Introduction: Themed Quilt

This year, for our annual Christmas party, my friends and I did a gift exchange. I got my dear friend, Amelia, who had said that I should make her something if I drew her name. I spent close to a month determining what I should make. Then I remembered the last two times I made gifts for her (a music video and a painting, if you were curious), and recalled that they had the same theme: Tangled! She and I share a love for the Disney princess movie, so I figured it would work for a third time. The quilt idea just came to me randomly. I'd never made a quilt before and was only vaguely sure of how to go about doing it. I did a little research (*ahem* Googling), and figured I could probably pull it off.

(EDIT: I've added some photos of my second quilt! The Legend of Zelda themed.)

Here's what I did:

Step 1: I Planned Things Out (Adobe Illustrator and I Are Friends)

So, the exact layout of my soon-to-be quilt changed many times. At one time, the suns were smaller and there were several more of them. I also had planned to have a large tower in the center, but that didn't work out. This is what I ended up with, and the end result, after many mistakes, turned out pretty much the same.

Now, you can substitute any colors and any shapes to make this a whole new theme (EDIT: such as Legend of Zelda).

Step 2: I Bought Materials

After meticulously figuring out just how much of each material I needed, it was off to the store. Of course, that was not the last time I went to the store. I ended up needing different yellow fabric (the original one was far too flimsy), another spool of yellow thread (sewing the suns down took a TON of thread), and another sheet of batting (I made a silly mistake with the batting and got a sheet that was the proper length one way, but too short the other way).

Step 3: I Cut Out the Squares

I went according to my design and cut out the proper squares. 4 13inx13in (dark purple). 65 7inx7in (13 dark purple, 28 light purple, 12 pink, and 12 yellow). Remember when making your quilt to include seam allowances! I used a square of 6inx6in foam to trace the dimensions onto the small squares. For the big ones, I didn't have a large enough piece of foam, so I just folded the edges until it measured 12inx12in.

Step 4: I Cut Out the Suns

Tracing all those little pieces took forever, as the fabric likes to move around a lot. Eventually I smartened up and used a marker instead of a pencil, which made the going much faster. Make sure to trace your pattern on the wrong side of the fabric. And make sure your pattern is facing the wrong way as well, so that, when it's cut out, it will be facing the right way.

(Please ignore the circle that says "this way up". I realize that circles are going to be the same no matter which way you trace them.)

(EDIT: Triforces are so much easier.)

Step 5: I Laid Everything Out

With all of the pieces cut out (including the tower that never came to be), I could lay them out according to the pattern, just to make sure I had all the pieces. (I don't have the suns laid out here because, honestly, that would have taken forever for something I would take apart a minute later. (EDIT: I did lay out the Triforces because they are much simpler.))

Step 6: I Prepared for "embroidery"

In order to not drive myself completely insane, I had to come up with a way of attaching the suns without having to fold seams. I came upon the 'silk stitch' and the day was saved! In order to accomplish the silk stitch without pulling all the fabric together (2nd pic shows the better of my mess-ups), I learned that I needed to use tear-away embroidery stabilizer. The image here shows only a single layer, but it ended up working so much better when I used 4 layers on other suns.

Anyway, I ironed on that stabilizer (making sure to follow the instructions on the box!) and moved on to sticking the sun pieces down. I started with just the center circle, using a dry iron on the wool setting to make my double-sided adhesive permanent (make sure to follow the instructions on your adhesive box!)

(EDIT: With some shapes, like Triforces, all the pieces can be taped down at once, since they don't get in the way of each other..)

Step 7: I Sewed Down the Sun

In order to achieve the silk stitch, I practiced on scrap fabric, many times, until I got the sewing machine settings right. When I finally figured it out, I carefully sewed around the outside edge of the circle (yay! no folding seams!).

Next things next, I did the same for all the little rays, making sure to carefully place them in the right place. After sewing those down, I carefully tore the stabilizer off and was left with an embroidery edged sun.

(EDIT: Same thing for other shapes. Triforces are much easier.)

Step 8: I Sewed Together the Back

This part was fairly easy. I measured two identical rectangles (60inx30.5in) and (after replacing the yellow thread with purple thread and setting my sewing machine to new settings) sewed them together so I had a square of 60inx60in dark purple fabric. (The finished photo isn't the best, as the fabric is laid out on a pool table and you can't see the whole thing.)

Step 9: I Sewed the Squares

Keeping the same sewing settings, it was time to sew together all the little squares. A daunting task that frustrated me several times when I repeatedly misaligned pieces or sewed squares where they didn't belong. Once, I even sewed a sun on backwards. I cried. Then I ripped out the stitching and tried again.

Eventually, I got all the squares in the right places. There are still a few that aren't aligned properly, but I was running late for the Christmas party (can you spell 'procrastination'?) and figured it was good enough.

My actions for this step went as follows (not including the numerous screw-ups listed above):

  • I sewed them together a line at a time.
  • For lines that included the large squares, I sewed the small squares together first and then sewed the line, including the big square.
  • Once all the lines were finished, I sewed them all together.
  • I cried in relief that I had no more squares to sew and hoped no would would notice that some of the lines were off.

Step 10: I Sewed the Whole Thing Together

I don't have a photo of when I put the batting in (I was in a huge hurry), but, rest assured, it's in there and it made sewing the edges a pain. (EDIT: I have photos from my second quilt for this step!) I first laid out the back square and placed the batting on top of it, covering it to the edges. Then the top went on, adjusted to be in the very center. Then came the time consuming and not really all that easy task of folding the edges over. Steven (my husband) helped tremendously with this part, since I was already past my deadline for finishing this project. We folded the back edge over the front (folding twice to make sure no edges were showing) and pinned it in place. The corner you can see in the first (EDIT: third) pic was made prettier by Steven before I sewed the whole thing together. I used the same setting on the sewing machine and just sewed about an eighth of an inch from the inside edge of the fold, sewing up the edge on the corners as I got to them.

When it was all finished, we immediately folded it up and wrapped it (it was so puffy we had to tie it down with extra fabric so that we could wrap it tight without it unfolding).

Anyway, that's all I've got. Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed seeing my process and I hope you like my (Amelia's now (EDIT: and Diamond's)) quilt(s)!

Sew Warm Challenge

Runner Up in the
Sew Warm Challenge

Homemade Gifts Contest 2015

Participated in the
Homemade Gifts Contest 2015