Saturday, 10 September 2011

Quilting with My Boys - Part I

As we're nearing the finish line on the boys' Bottled Rainbow quilts, I thought I'd share with you the first quilts they made with me. It turned out to be a great and easy first project to do with my kids.

Examples of 1.5" and 2" grid fusible web 
First, I bought fusible interfacing that had a 2" square grid all over it. Ideally, I would have used a fusible interfacing with a 4" grid, but I couldn't find any at the time. I think the interfacing was about 48-50" wide so I cut it so that it would be square. 


I cut 4" squares (so they'd cover 4 of the 2" squares on the grid) from 16 different colours in a line of fabrics (I don't know the name of the line - nothing on the selvage.). I wanted to give the boys a lot of choices for colour, but without overwhelming them with all of the fabric in my stash ;). 

I spread the interfacing out on the guest bed because I needed a flat surface that the boys could access and that I could then iron on. The boys chose what colours went where. Patrick could lay the squares out on the interfacing himself. Daniel, who was two/three at the time, couldn't so I would point to a square on the interfacing and ask him which fabric should go there. He'd pick the colour he wanted and hand it to me. The boys had fun playing with the fabric squares and putting them in different patterns. Patrick did his final layout in one go. To be expected, it took two or three sessions to layout Daniel's quilt because he had a shorter attention span.

Once we covered the whole interfacing, I ironed the squares onto the interfacing. If you try this yourself, here's a tip: make sure you lay the interfacing on a stable and ironable surface so that you can get the squares fused in place before moving them. I did a first iron on our guest bed and then, once the squares were mostly secured, I moved it to the ironing board for more thorough iron. Also, I used a Teflon sheet to protect my iron from any fusible interfacing peeking through squares.

Daniel's Quilt
 From here on, it was much like doing watercolour quilts, where you fold the fabric/interfacing along the columns, and sew a 1/4" seam. My seams were more like 5/8", which is fine for this project, as long as all the seams 5/8". Once all the column seams were done, I cut a small notch along the intersections with the rows and sewed all the rows. The interfacing does make for a bulkier top and seams.

The boys chose the border, backing material, and binding colours, as well as the thread colours and the quilting motifs. I did the sewing and quilting (great free motion quilting practice for me!).

Patrick's Quilt
It was a fun first project because they felt a part of the design process (the 'fun' part) without getting too overwhelmed with all of it. It was also a good project for short attention spans.

I found it fascinating to watch the boys pick the colours they'd use. Patrick started out just randomly picking colours and then started putting in some colour patterns. Daniel would want to use the same colour for three or four blocks in a row in spots. I was pleased to see that Patrick didn't let the "Pink and Blue Police" stop him from using pink. I get a kick out of seeing just how balanced pink and blue are in his quilt.

Both boys are pretty proud of their quilts, which makes my heart sing. The quilts are great cuddle quilts for the car or bed, but aren't big enough to cover their beds, hence the 'need' for the Bottled Rainbows quilts we are making now. :)

If this is a project you'd like to try and have any questions about the details, please feel free to contact me and I'd happily tell you more. Cheers!


  1. What a terrific idea, and I like their layouts! My son (nearly 6) is onto his second quilt - I let him do as much as possob;e, and he did all the choosing and piecing, I did the cutting, and he 'helped' with the free-moition quilting.


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