Thursday, September 13, 2012

Baby Play Quilt: Finally Complete

I am so incredibly proud of my first quilt, flaws and all! Part of the joy comes from all the learning that took place through my first quilting journey. For my quilt sandwich, I initially wanted to only put a few inches extra of the batting and backing, but followed the advice I found online and "wasted my materials" so I could get 6 inches all around. In the end I was glad that I did! I don't know if this is unique to domestic sewing machines and not a problem for quilting machines, but my sandwich pulled like crazy. I started with a straight stitch down the center of the quilt. My original plan was to only quilt parallel lines, so I disregarded the advice to sew a perpendicular line down the middle as well. Terrible choice. Those two lines are a beautiful way to keep your sandwich from pulling (despite pinning). In the end, I did stitch perpendicular lines because I found I liked the "quilted" look better. All that extra fabric I started with came in handy as my quilt top didn't look very centered by the end.

Before binding, I attached strips of elastic to each corner of the blanket. I didn't want the blanket to move around once I put it on top of the rubber mat and these elastic strips were perfect!

The binding should have been the easiest part. I cut five 43" long by 3" wide strips and ironed them in half. Then I sewed them together, but it took a few attempts and my handy seam ripper to get everything going in the right direction. Once those were all attached, I started midway down a side and left a 10" tail of my binding (to use at the end for joining the two strips together). My next hiccup were beautiful mitered corners...It was so hard for me to NOT sew the 1" section that my brain sewed it anyway...for all 4 corners. Then when I tried to turn my binding, I realized my error, but it didn't click that it was from stitching all the way through the corner. Instead I simply ripped the seams at each corner and folded them the other direction with full stitching. The third time I got it right.... thanks to Jenny! (In the photo on the right, I used chalk to remind myself to STOP!)
For my next quilt, I want to REMIND MYSELF of the following:
 - Baste pin like crazy over the ENTIRE PIECE. Yes, Lauren, things will shift, but trust me, keep those pins in there!
 - Start by stitching through the middle of the sandwich to make two perpendicular lines to anchor the sandwich.
 - When sewing bias strips, lay them RIGHT SIDE to RIGHT SIDE perpendicularly and stitch from top to bottom (not bottom to top) on the diagonal.
 - STOP sewing 1" from the corner, fold the binding, then start sewing again at the corner.

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