Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Quilted Sunflower

at 4:02 PM
One of my summer goals was to learn how to quilt. Well, I've made quilts before, but they've been basic square-patch quilts. I wanted to get more detailed. Michelley also wanted to learn to quilt this summer, so we made a Pinterest board of ideas. I have three quilt projects I want to complete (preferably by December ~ Earlier if I can make it).

Two baby blankets, and a surprise.

So I started on baby blanket #1. My cousin is pregnant and due in a couple months. Originally she was not telling the gender of the baby, but told me that the colors of the nursery were green and yellow. [Since then, she's had her shower and announced its a darling boy!]

I bought a jelly roll of browns, greens, and blues. And then bought another scrap pack of yellows and oranges. Buying jelly rolls and scrap packs at JoAnn's and Walmart is cheaper than picking out and buying cloth, and it has the added bonus of being already cut up.

There are a lot of cool ideas on how to use jelly rolls in quilts, that I found online. And my original idea was this.

However, when I actually looked at the cloth I'd bought, knowing that baby is a boy, I decided to try something different.

Jelly rolls are good because they have cloth with similar colors scheme and weight. The scrap pack I bought had a different weight, which I noticed changed how it reacted to ironing, pinning, and sewing. It isn't a problem in my design, but keep weights in mind when you're buying cloth to quilt.

Please Note: This is not a craft tutorial. This is a walk-through of what I did, with some tips added in. Due to my haphazard* approach to sewing, I do not give tutorials.

[*I sew without measuring. I usually eye-ball things. I often just "wing" things. When I sew I let my creative intuition take over and while the results are often what I envisioned in the first place, I could not replicate them if asked.]

I found my inspiration here, but she did not give a tutorial either, so I eyeballed. I originally thought I'd make a few small flowers, but ended up with one large one.

I started by pulling out the cloth strips from the jelly roll that I liked best.

Tip: When you buy cloth that has been folded, you need to iron out the creases before you start cutting and sewing. 

First, I played with paper to see what shape I wanted to make the cloth. Note: I rarely use patterns, unless I'm making them myself, or it's for a specific costume. Mostly, I'm just too lazy. 

Then, I cut the jelly roll strips in half, and then into thirds. 
I started folding them. I used an iron to help make the edges stay, but I kept them pinned as well. 

I started laying them out in a pattern, based on how I liked the colors aligning. I ended up doing a pattern of five. The mixed pattern cloth, yellow (I varied between two different yellows, switching it up every other pattern set), brown, green, and white. 

By laying them out side-by-side I realized that they were going to make a circle bigger than I had originally anticipated. That's when I decided on just one big flower. 

I ended up having had cut exactly enough strips to finish my circle. No, it wasn't planned. I had no idea how big the circle would be, nor how many strips I would need. I was anticipating 17 for a smaller circle, but this ended up taking 6 sets of my pattern, for a total of 30 strips. 

I also used just about every pin I own!

I pinned them together in pattern sets. I left one pin in the top fold, and then used two on each sides to pin the strips together.

Tip: If you iron your folds well, and line them up nicely, it gives you a good guide to sew along. 


The next step is sewing pieces together.

My first stitch! 

Checking the front. 

But if you somehow miss the edge, and have your iron lines puffing up like above... Don't worry! It's an easy fix. 

You don't want this mess on the underside of your quilt design, anyway...  So ironing it flat (front and back!) takes care of both of those problems.

 Nice and flat!

You'll notice that I ironed the backs after sewing together pattern sets. I didn't want to attempt to iron the back after it was one big circle. After ironing, I sewed the sets together, and then ironed again. But this time, I only had the seams to iron.

Now for the middle. This is the hard part. No, really, this is the part I really can't replicate.

I decided to do multiple circles of yellows and oranges to keep with the quilted look.

I made a design choice to go "shabby chic" for a few reasons. The first is that I have problems with circles. (Who doesn't?! Circles are hard to draw, hard to cut, and next to impossible to sew!) The second is that I thought it was cute for a baby's room, and that it went well with the sunflower idea. 
Plus ~ I really enjoy using the surge stitch on my machine. =D

I think it turned out really cute. 

This is my attempt at pinning the circle to the petals. 


This is not the final product, though. Just the hardest part. 

I posed this picture above, but I wanted to point out the blue strip.

My plan is to take that strip and find 2 more types of cloth with the same color but different patterns. Then I'll quilt those together for the background of the baby blanket front. I want some fuzzy/soft cloth for the underside.

I'm not making this a full twin sized blanket. But it won't be teeny-tiny. The idea is that it will be big enough for my cousin's child to use through their toddler years.

So until my hunt for cloth is through, this is where the project stands. I'm pretty impressed with it, though. It's bright and cheery, and makes me smile. It's also my first attempt to quilt a design.


[Addendum: See the finished product here].


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