Monday, 7 April 2014

Small Girls Let Loose on a Sewing Machine

Olivia and Samantha are both very keen to learn how to sew.  A while ago Olivia made a simple skirt:

It was a great first sewing project, as it mostly involved sewing straight lines.  She really enjoyed it, and has been desperate to make something else.  I wanted to find a project that the girls could work on together, that would involve relatively straightfoward sewing.  I've been eyeing this simple quilt for a while now:

Sew Mama Sew

I've never sewn a quilt before, but this one looks really straightforward.  We began by choosing fabrics.  This is what we ended up with:

The two lime green fabrics and the aqua fabric came from The Village Habadashery in West Hampstead and the rest of the fabrics came from Rolls and Rems in Holloway.  I decided to make smaller squares than the quilt on Sew Mama Sew, and ended up cutting 8" squares in each colour (8 of each).  The girls took turns designing each row of the quilt.

They then took turns sewing rows together.  I pinned each piece and drew a pencil line where they should sew.  Olivia managed the sewing really well and was able to work with me sitting next to her.  Samantha sat on my lap and took turns either doing the foot pedal or holding the fabric.  It took us several days, but we finally pieced the whole quilt together, without muddling up pieces or messing up the pattern they had chosen. 

I found a really nice extra-wide backing fabric online from Eclectic Maker:

Eclectic Maker - Extra-Wide Quilt Backing

I chose the extra-wide backing so there wouldn't be any joins in the backing fabric.  Unfortunately I made a mistake in my order and didn't purchase quite enough, and had to join an extra strip on the back!  So frustrating!!

I decided not to sew the layers together using the same method as the Sew Mama Sew tutorial (right sides together, then turn right side out and edge-stitch).  Instead I wanted to use traditional machine quilting, and a bias edge.  I was really lucky to have my lovely mother-in-law visiting (who is a very experienced quilter), and she helped me put together the layers and do the hand basting.  She also gave me help with the machine quilting.  I chose to do a very simple quilting pattern and just stitched a row on each side of the seam lines a 1/4" from the seam.

Unfortunately, I didn't get the whole thing finished while she was here, and ended up having to do the binding myself.  I headed to Google and looked up techniques for how to apply quilt binding.  I found a really easy tutorial here on Cluck Cluck Sew.

I took the girls back to The Village Habadashery and we chose a nice aqua spotted fabric for the binding.

Quilt Binding - The Village Habadashery

I cut 2.5" strips and joined them together.  I then used the exact method outlined in the Cluck Cluck Sew tutorial to add the binding.  Unfortunately my final row of stitching wasn't as neat as an experienced quilter and you can see the stitching line wandering a bit around the edge of the binding on the front.

Here's the finished quilt.

I'm so proud of the girls.  They did such a great job making this quilt.  They love it so much.  It's so special watching them snuggled on the sofa together under their very own quilt.

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