Saturday, March 16, 2013

Ballerina Baby Quilt

It never ceases to amaze me how often someone asks me to make something that sounds relatively simple. However, when they buy their fabric, I find out that it's not really designed for the project OR I get totally carried away and make something HUGE out of a simple quick project. In this instance, the ballerina quilt fits somewhere in between. It was a simple project that I think is very classic yet beautiful and functional in a nursery. This is the story of the ballerina quilt:

It began as a baby gift from a neighbor. Together we went to the fabric store, and I expected to make a simple quilt from flannel. However, the mother-to-be had already purchased her sheets and bumper pads and wanted something unique and feminine for her soon-to-be-born twin daughters. She wanted cream and pink to coordinate with the ballerina design on the bumper pads. We chose a cream polyester with woven glitter (not the glued kind that pops off) and a matching pink ruffle also made from the same polyester. The backing was cotton flannel with pink toes shoes on a cream background with just a hint of grey. The final size was to be 28 x 52.

I started with the backing and cut a single piece 29 x 48". I had to settle for 48 since the fabric was not cut straight, and I lost 6 inches due to the sales girl's laziness. Then, I cut the top the same size. To make up the length, I cut the ruffle 5" wide and 5 times the width of the fabric. This ended up to be too much, but I'd rather have more fabric than needed when gathering is involved. I attached the ruffle to the quilt top then sewed the top to the bottom, leaving a 10" opening at the bottom to pull the quilt through. Then, I spray basted the batting to the flannel, placed the batting on top of the wrong side of the flannel smoothing out all the wrinkles, and trimmed off the excess. I made sure the batting was sufficiently placed to make the edges of the quilt soft and cuddly before cutting. Then, I turned the quilt right sides out. Last, I hand stitched the opening closed, using small, almost hidden stitches.

Once the quilt top and batting were sewn together, I made my template for the ballerina toe shoes. I initially tried to draw them myself, but the final result was not exactly the look I was going for. Fortunately, I found a drawing online of a pair of toe shoes tied together with a ribbon that I printed out. I thought I could enlarge the drawing using the printer, but I was limited by the size of my paper. So, I compared the paper image to my quilt:
Proportionately, the drawing looked good and measured 5"x9". Using the tape measure, I realized that an enlargement 3x this size would fit the quilt top perfectly. So, grabbing my quilt and my paper drawing, off to Staples I ran. Thanks to the Staples photocopying lady for her patience and kindness. Within 15 minutes, I had my enlarged template and was back on the road home.

Tomorrow, I share the next step in my ballerina quilt.

Happy sewing, All.

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