Here is the finished quilt!
Step 1: Deciding on the Design
So, my first step in making the quilt was to aimlessly wander the aisles of the fabric store. I knew the colour scheme was going to be pink and black, so I looked for fabrics that had a striped pattern for the cupcake base and textured patterns for the top.
Once I had decided on the fabrics, I made a template or pattern for the top and bottom of the cupcake and tried cutting out a few to see what it would look like. I always like to “dry fit” my quilts to see if I like the design. I think it would be horrible to spend so much time putting together a quilt that you don’t end up liking.
Step 2: Sewing the Cupcake Tops
Ok, now time for the actual sewing! I figured that the best way to put the quilt together was to line each cupcake top with a black fabric.
I did this because I wanted to be able to throw this quilt in the washing machine, so I wanted all of the pieces to have finished edges. I could have turned all of the edges under, which I will do for the bottoms, because they are all straight seams. But, because the cupcakes tops are so curvy, lining them is the easiest way. Also, I used black fabric to line them because my background fabric is black.
So, to line them, I pinned each cupcake top to the black fabric (right sides in), pinned them, then cut them out. Next, I sewed around each cupcake top, leaving a 2-3 inch gap open so I could turn them right side out. Because I used knit fabrics, I didn’t have to clip or trim the seams before turning them right side out. But, if you are using a woven fabric with no stretch, you will have to clip the fabric around the seams so they will turn inside out neatly.
I calculated that 12 cupcakes would be enough to make a queen sized quilt, including the borders.
Step 3: Putting the Cupcakes Together & Sewing Tips
Before I go on to the next step, I have a couple of tips for sewing with fur…
The first is to take the pins out as you sew. They get buried in the fur and lost, and trust me, they hurt!
The second tip is to test your machine first to see if it can handle the thickness of fur together with a couple layers of fabric. I use my grandmothers antique Singer sewing machine because it can handle a lot of fabric. It only has one stitch, but it is my favorite machine right now!
My third tip is to use a large stitch, and cover your stitching using a pin or seam ripper. After you finish top stitching a seam in fur, your stitching leaves a line or part in the fur. If you use a bigger stitch length, you can use a pin to pull out a lot of the hairs that you have sewed down. If your stitch length is too small, it will be really difficult to pull the fur out. You can use the pin to pull the hairs out of all of your seams too, just use it kind of like a rake…
Back to the quilt...Once I finished sewing all of the cupcake tops, I turned in the edges of the cupcake bottoms in by pinning them in place on the background fabric, then I pinned on the cupcake tops. Next, I sewed all 12 cupcakes onto the background fabric.
I have never actually taken a quilting class, but it seems to makes sense to sew quilts in an assembly line kind of way- sewing one seam at a time then repeating the same seam for all of the pieces. So I started by cutting a whole pile of pink strips, about 3 inches wide. Then I pinned the pink strips to both sides of each block.
After all of the pink strips were sewn on the sides, I attached the pinks strips on the top and bottom in the same way. As you can see, I sewed in a continuous seam, almost connecting all of the blocks together. It saves a lot of thread, and the time it takes to stop and start. Also, when I am sewing is one of the only times you will see me with an iron, but ironing does make a difference in the finished product. Take the time to press open the seams before sewing the next ones, as much as I hate ironing, it does make the quilt neater, and lay flatter.
I sewed a black and white zebra border the same way… This part isn’t my favourite to sew, It is pretty tedious, repetitive, and takes forever…but, looks great!
Step 5: Adding Some Details
After the borders were all done, I started sewing on the details. Everyone knows that a good cupcake has some decorations, so I decided to use buttons, and some sequins for some bling-bling. Because there are 12 cupcakes, I figured I would add 4-6 sequins for each cupcake. My daughter picked out all of the sequins she liked from the bag of sequins (apparently I could only use pink and silver), that kept her busy for a good half hour!
To sew on the sequins, I used embroidery thread to save time. Because I used three stands of the embroidery thread at a time, I only had to sew two times for each sequin because it is triple the threads. The kids helped sew on a couple sequins, but unfortunately, it didn’t keep their attention for long.
To sew on the sequins, I started at the back of the fabric, threaded the needle through the fabric, sequin, then a clear bead, and then back through the sequin and fabric again. The bead helped secure the sequin in place.
Step 6: Putting It All Together!
The last step to putting all of the cupcakes together is to add a strip of black fabric between each block. Because the black separates each block and connects the whole quilt together, I sewed it together a little differently than the pink and zebra borders.
After I played around with the order of which cupcake goes where on the quilt, I cut out a whole bunch of black strips of polar fleece, all about three inches wide. I sewed a black strip in between the cupcakes to connect a row of three cupcakes together.
Here is a tip for sewing polar fleece… Some colours of polar fleece, like the black are hard to tell which is the front and back, so a trick is to stretch the fabric a little. The tension will make the polar fleece curl, but it will always curl towards the wrong side, so whenever I got the strips mixed up, I used this trick so I didn’t get right and wrong sides mixed up.
After I had sewed four rows of three cupcakes each, I sewed a longer black strip to connect each row of three cupcakes together with the next row. At this point, I actually used a few pins to make sure the corners of each cupcake row lined up.This part took forever! Each seam was eight feet long, so it was time consuming and tedious, not to mention how large and heavy it was!
Step 7: Finishing...Yahoo!
So at this point, I realized that the polar fleece I had bought to back the quilt was going to make it way too heavy. So I went to the fabric store (again) to buy some plain black fabric, but the only plain black fabric I could find was going to cost almost $70.00. So, I went next door, to a bedding place and bought a plain black flat queen sized sheet for $13.99. But, of course, the black sheet I bought was a little too short, so I added a strip of polar fleece to the top. I figured since I was adding this piece, I might as well add a little detail. On a rectangle of the black polar fleece, I sewed a message to my daughter, so when she turns over the quilt before she gets into bed every night, she will see it.
Then I laid out the black fabric on the floor, right side up, and laid the quilt on top of that, right side down. This is important! Make sure the right sides are together at this stage, it is a lot of sewing to rip out if you make a mistake here! I sewed all the way around the perimeter, leaving a couple feet open on the side seam so I could turn it inside out.
I clipped the corners so the corners would turn out neater, then I turned the quilt right side out and hand stitched the opening closed. I also decided to put a quick line of hand stitching on the black lines of the quilt to hold the back and front together…
Tada! Finally done!