poetry and prose about place

making a quilt

with 11 comments

One of the things I love to do as winter approaches is to make a quilt.  My quilts are not the beautiful, hand-stitched, carefully patterned quilts I admire.  My quilts are usually patchwork and often machine sewed, although some I quilt by hand, with long, uneven stitches.

a few of the quilts I’ve made, mostly lap-sized quilts for winter evenings

This fall, I am working on a quilt for our bed, in the theme of ferns and poppies.  I have used an old blanket covered in blue roses as the batting, given to me years ago by my uncle.  It has a large tea stain in one corner and is not as warm as our modern bedding, but I would like to keep it for sentimental reasons, so I am using it as the base for my new quilt.

For the fabric, I am using various bits and pieces I have collected over the years.  I can’t resist fabrics and when I visit the store, I often leave with a half meter of a fabric I love, even if I have no planned project.

I am planning to make the quilt entirely by machine, following a method my Dad told me his mother used.  She would take an old blanket and sew the patches on by hand, one at a time, covering the adjacent seams as she went.

First, I chose a width for the patches and cut a piece of sturdy cardboard for the template.  I marked the fabric with bands in the width of the template, to use as an inked guideline to keep my fabrics straight…

Then I cut my fabrics the width of the template and arrange them, right sides together and pin them to the blanket, making sure the edges of my fabric follow the inked guidelines…

Then I sew a seam…

When each piece is sewn, I open it to the right side to reveal a neatly attached patch…

Once I have worked my way around the blanket, attaching one row of patches, I will add another row, leaving one inked guideline row empty.

After I have finished the rows of patches, I will add long strips of fabric to fill in the empty rows and to cover the rough edges left by the first rows of patches.

I will have to pin and top-sew the other edge of this strip of fabric, to cover all the raw edges.

Then, when all the edges are hidden or turned in, I will top-quilt all of the patches with the machine.

The last step will be to select a fabric to cover the other side of the blanket.  I think I will attach this layer with ties, another old-fashioned method of making a quilt.

I’ll show you the quilt when it is completed, probably next year!!!

Do you make quilts and what is your method???




Copyright  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

October 19, 2012 at 12:51 pm

11 Responses

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  1. I made a quilt years ago for my daughter but I did it by hand. She still has it. I’m proud to say 🙂

    I was interested to see you were cutting up an old blanket. I’ve never heard of blanket going into a quilt.
    Are you a teacher? It seems so easy to follow your instructions.



    October 22, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    • Hi. The blanket formed the batt or stuffing for my quilt. I am not a teacher… I think I inherit my Mom and Dad’s ability to explain… they were both teachers. Jane


      jane tims

      October 23, 2012 at 10:49 pm

  2. […] View original post here: making a quilt « nichepoetryandprose […]


  3. You are the second person I have come across in the last couple of weeks who is recycling an old blanket in a quilt. I like your seam as you go technique and wondered are you sewing the backing on at the same time?

    I haven’t tried this technique yet but I think I will now. Thanks for the detailed instructions which will help a lot.



    October 20, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    • Hi. I am not sewing the backing at the same time. I thought it would add a layer of frustration for me!!! I will add the backing after the front is done. If it is not too thick, I may sew it on with the machine in strips, or I might just use ‘ties’. Let me know if you decide to try one. Jane


      jane tims

      October 21, 2012 at 8:49 am

  4. Jane, I love the way you’ve documented this technique for your readers. When I first read that you were using a favourite old blanket for batting I thought, “How clever.” Then I saw how you were employing it. I have a friend who has learned that technique, but she’s been using cotton batting. I think the thicker nature of your blanket might work even better. As you know, I love quilting. I have to find a winter project for myself. Good luck with yours!


    Jane Fritz

    October 20, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    • Hi. You made a beautiful quilt last year and did a great post about it. Even this ‘quick’ method I describe takes a lot of patience, since the layers and amount of material get cumbersome for the machine. Still, making quilts is a warm project for the cold weather and the result is beautiful and useful. Jane


      jane tims

      October 21, 2012 at 8:46 am

  5. I’ve never made a real quilt–but when I was a child, I used to make small patchwork quilts like this for my dolls. I used to love to organize (and re-organize) the fabric scraps before I sewed them together..



    October 19, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    • Hi Sheryl. A doll quilt would be easy with this method. I still have some of the doll quilts we had as kids. Little patches are so charming!!! Jane


      jane tims

      October 20, 2012 at 5:41 am

  6. Jane,,that is the most interesting I heard,,,thanks for giving me the “know-how” in making a quilt. I must try to make a small one myself. By golly,,,where do you find the time to be this talented.????? I am so proud of you,,,everything you do,,makes me smile. You are indeed “gifted”.!



    October 19, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    • Hi Patsi. Thanks for the vote of confidence. I just need to be busy all the time… If you do a small lap quilt (or a baby quilt), it is easier and less heavy to handle on the sewing machine. Have fun… Jane


      jane tims

      October 20, 2012 at 5:39 am

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