30 years ago. We had a crib that had been in the family for many years and I wanted to update it. I have no idea now where the original idea came from but I obviously liked the look of it. I still do. The quilt was used for both of my children and for my nephew and niece when they took up the family crib.
Then when my daughter was expecting her first baby a puff quilt was the first thing she asked me to make and we chose fabrics to match the colours of his nursery. It was one of the first things I made on my return to sewing. Very fitting I think!
Well now that my son and his partner are expecting their first baby, our third grandchild, I thought I would make this a bit of a tradition. I’m sure I can rely on my daughter to carry it on! This time we know we’re waiting for a little girl and I chose a favourite fabric from my stash. I’m often inspired designs from Dashwood Studios and like all ‘fabricologists’ I just
occasionally, sometimes buy fabric and wait for the right project. That was the case with Retro Orchard by Wendy Kendall, it was a 2014 collection so I’ve had it a while.
I added a hot pink pin spot for my backing fabric to the collection..
There are so many great tutorials on Pinterest, (here’s a link) I’m not going to add to them, but I’ll just share the general process.
I’m in the habit of keeping a (very scrappy) journal of my makes so it was easy to decide on the size. 8 x 12 puffs, with each puff being cut to 3.5 inches. I used an old white cotton sheet for the back of the puffs, making each backing square 0.5 inch smaller than the tops. I am still cutting my way through sheets inherited from my mum and mum-in-law, it will be the end of an era when I’ve used them all up, maybe some of mine will be ready for recycling by the time they are. Never throw away a cotton sheet.
So I started my 96 puffs, sewing by day and stuffing and pinning watching TV in the evenings. Some was done in Mel’s sewing class and some at home.
The pile grew quickly and soon I had a bag-full waiting to have their fourth side sewn and be joined together. I had to keep reminding myself to make the seam less than a quarter-inch.
I decided the design should have the four prints running in diagonal lines and began sewing the puffs together in four squares using a quarter-inch seam. This should have meant that the original seams wouldn’t show but the puffiness makes it difficult and many a seam had to be re-done and I had a few broken fingernails – don’t ask!
Pretty soon there were 12 rows and 8 columns all sewn together and then there was a bit more tidying up of seams before cutting the backing and making the binding. For my last puff quilt I wrapped the backing round to self bind but this time I decided on a separate binding. I used the recently learned method of turning the corner.
Now this is worth a tutorial so next time I do it I’ll make one. It’s a method that makes a lovely neat mitre easily!
I wanted to secure the puffs to the backing but I’ve never found a way to keep the joined puffs perfectly square so stitching the ditch would be a hideous messy, lumpy, bumpy business so I hand sewed them together by just catching through the layers in between alternating puffs and making little four -petaled daisy shapes.It’s a great size for a crib, pram or pushchair and is comfy enough for a newborn to lie on for floor time. Here’s a very new Dougie on his.
It’s an easy make, comfy and cosy, and could be any size. I hope I get the opportunity to make more!