Friday, January 19, 2007

Welcome to Lint City!

I finally finished the faux chenille or flannel chenille baby quilt that I've been working on so for those of you interested, here are some pictures and directions to make your own (the pictures are pretty bad, especially the out of focus closeups. sorry about that). The directions in black are from my friend Kelly's mom and the additions in red are my words of wisdom.

Chenille Quilt

1-1/4 yds. top flannel
4 yds. flannel in colors to match top flannel
1 yd. coordinating flannel for binding

Fold the top flannel at a 90 degree angle and press it for the starting of the stitching. Lay the top flannel face down and then layer the other four layers on top. I use the whole piece of 36" by 45" for the quilt. Pin it together with large safety pins for sewing. One set of directions that I read recommended spray basting the layers together with an adhesive they make for quilters that dissolves when you send it through the wash and I think that might work better than basting it with safetypins like I did.

You can't see it in the picture but I ironed the diagonal line, and then I went over it with a chalk pencil so I could clearly see it when I was sewing. I didn't think it mattered which side of the quilt faced up while I was sewing, but it does! Make sure you do the opposite of what I did and have the side that you will not be cutting face up. With so many layers, the fabric shifts a little as you sew and it's hard to feel if you have any wrinkles in the bottom layer of fabric. My top side looked better then the bottom in the end so I wished I'd sewn it with the pink side up. The layers won't line up perfectly, but wait to trim it square until after you've sewn your diagonal lines since the fabric will shift. My mom also recommended using a walking foot on your sewing machine to reduce the shifting, but it was too late for me. I'll have to try it next time.

Begin sewing on the pressed line and continue sewing at 1/2 inch intervals. It helps to hold and stretch the quilt so you don't get too many wrinkles in the bottom layer. I usually use a layer of white flannel next to the top flannel which you don't cut. Many sewing machines have guide arms that you can adjust to half an inch and line up with your last seam to show you where to sew, but my machine is pretty old so I couldn't find one for it. Instead I used half in quilters or masking tape and lined it up with the last line so I knew where to sew and my lines were straight.

After all the stitching is done, trim all around the quilt until all layers are even. You can see in my picture how mine had shifted and had to be trimmed square.

I cut through three layers of flannel (leaving two layers uncut) about 2 to 3 inches from all edges so it can be bound before the rest of the cutting is done. Some people just use scissors, but that's a whole lot of cutting and you have to be extremely careful not to cut through the bottom two layers. I picked up a slashing tool at JoAnn's that made this process so easy! You slide the long plastic part in between the layers that you want to cut and the layers that you don't and then slide it down the row.

Fold the binding flannel to get the bias and cut 4 strips of 2-1/2 inches for the binding through the middle of the piece of flannel so the strips are as long as possible. Sew the strips together on the bias and proceed to bind the quilt. This makes about a 1/2 to 5/8 inch binding all around. I like to mitre the corners so they are square. I'd go into explaining this, but I found the best tutorial on binding a quilt so I'll just refer you there.

Next you just wash and tumble dry the quilt and watch the chenille side bloom (and be prepared for massive amounts of lint!). Here's my finished product before washing it.

And here it is after the first round through the wash. It hasn't quite fully "bloomed" so I still need to wash it again, but I couldn't wait to show you. It's so incredibly soft and cozy! I only used two colors of flannel in this side (two white and two periwinkle) but you can make each layer a different color if you want to.


Larry said...

Man, just reading about how complicated this quilt is makes me tired! Plus I saw you working on it for approximately 842 hours, so I know how complicated it was. But it looked good this morning, even if not fully blossomed.

Reba said...

This turned out so pretty, Steph. I love your title, by the way. I bet your lint trap was stuffed and the next few loads of laudry will have charming little "blossoms" all over them.

mom said...

great job Steph. Your the master and you learning group sound fun too.

Mom to Allison and James said...

Love it. You have inspired me.

Kristi Brooke said...

i have made these before they are so great!