Okay, so here's the deal: I don't quilt. I sew. I sew outfits, I sew decorative items, I sew burp cloths and other baby items, but... I do not quilt. When I found out my cousin (who is practically a sister, let's admit) was going to have a baby, I knew I had to learn how to- you guessed it- quilt.
I had hoped that this baby quilt would be the start of my new found love for quilting. After all, my husband loves those quilted comforters for the bed and I think all the ones in the store are u-g-l-y. Maybe a new hobby could result in a win-win situation for us. I will let you in on a secret- it didn't. This quilt took me around a year to finish, not because it was difficult but because I did not focus on it and just GET IT DONE. I'm proud to say that it is done now, in the hands of my little "nephew" Ethan and that he will know his aunt Kelsie must really love him because he owns the only quilt she will ever make.
Don't let me deter you from quilting, everyone has their "things". Did you know I also have some amazing scrapbook pages but crash and fail when I try to make cards? Funny, isn't it? Oddly enough, the part I struggled with the most in making this quilt was not the actual top quilting but just sewing the pieces together. This pattern is perfect for a beginner quilter because it only uses square and rectangle shapes and a very basic quilting design. I even left off the binding and finished the edges myself.
Aaaanyways, let's get on to the pictures!
This is my nephew Ethan just a few weeks ago as he celebrated his first birthday. Handsome little guy, isn't he?
As you can see, the quilt has basic square and rectangle shapes for the piecing. The whole quilt was somewhere around 36-48 inches (sorry, forgot to measure again before giving it away).
Ethan's nursery is jungle themed so I went with browns, greens and jungle animal print. The details are what really makes this quilt stand out.
Firstly, I found some blue gingham that matched the gingham on the elephant's ears perfectly! I was so excited that I was able to work in this added little touch.
Secondly, I added his name to make it personalized. Don't worry, this is entirely NO SEW. I cut my shapes out from the same fabric used throughout the quilt. The fabric was backed with an iron-on stabilizer (like Heat -n- Bond) and was cut using the Silhouette cutting machine. It cut beautifully and all I had to do was iron each piece on the quilt! Make sure to use a permanent hold iron-on so that you don't have to sew around each letter.
Instead of messing with quilt binding I simply ran a top stitch along the entire quilt edge. It gives it that finished look and takes half the time!
For the "quilting" on top, I picked simple shapes again- going with squares and rectangles. To do this use disappearing ink markers or make your own "pattern pieces" that you can stitch around. I cut squares and rectangles out of tissue paper, pinned them on the quilt and sewed along the edges of the tissue paper before removing.
I also thought basic shapes might be fun for Ethan to recognize as he gets older. The entire backing is made with a fabric used in the front that ties in every color. Plus, more basic shapes to recognize... the fabric is covered in circles!
Randomly place shapes across the quilt space to help tack it down. I machine stitched my quilting (because it already took me far too long!) but did so with a regular sewing machine. No expensive quilting machine required.
So folks, that's it- my first quilt. It's not perfect and I didn't find a new "passion" in quilting but I love to think of my little nephew using something that was made just for him. I also hope that this basic pattern inspires some of you to try quilting for the first time. Maybe you will find a new passion for it- I sure hope so!