Introduction: Sew Easy Quilt!
My son is growing out of his crib blankets, he's 7 now, and I've always wanted to do a quilt for him. oh, but so much work! cutting, sewing, pressing, matching points, pinning and on and on... So I've been mulling this project over in my head for a while.
Step 1: Fabric
Head to your local thrift store, garage sales, and grandma's closet. . I have a buy-the-pound Goodwill outlet near me. Find the rack/bin of linens, find something you like. Look for top sheets that are the size you need, or bigger. Fitted sheets in the next size up will work too. Look them over for rips and tears.
My son's Easy Quilt will be twin size. I chose a green geometric design for the front and found a solid green for the back. I'm using an old comforter for the batting. It's a vintage Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comforter that has seen better days. The stuffing is showing and the stitching has come undone. But it just doesn't matter.
Pre-wash everything. Hot water, hot dryer. If it's going to shrink, you want it to do that before you get it all quilted up.
Step 2: Laying Out the Layers
Find a nice big flat surface. Perhaps your bed, or the living room floor. Spread out what ever you are using for your batting. Measure out your finished quilt size. You can add a bit for seam allowance, but it just doesn't matter. Mark out your cutting lines with a washable marker. Cut. I rounded off the corners a bit. (Sharp corners are harder to do on the serger.)
There was a hole in the center, so I used some scraps of batting to even things out and make a patch. It just doesn't matter.
We are going to make a sandwich of three layers. But instead of bread/cheese/bread it will be cheese/bread/bread. Trust me. Lay out the fluffy batting layer (the TMNT comforter). I used temporary basting adhesive to stick the layers together instead of using lots of pins. This stuff dries pretty fast so work on small areas at at time and smooth out the top layer pretty side up. Spread out the backing fabric, pretty side down. Spray 6" of adhesive along each edge.
Head straight to the serger...
Step 3: To the Serger Machine!
We need to serge around the edge of this whole stack. Lay the 3 layer sandwich on the table next to your serger machine, batting side up. You did set up an extra table to the left of the serger, right? Keeps the weight of the quilt from pulling on the needle.
Start at the middle of a side, serge around the edge. The extra material from the sheets will be trimmed off and you'll be left with a nice bound edge.
Since your corners are rounded off, it's a smooth transition from one side to the next.
Stop serging about 12-18" from where you started. Leave yourself a big opening for the next step.
Trim your threads.
Step 4: Turning Right Side Out
Reach way inside your quilt, between the two sheets and grab an edge. Pull. Reach in, grab another edge, pull. Repeat until your quilt is right side out. Your sandwich will be bread/cheese/bread now.
I laid it all out and gave it another spray in between the layers.
If you are fussy, Using a hot iron, press your edge nice and crisp. Press the seam allowance around that opening. Starting to look like a quilt?
Step 5: To the Sewing Machine!
Go all the way around your quilt with a medium length stitch and topstitch 1/8"-1/4" from the edge. and this time don't leave an opening. Trim your thread tails.
Step 6: Quilting the Layers
Here is where it gets creative. The sheet I used had a squares/rectangles design. I chose to highlight the zig-zag pattern. Begin and end your stitching with a very short stitch or two to lock things in place, then you won't have to tie knots. Stitch a few paths top to bottom, and maybe a few side to side, or go around everything. Choices...
It takes two hands to keep the fabric taut and to encourage the machine to sew thru this thickness. Just a gentle tug behind the needle, and the other hand keeps the fabric squished and even in front.
Step 7: But Wait There Is More!
I had enough scraps for 3 pillow cases. Lay out the fabric, right sides together. Serge around the edge of the rectangle. By pre-cutting you can make a nice sharp corner. I lucked out and was able to use the top edge of the sheet for the opening of the pillow case. If you didn't, just hem it.
Step 8: His Turn.
Now he wants a sleeping bag for his favorite stuffy. He carefully measured around Gingie and cut out the rectangle. Fold right sides together and serge around the edge. Turn right side out and snuggle your stuffie inside.
He is very proud of his sewing project.
Step 9: Two Blankets From One
I found a 100% organic cotton, king size bedspread on the clearance rack. Marked down, then another 60% off for a total of $10. It's not as bright as it seems, luckily orange is his favorite color. It even has a similar zig-zag pattern.
It was huge! I cut two twin size blankets out of it, serged the cut edges and then topstiched a hem.
There are still 2 smaller pieces left, long rectangles. Will make good blankets for the car or tv.
Step 10: Finishing...
Take a good look, does it need anything, trim all thread tails. Once thru the laundry to remove the adhesive residue.
It didn't take me that long at all. I got the machines set up and threaded and the floor space cleared while everything was being pre-washed. Layering and serging took about a half hour, another half hour to turn and topstitch, maybe an hour to quilt. Another 15 minutes for the two blankets and three pillow cases. Cost $15.
A quilt set to be proud of in an afternoon. I have two more quilts waiting in the wings.