One of the best, the absolute best, things about autumn and winter is the guilt-free opportunities it gives to snuggle up, stay warm and cosy and lose yourself in a story.
Possibly with a cup of hot chocolate in hand.
And toasty slippers on feet.
Oversized, fuzzy dressing-gown is optional.
We have a random selection of fleeces and blankets that do the job but I thought that in honour of the season -and inspired by the colours I see in the garden and in the lanes on the way to work – a new quilt was needed. A story quilt no less, that would enable maximum snuggling and cosyness.
This is a fun project to do 🙂
Any quilters out there, look away now. This tutorial ignores all the rules of quilting and is aimed at getting results quick. It in no way shows how to make the beautiful, handcrafted quilts that people lovingly toil over for, weeks, nay months, nay years. In fact I fully expect a lynch mob of seasoned quilters to come hammering at my door, waving extra long quilting pins, anytime now.
First you need to decide what your colour scheme/theme will be. For me it was the carpet of leaves I see in my garden. The carpet of leaves that really needs sweeping up (ahem) but which I can leave for a little bit longer if it is providing (drum roll please) artistic inspiration. Reds, yellows, oranges, browns. Complementing and warming colours. Beautiful.
Next go to your stash of fabric and pick out a number of fabrics that fit your chosen theme/colour scheme. How many you choose will depend on the size of your stash, the size of your quilt and how “busy” you want the finished product to look.
Now cut lots of strips of material in different widths and lengths
It’s playtime! Layout the strips until you have filled an area (including overlaps) slightly larger than the wadding you will be using. Move the strips around and experiment until you are blissfully happy with the colour and pattern combinations.
Now take the first two strips and pin them together along the length of the fabric. If a strip is made up of two shorter lengths you will need to sew these together along the shorter edges first in order to make a long strip. Sew the long strips together along the length of the fabric. Press the seams open.
Keep sewing and pressing the strips until you have a rectangle of material large enough to cover your quilt wadding.
Now you need to go on a lovely woodland walk and pick up an assortment of large leaves. This is a great home ed. opportunity to learn to identify trees. Or you could just be like my kids and use them to look like the Ood in Dr Who. I try, I really do….
Anyway, go home again, clutching your leaves/Ood beardy things and find yourself a nice, contrasting fabric. Two options here. The easy option is to attach some bondaweb to the fabric (using the manufacturers instructions) and then trace around the leaves.
Trace around the leaves.
Carefully cut out the fabric leaves, remove the backing paper and iron the leaves onto the patchwork you carefully prepared earlier. Sew a dainty border around the leaves to help keep them attached to the quilt and to make it look even nicer. Option two is great if you have younger children and want props for your story. To do this option trace around the leaves without the use of bondaweb and then cut out, leaving a 1cm seam allowance 3/4 of the way around, and a 3cm seam for the last 1/4 which will form the top of the pocket. Turn the 1cm seam under and iron flat. Turn the 3cm seam under twice (ie 2 x 1.5 cm) and stitch this hem. Now position the leaves on the quilt and stitch the 3/4 seam to the quilt, leaving the previously stitched 1/4 unattached. Ta da! A handy pocket to stash your story props.
Still with me?
Now with cunning fabric leaves attached, you need to make a quilt sandwich by placing your backing fabric (which should be about 6cm larger all the way around the quilt and wadding) face down, the wadding/batting on top of the backing fabric and then the quilt face-up on top. Fold the backing material seam allowance over once so it butts up to the edge of the wadding/quilt cover, then fold it over again so it effectively forms a bias binding around the edge of the quilt. Mitre the corners for neatness and then stitch all the way around this seam, anchoring quilt, wadding and backing fabrics together.
There, you’re done.
Now grab a book and a small child and enjoy 🙂