Knowing how much my girls love the softness of Minkee or Cuddle (they are brand names for those fluffy, soft wonderous fabrics), I grabbed a couple kits full of fat quarters several months ago to make some blankets for them for Hannukah. Of course, I procrastinated so long that they got them the day after Hannukah ended, but you're not counting, right? Day nine works for me. I don't *love* the colors and prints of these, but they are workable, I think. Next time I plan on finding some of the Moda brand as I hear they have great colors to work with.
I had it in my head that this was going to be relatively easy, that I'd just whip them up and be on to the next thing. And I would have been if I knew then what I know now about working with these fabrics. So I thought I'd let you in on what I learned along the way. Some of these hints came from friends on Twitter where I vented my frustration.
1. Apparently a serger would do a fantastic job with Cuddle/Minkee. But I don't own one, so I was stuck with the sewing machine. But if you have one, Mary from Confessions of a Craft Addict says use it.
2. Next I heard it would have helped a lot if I fused a woven cotton interfacing such as form flex to the back of it according to Debra Lynn from Fat Quarter Shop. I use that on everything, so I have no idea why I didn't think of that myself. But it was too late for the first blanket, and I was too lazy on the second one. But my bet is that this works like a charm.
3. I was smart enough to use a ton of pins, which really helped. In fact, I used 5 for every 8" square. I highly recommend taking the time to do this.
4. A walking foot is a great help if you have one.
5. For long stretches of rows, I started in the middle and sewed to one end, then the middle to the other end. This helped avoid much of the stretching along the way.
6. As I sewed blocks together I did end up cutting any corners that stretched a bit to square them up.
7. I pinned seams before I started a row, but if, as I approached, a seam wasn't matching, I did do a little stretching and tugging in the appropriate direction to "make" it match.
8. You can see I did the two quilts differently. I started with the fun Log Cabin block on the quilt below and used a ton of little squares around it. However, I quickly found this was going to cause me lots of pain with seams not matching etc, so the next one, I cut all 8 1/2" squares. Much better.
9. I did not bind these as if they were quilts, I simply placed the back and front of the blanket right sides together and then sewed them together leaving an opening to turn as if it was a pillow.
10. I also did not quilt these. I put in over 100 pins in one and tried to quilt by stitching in the ditch and made an immediate mess of the thing and ended up pulling out stitches (not an easy feat with this fabric). So my plan is that if the girls are finding the edges are turning funny as they use them, I'll go back and yarn tie them.
That's all folks... I think in the end these turned out really great. And I would totally work with this fabric again even though half way through I swore I'd never ever ever do so. I guess it's like having a baby. You forget all about the pain once you have the fruits of your labor in your arms. Well, sort of.