Tuesday, 17 April 2012

'Easy' Quilts

In the last few weeks, a couple of friends have asked me about making their first quilt. Is it complicated? Is it going to be too advanced for their sewing? And how long will it take?

They don't tend to believe me when I tell them that a quilt is only as hard as you make it. Most people think of a quilt as lots of little squares sewn together and yes, that kind of quilt can take a while. But a quilt top can really be quite simple and still be very effective.

This is a quilt I made from a single piece of flannel with appliqued flowers and birds. Didn't take too long to make, although (as with most quilts) the most time consuming part was the cutting out.

The principles of this 'quilt in an hour' can be applied to any fabric, and you can make a quilt with just single pieces of fabric for the front and the back. For these, more elaborate quilting can really make the quilt something impressive - but elaborate quilting is beyond me!

I recently saw a quilt that was simply a plain white piece of fabric and a contrasting backing. What made it special was that the quilter had used a huge variety of stitches and threads to quilt an elaborate bird on the fabric, and thus turn a plain piece of cloth into an amazing quilt.

A quilt is really just a sandwich of layers: top, wadding, and backing. It doesn't have to be squares, and it doesn't have to take months. A few examples:

This is the quilt I made last week. I started on Monday night, and finished it on Wednesday. The actual quilt top construction took a few hours; the rest was the binding. It was made with fabric from Africa, bought and given to me by my mother-in-law, and the quilt was a gift for her.

To make it, I simply cut strips of the dark blue fabric and strips of the same width from the unbleached cotton. I varied the width of the strips so they ranged from about 4-10 inches. Then, I joined them together at an angle, again varying the length of the blue pieces. I wanted to bring out the green in the blue pattern, so I appliqued the green rectangles over top of the strips once they'd been sewn together. It was backed with another yellow fabric she'd given me, and I used the green for the binding. Simple simple, but it looks smart!

Try buying 20cm strips of 6-8 different, complementary fabrics and sewing them together for a super easy baby quilt - have a look at this blog for inspiration! Make your quilting as simple or as complicated as you can handle, finish off the edges, and you're done. It looks like a serious amount of work, and no one has to know that it wasn't.

And finally, if you're new to quilting, you can have a look back at this post which will cover the basics of it all. So don't be intimidated by quilts. It's really just a sandwich. And anyone can make a sandwich!

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