If you are looking for a way to bring your family closer together, why not try making a family quilt together? Working on a creative project together is a great bonding experience, and a quilt is a tangible reminder of the time you spent together. Making a quilt is not only easy to do, but it is also fun, rewarding, and offers plenty of opportunities for personalizing your creation. In this article, we’ll explore how you can make a family quilt together and why it’s the perfect crafting project for the whole family.
1. Understanding the Family Quilt Crafting Process
Creating a quilt is a great way to bring the family together for meaningful bonding time. Crafting a quilt that commemorates moments, passions and memories that are special to each individual family member can be an incredibly special project.
Here are essential steps to complete when piecing together your family quilt:
- Choose a quilt pattern. It could be an intricate block pattern, a variation from a quilt by a historical figure of a favorite design of one of your family members.
- Gather materials. Choose quality fabrics that are colorfast and pre-washing is highly recommended.
- Assemble the quilt top. Go for the same pattern for supporting pieces and sashing if you want a consistent quilt design.
- Quilt assembly. Use skills such as basting, quilting and binding to make sure the entire quilt fits together perfectly.
- Finishing. Press and neaten all the edges with an iron.
These steps may be daunting, but with family help, a lot of fun stories and meaningful bonding, creating a family quilt can be an amazing experience that you’ll cherish for a very long time.
2. How to Gather the Essential Materials for Quilt Making
Gathering the materials can be a fun first step to any quilting project, and making a family quilt together is no exception! Especially if the children are involved, it can be a great activity that will bring everyone closer together. Plus, it’s the perfect way to express their individual personalities and tastes while creating a truly unique piece of art.
Here are some of the essential materials you’ll need if you want to make your own family quilt:
- Fabrics – Don’t be afraid to really think outside the box here. Of course, traditional quilting fabrics are great, but you can also use any kind of cotton, linen, or other lightweight fabrics that are in colors that you and your family love. You’ll need plenty for quilt blocks and borders, plus binding.
- Thread – You’ll need either standard polyester thread or cotton thread in a few colors that complement your fabrics. Keep extra laying around!
- Backing – This is the fabric that will be on the bottom and show from the back of the quilt. You’ll need to select a fabric slightly larger than the size of the quilt itself.
- Batting or Filling – This is what makes up the “meat” of the quilt and can be made of wool, polyester, or cotton. Whatever you choose, you’ll need enough to fill the quilt and its batting should be slightly larger than your quilt’s finished size.
Once you have all the materials you need, you’ll be well on your way to making a gorgeous family quilt. Best of all, you can pass this activity down through the generations—making new quilts for future kids—and keep those wonderful memories alive!
3. Suggested Quilting Methods and Designs
Now that you’ve gathered all supplies and your loved ones, it’s time to get started on your family quilt! Here are some to help you on your creative journey!
- Strip Piecing: A classic method, strip piecing entails cutting strips of fabric and sewing them together to create blocks that form the quilt top. This basic method allows for lots of color play and creativity.
- Sashiko Quilting: This is a decorative stitch originating in Japan commonly done with white thread. It can result in interesting designs like hearts, stars or zigzags to liven up your quilt.
- Appliqué: Appliqué is the process of putting smaller pieces of fabric on a larger piece of fabric. It’s great for adding shapes, figures and designs to your quilt.
- Free-Form Patchwork: Perfect for those who don’t like to plan out their project in advance. With this method, you can simply piece together fabrics based on what you like or what you want the quilt to look like.
- Foundation Paper Piecing: This method involves printing template patterns onto paper, cutting them out and piecing them together. It’s more precise but requires more time.
Regardless of what designs and methods you choose, have fun with it and enjoy the experience of creating something together as family.
4. Important Considerations for Fabric Selection
Durability: Fabric durability is critical when making a family quilt. The last thing you want is to end up with a quilt that won’t last. Look for fabrics with a tight weave, as such fabrics are less likely to fray, rip, or wear down quickly. Cotton fabrics are best, as they are strong, durable, and well-suited for both machine and hand sewing.
Colors: When choosing fabrics for your quilt, pick fabrics that blend well together. Consider the colors of the room where the quilt will be displayed. If you don’t have a particular color scheme in mind, look for fabrics in similar shades of a single color for a cohesive look.
