Friday, November 14, 2014

Finish for a Big Girl Bed

The Quilt for a Big Girl Bed is finished. Yippee! I thought this would be such a simple quilt when I started it at the beginning of September! I never dreamed it would take me this long. There were some bumps along the way, but overall, I'm pleased with how it turned out. I'm especially glad that I took the time to redo part of the back.

My husband took pictures in the backyard on Wednesday afternoon. It was dark and there were flurries in the air, but that was the best we could do this week. Yesterday, it wasn't much lighter and the flurries were a little bigger. I'm trying to use better settings for my quilt pictures. That's a little hard to do in our yard with the leaves off the trees now. I "borrowed" the neighbor's fence, clamped on some coaxial cable, and then clothes pinned the quilt. Better than a headless quilt with legs, I guess. So here it is (in between gusts of wind) to get the documentation of the full quilt:

All of the colorful fabrics except the yellow/white print are from the City Weekend collection by oliver + s for Moda. The yellow/white is Garden Trellis from Michael Miller. These fabrics are the ones my daughter used to decorate my granddaughter L's nursery. I also used them in the baby quilt I made for L. (I think I'll do a separate post about that quilt next week for Throwback Thursday.) The five white/gray prints are from a collection called Get Back! (I don't know the designer or manufacturer, but they're super soft.) I used them on the back, too. The binding is a little stripe from the City Weekend fabric. It's kind of quiet, but it was the only fabric I had enough of to make the binding. 

And now for a slightly more artsy shot:
There is snow on this deck today.

And some inside ones to show it on a bed and close up for the quilting:

Purposely dark pictures to show the quilting

Okay, enough pictures.

I machine pieced the quilt on my Singer featherweight and machine quilted it on my Singer 115-1 treadle using Superior King Tut thread in White Linen. The flower pattern in the colored squares is my own design inspired by one of the white/gray fabric prints, and the rest of the quilting is meandering. The batting is Quilters Dream Cotton White in Select loft. I machine sewed the binding. It's narrower on the back than the front--I pulled it over the front a little more than I needed to. 

So what did I learn making this quilt? I think the biggest thing I learned (besides how to unsew parts of a backing and how to quilt through a paper pattern) was about sizing. When I first started quilting many years ago, I decided that it was much more fun than clothing construction because I didn't have to make anything fit (and I eventually stopped sewing clothing). Usually, I haven't had to fit my quilts to anything. Most of them are baby or throw size or wall quilts. And the ones I did make in the past for beds had polyester batting and were either hand quilted (one huge one, and that was enough!) or tied, so I didn't worry too much about shrinkage. This quilt is intended for my granddaughter's new daybed. The bed will have drawers under it so I didn't want the quilt to hang too far over the side and get in the way. But I didn't want to skimp, either. As designed, the finished top was 62 by 94 inches--an odd size, but I figured we'd tuck it under the mattress at the back and on the foot end of the bed if needed. By the time I finished quilting, the quilt had lost about 2 inches in both width and length and by the time I washed it, it was 57 3/4 by about 88 inches, so an overall loss of 4 1/4 inches in width and 6 in length. That's a little more than I thought it would lose, but it will still fit nicely over the mattress with clearance for the drawers. 

Another thing I learned has to do with the batting. I ordered it because I wanted white and couldn't get it at my local quilt stores. When I got the batting, it was more of an off-white than white. I was concerned that maybe I was sent the natural color by mistake, so I contacted the company to ask about it. The customer service rep told me that Quilters Dream White is treated with peroxide, not bleach, so it does not turn a bright white. Also, an easy way to tell the difference between the two colors of batting is to look for little flecks in the natural batting. It wasn't a big problem that the batting wasn't bright white for this quilt because the furnishings in the room are what I think of as IKEA white--just a little off white. If the batting "yellows" the quilt a bit, it's okay. But if I do another quilt that has bright whites in the fabric, I'll probably use a different batting, such as Warm and White. I do love the feel of the Quilters Dream batting though--so soft and drapey! And it truly was dreamy to quilt. 

One last thing I learned--for anyone who is a treadle quilter: Always make sure the bobbin winder is disengaged before quilting. One day I treadled hard for two hours. I thought my legs were just tired from a bike ride I had taken earlier in the day, but then when I went to reload my bobbins, I found that the winder was engaged, putting lots of drag on the belt. The sad thing? That is not the first time that has happened to me. I need to make a sign so I'll remember to check it.  

Well, for anyone still with me on this post, this has gone on way too long. If this is your first time here, you can read about the progress (and set back) on this quilt herehere, and here...and here.

I'm linking up today with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday, Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop and Lizzie Lenard Vintage Sewing for Free Motion Mavericks.


  1. I totally sympathize with the trouble taking pictures. Either the weather won't cooperate or the quilt won't. But the quilt turned out lovely and that's all that matters! Have you tried Hobbs white batting? It really is white and is very drape-able.

  2. Hello JeanineMarie,
    How wonderful, you quilt on a treadle - truly a girl after my own heart!
    This is such a lovely quilt, the repeated flower design in every square is really pretty, and the all over crinkle from the meandering gives it that classic old-fashioned look. I'm sure your granddaughter will love it.
    Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks!
    Love, Muv

  3. A lovely finish and despite the challenges you've got some good pictures. I really like your flower quilting and also, the back is very pretty (I love a pieced back). I would love a treadle, if only I could work out where to sneak one into the house!

  4. Your grand daughter is going to love this! Congratulations on such a fine finish, Janine Marie. The quilting is incredible and the flowers on the squares is adorable. I enjoyed reading about what you learned in the making of this quilt. It's beautiful!

  5. The quilt looks gorgeous on the bed - what a super set of fabrics you've used!

  6. It's super cute! And I laughed at your "better than a headless quilt with feet" comment - seems to be how we all take pictures!

  7. Very nice. Loved seeing the quilting with the flower in each square.