I love sewing, but haven't gotten into quilting until just recently. I wanted to do something fun and kind of silly for my first big quilt, so I decided to make a video game-themed comforter for my boyfriend for Christmas. I also liked this idea because the 8-bit images transferred quite nicely to a block quilt!
I knew I wanted a Mario/Sonic theme, but I didn't know how to go about it, so I turned to the internet and found projects to workfrom.
Step 1: Materials
-The front is made with plain Cotton Broadcloth.
-The batting is a compact, polyester batting.
-The backing is made with cotton fabric made specifically to be quilt backing (it's 108" wide, rather than 44" or 60")
Instruments I used:
-Ironing board (optional, but very useful)
-Lots and lots of pins
-Safety pins and a few pieces of tape
-Light colored pencils
Step 2: Planning It Out
First off, before doing anything, I had to design the quilt. I used Microsoft Excel to plan it out. It was much easier to play around with the design than it was with graphing paper, which is what I started out using.
After the design was made, I had to figure out how big I wanted the squares to be. This is a rather simple design and I wanted this to cover my boyfriend's queen-size bed, so I decided to make the finished squares measure 3.5" across. After I factored in the .5" seam allowance on both sides, I made a cardboard template 4" across with the corners of the inner 3.5" square poked out.
Step 3: Tracing and Cutting
This step involves lots and lots of pencil work! I traced every single individual square onto the fabrics. I'd say this was the monotonous step but since this quilt is rather big, most of the steps were pretty monotonous. I used a regular #2 pencil on the light fabrics and a yellow or orange colored pencil on the dark ones (because I couldn't find anything better).
Not only did I trace the outline, I also marked the corners where I would eventually be sewing. It was annoying to have to remember that detail, but I knew it would help me out later on.
Once I finished tracing the hundreds of squares, I set to work cutting them all out.
Step 4: Sewing the Strips
I didn't trust my ability to cut uniform 1/4" seam allowances; that's why I made sure to mark the corners of the fabric where I was going to sew. I was very careful and matched up the pencil marks on adjacent squares and pinned them so I could just sew from the top corner to the bottom corner and get a straight line.
Step 5: Sewing Those Strips Together
This is when the seam-ripper comes in handy. The hardest part of this step is making sure you have the right strips pinned together--and not flipped the wrong way--before you sew.
Before I sewed, though, I did iron the seams of the first row one direction, then the next row I ironed the other direction. I prefer ironing seams open, but all the quilting books I've read say to do this, so you never have to sew too many pieces of fabric at once.
Step 6: Making That Giant Quilt Sandwich (AKA Where the Actual Quilting Happens)
This is when It all starts coming together. First, I stretched out the backing on the floor. In order to keep the wrinkles out of the quilt, I taped the corners tautly onto the wood floor itself. Then I gently laid the batting on top and carefully smoothed it out. After that I set the quilt top on and smoothed that out as well. Once I felt that they were all set as well as possible, I safety-pinned them all together around the edges. After assuring the layers were flat, I basted around the two faces.
I decided to only quilt around the faces because I love using the sewing machine. I knew I wasn't going to be able to cram all of this into the machine, however, so I picked the simplest quilting pattern I could think of. Since I knew I wasn't going to quilt much, I tried to choose a batting that was bonded tightly so even after the blanket was washed, the batting wouldn't bunch up.
Step 7: The "Crust" of the Quilt Sandwich
I tried to pick a simple way to finish the quilt. Originally, I wanted the backing to be folded onto the front of the quilt, leaving a nice, black border around the top of the comforter. Unfortunately, I ended up not getting enough backing to do that; it was just a little bit smaller than the top!
Instead, I trimmed the batting so that it was pretty even with the backing. Then I turned all three layers over onto the back side of the quilt. I turned the top under all those layers so all the edges are hidden, and then I sewed over all four sides. I used black thread so the comforter had a thin, black, inner border right near the edge.
Step 8: Now Celebrate in Cozy Silliness!
The finished project was about 60" wide and 95" long. I was afraid it wouldn't fit his bed, but once i threw it on there, it seemed okay. Not all the squares lined up perfectly, and up close you can tell I'm new to this, but overall, I think it turned out well. I'm pretty gosh darn proud of it!
Finalist in the
Sew Warm Challenge