Saturday, July 19, 2014

Custom Toddler Memory Quilt

Sometimes funny things happen on Facebook. I belong to a couple of local buy/sell/trade groups. Lots of things go for sale on these sites. I've seen clothing, pet supplies, books, furniture, you name it.

A little over a month ago, I commented on a post asking about reasonable pricing for rag quilts. As a result, I got a message in my Facebook inbox. A local woman was looking for someone to make a memory quilt for her daughter's upcoming 3rd birthday. She had saved all of the clothing from the time she was a newborn and wanted to know what could be done with it.

This was a slightly new endeavor for me. I'd made a t-shirt quilt before, but not one that mixed this many types of materials or styles. It sounded like a fun challenge. I considered what I would need to do and the time I'd need to put in and quoted her a discounted price since this would be slightly experimental for me. She was very excited.

And that's what I've been doing for the last three weeks...sewing. After she presented me with a large black garbage bag full of clothing, I went to work. I cut apart onesies, and t-shirts, and swimsuits, and dresses, and even one Halloween costume.

There's been a lot of random fabric hanging out in my family room for just under a month.

While the project was occasionally daunting, it turned out to be a lot of fun. She had given me a lot of terribly cute clothing to work with and the challenge of putting some unique touches in made it even more entertaining.

The Pooh costume was an interesting piece. The shirt and stomach were actually only attached by two thread sections. I had to piece them together and then sew a pocket in for the stuffing so his belly wouldn't explode all over the inside of the quilt. The pleated BSU jumper was originally two separates.

That red, white, and blue piece to the right of Pooh? It's a bikini; one of two swimsuits in this piece. Lycra is a challenge to sew.

There are three photos included. One as an infant and then one each from her daughter's 1st and second birthdays.

So many fabrics. So many different shapes and colors.

She selected a dark pink minky for the back side and a pink/purple border fabric. It actually went together quite well.

I had some small slip ups along the way that made some stages take longer than I expected. I initially sewed my binding on without remembering to open my flap for the first attachment. That was a 3-hour error that led to a lot of seam ripping, repinning, and resewing. It also led to me staying up until 4:30 in the morning when I had to be up for work at 7:30. That was a bad error.

But then the project was done. On Thursday afternoon, I said good-bye. At her request, I delivered it folded up with the front side folded in. She'll be opening the quilt on Saturday afternoon at her daughter's party. The fact that she hasn't seen the finished project makes me kind of nervous, but she has told me that she's already thrilled with it based only on the backing she's seen plus the photo preview she got of the initial layout. I'm hoping she loves the finished product just as much.

I plan on doing more of these. There is just a large sense of satisfaction in the process for me. It was fun and challenging and I learned some new tips and techniques that I can use for future quilting endeavors. I'm so glad that she gave me this opportunity.

Better yet? When I dropped it off, she asked if I would be interested in making a few more. Turns out she has some family that might be interested in something as well and she's saving up her son's clothing for another customized for him. It's all very exciting. Sometimes I love the things that crafting has offered me.


  1. That is so beautiful Elle. We have saved t-shirts and stuff too to eventually make a t-shirt quilt. I bet the swimsuit was challenging to sew.

    1. Thank you! The swimsuits were definitely interesting (the black and white zebra print at the bottom left is another suit). I gained a whole new appreciation for interfacing.

  2. +JMJ+

    It's great! =D She sure had a lot of pink clothes. LOL!

    1. There definitely was a lot of pink. It worked in my favor since I used the pink areas to do some stabilization stitches with the backing. It helped my pink thread blend in to the background. :)

  3. Hi Elle - that's amazing and so clever .. and what an amazing opportunity came your way - and looks like you might be set doing a few of these ... fun and as you say satisfying ..

    Brilliant - clever lady and thanks for posting .. cheers Hilary

    1. Thanks Hilary! I really had a good time making it (despite my blunders). I'm hoping to hear soon if I'll be making another for her family.

  4. Wow!! This is amazing! I found your blog though FB. I am beyond impressed with this quilt! I have been thinking about having one of these made for my daughter for a while. This is like nothing I've seen before! Beautifully done! If I decide to go for it I will definitely be contacting you!!

    1. Glad you found me Katie! Thank you very much for the compliments. Feel free to contact me any time, I'd be happy to make something for you!


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