Saturday, September 6, 2014

Baby Quilt for Debbie

I was commissioned to make a baby quilt a month ago. After being ill for a couple of weeks, I finally was able to get it done. I was sent fabric for the quilt along with a photo of another quilt saying that was the required design - no measurements or anything - just a photo. Thankfully, it was a simple design that is not copyrighted, as it is just plain blocks with sashing and a border. They sent a list of what fabrics were to be used where.

Unfortunately, with no measurements given, I had to figure out what was the largest block I could create with the amount of fabric I was given. No matter what I did (unless I made a doll quilt - there just wasn't enough backing fabric without piecing it). Not to mention - several of the fabrics were one-way prints. . . really - I had to deal with one-way fabric, too!!! Argh!!! (If they didn't know what they were doing - let the quilter tell them how much fabric to buy!!)

I was frustrated with this quilt before I even started!!!  Eventually, I got everything figured out after having to make a couple changes, cutting a couple pieces the WRONG direction (due to them being ONE-WAY)!!  The quilt has 5 1/2" blocks, 1 1/2" sashing, a 2" border, a pieced back, and binding of a different fabric than they requested (I personally like the chevron fabric I used, rather than repeating the yellow striped fabric again.) It was the only way to make it work and be happy putting my name on it!

Besides the challenges of designing the quilt, I don't believe the fabric was 100% cotton. It sewed like it was sheet material! It was tough to get a needle through it - I had a hard time thread-basting. I also had to rip out the original quilting, as the quilt shifted terribly by the time I got to the fourth row. (I'm not sure why it shifted when I used my normal thread-basting and a walking foot). I did use a machine I don't normally use, as I wasn't at home when I started the quilting. I ripped out all the quilting, re-basted the quilt and then used my machine that I normally quilt on. It quilted just fine this time. I quilted it simply with diagonal lines across the quilt, creating an "x" in each block. I had about 3" of binding left-over when I finished the binding! Whoo-hoo! I was thrilled I had enough!!! (Wasn't sure what I was going to do if there hadn't been enough! Cry!! . . .cry some more. . . go to Plan B. Thankfully, I didn't have to figure out a Plan B!)

How do you put a price on a quilt when it ended up taking much longer than anticipated when I agreed to do the quilt, due to insufficient information and fabric? This was a real struggle for me. I wanted to be fair to the person who commissioned the quilt (she's not the one who bought the fabric), but yet I wanted enough for the difficulties of working with one-way fabric, insufficient fabric, and the type of fabric. What a dilemma!

Here is the finished quilt!
52" x 52" Yellow and Grey baby quilt. 
Back of quilt with section of blocks added to make it large enough.
Label designed on the computer. I drew an elephant similar to the ones on the back
of the quilt and chose greys for the background to go with the backing fabric. 

I hope the parents appreciate this quilt. I know Debbie does, as she has come to the quilting group at church and knows what goes into making a quilt. I would've liked to do things a bit differently, but I'm happy with how the quilt turned out and did put my name on the label.

Thank you for putting up with my rant!!


  1. It can be a real struggle to deal with custom orders. And I do understand you when you talk about pricing your work. It's a hard thing to do. There are not many people I've met who truly(!) understand how much work, time, energy and love goes into every handmade piece. You did a wonderful job with this quilt. I am sure the customer will love it.

    1. Thanks for your understanding words - I really appreciate them. Helps to know I'm not the only one struggling with this problem.