Monday, 22 September 2014

Sweet 16 Heart Quilt (DIY sewing project using thrifted clothing)

Hello friends, a while ago I finished another quilt.  This quilt was a birthday gift for my sixteen year old daughter.  I wanted to create something special to commemorate this important birthday.  

First I decided on the color scheme - I chose blue to match her eyes.  Then I decided on a heart block.  I scoured the Internet looking for heart blocks that I liked.  That is how I discovered this wonderful blog Sew Me Something Good.  I liked the 6 x 6 heart design, and I drafted my own pattern.

My original idea was to go with a very scrappy heart block - one that combined prints, and light and dark values.  This was the resulting block.  

(I'll apologize in advance for the sideways and upsidedown shots - Blogger is not my friend).

After creating a couple of blocks, and not liking the result, I went back to the drawing board.  I decided to group my fabrics into light and dark values.  I would have eight light-colored hearts and eight dark-colored hearts.

Here are my lights.

The rolled up bundles are reclaimed fabric from thrifted clothing.

Here are my darks.

I also scaled back on certain prints.  This floral print wasn't the best scale for the blocks.  The 2 1/2" squares made the petals look like fingers.  

I also decided to use a lot of solids mixed in with the prints.

Pressing open the 2 1/2" squares.

Here is my first dark blue heart block.  Each block has 46 pieces.

Trimming down the block (this is one of my favorite parts of piecing).

Block with white sashing sewn onto the sides.  All the white fabric used in this quilt was reclaimed from thrifted clothing. You shoulda seen me at the Salv Army on sale day - I pulled every white pieces of clothing I could find. The sales clerk thought if I was a bee-keeper :)

Laying out the finished blocks on my floor.  Note to self: get a larger floor :)

Quilt top, now I just need to add a border.

I purchased 3 different types of fabric for the border, but none of them seemed to work.  So I used leftover sunflower fabric.

I layered the quilt, the back was a flannel sheet that I purchased new, then batting, then the quilt top.  I used green, painter's tape to secure everything to the floor.  I like to use flannel or flannelette for quilt backs, here is a handy formula.

Flannel quilt back + premium batting = snuggly quilt

I hate getting on my hands and knees to pin everything together, but it has to be done.

Photobomb from eleven-year-old instigator  :)

I added a pieced strip to the flannel backing.  Creating the pieced strip is another favorite thing of mine.  I get to joyfully and (almost) randomly piece bits of fabric together.  

Here is a closeup.

The binding is an orangey-leaf pattern.  I though it contrasted nicely with the blue.

A lot of people ask me how long it takes to make a quilt. Because I draft my own patterns, and I'm not afraid to tear things apart if they don't work, I can spend a long time designing a quilt.  Plus there is the time I spend preparing the fabric.  The quilt top was more than 90% reclaimed material. Using reclaimed material can be a lot of work as you have to cut shirts up and the resulting pieces may not be conducive to strip piecing.  A lot of the 2 1/2" squares were laboriously cut from small bits of clothing.

I'd say that the labour for this quilt broke down into the following:

* design (including sketching, creating sample blocks), 10 hours
*  preparing fabric (washing, pressing, cutting etc.) 20 hours
* sewing (including piecing, sewing blocks together) 35 hours
* finishing (basting, quilting, binding) 15 hours

Well, if my quilt has inspired you to use reclaimed fabric, then good on you.  Let me know if you have questions.

happy thrifting :)

1 comment:

  1. Great patch working idea!! Totally inspiring me to try some things out. Yes, I did my fishtail myself;). It's a lot of time spend in front of the mirror. Thank you for your comments. x Romi