Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Quilts for the cradle, cot or even the car

So what does one do on maternity leave pre-baby? Well each to their own, but between scouting out the last of the necessary newborn essentials, watching downloaded TV shows and trying to rest, I've gotten a little crafty. I recovered the shelves of a Jenny Lind change table with fabric (see here) and I finished making over a lamp (see here). I've yet to post about my DIY artworks but I'll get to that another day. Let me share with you a quilt I made with the mustard yellow fabric leftover from covering the change table. 

I love this fabric's geometric pattern so I wanted to make use of it. I also had a piece of nice cotton batting leftover from a very special project earlier in my pregnancy (more on that below). It wasn't big enough for a cot quilt but plenty for a bassinet or cradle quilt or even a rug to play on. For the other side of the quilt I thought it would be fun to use another colour and remembered that Spotlight had this fabric in duck egg blue. We might use this quilt on the cradle in our bedroom which has quite a bit of this colour in the bedding and artwork so it was a no-brainer to buy a small piece of the blue fabric. Not that our room is very put together. Apart from the bathroom and toilet, it's the only room we haven't painted. When we moved in it was the nicest room in the house with decorative cornices and curtains that matched the wall colour, so we've left it. One day I'd like to paint it, replace the window coverings and recover the bed head but that may be some time off now with a baby due any moment. Anyway, I digress...

So, I made a little quilt and took a pretty freestyle approach, letting the size of the batting determine the quilt size (about 92 x 66cm from memory). I just cut the yellow and blue fabrics a few millimetres wider than the batting and pinned them right sides together with the batting on top then sewed around the four sides about 10mm from the edge, leaving a 20cm section unstitched in the centre of one side. I made sure to trim off the corners at the diagonal close to the seam to remove the bulk of the batting in the corners.  After turning the quilt out through the 20cm gap, I pushed out the corners and seams then gave the whole thing a good iron, paying attention to the edges and ironing in the material along the gap.  Being an amateur seamstress, I don't know how to do a blind stitch properly but I did my best to hand stitch the inside of the fold along the gap to make an invisible seam. To hold the batting in place and make it more quilt-like, I decided to sew diagonal lines from one side of the quilt to the other. I followed the lines on the fabric's pattern to keep me on course. I really love the diamond pattern this has created.  

The finished product seems to fit nicely in the cradle. Speaking of which, on my long search for a Jenny Lind cot, my mum found this cradle for us. In fact, she found it within five days of me texting her a photo of the first Jenny Lind change table I picked up! She's quite the bower bird my mother! With a few new screws and coats of Rustoleum satin white spray paint (which my mum highly recommends), it came up nicely.

Hopefully it will come in handy as we also had to add a mattress and a couple of waterproof mattress protectors and sheet sets. Babies come with so much paraphernalia, I tell you. Even when you try to keep it simple, it's out of control. However, I have been told that a cradle comes in handy to get the baby used to sleeping in different environments around the house where there is light and noise, especially if you are busy in a room away from the nursery and want the baby close by. Also good if you want the baby in your bedroom at night. We are yet to see what will work for us but at least we have some options. 

Now you may be wondering how I had the confidence to whip up this little quilt. Turns out I had some expert instruction from the Mister's aunty at the end of last year. We spent a fun evening at the dining table make a quillow - a cross between a quilt and a pillow. It was the first thing I made for the baby and it encouraged me to keep creating. As I'm not the girl to be giving out sewing instructions, I'll just point you to these instructions that Aunty Cele referred me to for a method of making a basic quillow (with a warning to disregard the panda fabric!).  

I used cotton drill fabrics for the quillow. A solid red for the back and a patterned red and white drill for the front. Choosing it was the hardest part of this project! The pattern includes rocket ships, stars, hearts and birds - that's about as gender neutral as I could find. 

There is a square pocket sewn in the centre of quilt at the base of the rear.

Once you fold the quilt, you tuck it into this pocket et voila! You have a little pillow. Or should I say quillow?! I can throw this is the car or the pram for times when we may need a little warmth on the run. At other times, now included, it can sit in the nursery as a pretty cushion. Love how we got the birds centred on the cushion front :)

I should probably sew some lines across the quilt to keep the batting in place. Another 'one of these days' jobs. I've already learnt that washing a sewing project can be fraught with danger and I now know to wash fabric prior to sewing. After months of admiring the quillow, I recently washed it in preparation for the baby's arrival. Even on a cold wash, the red backing fabric ran into the white and the front side now has a bit of a pink tinge. Might just have to have a girl! Otherwise, a little dude with the confidence to rock a little pink!

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