For my little boy’s first birthday, I decided to make something special that we could all treasure as he grows up. Most of the clothes he’s grown out of were stuffed in to bags or in a pile at the back of his wardrobe where I couldn’t really appreciate them so I wanted to turn them in to something functional and beautiful. So, I dug out the sleepsuits, vests and outfits that carry the most significance for us and decided to incorporate them in to a memory blanket. Just before his first birthday was the perfect time to do this as it turns out because he’s now transformed from a beautifully placid baby to a boisterous and emotional toddler! Originally I thought it would be packed away and brought out when he’s older to gift to him but we’ve been making much use of it for reading and nap times. It’s so odd because it does seem to calm him down. Maybe subconsciously it reminds him of those more peaceful and simpler times.
I cut the outfits open to give me a flatter surface to work with and attached fusible interfacing to each side to help stabilise the fabric before I cut (using my rotary cutter for extra precision).
Once I’d cut out all the squares, I simply sewed them together as you would any patchwork blanket making sure to pin them carefully to match up all the squares. It’s really frustrating when squares don’t align fully so, because of the significance of the blanket and the sentimental value of the squares, I took my time to do this properly.
I used Odif 505AD temporary adhesive spray to sandwich and secure the quilt layers together – if you haven’t used this stuff, it’s absolutely amazing and a complete gamechanger! Gone are my days of basting a quilt.
To quilt, rather than stitch in the ditch, I decided to work with diagonal lines which I think ended up being quite effective. If you plan to quilt in this way, I’d say that a walking foot is essential. It helps to keep the layers together, especially if you’re using a slippy fabric for the backing. I used a soft fleecy minky fabric which is often used for baby products and I like that it’s cosy and soft.
I bound the quilt using scrap fabric from my stash and followed Jo Avery’s single fold binding tutorial, which is the most simplistic method I think I’ve ever used and produces lovely mitred corners.
Overall I’m so pleased with the effect and the little boy seem to love it. It was a wonderful thing to do just before his birthday because it gave me an opportunity to pause and reflect on how much he’s grown in this last year. He amazes me every day with the speed at which he’s learning new skills and I obviously want to encourage that… but I must admit that I do love cuddling up under our blanket and pretending he’s just a little baby again.