Planning Your Keepsake Quilt
Updated: Aug 30, 2019
Planning your keepsake quilt can be a really daunting prospect, so I thought I would give you a few pointers on what you can include. These are just examples but the items you include are entirely up to you. It is good to take into consideration what you want to get out of your quilt. Is it to be used on a bed? If so, avoid too many bulky or delicate items, zips, buttons and netted dresses for example. If it is to be used as a blanket around the house, a few fun interactive patches and pockets always go down well. George's favourite patch is a shark with a mouth that opens.
Some items are better in a quilt rather than a blanket due to the thickness. Quilts are made up of three layers: your patchwork, lightweight bamboo wadding and a 100% cotton back. Blankets are made of two layers: your patchwork and backed with lightweight polar fleece. Both are quilted together in the join of the patches so that it can't be seen from the front. The blankets are best suited to patchworks with mainly cotton and jersey items without too much bulk, like denim, because the difference in thickness can be felt through the blanket.
What size to go for is always a question I get asked too. The size is often determined by how many items you have to work with, but that is also really flexible. Here is a guide, however I talk about how to get the most of your items below.
Cushion - 5-16
Small - 12-20
Medium - 25-40
Large - 50-70
If you don't have enough to make the size you want, a border is a great option. Below are some examples of medium quilts without a border, with a border and sashed (windowed).
If I don't have the size you are looking for, get in touch, I am always happy to work on custom quilts.
Let's start with the basics. The good old fashioned bodysuit. Don't underestimate the impact these have in a quilt. There are a few reasons I love to receive them, I can easily get two patches from a bodysuit. One with a cute motif looks lovely in a square but a simple background can also be used to help me create a background for items like socks, hats and dungarees. Bodysuits come in loads of funky patterns too, so it helps break up the quilt if you have included a lot of motifs. If you have a name added to your quilt they also make great backgrounds.
Another favourite is a sleep suit. Often one of the first items your baby wore and lived in for the first few months, so they get in all the first photos too. Usually, they are more about the pattern so I use a square from the back. I tend to avoid the poppers on the front unless there are particularly pretty poppers and pockets, or if I need to make up more patches. Sometimes they have poppers to the side, so I need to include a few to get the design in or I will make one a different size like the white bird one pictured.
I love a pair of dungarees! Especially the ones with ears and pockets. I always pick out the special little details, but let me know if there is a particular part you would like me to prioritise. The fastenings and buttons often tell a story of what the item was so I try to include them. I use a simple patch to back it with so I can include straps. If you have an item you used to pair it up with and would like it paired with in the quilt, let me know.
Trousers, Jeans and Leggings
Trousers and leggings. don't always seem an obvious one to include but I can include them in all sorts of ways. Below are four examples, as always I try to pick out the most interesting parts. It often means there is a seam included and if there are pockets I always like to keep those in too. This pair of jeans really stood out so I used it for the personalised name that was added.
Dresses are great because they often mean loads of fabric to work with. A great patterned dress can often get 5 plus squares but generally I don't use more than 3 unless I have to. They often bring special memories from events and parties too. The white one below was also worn by the mum. The main detail was at the top so I left the sleeves on this one and so it was still easily recognisable.
I get tutus quite a lot and I can include them like the ones below. There is the risk that this can catch as it is more delicate, so it is worth thinking about how much wear it will get. The same goes for delicate items like silk and other tulle items. You can also see a few examples of dresses that included petals and pom poms in the netting.
Accessories - Hats, Socks, Bibs and Comfort Blankets
All those really small items like hats and socks are a great little reminder of how small they used to be. I will top stitch them close to all the edges on a plain or coordinating backing square, let me know if you want it paired with a particular item. Some hats can be particularly big and fluffy so they are more suited to a quilt rather than a blanket.
Comfort blankets have started to make more of an appearance recently. If the blanket or quilt is to be used on a bed and you don't want bulkier parts like teddy bears heads including, make sure you let me know but generally I add these to the corners.
They spend a long time in their sleeping bag as a baby. One of my strongest memories is going out to buy one for the first time. Often with fun patterns they are a great item to include in your quilt, especially if you are struggling with the number of items. I can get endless patches from them.
Muslins become part of the furniture, well they did for us anyway. I always had one on the arm of the sofa. I always kept the prettier ones for the change bag when we were out and about. Another great item to include if you need to make up numbers.
Shirts and T-Shirts
You can get such fun t-shirts that have interactive bits, sequins or ears on and they look great and make a regular appearances in my quilts and blankets. Shirts look great too. I try to include the most prominent part of the shirt, sometimes it is more about the pattern so I will use the back or I will include a pocket and buttons like the one I pictured. I can and have also included shirts with the collars on too.
Coats and Knit
I always get asked if you can include knitwear. The simple answer is yes of course. They work better in a quilt because they are often bulkier but they can be included in either quilt or blanket. Below are some examples of cardigans that have been included and a pocket patch I taken from a coat. When it comes to coats I often take the wadding so it isn't too thick and I used the lining from this one too because it was really pretty too.
Other items I have included are swimwear, cloth nappies, adult clothes and cot bedding just to name a few. Basically just include anything fabric that has been important to you, the possibilities are endless.
I offer 20% off the smaller keepsakes when you order them at the same time as your quilt or blanket. These include cushions, pillows, bunting and stockings, just get in touch for a discount code. Adding them at the same time means I can work and plan at the same time. They make great gifts so it means you can be organised for family and friends birthdays and Christmases.
When it comes to preparing and packing your items here are some hints and tips:
Put all your items through the wash first. When they are in a quilt they will have to be washed together so if you are worried about colours mixing, put a colour catcher in now and when you wash your finished quilt.
Preparing your items to send to me is often quite a therapeutic process so if you feel better about ironing and folding them, that is fine but please don't feel you need to. Part of my process involves ironing a stabilizer to all the items so the first thing I do is undo all the poppers, cut up the sides and iron each item.
Try to see what you have around the house that you can reuse to send me your items. Any box is fine and if like me you keep all the unused charity bags that get posted through your door it will help keep your items protected from damp, although I often get sent clothes just in a box or just a mailing bag and they have always arrived safely.
The bags often end up weighing over 2kg. If it does you can take it to the post office and it will go through Parcel Force however, you may find a better price from other couriers and there are plenty of courier comparison sites out there. Always make sure you send your items tracked.
Hopefully I have covered all bases but please get in touch if you have any questions at all. I am happy to answer any questions before you order and I keep you updated throughout the process when I start to work on your keepsake.