Saturday, January 3, 2015

Completed Christmas Presents - My Brother's

What do you sew a guy for Christmas when he informs you that he does not want pj pants or a pillowcase again? (ok, so those may be the only things I've made for him for Christmas for at least the past 5 years, but still, you can always use them, right?)
Well, I had no ideas. So I asked my family, and they had no ideas. I considered making this brother the same thing I was planning on making my other little brother, but I really wanted to give the boys each their own unique presents. I was stuck. Then my little sister had a suggestion.
" Make him a blanket." She said.
"He has plenty of blankets" I said, "he doesn't need another."
Then I got to thinking. Several years ago my grandma gave my family a soft scrappy-looking flannel lap quilt. It was red and white with roses on it. My brother loved  how soft and warm it was, thus it became his. This thing happens to teenage boys though, they grow, a lot. The blanket that covered him when he was 10, only half-way covered him now.
This type of flannel quilt happens to be really easy to make, so I decided to make him a bigger (and more masculine looking) one for Christmas. I had plenty of grey, green, and blue flannel scraps left from other projects, so those would be the colors. I had to buy a few more pieces of fabric, but for the size of the quilt, not too many. I washed up and ironed all the fabric, then got to cutting out the squares (and a few rectangles).

I didn't have much time to sew this (less than a week, plus I working on other presents during that time), thus, the squares needed to be pretty big, 12"x 12". Then I realized I could make better use of the amount of fabric I had if also cut some 9"x 12" rectangles. I could alternate the sizes in my  quilt design. I could do a strip of rectangles, laid end to end, then a strip of squares, then more rectangles. I cut out nearly 100 pieces of each size, enough for both the front and back of the quilt. Next I had to lay out the quilt, figure out exactly what I wanted it to look like, before I started sewing.

Here's how that went. First I laid out the backing, comprised of solid colored squares, a light grey, a bright blue, a navy, a forest green, and a teal-ish green.
Then before sewing anything, I laid out the top of the quilt over the backing, matching up the edges of each top square with the edges of each bottom square. Then I got to start sewing.

I picked up 2 squares, both front and back. I put the squares back to back, and sewed one edge.

This put the raw edges at the top of the quilt. I sewed all the squares together this way. Then I put the binding on the quilt. For this I sewed leftover squares together in a strip, then folded the strip in half long-ways, leaving the raw edges on the outside. I then laid the strip along one edge of the quilt, on the back, pinned it in place, and sewed it on. Once again the raw edge was on the top of the quilt.  I did this on all 4 sides. Now the quilt was mostly done, only one thing left to do. 

From the back the quilt looks like this, no raw edges.

Remember all the raw edges of the fabric were on the top of the quilt. You may be wondering why. Well now it was time to take care of those. I sat on the couch for hours and clipped every one of those seams, to make them resemble fringe, like this,

By sewing the top and bottom squares of the quilt together as if they were one piece, with all the raw edges on the top, and clipping all of those edges, you get a really easy to make, awesome, scrappy-looking quilt.

And my brother loves it! This quilt is huge, big enough to cover a king-sized bed, so even if he's still growing (very possible) he won't outgrow it.

While easy enough to make, this was definitely the biggest and most time consuming present I made this year, but it was totally worth it to surprise my brother with something that I made him, but was not pj pants or a pillow case! (although, just because, I also made him a matching flannel pillow case from the left over fabric, which he obviously didn't hate as he has asked me to make him a second one. So should I make him another pillow case now, just because he wants it, or wait and make it for his birthday present?)

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