By Allison Sharp: Jennifer’s sister
I am thrilled to announce that I have another grandchild! There is nothing in the world that is better than a grandchild, and her birth means, obviously, that I got to make a baby quilt! Her mother requested something purple, but the rest of the design decisions were mine. First, I decided to make the quilt out of flannel, and after spending a few hours in the fabric store, I found this darling elephant flannel print:
Even with the polka dots and bright colors, the shapes on this print are fairly simple: hearts, flowers, even the elephants themselves. Simple shapes often make cute applique patterns, so, second, I decided to add applique to the quilt. I found heart and flower outlines in some clipart, and the elephant pattern came from this website: https://www.etsy.com/listing/197815851/felt-elephant-pattern-ornament-pattern.
I traced my patterns onto some fusible webbing. There are several brands on the market, and this is the one I happened to have on hand.
I ironed the webbing to my flannel.
I cut out the shapes, pealed the paper off the webbing, placed the shapes on the quilt, and ironed them into place. After adding an ear, heart, and tail to each elephant, I sewed a blanket stitch around all the edges of all the appliques. The fusible webbing does a great job holding the fabric in place, but it will not stand up to the washing machine. Any fusible applique that is eventually going to be washed needs to be stitched in place. And the stitching makes a nice border around all the pieces.
I decided to add my grandchild’s name, Lauren, to this quilt, so I printed letters the size and shape I liked, traced them onto the fusible web, ironed them to the flannel and cut them out.
Do you see the problem in the photo above? If you trace letters right side up, when you cut them out, they will be backwards. In fact, everything you trace ends up backwards. For shapes like hearts and flowers, this isn’t a problem. They look the same no matter what side is up. This is not true for letters.
I decided to lay out the quilt in strips. The photo below shows the elephants appliqued onto a strip of fabric 12” tall and about 42” long.
The flowers are appliqued onto a strip about 6” tall and 42” long.
The photo below includes two strips: one with Lauren’s appliqued name and one with pieced squares.
When I finished creating all the strips, I laid them on my family room floor and rearranged them for about an hour, until I had a design I liked. Notice that I added strips of solid colors to my design. I liked the quilt much better with the solid strips functioning as borders between the other strips.
I trimmed the strips so they were all the same length, then sewed them together.
I added the same border to the sides of the quilt that I had on the top and bottom.
I echo quilted around the appliqued shapes and made free-motion swirls on the elephant fabric. (The swirls are supposed to look like “whimsical balloons.”)
And here’s the back of the quilt.
I love this baby quilt, and so did the mom and baby Lauren. (Yes! Of course I could tell she loved it. Grandmas and grandchildren often communicate without even speaking. It’s a trick you learn after your first grandchild is born.)