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Week 2: Puff Quilt

This week I decided to tackle one of the more complicated projects on my list.  A few months ago, I thought (with way too much optimism) that I would attempt one with no pattern and little sewing machine experience.  Six squares in, I realized it wasn’t going to happen.  FAIL.

I bought my sewing machine on clearance about 10 years ago when a local fabric store was going out of business.  It’s a very basic Janome machine – perfect for me because I don’t know how to use any of the fancy features on the more expensive machines anyway.  I made a pillow and then the machine sat idle for the next ten years.  My experience with sewing was limited to what little knowledge I picked up in my sixth grade home ec class.  I finally pulled it out again last year when I tried to make a pillowcase dress for one of my daughters.  I’ve picked up little projects here and there but the puff quilt is by far the most ambitious sewing project I’ve ever attempted.

When I first saw one of these on Pinterest, I was hooked.  I scoured the web for a suitable pattern.  I wanted the squares to be, well, SQUARE, and not rounded like some of the biscuit quilts I’ve seen.  I thought about pulling together different tutorials and cobbling together my own pattern, but let’s be honest – I don’t have enough sewing or quilting experience to try to reinvent the wheel.  I stumbled upon a pattern by Honeybear Lane that looked exactly like what I was hoping to achieve.

The pattern looked pretty simple and straightforward with lots of photos and easy-to-follow steps.  I spent WAY too much time at the craft store selecting the material.  (Confession:  I loved every minute of it.  I could spend DAYS looking at fabric.)  I had my youngest daughter in mind and wanted to pull together some pink, green, black and white.

The pattern was so ridiculously easy to follow and saved me countless headaches that I would have had from trying to go it alone.  The minky fabric – that’s a different story.  I mumbled a LOT of foul words under my breath as I fought with it.  I had to dismantle my sewing machine to clean out all of the lint it left behind.

The trickiest part of this project was the border and the binding.  The binding ended up a bit twisted despite my best efforts to pin it properly.  I think I didn’t stuff the quilt inside it enough, and I also didn’t use a walking foot (trust me, it’s on my wish list now).  The entire project took less than a week to finish, and that was working on it for only a few hours here and there.

I really, really want to make a queen sized version for my own bed (ya know…in all that spare time I have with five kids running around.  Yes, I said five.  Yes, I know I’m crazy, thanks.), but there are a few things I’d do differently.

  • As much as I love the look of the minky, I would skip it.  The chenille was easier to work with but was bulky and hard to handle at times.
  • I’d use a little less stuffing in the puffs.  I had a difficult time trying to muscle them together.
  • I’d consider making larger squares for the puffs on a larger quilt.
  • When I sewed all four sides of each border piece, they twisted slightly.  Not sure if that’s because I didn’t use a walking foot or if my stitches were too close or just a product of my own inexperience, but I might attempt to sew only the edge of the border that meets the quilt edge and then sew the binding and outside edge of the border all at the same time.

Want to make one for yourself?  I’d highly recommend Heidi’s tutorial from Honeybear Lane.

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