Sew-In at Home: A Christmas Quilt
by Ashley Fritsche
Welcome back to the Sew-In with Nathan and Sayley! The Christmas Quilt is FINISHED! Thank you all so much for following along on our journey as we learned all about quilting and explored the joys and easy companionship that come along with this timeless craft. The Sew-In started while Nathan and Sayley were spending countless hours at home from school this last year. Even during difficult times, I believe that learning and family time keep the children grounded. The "sewing" days are my favorite as we spend hours talking, laughing, learning, and sewing. So many memories are being made, as well as skills that will last a lifetime! Thanks for tuning in to the Sew-In with us.
Sew-In Family: Nathan (11), Sayley (8), Mom (Ashley, The Featherweight Shop Marketing Director)
Walking Foot, Even Feed
Bohin Curved Safety Pins
Batting, Quilter's Dream Wool
Pattern, Miss Rosies Quilt Co. Cake Mix Recipe #4
Aurfil Thread - Dove Grey
Featherweight Thread Post
Featherweight Accurate Seam Guide
Olfa Rotary Cutter
Lori Holt Tape Measure
Lori Holt Cutting Mat
Well, what an experience this quilt has been. Before we dive into our final installment of the Christmas Quilt, I would like to preface this post by saying we had the most trial and error experiences during the final stages. As with any project, if something does not work, we try and try again until it does! Throughout this entire process, I have had Nathan and Sayley work their way through the errors, and troubleshooting to find possible solutions. We did just the same for the quilt top, layering, and finishing the quilt. Having said that, we have all learned SO MANY lessons, and found out ways that we would navigate these steps differently the next time. Learning is such a wonderful experience! Thank you for joining us on this wonderful journey.
In order to finish off the quilt top, the kids needed to assemble the white sashing strips of fabric that connect each of the blocks together. We did this by cutting out squares and long white rectangular sashing pieces, then sewing them to the sides of the blocks.
After the white sashing strips were finished, we needed to go through and cut the red border that will frame the entire quilt. We picked a festive red fabric. Figuring out the dimensions, the kids measured out the length and width of the sewn blocks including the white sashing. They wanted a 6" border around the edge of the quilt, so they determined the correct measurements and began cutting.
We had a little help from Georgie, our pet rat! He was quite happy to be participating.
The border pieces were cut and looked great! The kids did a wonderful job measuring and figuring out the correct lengths. After laying out how everything looked, they decided on adding in white blocks for the outside cornerstones, so back to the cutting mat we went.
After everything was cut and placed, the kids pinned the red border and white cornerstones to the quilt top, before beginning to sew.
After the corner was sewed, we double checked the seam, making sure there was no misalignment from one side to the other (see the red side to the white side of the fabric.) We did this on both sides of the square and with nesting seams, there was always a perfect corner. Take a look at that pretty point below!
Next up, the kids measured the final dimensions of the quilt to begin cutting the fabric for the backing (always measure, re-measure, then measure again.)
Mr. Max was not too happy being excluded from all the fun and games!
After the kids measured the final dimensions of the quilt, they were ready to begin cutting the backing fabric. Since we have researched different ways of doing the backing and layering of the quilt, and have found so many different options, we are going allow ample space around the edges to make sure that we have enough wiggle room for any mistakes. (Stay tuned for a follow up blog on all our lessons learned!) Then, to pin, sew and prepare the cheery red gingham backing.
I had to stop and take the photo below while we were working on the quilt. I had just turned around and sweet little Sayley was singing away, with the scrap of fabric she had just put in her hair. The tree was sparkling in the background, the Featherweight humming so softly as she sewed the festive red fabric. I could not have wished for a more perfect holiday moment! (I will probably be printing this one up to put on my mantle!)
She just loves to put anything she can in her hair. As soon as we have any scraps, the first question out of her mouth is - "Can I take that?"
As Sayley sewed, I got started on pressing the quilt top. We used the mini travel size steam iron to press our quilt blocks and it was perfect. With the larger size quilt top, though, I would recommend using a larger iron.
Now that the backing and batting is laid out, and the quilt top is centered, it was time to trim off the excess and get to pinning. The kids had a few of their neighborhood friends over, so we had a little "pinning party!" It was wonderful! "Many hands make light work."
The pinning was finished, so it was time to roll it up and start quilting. This is another one of the steps that has many different suggested ways of achieving. Some say to follow the lines of the quilt, while others suggest drawing out the lines.
Using the Walking Foot designed for the Singer Featherweight, we started out following the lines of the quilt, then switched to drawing the lines every 2" apart with the Sewline pen.
When we were finished with the quilting, it was time to trim off the excess batting.
Nathan cut our binding strips and pressed and sewed them.
He made quick time of these, getting right down to work!
Same with the border, we gave ourselves a little extra room to make sure we had "wiggle room."
After the strips were pinned, the kids sewed the raw edges of the binding strips to the raw edges of the quilt border.
Next up was the hand binding to complete the quilt. This was a full family affair! We all took turns, watching movies, working late into the night to complete. Hours later, when the final stitch was sewn, a wave of relief and jubilation came across us all - we completed our very first Christmas Quilt!
Nathan and Sayley, I am so incredibly proud of the two of you! Thank you for joining me over the past seven months to create this quilt with me. We have made so many special memories that will last a lifetime. As your mom, I am speechless at how much you have learned and how talented you are. You astound me! Great job kiddos... And, Merry Christmas!
A Few Notes:
Washing: I washed the quilt on the quick wash cycle in cold water with 3 cups of vinegar. I did not pre-wash/treat the fabric, but did not have any color bleeding at all. However, we know that red fabrics can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer so it is wise to always test fabrics for colorfastness. For drying, we used the delicate cycle which dried it about 90 percent of the way, and then we let it air dry.
Bias/Finishing: We ended up cutting down the batting to roughly 1/8" in order to have a fitted edge to the quilt. The size of the bias strip was 2 1/2" in width.
Stay tuned for our follow-up blog with a list of resources and tips that we have learned since starting this quilt!