Scrapbooking a quilt

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The first quilt I made was classed as a memory quilt for my mother-in-law. She has short term memory loss which we thought was getting worse si it seemed like an ideal gift for her 80th birthday. The first quilt i made included photos of her four children when they were young and a few photos of her with her deceased husband. Mum was delighted with the quilt and everyone commented on it.

I decided to create a heritage quilt for myself. This has my family tree photos. Myself as a child with my mother, father and grandparents. The key to a quilt combining scrapbook principles to a media of fabric is the photographs. Its rare to have a scrapbook page without photos do how could a heritage or memory quilt not have photos.

The technology for getting photos printed is now widely available.  From printing onto canvas bags or t-shirts from your local supermarket; to specialist paper fabric to print at home.
I have tried a few of the home printing options. In the UK, the main pack available is labelled as Print at Home fabric available from good patchwork retailers or online. The process is to make sure you have a clear photo to print on a good home inkjet printer on a normal setting. From experience,  using a photo setting on the printer floods the fabric with too much ink. Once printed, the paper vacking is removed and the fabric gently rinsed in cool water to remove excess ink then left to dry. Once dry its ready to sew with and can be lightly laundered.

The print at home brand is a good lightweight fabric for quilting although it may proove to me too lightweight  to sew with some of the better quality patchwork weight fabrics. Another option is the EQ printables fabric. It is slightly more expensive but a tighter weave and a heavier weight fabric which results in a clear photo print. There are specialust companies which can print a length of fabric to your own design. In the UK the  new company Be Fab Be Creative provide an excellent range of fabric types for printing as do Spoonflower.

I my quilt I only wanted small scale printed fabric so it was more economical and satisfying to print it myself at home. I included prints of some ephemera. The rest of the quilt was made from a charm pack and two jelly rolls from the fabulous Tim Holtz new fabric collection Ecclectic Elements.  This fabric range is typical of Tim with stamped images, old labels, tickets and old paper ephemera. They went fabulously to indicate the transience of time with the family history.
Hopefully my children will want to keep this quilt when I am not around and it may just be the start of a family heirloom quilt.

The Cath Kidston style Baby Change Bags

custom order using OWL laminate fabric
custom order using OWL laminate fabric

OWL baby change BagToday I had my first custom order for a GRACE baby change bag made from Cotton laminate, similar to the oilcloth bags from Cath Kidston. I must admit to a little trepedation when I had to order the fabric from Plush Addicts as chosen by the customer. I had not worked with cotton laminates before but had read lots of reviews and tips which recommented needing a special foot for sewing machines which worried me.  I wondered whether I would need to order a special Foot for my Janome to sew cotton laminate. I looked at the most popular:

  • The Janome Ultraglide foot is made of a special resin so it glides across fabrics that would otherwise be “sticky.”
  • The Janome Roller foot  as we’re sure you can guess, has a roller on it that is textured to hold onto an otherwise slippery surface as it helps to guide the fabric under the needle.
  • The Janome Even Feed (or Walking) foot is the one which I already had. This foot has its own set of feed dogs so the fabric is being fed under the needle from the top (with the foot’s feed dogs) and the bottom (with the machine’s feed dogs) simultaneously.  But this did not ‘Hold’ the fabric for the pattern I was using.

In the end,  I just went with my gut feeling and worked by trial and error with my usual ‘suck it and see‘ philosophy!  I must admit my custom designed pattern for the GRACE baby change bag  did not work directly with the specialist fabric, even with trying to use the ‘walking’ foot.  Every option I tried, had to be rethought onto how I could achieve the desired results.  Even the standard top stitching was a challenge for me. In the end, I found that as long as I was stitching the laminate to either itself or another fabric it could be acheived without a major problem.  The main problems were, when the laminate was next to the sewing machine foot or  machine feed dogs.  That was when  sewing the fabric casued a major problem to me. Cottom laminate is a fabulous easy cae wipe clean option,  as long as it is used in a simple pattern. I had to scale down some features of the GRACE bag for this fabric. However, as i tried to stitch direct to the shiny sticky qualiaites of the fabric, I realised it didnt need a new expensive foot on the sewing machine, but a way of reducing the friction between the fabric and the foot or feed dogs. Toilet paper! yes you read that right, I nipped to the loo and had an epiphany.  If I used a single ply layer of loo roll (or other such transparent tear away tissue) between the shiny laminate fabric and the sewing machine foot or feed dog it should reduce the friction. So on making the bag sewn with lovely owl laminate fabric, bear in mind that without creative use of toilet paper (or an expensive additional specialist machine  foot) it was not possible to create!

This specific bag was designed for Kelly and is matched with her choice of owl laminate fabric for a wipe clean baby change bag similar to the Cath Kidston bags.  It was designed to match the colours to her Phil and Ted turquoise buggy with additional specification attachments  on external handle to clip to her buggy. As long as custom modification requests are agreed up fron they can be worked into the design.