Quilts From Baby Clothes
If you are wondering what to do with all those old baby clothes, we have a wonderful project for you this month in honor of Mother’s Day. A lovely quilt made of baby clothes is a special and timeless way to treasure your earliest parenting memories.
- Start by sorting
Go through your bins — all of them — and put everything into one of three piles: keep, cut, or donate.
Your “keep” pile should be small and include a few outfits to pass down to family or friends, a few outfits for the kids to keep (for potential future grandchildren) and perhaps a few items for yourself that are the most sentimental. The “cut” pile will consist of all of the clothing that you want to preserve in the quilts, including a few baby blankets, bibs and pairs of socks. Everything else will be donated.
- Cut out squares
This part takes the most time, but it’s repetitive and lots more fun if you pass the time with friends. Pick up a onesie or shirt, cut up the sides (so you’re only dealing with the front layer), trace a square with a marker, cut it out and repeat.
With sleepers, you’ll want to cut your square from the back where there isn’t a zipper or snaps. For tiny pairs of pants, cut up the side seams and open them up to get a big enough area to trace a square. Cut tiny pants at the side seam so you have enough fabric to get a full square!
To preserve tiny pairs of socks and bibs, just sew them onto an extra square (usually cut from the plain back of a shirt).
You can make your squares any size and even make your own cardboard template, but we recommend using a 6.5-inch clear square ruler to cut 120 squares, giving you a quilt that was 12 rows tall and 10 rows wide (slightly smaller than a twin-sized quilt).
- Sew your top
Once you have enough squares, arrange them on the floor to make sure you’re happy with the order. Then carefully pick up each row and sew the squares together (right sides together) to make long strips. Sew all of your strips together and then you have a quilt top.
- Make your quilt sandwich
Measure your quilt and determine how much to cut for your backing (the part that’s against your skin).
Wash and dry your backing fabric once you get home, so you don’t have to worry about it shrinking down the road when you wash the quilt. Then spread a large section of 100 percent cotton quilt batting on the floor, and then gently put your backing fabric on top — right side up — smoothing out any wrinkles.
Finally, add your quilt top (right side down) to complete the sandwich. Use lots of pins to keep your three layers together, trim away all of the excess around the edges, and sew most of the way around the quilt.
Stop before you close it up completely, turn it right-side-out, and then stitch the opening shut. Now you have the backing on the bottom, the cotton batting in the middle where it belongs, and the pretty side of your quilt-top on top.
- Tie it all up
“Tying” a quilt means you use a needle and yarn or embroidery thread to make knots that go through all three layers. It doesn’t take long at all. Just tie a knot at the corner of every block. This prevents the cotton batting from shifting around inside and it gives you that cozy “quilted” feeling.
We would love to see your creations in the comments! It’s a special way to take a walk down memory lane with those precious baby items after your babies are bigger.