Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

DIY: Wedding Quilt


When it gets extra cold in Houston (I know, I know: terms like "cold" are completely relative), I pull out our wedding quilt for an extra layer on our bed.

I love running my fingers over the fabric scraps that our friends and family mailed to us before our wedding (we asked for them on our wedding website and via e-mail). It includes pieces from: The Gates installation in Central Park, the set of Trading Spaces, my grandfather's Chief robe that was given to him when he worked in Africa, a t-shirt that was worn by my baby cousins and my brother twenty years ago, a tie our good friend wore his first year of teaching--just to name a few.

I love the symbolism of the weaving together of our friends and family to provide comfort and nurturing for a lifetime.

It reminds me of the Quilt Wrapping we did during our ceremony. Wrapped in the quilt, Matt and I signed our marriage into being.

It also reminds me of the many hours and days we spent making the squares together. And I loved checking the mail every day!

We had never made a quilt before, but we just decided to go for it. The quilts of Gee's Bend were a huge inspiration. They gave us permission to break free from all the stuffy rules and precision of traditional quilting.

Here's what we did:
  1. Decided how big to make the quilt (this was easy since we were actually making a duvet cover for a twin-sized down comforter we had at our house).
  2. Cut squares from muslin.
  3. To make each square, we started by sewing a small square to the center of the muslin. The color of the thread did not matter since it would be covered in the end.
  4. Next, we cut another piece that was the same length as the square in the center. We placed right side to right side and sewed across the edge (again to the muslin). Then we unfolded the fabric and ironed it flat.
  5. Then we cut a piece that was the length of the first piece and the second piece put together. Again, we placed right side to right side and sewed across the edge. Again we unfolded the fabric and ironed it flat.
  6. We continued until the entire square was full. We never used rulers to measure anything. We would just line it up and cut.
  7. We then sewed strips of denim to the squares to make the quilt top.
  8. To finish the project, we sewed a thrift store sheet to the back and added some buttons to close it at the bottom. Voila! In all, we only spent $8 (we bought the denim and muslin on sale).



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6 comments:

rachel w said...

i love this idea :) i am thinking that rather than a guest book, we might have our guests sign notes on fabric squares, which we can then sew into a quilt (perhaps embroidering what people wrote so it lasts more than one washing?). i am not skilled with a sewing machine, but i have a plenty of family members who are :)

Asia al-Massari said...

Quilts are funny things. They're so often overlooked as something too "granny" or "kitchy" when I would so rather have a quilt in my home than say, a blanket spit out from a factory in Taiwan.

Quilts take so much time and skill and they have so much meaning, just like yours. I remember seeing a wedding a few months back that had a quilt ceremony much like yours. I believe the quilt was blessed by the couple's Elders (They were Native American) and wrapped around them. How beautiful!

I picked up quilting as a hobby over the summer. It's so neat to see so many little scraps of fabric become something that can keep you warm, both in body and spirit.

My partner and I are working on a quilt together (The rainbow ring quilt from The Purl Bee) to use as our Chuppah. I'm very excited to get started. :]

MJ said...

Thank you for bringing a happy memory back to my mind....my mom was a grade school teacher and did many cool projects with her students over the years. One of them was to have each child make a quilt square (with provided fabric and fabric markers) and then she'd make a quilt with all the kids' squares on it and hang it as a display for the rest of the year, then donate it.

Anonymous said...

This quilt is lovely & it's my dream to do something similar for my husband to encapsulate all the best memories of our first year of marriage. However... as I look at ideas for piecing together different scraps of fabric to make each square tell a story, I am starting to worry. Perhaps you can tell me: how important is it that all the fabric is the same type? Or is it possible to have scraps of flannel mixed with, say, part of an old dish towel and a piece of organza?! Will it all fall apart in the wash??

Thanks.

Sara E. Cotner said...

@ Anonymous: My fabrics are not the same at all. Think velvet, neck tie material, canvas, cotton, t-shirt, etc.!

I washed all the scraps before I sewed them together just to make sure they could be washed and to give them the chance to shrink if need be. It all worked out! Good luck!

megan said...

i made a quilt for my fiance's brithday and it was really expensive (i was startin gfrom scratch with the fabric and it all had t be the same). the quilt was so important to him (especially since i gave it to him as a birthday present, and he proposed on his birthday), and we sleep with it every night. i think a quilt for our wedding would be REALLY fitting. I would just need to figure out how to tie it in...

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