Sunday 10 August 2014

My Daughter, the Quilter

My daughter, who turns six in October, has generally been completely disinterested in sewing and quilting. She showed a bit of interest when putting together an improv mini quilt for one of her dolls about a year ago and she was excited when Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus fabric arrived. That is about the extent of her engagement (she also frequently reminds me that I have too much fabric. Nonsense. No such thing).

Then when we were picking summer camps for this summer she latched on to a Lalaloopsy Camp where the (day) campers would be using sewing machines and hand sewing their own Lalaloopsy dolls. A week at camp and she made a doll, a pet for her doll and a pillow (sewing wise- they did tons of other activities too).

This was her Lalaloopsy:
She sewed this herself. The stitches are very rough and the teacher had to help at a few points but for a five year old? Come on!
This sewing adventure led to new found interest in my sewing machine and in quilting. She announced on my birthday that she wanted to make a quilt for her sister. I was quick to oblige. I pulled out the stack of charm squares I have been amassing (with my scraps I try to cut a few 5" squares and put them aside since they are so easy to use) and she hand picked which squares she liked. She made a 6x8 quilt top on the floor and then got to sewing.
Very focused.
She was very focused and did an amazing job at keeping the fabric moving without pushing or pulling at all. She didn't exactly ace the perfect 1/4" seam but even I'm still not 100% with that one!

I thought she would lose interest. Not a chance. I did all the pressing (hot iron + five-year-old=burns?) and then she helped baste her quilt. She wanted a pieced backing. Girl after my own heart! I used a scrap of batting and I did an enclosed seam as if it were going to be a pillow cover instead of a quilt. This eliminated any need for binding.

She got right on the quilting. My Janome has about a zillion decorative stitches, 99% of which I have never tried. Not my brave quilter! She chose various stitches and then got to work sewing a line down the centre of each row.
Little hands guiding her quilt.
Finished! She was very proud.
This is the end result. A quilt for her baby sister, designed, pieced and quilted by her.
I may not love all her choices but she was thrilled! And she insisted I take pictures of it in the backyard "just like you do for your quilts, Mommy."
Some flannel she pulled from my stash for the backing. Great choices, I think. Yes, she pieced the back as well.
My favourite decorate stitch that I will have to steal for myself. Mode 3, Stitch 11, a curve that looks amazing.
And here is her baby sister enjoying the quilt:
Baby and quilt awesomeness.
She is already talking about making another quilt! She wanted to start one the same day. I think she might be hooked.

And when her little friend who is the same age came over for a sleepover, the friend, B, asked it she could make a quilt, too. She was not nearly as focused as my daughter was but she did announce that she wished she had a sewing machine at her house!
The friend's quilt. She insisted on putting those oranges together, and keeping all those similar pieces together. I let her have creative license!
The back of the friend's quilt.
Two five-year-olds hooked on sewing. I think I deserve a fabric shopping trip. And maybe a little sewing time for my own projects? My daughter is now eager to "help" now that she knows how to sew. :)



  1. Fantastic job by those budding quilters. And what a story and treasure for the baby.

  2. Such a great story! I always love sewing with my niece and nephew (though it doesn't happen near enough) and have been amazed through the years at just how focused they can be when they're making the choices and creating the item. And the pride in their finished product is boundless. I love looking at the pics I've taken of them showing off their pj's/pillows/whatevers. Great memories in the making!

  3. How wonderful. Great job mom...eeek, I can't picture letting my granddaughter use my machine...kudos to you for your patience and instruction, they both did lovely work!

  4. I hope you never lose Baby Sister's quilt (or that it doesn't wear out!) so you'll always have this story to tell. What a treasure!