Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Union Jack Quilt

I must say I am rather proud of myself. I rarely say that, but on this occasion making this Union Jack quilt was quite a feat for me, plus it turned out really well. If you know me well or have known me since I was little, then you would know how much sewing and cutting do not come naturally! I made Elanor a quilt over the summer, if anyone remembers, but did not quilt it (I had a friend do it). It was just squares, but it was also quite large (twin sized). The Union Jack quilt is only lap sized (50"x 60"), which did make it a bit easier. However, it was more complex than Elanor's quilt and I quilted it myself.

My mom loves Great Britain and also many bands, shows, books, plays, food and general culture from there (as does everyone in my family). I decided to make a Union Jack quilt for my mom before Christmas, but did not have the time or money to start it until the end of January. However, I did not want it to be just a Union Jack, I wanted the fabric to be of different things from the U.K. So, I went to Spoonflower --a very cool website where anyone can put on their fabric designs--you can find almost anything on there! I only wanted fabrics that were red or blue and they had to be well designed, not tacky. I fortunately found many fabrics I loved, but I had to limit it to only six, since the fabric is rather expensive at this site. I got a fat quarter for every print I choose on Spoonflower, and then also I had some spare blue and white and then the tartan flannel, red plaid and batting I got on super sale at JoAnne's for only $7!
The blue fabrics from Spoonflower (Tardis-Doctor Who, The Beatles, London scenes).
The red fabrics from Spoonflower (Hobbit holes toile, British telephone and mail boxes, everything Harry Potter).

I designed the quilt myself. I decided to make nine blocks and then sew those nine blocks together.
This is my horrible drawing trying to figure it out.
This is my drawing of the blocks and sizes I would need to cut out. 
 I first cut out the blue fabric into strips and then sewed them together. Then, I cut each rectangle in half diagonally.
  I then sewed on a white strip to each triangle and ironed it. Since, I had not bought my red plaid yet, I moved onto my red fabric. I cut it out and then laid it out. Then I sewed two pieces of the red fabric together for each of the four arms of the cross and then sewed the middle bit with the white squares and telephone boxes together. After, I sewed the white strip onto each section, but did not sew the cross together. Does that make sense?

You can sort of see what I mean in this picture:
None of the blocks are sewn together, just sections.
Once I had the red plaid, I sewed it between each blue triangle, and then I could start sewing each of the nine blocks together. I started with the upper left blue block and sewed it to the small red arm to the right of it, then the other blue block, then next row was the left arm of the cross, the middle of the cross, and the right side and finally the last row was the bottom left blue, middle red, right blue. Make sense? I am horrible at all this, so I need every little thing described in detail to me, so I suspect there is someone out there like me!
Red plaid added.
After my top was all sewn together and ironed, with the help of my friend Becky, we basted the quilt top, batting and backing together. To baste a quilt, you spray this glue-like stuff onto each layer and it sticks together. It makes it so you can quilt it easily without all the pins!

I decided to quilt straight, horizontal lines across my quilt. I had never done this before and wanted to do something fairly easy. I used chalk and ruler to mark out the line and then just sewed along the lines. I used my regular sewing machine, which you can do as long as the batting is not too thick (I think 1/4" batting is ideal).
All quilted!
Next, I cut out my quilt evenly, and then binded it. To bind a quilt, you cut out several long 2 1/2 " pieces. You then sew all those pieces together for however much you need to go around your quilt (there are many binding tutorials out there), and iron it in half. Then, you sew the binding onto the quilt, with your machine. Then fold it over and hand stitch the other side down--at least you are supposed to! I zigzag stitch it on the other side because it is easy, looks nice enough and is strong.
Nice and cozy flannel backing!

I was so excited to give this quilt to my mom! She loved it so much she cried.

My mom on her birthday with her quilt!

1 comment:

  1. I didn't see this till now! I'm so impressed, seriously, that is amazing. I love how it turned out.