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Thread: Utility Quilts

  1. #1
    Member billsgirl's Avatar
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    Can someone please help me? I need clear and simple to follow directions on making utility quilts out of old clothes i.e. twill pants, blazers, etc...I am totally clueless! I am aware of the fact that you don't sew cordoroy to a piece of wool but beyond that I am clueless as stated earlier! Help!
    And thank you.
    Bill's Girl

  2. #2
    Super Member isnthatodd's Avatar
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    When I do a utility quilt, I try to follow only a couple of guidelines. 1-make sure all the fabrics have the same washing directions. 2-make sure the fabrics are about the same weight. I would stay away from sections that already show a lot of wear, and from fabrics that have a great tendency to fray. Other than that, I have been known to use almost anything. Have fun with it. :)

  3. #3
    Super Member butterflywing's Avatar
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    if they're heavy , tie them off.

  4. #4
    Super Member Ditter43's Avatar
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    I agree with Cathy.on mixing fabrics and weights...PLUS....have fun with it!
    Ditter

  5. #5
    Power Poster sewnsewer2's Avatar
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    What is a utility quilt?

  6. #6
    Member billsgirl's Avatar
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    A utility quilt is a quilt like they used to make in the old days out of used clothing. It was constructed with one thing in mind, warmth! They weren't usually pretty, just something to ward off the cold. If you look up utility quilts on the internet you will find all kinds of quilt history. I just don't know how to go about it! I have all kinds of used clothing that I would like to put to use.

    Bill's Girl

  7. #7
    Member billsgirl's Avatar
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    OK ladies. That was very sweet of you to reply, but I'm still clueless! Do I make a top, lets say of twill for instance the regular way I would if it were new fabric and then take an old blanket and tie them together? Then bind it? I feel like I am missing something here. I told you I was clueless!!!

    Bill's Girl

  8. #8
    Super Member Tiffany's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billsgirl
    OK ladies. That was very sweet of you to reply, but I'm still clueless! Do I make a top, lets say of twill for instance the regular way I would if it were new fabric and then take an old blanket and tie them together? Then bind it? I feel like I am missing something here. I told you I was clueless!!!

    Bill's Girl
    Just make it like you would a regular quilt using new fabrics. I wouldn't get too fancy with the design since it's a utility quilt, but otherwise it's the same process.

  9. #9
    Power Poster sewnsewer2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billsgirl
    A utility quilt is a quilt like they used to make in the old days out of used clothing. It was constructed with one thing in mind, warmth! They weren't usually pretty, just something to ward off the cold. If you look up utility quilts on the internet you will find all kinds of quilt history. I just don't know how to go about it! I have all kinds of used clothing that I would like to put to use.

    Bill's Girl
    Thanks. I thought it was to put on the ground to lay on for the guys to work on cars.

    :oops:

  10. #10
    Member billsgirl's Avatar
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    Whew! Them are fightin' words! LOL! Sounds just like something they would do!
    Bill's Girl

  11. #11
    Member billsgirl's Avatar
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    Thanks, Tiffany! I guess I am just making it too complicated. I tend to do that. I remember sleeping under so many thick wool quilts at my grandmas house when I was little that I literally could hardly turn over for the weight of them! There was only a wood stove for that large old farm house in the back woods of Maine. If you had a glass of water on the nightstand it would have a thin layer of ice on it in the morning! What I wouldn't give to go back there though!I can almost smell her donuts now. LOL!

    Bill's Girl

  12. #12
    Super Member Oklahoma Suzie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by isnthatodd
    When I do a utility quilt, I try to follow only a couple of guidelines. 1-make sure all the fabrics have the same washing directions. 2-make sure the fabrics are about the same weight. I would stay away from sections that already show a lot of wear, and from fabrics that have a great tendency to fray. Other than that, I have been known to use almost anything. Have fun with it. :)
    great ideas.

  13. #13
    Senior Member beckyw's Avatar
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    Use big blocks.

  14. #14
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    If the fabric is heavy, I would use a wider seam allowance. You can use large blocks and butt them together, or you could make 4-path (or 9patch) of one material and use a different material as an alternating block. (That is one of my favorite quilts). If you are going green, you can use an old blanket (like an army blanket for batting and back it with something rustic. If it is really heavy, skip the batting and use the blanket as the backing. I would use a broad grosgrain binding. I'm a stitch in the ditch girl, and I think it would help hold it together well.

    Hope that helps.

  15. #15
    Super Member peaceandjoy's Avatar
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    I'd cut them apart for usable fabric, then using simple patterns (4 or 9 patch, for example)cut relatively large pieces. Keep in mind to use like fabric weights - lighter cottons might not work well with heavier twills.

