two very special quilts for two very special girls

for a while, I’ve been wanting to begin making specialty quilts out of the super-special baby clothes that otherwise stay stowed away somewhere…too special to get rid off but without any real plan for what to do with them.  this last month,  I was blessed with an amazing opportunity to do just that for dear friends.  they came over with three sacks of clothing….one filled with the precious clothing worn by their oldest daughter from her baby/toddler days; one bag of the same worn by their youngest daughter; and one worn by both.  these were the items they couldn’t part with.  the ones that it was impossible to put into the ‘give away’ or ‘donate’ pile.  the clothes that instantly conjure up a sharp memory, smell, or moment from those fleeting baby days.  and, rather than sit in a bag in her closet, she brought them to me so I could turn them into two quilts.  one for each girl.

I love these two girls. I mean I LOVE THEM.  I’ve known them since their days in the womb and I remember some of these clothes myself.  making these quilts was emotional for mom and dad but also for me.  it was not lost on me that I was trusted with something really precious.  as I sat sewing away, the quilts in my lap,  slowly transforming them into something so much more than just fabric scraps I could get a bit, ahem, emotional.

to make them, I started by cutting squares (and in some cases rectangles) out of the clothing and then using interfacing to stabilize anything that needed it, like the jersey knits.  there were also some special requests like incorporating socks in some way, sewing on some special buttons and adding in a tassle from the top of a hooded jacket.

 it took a long time to decide on layout and design, which happens to be the part I enjoy the most.  for the older sister’s quilt I clustered some of the rectangular squares in the middle and discovered that the wording taken from her special clothes provided a sort of definition: ‘big sister’; ‘inspired’; ‘sweet, smart, and sassy’; and a characteristic apple from one of her sweatshirts.  all together, the quilt started to look like her.  I took a little moment for some happy tears when I realized this (told you…emotional).  the other quilt came together in a similarly weepy manner.

after that, it was just piecing it all together and quilting it (stitching in the ditch). and, there you have it…time capsules in quilt form:

    

complete with tiny socks, beach wrap snippet, a scrap of a special dress from a first birthday, an important sweater, teeny-tiny jean pockets even bits from tights.

   

the funny thing is, while these quilts capture pieces from the fleeting baby days, I saw more of the future when I watched the girls react to seeing them for the first time.  as they giggled, pretended to fall asleep, and jumped up to point at things they recognized in the quilt, they suddenly looked so big.   and the days of onesies and swaddling blankets seemed so far behind.  and, SO MANY amazing and incredible moments seem just up ahead.

are you interesting in having one of these made for your little but getting big people?  if you are, get in touch and check out the specialty quilts page for information.

 

16 Comments on two very special quilts for two very special girls

  1. kristen powell
    March 6, 2012 at 8:47 pm (5 years ago)

    awww, how wonderfully lovely!! they look beautiful!!

    Reply
  2. Grace
    March 7, 2012 at 9:15 pm (5 years ago)

    Melissa….you did such a great job! They look awesome!

    Reply
  3. Roberta Ireland
    May 30, 2013 at 12:38 am (4 years ago)

    absolutely wonderful idea! I still have my 26 and 29 year old daughters clothes in a tub (they both just had baby boys). I’m really excited for another project!!!

    Reply
    • ahappystitch
      June 3, 2013 at 9:13 am (4 years ago)

      Thank you! Memory quilts are an awesome way to make something with all those special clothes! Go for it!

      Reply
  4. thingsforboys
    February 26, 2014 at 4:44 am (3 years ago)

    So lovely! I have started cutting out squares for my memory quilt…really must cut some more!

    Reply
  5. thingsforboys
    February 26, 2014 at 4:50 am (3 years ago)

    So lovely! I’ve started cutting out squares to do a memory quilt (my first quilt). I really need to get on it. Love the socks!

    Reply
    • Melissa Q.
      February 26, 2014 at 8:15 pm (3 years ago)

      OH, thank you Abby!

      Reply
  6. Lesley
    March 7, 2014 at 3:30 pm (3 years ago)

    How exactly did you use the interfacing and stabilizer? I made a pillow case for my niece using bits of her baby blankets and my seams pulled apart and had to be repaired. I’d like to make a matching quilt using the rest of the fabric, but I’m afraid of this happening again. Any tips beyond 1/2″ seam allowances?? Thank you! The quilt you made turned out beautifully!

    Reply
    • Melissa Q.
      March 7, 2014 at 3:53 pm (3 years ago)

      This is definitely one tricky aspect of the baby clothes quilts. Yes, use a hefty seam allowance. Also, I applied lightweight interfacing to every piece of jersey knit fabric. To do that I simply used a pressing cloth over both the interfacing square and the fabric square but follow the instructions on your interfacing for best results. Thanks for the kind words!

      Reply
  7. AMINATH SHASHEE
    September 29, 2014 at 5:06 am (3 years ago)

    This is just awesome. I love the work that you have done here.It has inspired me to start one for my little one (who is not so little anymore)

    Reply
    • Melissa Q.
      September 29, 2014 at 8:20 pm (3 years ago)

      Yay! I’m so happy to hear this inspired you! Go for it, it will be such a lovely memory maker!

      Reply
  8. kristy smith
    December 21, 2014 at 8:06 pm (3 years ago)

    thank you so much for this i am blessed to have my niece she is the only one i wil ever be able to have and she has hydrocephlus and i was givens her clothes to give away but i said to my mom i would love to do something special but i didnt know what and if it could be done and now i have the confidence to be able to make her something so special thank you sooo much you have made me so excited to do this 🙂

    Reply
    • Melissa Q.
      December 22, 2014 at 8:58 am (3 years ago)

      Oh, I’m so happy to hear this! How touching! I hope you share with me how it turns out. Good luck!!

      Reply
  9. Barb Elliott
    December 1, 2015 at 10:56 pm (2 years ago)

    Beautiful quilts! How did you attach the socks?

    Reply
    • Melissa Q.
      December 2, 2015 at 9:41 am (2 years ago)

      Thanks! I simply pinned them a whole bunch and stitched carefully along the edge!

      Reply

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