decide what size your squares will be. Many adult sized quilts use 12 inch blocks, but you will want to choose something smaller for a baby quilt. Six inch squares will work great.

The next thing to consider is what your theme will be. You may simply want to ask various family members for 6-inch squares of a piece of clothing they no longer wear. That is what our ancestors used for their memory quilts, after all. If this is what you choose, be sure to keep a list of which square came from whom to give to the baby's mother to store with the child's keepsakes. "Green square with yellow roses is from Great Grandmother Rose" or "all four end pieces of denim is from Grandpa David's jeans" will mean a lot to the family in the future.

If you want to design the whole quilt by yourself, you may choose to buy plain material to cut into squares. At that point you can embroider or stitch whatever you want to into the squares. Family names and dates work well for this kind of quilt. Another idea is to use markers or paint that can be used on fabric to show off your artwork. A word of caution for that choice is to make sure the materials and substances you are using are safe for children and non-toxic.

If the baby has young cousins or siblings, they can draw pictures or you can trace their hands onto plain material and then embroider the pictures or handprint permanently onto the quilt square.

When you have the quilt top finished it is just a matter of turning it into a quilt. This is easily done with a sewing machine. Choose a piece of material for the backing. Something soft would be very nice and by all means, make sure that it is flame retardant. The middle layer will be a regular and plain soft baby blanket that you buy.

Sew the three layers together after pinning it to make sure it is going to stay where it belongs. You may want to sew all around the edges first to keep everything in place. Next just begin your quilting pattern. A diamond pattern always works well. The last step will be adding the binding to the edges. Binding can be bought at any craft department.