I like making memory quilts, pillows and other items, so when a local Mom asked me to make a quilt from her kids' outgrown outfits, I happily agreed! We met during a hockey practice and while our son's raced around the rink, I learned a few stories about the clothes she passed to me.
It was a little intimidating to start sorting and cutting into these adorable little outfits, partly because there were so many (nearly 2 garbage bags full!) and partly because Virginia was so emotional when talking about the outfits. The coming home outfits for each child were separated from the rest so I could easily identify them. There were a few other outfits she requested be kept whole, and those she showed me in person. One thing she wanted to keep was the little blue pockets with red snap which had been on the front of a jumper (shown below).
Fortunately she sent me a Pinterest link to a quilt she especially loved with some logos flat on the quilt, and special outfits appliqued on top. I figured the easiest way for me to make a queen-sized quilt in this fashion was to begin with a rather large foundation square. I have a stash of old bedsheets that are perfect for this purpose. Each foundation square was about 19.5 inches on which I placed various patterned and logo emblazoned pieces. I didn't worry about cutting the individual outfits to a certain size, rather I cut the pieces to frame the image or text. I started with one particular piece, then fit other pieces with logos, text or pattern around it.
I trimmed all the blocks square as best I could while retaining the logos and cute images. Some blocks were more challenging than others in this respect! I spent a rather long time arranging the blocks on my living room floor too...I tried to balance colour, bold imagery and theme across the entire quilt. Since I had Winnie the Pooh over 6 blocks, I didn't want all of those blocks together. Also with so many pink and purple girl outfits, it was hard to find the blue and red boy ones.
Here you can see several dresses appliqued onto quilt blocks. The foundation of these blocks are strips of receiving blankets to minimize the thickness the machine had to sew through. For the very special outfits (the yellow one pictured here and just one leg of the purple on the right) I left them uncut as requested. Many of the others I trimmed away the back side of the skirt and bodice then carefully pinned and top stitched the skirt to keep the pleats and fullness of each dress.
So many memories! The striped Tigger jammie and onesie was her son's coming home outfit, the purple Bambi sweatsuit her youngest daughter's outfit. I love the adorable Cinderella swimsuit with bows on each hip :)
I really enjoyed the entire process of making this quilt. It was fun to design on the fly all these irregular shapes and to add little booties, bonnets and caps wherever they seemed to be needed.
I delivered this quilt to Virginia and she loved it! Her Mom was also there and was pointing out all the outfits and who they originally came from. Babies are such a great way to make a community :) If you have a collection of cherished clothes, why not make a quilt?
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