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Kids today are not taught the timeless art of quilting, which shows. While our generation was raised on quilting, knitting, and needlework, this generation is missing out on this beautiful pastime. Though I haven’t taught my grands all there is to know about the former, I have started introducing them to it in various ways, including a memory quilt.
What is a memory quilt? As the name suggests, a memory quilt tells a story via pictures, clothing, and unique fabric, which make for a truly one-of-a-kind creation! Are you ready? Then gather your materials and your grandkids, and let’s start quilting!
1. Gather your memories
Before you can begin quilting, you and your grandkids must collect your supplies (AKA memories)! What will it be? Concert t-shirts? Old baby clothes? A wedding dress? The possibilities with this are truly endless!
2. Sketch your design
If you have quilted before, you know there are many ways to design your quilt, whether squares, rectangles, or a mix of the two! The design can be as intricate or as simple as you prefer; however, a simple patchwork design where all the patches are the same size can be easiest for beginners.
3. Prepare your fabrics
Your first step in preparing your fabrics is to wash everything without fabric softener to remove any stains or dirt, then iron each piece to remove any wrinkles. If the material is too soft or stretchy (like t-shirts), you may want to stabilize it by ironing fusible interfacing onto the back of your fabric. (This will make sewing easier and help the quilt keep its shape.)
4. Cut your fabrics
Using a rotary cutter or fabric scissors, cut out the pieces for your quilt, ensuring they’re uniform in size based on your chosen design. Remember to account for a 1/4-inch seam allowance on all sides!
5. Lay out your design
Before sewing, lay out all your pieces on a flat surface, which allows you to visualize the finished product and make any changes to the design.
6. Start sewing
Begin by sewing the pieces into rows, pressing the seams open with an iron after you’ve sewn a seam. Once all rows are complete, you can sew them together. To make the experience even more special, ask your grandchild to tell you about a story they have with each item.
7. Add the batting and backing
Once your quilt top is complete, lay it face down on your backing material, which should be larger than the quilt top. Place batting (the fluffy middle part of the quilt) between the quilt top and the backing, and pin all three layers together using safety pins or basting stitches.
8. Quilting time!
Now, you’ll be sewing through all three layers by hand or using a machine, which can be done in straight lines, or you can get creative with patterns. (Some choose to “stitch in the ditch,” which means sewing right along the seams of the patches.)
9. Binding your quilt
Once quilted, trim the edges so everything is even. Cut strips of fabric for your binding, sewing them together into one long strip. Next, fold the strip in half, then sew it to the edges of your quilt. Finally, you can fold it over the edge and hand-stitch it to the back for a clean finish.
10. Add personal touches
Consider sewing little tags, photos, or other memorabilia onto your quilt to make it even more special. You can write dates, names, or small anecdotes about the memories associated with each piece.
11. Enjoy and cherish
Now that your quilt is finished, it is time to wrap your grand up in a quilt full of memories, love, stories, and experiences. What’s better than that?
Remember, this quilt isn’t just a blanket but a tapestry of stories, a hug from the past, and a heirloom for the future. Enjoy this special experience with your grandkids! And as always, let’s talk again soon <3