    We always use Bradenton as a reference point when we tell people where our condo is, on Anna Maria Island. Glad to see it's warmed up for you!

  16. #16
    NancyRose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billsgirl
    Thanks, Tiffany! I guess I am just making it too complicated. I tend to do that. I remember sleeping under so many thick wool quilts at my grandmas house when I was little that I literally could hardly turn over for the weight of them! There was only a wood stove for that large old farm house in the back woods of Maine. If you had a glass of water on the nightstand it would have a thin layer of ice on it in the morning! What I wouldn't give to go back there though!I can almost smell her donuts now. LOL!

    Bill's Girl
    Wow, I didn't think anyone slept in a room colder than mine! I live in a 150 year old farmhouse and the upstairs is unheated. It is often 45 degrees when I go to bed, but it has never been cold enough to freeze water! We also keep so many quilts on the bed that it is hard to roll over.

  17. #17
    Member billsgirl's Avatar
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    We had an unbelievable cold snap (for here) last week but today I opened all my windows and it was actually a little too warm! Anna Maria Island is just a few miles away. I am from Maine but moved here in 1970. I am familiar with your weather. I sooo love the snow! It is spellbinding! Thank you for the ideas.
    Bill's Girl

  18. #18
    Member billsgirl's Avatar
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    This was in 1955, Nancy! Portage Lake, Maine! Old cast iron beds and no curtains on the windows! Ughh! Grandpa didn't allow such frivialities! lol! I remember that grandma had a big oak cabinet that had all kinds of neat things in it. She never used them though. One of her sisters was a prolific quilter. I wonder what ever happened to all those quilts. Ahhh, memories!
    Bill's Girl

  19. #19
    Member billsgirl's Avatar
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    Thank you, Mad Quilter! Excellent advice! I am starting to get excited about the whole project now! Everyone has been so helpful. Wish I had discovered you wonderful ladies sooner!
    Bill's Girl

  20. #20
    Super Member sewNso's Avatar
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    Well, hello billsgirl. we spent last winter in cortez. froze our hiny's off. sure enjoyed the area. and the super flea market.

  21. #21
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    Matching the weights is probably the most important and I agree with "Mad" a bigger seam. I am in the process of creating a doona cover with quilted elements (continental quilt) and I am using a heap of "found" fabric...some of it offcuts from a curtain store (not backed). I always prewash to see how any unusual or non-traditional fabrics come up. Saves drama later. Look forward to seeing your work...and keep in mind, it's supposed to be fun and be bold, you can step outside the square (something I have to keep reminding myself!).

  22. #22
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    The only thing different that I would recommend, is to use a 1/2" seam allowance on all of the fabric that isn't 100% cotton, or even then if it is a looser weave.

  23. #23
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    The other thing I've done while using clothing for blocks is iron on a stabiliser on the back.... like a very lightweight iron-on interfacing. It stops the square shifting and becoming a rhombus! :-)

    Iron it on before cutting the squares out.

  24. #24
    Super Member isnthatodd's Avatar
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    I like the idea of ironing on stabilizer. I made a diamond Christmas table runner and all the sides were not on grain. I had a few stretch a little too much to ease properly. When I make my grandaughters their birthday quilts, I will think about doing that, especially on the fabrics that are showing signs of ravelling. Thanks for the great hint :)

  25. #25
    Bev
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    Quote Originally Posted by billsgirl
    OK ladies. That was very sweet of you to reply, but I'm still clueless! Do I make a top, lets say of twill for instance the regular way I would if it were new fabric and then take an old blanket and tie them together? Then bind it? I feel like I am missing something here. I told you I was clueless!!!

    Bill's Girl
    When I make a utility quilt, I get down to real basics. I cut large squares, usually 6 or 8 inches, using a square ruler to measure.
    I use old clothes that are the same weight, but never too heavy. I found out from my grandkids that used jeans are REALLY heavy, especially if you use an old blanket for batting.
    I sew half inch seams and try to press them open whenever possible. I do not worry about matching colors, or fabrics, here again only the weight rule applies. I straight stitch every seam, no fancy stuff at all. I make the quilt as large or as small as is needed by adding or subtracting squares. When everything is all stitched together, I tie the quilt, sometimes I use buttons in the tying for a little something special. The backing is usually a sheet, the size that fits the bed, with some overhang. Then I bring that sheet overhang to the front and bind the quilt with it. No muss, no fuss. I can do one of these in a few days. They are great when the winter is miserable like this year. They're also great later for floor sleeping, pet beds, beach blankets, or giving to relatives who don't make quilts. Everyone knows they're getting what granny used to make back in the day, and they all love them. The idea is, use them, don't expect a great deal of beauty. Except somehow these quilts always seem to have their own kind of beauty. That's what I love about them.

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