How to Save Your Baby’s Newborn Clothes – the Memory Quilt

baby clothes patchwork quilt

I’ve got to admit, I’m a little bit in love with this little make. A friend contacted me a couple of weeks ago to ask if I’d consider a special commission for him and his wife. Their little daughter is growing up fast and has outgrown her tiny baby clothes, but they were sad about the thought of giving them away. They asked me if I would be able to make them into a small quilted comforter she could carry round with her, something I was only to happy to help with.

They were keen that their daughter have the comforter to carry round with her, rather than it be a traditional quilt. We decided not to pad it out with batting, but simply to back it with beautifully soft brushed cotton. As it was a carry round blanket, we kept it relatively small; a little larger than a fat quarter.

I was given a bag of the most beautiful little clothes – generally 0-3 months – they were tiny! Making the first cut into the first item was really tough; it felt wrong to be cutting into them as they were so beautiful. As the clothes were so little, I cut out 7cm squares. I used some thick card for my template square (although you can buy some great perspex versions too) and cut out the fabric using my rotary cutter and self healing mat – much quicker than with scissors. I had lots of fun picking out details in the clothes to include in my squares (such as the bunny faces!)

Much of the time taken when you’re quilting is in the preparation; in contrast, once I’d cut out, the construction was pretty quick. I laid out my first line of the quilt trying to get a good mix of colours. For every line after, you’ll notice I moved the line on by one so the matching squares followed a diagonal. Throughout, I used a 1cm seam allowance. Sewing solely with cottons would have been easier; having a mix of wovens and knits was a slight challenge in that I needed to adjust my sewing to ensure I could match up the squares (it’s easy to stretch out the knits inadvertently!)

From my calculations I thought there would be seven lines of quilting but one I’d sewn it and laid it on the backing, I managed another two rows, making it a 9×9 square. I’d bought half a metre of baby blue brushed cotton and the 9 lines fitted perfectly, with a little over for a seam allowance.

When you’re sewing the backing on, lay it over the front with the right sides together and sew round with a 1cm seam allowance, leaving a 3-4 inch gap for turning. Once you’ve turned it the right way, ensuring you’ve used your point turner in the corners, tuck in the fabric you’ve not sewn and go all of the way round with a neat top stitch. I love this finish; it’s so practical to close your turning gap and leaves a really pretty finish.

Top Tip: Before you turn your blanket, snip all four corners (taking care not to snip your stitches) to teduce bulk

I’m so pleased with the finished quilt; knowing a little girl will spend her childhood taking with her a beautiful quilted blanket of her tiniest baby clothes is really special and I know her mum and dad will appreciate the sentimental value of the comforter also. They have photos of her in the outfits for her to match to her blanket.

If you’ve got any fabric left over, why not have a go at making an Elephant Soft Toy?

If you like this idea, you might also like the idea of supersizing your blanket and making a play mat

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