Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tutorial: Hoffman Fabrics 'To the Rescue' Toddler Quilt Pictorial

Before reading any further, please be warned that I am not a professional quilter. I'm just here sharing my experience. This is my first quilting experience ever! When I saw the 'To the Rescue' line by Jillian Phillips for Hoffman Fabrics, it was love at first sight. They were too perfect for my baby boy! And coincidentally, I found a free quilt pattern by Vicki Stratton called the Easy Strips Pattern for a toddler-sized quilt. How cool is that?! It was begging me to try it out. So here goes...

1) To the Rescue collection in various cuts (refer pattern)
2) Coordinating backing fabric (I used 3 yards because I had to sew 3 pieces together to get the desired width, but an easier choice would be to use wide width fabric for the backing)
3) Warm & Natural cotton batting
4) Coordinating quilting thread

NOTE: Seam allowances are 1/4" unless otherwise stated.

1) Preparing the fabric: Some quilters prewash their fabric and some don't. I decided not to do prewashing for this project simply because I bought just enough fabric and I didn't want to prewash the batting either.

2) Cutting the fabric: This is the part that I dread most in any sewing project - the cutting! I'm just not a fan. Just follow the instructions in the pattern. Once cut, organise the pieces into their respective blocks for easy sewing later.

3) Constructing the blocks: Sew the strips for each block together. After sewing each strip, press the seams. I prefer pressing the seams to one side (usually to the side of the darker fabric), rather than pressing them open. For the 'road' strip, simply follow the instructions in the pattern. I found that chain piecing this part was a big help.

4) Piecing the blocks: Once you have all the blocks ready, it's time to put the blocks together. Sew and press, sew and press, sew and press. Yes, the process is rather tedious, but the end result is breathtaking! I loved looking at the back of my quilt top!! lol...Oh yes, make sure you trim off any excess before going on to the next step. Your quilt top should be ready for sewing on the borders.

5) Sewing on the inner and outer borders: Yes, this pattern has 2 borders. I love the way the colour values play in this quilt top. Sew and press, sew and press, sew and press, and voila - a beautiful and easy quilt top ready for layering. Take a break, we're almost there!

6) Preparing the backing: When choosing backing fabric, its easier to hide mistakes with a multi-coloured and busy print, but you can always use solid fabrics provided that you are using a thread colour that blends with the fabric. I read that the backing and batting of the quilt should be bigger (at least 3" - 4" on all sides) than the quilt top when you layer the quilt as the quilting process might shrink them a bit. I also read that you should avoid sewing down the middle of the backing fabric when piecing 2 pieces of fabric together. So, instead, I added a few inches of fabric to the left and right of my backing fabric by piecing 3 pieces of fabric together to get the desired width. Sew and press. I don't know if this is how it should be done, but that's what I did.

7) Layering the quilt: Find a flat and smooth surface such as a clean floor or mattress where you can tape your backing fabric to it using masking tape. You want your fabric to be flat and taut and NOT stretched. Make sure the WRONG side of the backing is facing up. Then, lay the batting on top of the backing. It is best if your batting has been unfolded and laid out prior to layering to reduce wrinkles. Next, lay your quilt top on top of the batting with the RIGHT side facing up. Smooth it flat starting in the middle and working out towards the edges.

8) Basting the quilt: Now you have to fasten those 3 layers together temporarily so that they'll stay in place when you're quilting. You can either use basting stitches or pins. I chose the latter. Start pinning from the centre of the quilt and work outwards. I read that it is best for the pins to be about 6" apart from each other, but I basically worked with whatever pins I had. Make sure you smooth out the fabric as you pin along.

9) Quilting: You can choose to machine quilt or hand quilt as desired. I decided to go with machine quilting, though I now realise that hand quilting effects are really pretty and I should've gone with that! Initially I wanted to try free motion quilting, but in the end decided to 'stitch in the ditch' as the quilt top was full of nice long strips. As this was my first attempt at quilting, I must say that it was VERY frustrating when my machine stitching went a bit haywire. Sometimes my thread tension was off or my walking foot wasn't 'walking' enough. I must've done something wrong somewhere.... Right now, I'm still on this step. Hopefully, I can finish quilting and go on to the next two steps. I'll have to upload the pics once they're ready.

10) Binding the quilt: Refer to Heather Bailey's wonderful binding tutorial.

11) Present the quilt to your precious little one: Priceless! (I hope!! since I haven't got around to this step yet. lol)

Happy sewing!


espi said...

Too cute!

Mommy AdaMia said...

i made a quilt for Adam using the 'to the rescue' fabric too! (but the brownish pallette) would u believe it? seems like we've got the same taste is fabric amal!

Duhita said...

wei i wanna see the finished product :) saying that, i wont kill your dreams, but i soooooooooo takde masa to make my own :) but i can be jealous that you have the time! teehee good stuff I see on the blog...when did you start sewing?!?!?! where was I when this happened?

craft art journal said...

espi, thanks. The fabric did most of the job in making the quilt cute. :)

Mommy AdaMia, I found your quilt and love, love, love it! Did the collection also scream for you to buy them? Hehe. Yes, we definitely love the same kind of fabric. hehe.

Duhita, I also wanna see the finished product! hehe, will post it up once it's done. And as I recall, I started sewing back when we were all still in research together. ;)

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