Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Makings of a Quilt

My little guys, now almost 4 and almost 6, are about to grow out of our toddler size bunkbeds my husband made them (well, at least the almost 6 year old). So now, it is time to make some quilts for them and get them some regular size bunkbeds! I made the quilts for their toddler bunks a while back, and I loved how they turned out! You just can't find store bought quilts or comforters of comparable quality. I even checked online and found some cotton quilts at Kohl's, but they, even at a half-off sale, were still at least twice as much as it would take to make them with all new materials. The nice thing about homemade quilts is that 1)They are made of cotton, which doesn't pill and lasts longer than polyester, which most store-bought comforters are made of, 2)The edges are made with a binding that is 4 layers thick and cut on the crosswise grain or bias, making the edges super strong. Even when that wears out, you just replace the binding, not the whole quilt! 3)It is quilted with cotton thread, much better and longer lasting than the clear thread most store bought comforters are made from. I can't count how many of our store-bought comforters have fallen apart because the quilting stitches have come out, and the cheap polyester batting has bunched up. Homemade quilts are quilted with more stitches, so that even if a stitch or two did come out, the whole quilt wouldn't fall apart.

Anyone can learn how to make a quilt! My little guy, who is 5 years old, is learning how to make a doll quilt, that he's going to give to his sister when he is done making it. Starting out with just a simple pattern makes it easier, but as you gain experience, more complex patterns are lots of fun! This is how I went about deciding how to make these quilts....

First, I decided that I wanted it to go on twin size beds. I found that a twin bed measures 39x75. I knew I wanted it to drape down only the minimum amount on all sides, since this would be for bunk beds - I found out that would be 10" on each of 3 sides. I also wanted it to have a pillow tuck, so that the pillows would be covered (I want the boys to learn how to make up a bed that way) - that's an additional 10" at the top. I also wanted to make another "card trick" quilt pattern, since I'd done that before, liked it, and wanted to do it again. I found out that one quilt block would be 12 1/2". I figured out how many blocks would be able to fit on the quilt, based on the measurements I'd just taken. After that, I took the extra inches leftover and divided it into two separate borders (an inner border & outer border).

Next was to calculate how much fabric. I'm NOT a math person, and all this calculating made my brain hurt, but it was worth it to know exactly how much fabric to buy. The nearest fabric store is 20 miles away, and they were having a good sale, so I didn't want to have to return on a NON-sale day to pay too much for fabric that I didn't properly calculate! So, after a riduculously long session of meticulous calculating that would take the average math whiz a third as long, I emerged with the fabric measurements to buy. If anyone is interested, leave a comment, and I can give you a link to the websites I've found that assist you in calculating fabric measurements. I think in the future, I will just look through my stash for fabric, cut them into equal size squares - then when it is time to make a quilt, I will already have them made up! But I wanted these to be special. :)

I decided to start on my project ASAP, so it wouldn't get put away and forgotten about. So, one night when my hubby was working late, we turned the computer screen to face the couch, put on a movie, and I started cutting squares. Not even close to being done, but got a good start! So what about you? Tell me about your quilts and quilting experiences!


  1. Hi Kelly!

    I would LOVE your fabric calculating website link. I just got my first sewing machine (Yay!), and have already found I am buying too much fabric. Any other websites and tips you have would be FABULOUS!

  2. Ive made one for Tyler's cousins little girl..it was so easy! Not but it was mostly appliques..I still am working on a peek a boo one with flaps and little photos beneath for Kye and Hanna...lol. Its a lot of piecing but its been fun. They will be something they will treasure forever :) Can't wait to see photos :)

  3. Here's the link...