Friday, October 03, 2008
I apologize ahead of time for this post sounding so "Martha" because I am so not Martha, but...
I am in love with the "Cuddly Quilts" kits by Fabric Editions, LLC that I found at JoAnn's. They make it really easy to make adorable baby quilts with basic sewing skills. If you can sew a straight seam, you can make these quilts.
I've made 4 cuddly quilts that have turned out so cute! They are now my go-to new baby gift, and people really love to get them.
Each kit includes fabrics to complete a 30x36 quilt with easy-to-follow instructions. Even the backing fabric is included. The fabric selections are really nice, with a variety of textures and colors (basic cottons, flannels, satins, etc). And each kit has a plush fabric border that kids really love to snuggle up against. At under $20, the kit is way cheaper than buying the individual fabrics.
The kits are themed. I've made the "jungle", "mermaid", "bunny", and "dots".
Before making these quilts, I a decent amount of sewing experience, but had not ever made a quilt before. I followed the instructions in the kit, but I also found it helpful to follow the book: First-Time Quiltmaking: Learning to Quilt in Six Easy Lessons. While the kits do not include instructions for putting batting in the quilt, the instructions in this book allowed me to do it, and I think the quilts turned out so much better because of it. Also, the book has a good list of basic quilting supplies that you might want. I have a rotary cutting mat and rotary cutter, a 6.5"x6.5" ruler, a 6.5"x24" ruler, and basic sewing items like a sewing machine, thread, needles, scissors, etc. You do not need a fancy sewing machine. I got a cheapie one at Target for about $150.
Each quilt took me about 4 hours to complete (1 hr for cutting, 1 hour for sewing the top, 1 hour for adding the batting, and 1 hour for the final quilting). So, it's definitely something you can get done in one afternoon, or two evenings after the kids have gone to bed. The only technically difficult part was sewing the plush fabrics because they tend to shift and stretch as you sew them. I found that making sure it was abundantly pinned before sewing, and sewing against the grain helped a lot.
My one critique of the kits are that they give you *just* enough fabric. You definitely need to plan your cuts to ensure that you will get all the pieces you need. To their credit, they do give you suggested cutting layouts. The rotary cutter, mat, and rulers made this all do-able. I couldn't imagine doing it with just scissors.
By my fourth quilt, I was feeling a bit adventurous. You will notice that the "dots" quilt looks a bit more snazzy than the others with pieced-in fabric strips. I also used a few additional fabrics that were not included in the quilt kit. To accomplish the piecing, I followed the book: Thinking Outside the Block: Step by Step to Dynamic Quilts. It was definitely a lot more work and required somewhat advanced sewing skills, but this one was for my own little guy, so I thought it was worth the effort. I love how it turned out!