Saturday, 27 August 2011

not my favourite fabric

Earlier this week I bought sixteen metres of fabric to make eight baby blankets.

What could be easier? Cut a 90cm (36") square from two fabrics, put wrong sides together, stitch all the way around leaving a small opening to turn the blanket, trim corners, turn, iron, top-stitch. Easy - peasy; right?


The fabric is flannel which is apparently notoriously difficult to handle! It stretches, it slips, it even twists! (And I thought it was just me when I made Older Grandson's first change mat - no wonder I never started the second one!!)

I made the novice mistake of cutting the first two squares to size (without washing the fabric first) and expected them to match! No way!! I spent nearly a whole day trying to get those two pieces to play nicely.

Finally, I got them sewn together, turned in the right way and top-stitched. But there is no way I could quilt those two layers together by stitching from side to side. The fabric on the top kept stretching (despite my use of a walking foot, so that by the time I reached the other side of the now-not-90cm-square, there was more fabric on top than on the bottom!

I still haven't quilted that baby blanket yet and it's been sewn for three days!

I emailed a more experienced quilter, Delighted Hands, several times.

First things first: she recommended washing all the fabrics to prevent torquing (twisting of the two fabrics in different directions).

And she recommended sewing before cutting to the final size.
fabrics laid out right sides together
Furthermore, she recommended lots of pins! Here is my second blanket, wrong sides together, pinned to within an inch of its life! Seventy-one safety pins on a 90cm square! I didn't even bother to count the straight pins on the seam lines!

Finally I marked the seam lines so I can sew now, cut later!!

I haven't stitched that baby yet but I've decided that if I have to do that much pinning, I'm going to try pin-basting and quilting first them cutting my square to size and binding it in the conventional way! That would be okay if I had bought enough fabric to make bindings! So it looks like another trip to the Big Box Store is in order!

Stay tuned so I can let you know how it all works out!


  1. As OG would say, "Oh dear".

  2. Quite a lot of work you've put in on those. I hope it gets easier.

  3. Wow, I would have done the same as you and expected it to go perfectly. Who would have thought it would be so much trouble. I read recently that using a machine foot that is flat on the bottom helps to stabilise the fabric. My 1/4 inch foot is flat on the bottom. What about cutting the back bigger than the front and folding it over for binding.

  4. Just think of all the wonderful things you are learning! It will be fine now.

  5. I echo what Val suggested - if you have enough backing, just fold it over and stitch it on top for the binding, then you don't need to go shopping again! Good luck - I feel like every quilt is a learning process. I would have gone into it with the same attitude as you!

  6. WOW! Things have changed since I last dropped in! What hasn't changed is your energy! Good for you. Carrie

  7. delighted hands gave you all the right advice - pins, lots and lots of pins :) and don't foeget to clean your machine and change the needle when you're finished. You'd be astonished where all that flannelette fluff ends up, and how fast it dulls a needle.


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