Patchwork Memory Quilt

You may have seen the memory quilt a did last year for my friend who asked me to make a quilt out of her late father’s shirts, swim shorts and ties…

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Not only did I think this was such a lovely way to hold on to a little piece of someone you love, I received such positive comments about the quilt and, most importantly, my friend who I made it for was overwhelmed with bittersweet feelings.

I have since been asked to make another memory quilt – no less lovely but with less sorrow associated with it. I made this quilt for a little girl, Alice, from all her baby clothes – such a great way of up-cycling old baby clothes (and saving space in your attic!) without the wrench of actually having to get rid of them, and the memories!

Patchwork memory quilt

Whilst it is a simple square patchwork pattern, it was quite a lengthy project. A lot of my time was spent ironing the teeny tiny dresses, romper suits, skirts to determine which pieces of clothes were large enough to get even once patch. I made an effort to cut out patches of the fabric that featured an interesting element of the item i.e. a pocket, embroidery etc.

After calculating the size of blanket and cutting the number of patches to fit the right amount of rows and columns etc, I laid it all out to establish a nice patchwork pattern – mixing denim and pastels for contrast, and set to work with the sewing machine.

I used a really pretty print fabricfabric for the back that coordinated well with the colours on the front.

It’s difficult to imagine how these are quilts are going to turn out, especially as I have no control over the patterns or colours of the fabrics. However, as I laid it out on my son’s bed to photograph it, I think it’s fair to say it looked so good, I could have kept it (and that’s even without the sentimental value to me!). I hope Alice loves it even more!

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Shirts and Swim Shorts: A Memory Blanket

I am so pleased to have been the creator of this colourful, but seemingly trivial item, that has brought brightness, warmth and comfort to a friend who sadly lost her dad a few months a go.

When my friend Di asked if I’d make her a blanket and cushions out of some of her dad’s clothes, whilst I was a little nervous about it (I mean…what if I cut up his clothes to find I couldn’t make them come together into something nice?!), how could I say no! I not only thought this was such a lovely idea, I knew how much it mean’t to Di to not have to give everything of his away but recycle them into something she could keep, use and look at every day as a little memory.

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My first worries were: would the different materials sew well together? Would there be enough variation in patterns, colours etc, to make a good pattern? Would I get enough material worth using once I’d cut off the cuff, placket, collars, pockets etc?

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Fortunately, Di’s dad obviously had good taste and a vibrancy of style…the colours of this shirts were great (not just a variation of blue had they been my dad’s!) and his swim shorts…well, we’re talking neon orange, illuminous blue, aqua green and cerise red! And turns out there was plenty of material to go around.

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I started by cutting up everything into squares of equal size. I didn’t know as yet how much I’d have of each so unsure of pattern to do. Creating the pattern, so that I had enough of the same fabrics to make diagonal rows, was like solving a giant floor puzzle. Once the pattern was all laid out and I was happy with the distribution of colours: mixing the brights of his swim shorts and the pastel shades of his shirts with a few different tones of grey from his trousers, the sewing began. (I also included a little cheeky pocket and motif from the shorts!)

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For the backing I used a simple grey and white floral print that complemented the front but also matched Di’s bedroom colour scheme. Di also asked if I would put, somewhere, somehow a little message that read ‘Goodnight, Good Bless’ – words that Di and her dad used to regularly say to each other, onto the back of the blanket so she would see it when she turned the blanket down as she went to bed each night.

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After quilting, I edged the whole thing in a mixture of his ties, which I actually think looks totally fab!

As well as the blanket, I made a couple of cushions using the same shirt patches for the front and using Di’s dad knitted sweaters for the back.

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Everyone who I mentioned to that I was making this thought it was such a lovely idea. And, the best part of all was giving the shirts and swim shorts (and trousers, ties and sweaters!) back to Di in their new form…and of course there were tears of both happiness and sadness.

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Bridesmaid Bags.

One of my oldest and closest friends, Laura, got married just over a week ago and I was one of eight bridesmaids.

The beautiful bride and her hubby Al.

Being a lovely, out-going, very bubbly and caring person, Laura and her now hubby got married on the banks of the beautiful Loch Lomond in Scotland in front of a massive 170 guests. The colour scheme for the wedding was along the Easter theme of pastel pink, blue, green and blue, complete with personalised egg cups and chocolate eggs.

The bridal party attire was (of course!) kilts for the men, cream lace dresses for the bridesmaids, and Laura’s beautiful Stephanie Allin wedding dress. Topped off with pink, blue and white hydrangers for the flowers.

A little while back, amongst the wedding-organising craziness, Laura asked me to make purses for the bridesmaids as a little surprise gift. We initially were going to go with a pink fabric, but after my other good friend and co-bridemaid Sarah told us she was pregnant and her baby started to grow, we ended up a with a spare bridesmaid dress which I cut up to make the bags.

I got some gorgeous antique-style purse frames which had a decorative flower (that I thought looked appropriately like a thistle!) from Etsy.

From bridesmaid dress...

...to bag!

With one test bag complete and approved by the bride, I got started on the other seven.

With enough fabric left to make another, I decided Laura couldn’t go without, so I made her a surprise bag also with the addition of a little hand-stitched label spelling out the bride and groom’s names and their wedding date – as a little keep sake.

On the morning of the wedding, Laura gave all the bags to her bridesmaids, which she had filled with a whole range of girly goodies including a little mirror, nail file, hand cream, bracellet, flower hair clips and more.

The girls loved their bags which also recevied plenty of nice comments from wedding guests throughout the day.

As well as the bags, I made a few little extra bits and bobs including a ‘Mr and Mrs’ banner and mini cake bunting with ‘hitched’ embroidered on the little flags.

As a thank you for making the bags, Laura gave me a lovely little silver star charm, with my initial. This charm was not only gorgeous, it was super special as it was also hand-made by my equally crafty friend Jane, who has recently starter her own jewellery business: Love Bird Love – please check out her website, it’s worth it!