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Thread: baby clothes quilt

  1. #1
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    Unhappy baby clothes quilt

    A former student of mine's 4 year old little boy drowned a few weeks back. She asked me last night if I would make a clothing quilt for her so she can still hug her little guy. My heart breaks for her and I will likely say yes, but I have never made a quilt from clothing. I want to do a really good job, but am nervous about how to go about making it. I googled children's clothing quilts and would be able to make a quilt if I am able to cut up the clothes. I am comfortable adding embellishments from the clothing to the blocks. I have been sewing (garments and quilts) my whole life, but have never sewn on knits. How would I use knits? Do I need a stabilizer/fusible interfacing for the knits? What can I do if she doesn't want the clothes cut up? I'm asking here first before I say yes, because I want to make sure I can do the quilt justice for her and the little boy. Any help, websites to go to, books for help, etc., would be greatly appreciated. The mama has had a very messed up life and is a trauma victim herself even before this happened. If I can help her, I will. Thanks for the help.

  2. #2
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    For knits, I think you might want to look up how people stabilize t-shirt quilts. I haven't done one, but that's the first thing that comes to my mind.

  3. #3
    Super Member humbird's Avatar
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    I have seen quilts, mainly for baby, that has the whole garment stitched to the quilt top. Perhaps that is something you could do. My condolences to your student. The loss of a child is heartbreaking.

  4. #4
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    How kind of you to consider this project.

    Yes, you can use knits but you will want to stabilize them first.

    You need to ask her how much can you cut up the clothing. Infant clothing can be pretty easy to incorporate into a quilt, but 4 year old is getting a bit big.

    I found this overall description pretty good, it has a link in it particularly about baby clothes:
    https://www.toocooltshirtquilts.com/...ssed-loved-one

  5. #5
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    I am thinking too about her wanting the clothing intact. put some thoughts to her on that and see what she is leaning toward. Good luck .
    "From hence only infer that an Englishman, of all men, ought not to despise foreigners as such and I think the inference is just, since what they are today, we were yesterday, and tomorrow they will be like us"
    Daniel De Foe -The True Englishman

  6. #6
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    I have seen quilts with the clothing intact. She may not want the outfits cut up tho' and you are kind to ask her what she would prefer. I am so sorry to hear this. Hope she does well in life and how kind of you to make her the quilt to give her memories and be able to touch the clothing.

  7. #7
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    Thank you all for your help. I really don't want to make this quilt, but my heart won't let me say no. I have to remember that everyone grieves in their own way and if this helps her and keeps her from stumbling back into her old ways, then it is worth it.

  8. #8
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    I don't think anyone on this board envies you this project. How very kind of you to do it.

  9. #9
    Super Member cashs_mom's Avatar
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    I would definitely talk to her about how she wants the clothing handled. It will be a bit hard to incorporate a 4 years olds clothing into a quilt in tact so you do need to clarify this with her.
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    ask her, of course. But I would keep the clothes recognizable. In other words, don't cut them up to use just the fabric. I think i would try to mount the clothing on a block, even if it is 1/2 of a sweater and one sleeve. Or the front of pants with' the waistband, zipper, and pockets but no crotch or legs. Capture a t-shirt with a the logo or cute saying "daddy's little man" etc. But do not wash any of it, before or after. A big part of the memory is the smell of the child's garments and maybe food/grass stains . Bless you for taking on this important project.

  11. #11
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    Again, thank you for the help! I spoke with her and presented ideas and she doesn't care what I do with the clothes - keep whole or cut up. She just wants to be able to surround herself with memories of her son. I'm probably going to do a block quilt with sashing and cornerstones using clothing as the main blocks. I will be sure to keep appliques, logos on shirts, etc., on each clothing item. She wants a twin quilt, or something big enough to wrap up in. I think I will do a QAYG so I can finish it quicker because I usually hand quilt all my quilts. I will do hand quilting around some of the emblems and appliques to add something more personal.

  12. #12
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    I am so glad you are doing this quilt for her. helping her manage her grief. You will become inspired and your quilt will become a good memory for her. Good for you.
    "From hence only infer that an Englishman, of all men, ought not to despise foreigners as such and I think the inference is just, since what they are today, we were yesterday, and tomorrow they will be like us"
    Daniel De Foe -The True Englishman

  13. #13
    Super Member meyert's Avatar
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    I have made several memory quilts and while they can be a challenge I felt a bit of reward realizing how much quilts would be cherished.