Prints: If you’re wanting to impart a specific meaning to your quilt, you can find fabrics that have printed quotes, animals, flowers, etc. Or, look for fabrics with subtle patterns that add interest without taking away from the overall design.
Fabric Width: When choosing fabrics for a quilt, make sure to select the correct width. The width of the quilt will depend on the size of the pieces, but an obvious sign of a quilt with the right width is when each piece is the same size across the quilt. Generally, fabric widths range from 45 to 60 inches wide.
5. Tips for Engaging the Whole Family in the Quilting Process
1. Start with Inspiration
Having a vision of what your quilt should look like can make the entire endeavor much more enjoyable. Look for quilt patterns that feature colors and shapes that appeal to everyone in the family. If the quilt is intended as a gift, gather ideas from recipients’ interests. Once you have a motif, design a plan with your family. Your plan should account for the size, materials, and time needed to complete the quilt.
2. Delegate Tasks
Delegate tasks to each family member, such as selecting fabrics, cutting quilt blocks, and sewing or knotting the quilt. Younger family members can draw and cut fabric shapes. Older members can sew pieces together and knot the finished quilt. Everyone will then be responsible for keeping up with their own tasks. By delegating tasks in the quilt-making process, your family not only creates a beautiful quilt, but also teaches children that teamwork can produce amazing results.
3. Set Expectations
From the beginning, make it clear that all family members must make an effort. When the expectations are clear, each participant will know what is expected of them. Keep in mind the individual skill levels of your family members. Participants should feel challenged but not overwhelmed.
4. Take Regular Breaks
To keep the quilt-making project enjoyable and to prevent burnout, schedule regular breaks. Take a break to have a snack, take a walk, or watch a movie together. During breaks, hold a discussion to get everyone’s perspectives and ideas.
5. Celebrate After Completion
When the quilt is completed, celebrate your accomplishment! Take a break and enjoy a day trip together. Don’t forget to take a family portrait with the finished quilt. Hang the quilt in a prominent place as a reminder of the special moments you created while making it together.
6. Guidelines for Assembling the Quilt Pieces Together
Making a family quilt is a fun project that you can complete together. It’s easier to do it right if you know the tips and tricks for assembling the quilt correctly.
- To get started, consider how you want the quilt to look. Think about colors, patterns, and shapes that you like. You can look through ready-made quilt patterns for inspiration.
- Choose the quilting pieces carefully. When selecting fabrics, consider its thread count and quality. Make sure to cut the pieces in the same size and shape.
- Join the pieces together. Take a few pieces and attach them with the help of a sewing machine. Then, you can attach them by hand with thread and needle.
- Create the quilt sandwich. To make the quilt sandwich, place the right side of the quilt top onto the batting, followed by the backing fabric. Then, use safety pins or basting tape to secure the three layers together.
- Quilt the top fabric. Once you have the quilt sandwich in place, quilt the top fabric using the desired quilting stitch.
- Bind the edges of the quilt. Once you have finished quilting, you can bind the edges by folding the backing fabric to the front and sewing it down with a sewing machine.
Follow these simple guidelines to make a beautiful family quilt that you can display proudly.
7. Finishing Touches to Add to Your Quilt
Once all the squares are ready and the batting and backing pieces are prepared, it’s time to assemble the quilt. Begin by pinning the quilt sandwich together–the batting in the center, enclosed on the top and back with the quilt blocks. Put them together in a pleasing pattern, alternating the colors and blocks as you place them. Once the sandwich of squares is assembled, pin them together, making sure that edges all line up nicely. This is the time to make any adjustments necessary to ensure all your squares are nicely aligned.
- Bind the edges: Choose your favorite color of thread to hand-sew the binding around the edges of your quilt.
- Machine-stitch the sandwich: Using coordinating thread, sew straight lines throughout the quilt sandwich. Don’t be afraid to stitch around some of the design elements for a unique look.
- Add a label: Sew a tag to your quilt noting the creator’s name and date of completion.
Now that the quilt is ready, it’s time to show it off. Let the whole family admire your creation with pride and enjoy the fun experience created in making a family quilt together.
Making a family quilt together is a wonderful way to spend time with your loved ones and focus on a fun and creative project. The process of choosing the fabric, colors, and designs can become a joint effort for family members of all ages, and the end result can hang in your home for years to come. It is one of those activities that no one is ever too old to enjoy!