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I love to quilt, but more than that, I love creating a memory quilt. When we moved this last August, we moved a ton of baby and childhood clothes for both of our children. That’s really what took up most of our shed at the old house. Instead of keeping them for if/when our grandchildren, I am making memory quilts. I separated the clothes between those that were Lauren’s and those that were James’. I got rid of the nastiest clothes (not sure why we still even had those), gave away a lot of clothes, and still had enough clothes to make three quilts – two for James and one for Lauren.
I do have to say, though, that pulling out their old clothes brought back so many memories. Lots of “Oh, I remember that!” or “You used to wear this all the time…” I can see these little patches of squares and remember my children at these particular moments in time. They are such precious memories!
Being that James had the most clothes, I washed, dried, and sorted his clothes into two separate piles. One pile was devoted to camo, hunting, and darker clothes. The other pile contained blue, red, and white clothes. I didn’t realize how patriotic his clothes were. 🙂 At any rate, once the clothes were divided up, I started cutting the clothes down into large pieces of fabric, removing any snaps, buttons, collars, elastic bands, etc. I just wanted the cloth to be as flat as possible. However, if there were any cute graphics on the front of the shirt, I saved those.
I also bought backing for t-shirt quilts to help stabilize the material and keep it from stretching. Since a lot of the clothes I was using were baby/toddler size, I opted for a smaller square pattern – 5 1/2″ to be exact. Once I had the dimensions figured out and the material all cut down, I started cutting the t-shirt backing to the 5 1/2″ dimensions. And, I cut and cut and cut some more. It takes a lot of time and a lot of cutting.
Once the backing squares are cut, you can start ironing the backing to the material. Make sure you iron the fusible interfacing on the WRONG side of the fabric. Some fabric squares will be large enough that you can fit multiple squares backing on them.
At this point, iron, iron, and iron some more. When all the squares have been ironed to all the fabric pieces, then you can start cutting the fabric down to the size of the fusible interfacing. You should end up with TONS of squares with fusible interfacing – all the same size.
Start laying out the quilt and figure out what squares should go where. This is the fun part. When you have all the squares placed where you want them, take a picture of it so you can reference it later. I should have done that on the camo quilt but I didn’t.
Once you have the quilt laid out the way you want, you can start sewing the pieces together. I tend to work in blocks of four and then sew those blocks together into rows.
Once all the blocks are sewed together and the front is finished, lay out the backing and secure it tautly against the floor. I use frog tape to secure it. Then layer on the batting. Secure it with tape to the floor, too. Finally, add the quilt top and secure it tightly on top of the other two layers. Pin the layers together all over. Untape everything and then you can sew it together.
To sew it together, I used a simple X-pattern across the whole quilt. I stitched through each square diagonally, basically running from one end of the quilt to the other. Then, I switched the angle and went back across the other way to form the X.
When the quilt is finished, then you can finish it off with the binding. For the camo quilt, I trimmed the batting to match the edge of the top of the quilt. The backing, I trimmed down to about 1 1/2″ all around the quilt. I folded the edge of the bottom fabric over twice so the seam didn’t show, pinned it to the front of the quilt and then used a blind stitch to secure it to the front of the quilt.
Happy quilting! I’d love to see your own memory quilts – if you have any made. I love this idea. I still need to finish James’ patriotic quilt and I’m still piecing together Lauren’s quilt, but I hope to finish with both of those sometime this year. 🙂