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

Monday, October 4, 2010

DIY: Honoring Life Events with Quilts

Image courtesy of ohdeedoh

Matt and I DIYed a lot of our wedding (the Mexican food, my dress, his tie, Hoss's bandanna, our wedding program fans, the iPod playlist, fabric pins for the wedding party, our seed packet wedding favors, the invitations, our ring pillow, my bouquet, my hair/makeup, our photography, etc.).

However, our most significant and lasting DIY wedding project was probably our wedding quilt. We had such a fun experience making it. First, we asked our friends and family to send us scraps of meaningful fabric. It was so fun checking the mailbox on a daily basis! We received a piece from The Gates Project in Central Park, a piece of an African robe, fabric from the set of Trading Spaces, etc.

Then Matt and I started making the quilt. We were inspired by the Gee's Bend exhibition. Despite our complete inexperience with quilting, we decided to just go for it. We free-formed squares and then sewed them together. I'm still surprised that it worked out so well.

We incorporated the quilt into our wedding ceremony to symbolize unity. Through my research, I had read about Jewish huppahs that had been quilted from the fabric of friends and family. I also read about Lorna Leedy's wedding where she and her partner were wrapped in a blanket. We put the two ideas together in this way:


  • In the Jewish tradition, marriages take place under a huppah, which can be constructed from the fabric of friends and family. In some Native American traditions, couples are wrapped in a blanket to signify their coming together and their new life together.
  • [Brent and Mike will take the quilt out of the basket and hold it up for everyone to see.]
  • In this symbolic gesture signifying unification, Matt and Sara will be wrapped in a quilt made from fabric from all of you, their family and friends.
  • [Brent and Mike will wrap Sara and Matt in the quilt.]
  • This quilt signifies the warmth and support of family and friends that are needed to sustain a healthy relationship.
  • It signifies the bond between Matt and Sara and the closeness that will continue to develop day after day.
  • It signifies the comfort and beauty they bring to each other and will continue to bring to each other.
  • Together within this blanket, they will sign their marriage into being.
  • [Andy will set up the contract to be signed on the binder. He will hand a pen to Sara, Sara will sign, she will hand the pen to Matt to sign.]
  • [Mike and Brent will remove the quilt.]
  • Now they will embrace and kiss to celebrate that they are now officially united.

Whenever I pass by the quilt, I reconnect to our wedding day.

As Matt and I prepare to welcome a baby into our lives in February, I'm inspired to make another quilt. I'm eager to put my time and energy into a project that honors another significant event in our lives.

Of course I'm scouring the internet for inspiration.

Here's what I've come up with so far:
  1. A simple patchwork quilt like the one Amanda made for her son, Ezra
  2. Then there's this more rectangular patchwork quilt from Etsy
  3. Ooh, I love this simple design from ohdeedoh (see image above)
  4. I like the alternating color squares in this quilt
  5. Amy Butler offers this free quilt pattern

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ErikaM said...

I'm a huge fan of quilts too - more making than using, but all the quilts I've made have been for a big change - baby, wedding, big move. I like to use inspiration from: (tons of free block patterns)http://www.quilterscache.com/QuiltBlocksGalore.html. Its a little overwhelming, but it helps me, since there are lots of visuals - what it might look like in a finished quilt and samples of what other people have done.

Emily Rae said...

I used to make tiny quilts -- 4x6 or so. Are there pictures anywhere of your quilt? Did you set any other parameters -- color, size, etc?

Lizzie said...

Love the quilt idea. My great-grandma goes to quilting every Wednesday and used to take my cousin and I with...I've always loved quilts and I think the idea of a wedding quilt is beautiful!

Diane - The Custom Quill said...

Adore the quilt idea, such a homey touch!!

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, Emily Rae: It's actually a duvet cover. We had a twin size down comforter lying around, so we decided to make it that size. This link should take you to a picture: http://2000dollarwedding.com/2009/03/diy-wedding-quilt.html

Anonymous said...

Your wedding quilt inspired me to make a quilt for my wedding too. I'm half way done with the quilt. I can't wait to show it off at the wedding. Each picture and piece of fabric in the quilt symbolizes my fiance and I. I know for years to come we will have everlasting memories. Thank you for inspring me to make my own wedding quilt.

-Jodi :)

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