    When we lost my sister to cancer I found pictures that were of her with her grandchildren - one by one. Then the shirt she had on in the picture I cut in large enough pieces that it would recognizable in the quilt. Then I put the picture in a frame and gave the picture with the quilt. I just hate the thought that their memories of their grandma will be so limited and hope that the pictures will help keep the memories alive

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    Pellon 911 FF Fusible Featherweight stabilizer is the one to use for knits in quilts. The cheapest place I've found to buy it is Walmart online. 20" x 15yds for $12.10 Free shipping over $35.00.

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    Quote Originally Posted by themadpatter View Post
    Pellon 911 FF Fusible Featherweight stabilizer is the one to use for knits in quilts. The cheapest place I've found to buy it is Walmart online. 20" x 15yds for $12.10 Free shipping over $35.00.
    Thank you!!

  16. #16
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    The Pellon 911 fusible featherweight is what I used on my first tshirt quilt recently and really liked it. I am in the process of making a memory quilt for a coworker/friend who lost her son several years ago. She gave me a bag of his clothes several years ago when I had just started my quilting journey, I am now confident enough to make it. In the bag was 3 pair of boxer shorts. I had no idea what to do with them then remembered I had purchased a pattern for a keepsake memory bear last year and wondered, hmmm. Never in my wildest dreams did I think something could turn out so darn cute.

  17. #17
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    Name:  keepsake bear 3.jpg
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  18. #18
    Super Member hobbykat1955's Avatar
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    you might want to incorp a photo of him on fabric in the quilt...This is something she'll cherish forever...A horrible situation but we all admire you for taking on this task.

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    I did this for my sister - and it was a chore. She had started some of it herself, so she knew she wanted nine patches, out of each 'outfit'. Seems like most of them were infant/toddler sizes.

    I wish I had known to use stabilizer . . . ugh. But it worked out. I kept a Ton of the clothing detail. I think my blocks ended at 5 inches . . . I kept the functionality of most buttons and snaps. I ended up having to have have bits behind pieces to make my sizing.

    It ended up being Huge. Well over king sized. She has never had it quilted - it will be no fun for the poor long-armer, though it did end up looking alright.
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 04-05-2019 at 04:30 PM. Reason: shouting/all caps

  20. #20
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    Painful time for both of you! If there was a way that you could "postpone" the actual cutting of the fabric....I know she is hurting...but grief takes time...in 6 months...her views are likely to be totally different. I am so sorry for her loss, and so grateful that you are willing to try to make a quilt that she can "hold"

  21. #21
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    A friend of mine made one a few years ago, she made it look like clothes hanging on a clothes line, some ( askew) like being wind blown. I think there were 4 ( lines) of clothes. After I quilted it for her she added those little wood clothes pins you can buy at hobby stores. A very heavy quilt, but very cute. She did not stabilize the knits and it was quite a challenge to quilt. She left the clothes mostly intact but did cut away backs that would not be seen anyway. She left collars, neck trims, sleeves whole. When she cut away the backs she left enough side seams/ edges to turn under and not be noticeable that any was cut away. She also made two pillows to go with it with two ( favorite) clothing items ( one a pair of overalls and shirt, the other a favorite t shirt- so the mom had ( huggable) pieces. We also printed a picture of of the child on fabric and added birth/ death dates and a sweet excerp from a favorite book. Wish I had pictures. It did take me hours and hours to quilt- it was a pain! But she was happy with it.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  22. #22
    DJ
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    My heart breaks for the mother's tragic loss. Bless you for being willing to help her deal with her grief by making a quilt.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by rusty quilter View Post
    Painful time for both of you! If there was a way that you could "postpone" the actual cutting of the fabric....I know she is hurting...but grief takes time...in 6 months...her views are likely to be totally different. I am so sorry for her loss, and so grateful that you are willing to try to make a quilt that she can "hold"
    Waiting for a few more months is an excellent idea. Grief does take time and does travel its own course. Waiting to make the quilt will give her more processing time and maybe (??) make handing over the clothes easier. I asked her what her son's favorite colors were and haven't heard back from her since. I am kind of detached from the hurt of this (although the death of a child is always painful) because I didn't know her son and I don't have a close relationship with her. She will always be one of my kids however, because she was a student of mine for 2 years.

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