Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A quick quilt

Is there such a thing as a quick quilt?  Turns out there is.

I haven't been doing much sewing for my local theater lately, because their performance schedule usually conflicts with my show schedule.  The shows that have occurred in the late winter/early spring didn't require any help, so when the costumer asked if I could make something for their upcoming show, The Cripple of Inishmaan, I agreed.

Then she said, "It's a quilt."

I think I stopped breathing, because then she said, "Just a quick quilt.  It doesn't have to be tiny pieces, or even quilted.  It's a bedspread for Mammy's bed."

I said okay, although I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into.

When she arrived with a trashbag full of fabric and another one full of batting, I just took them.  She reiterated her instructions, and added, "The squares don't have to be small.  Maybe 10 inches.  How does that sound?"

That sounded better, thank you very much.

Production photo by Rebecca Gudelunas
When I looked at the fabrics, they were an interesting blend of suiting and plaids, mostly muted colors with some pops of red.  The play takes place in a poor Irish village in the 1930s, so you can imagine that this quilt was made by Mammy from repurposed clothing and remnants from better days.

It went together quickly.  I turned the fabrics into piles of 10" squares, and sewed them into strips of the required length.  Once all the strips were stitched together, I took everything into the bedroom (the largest clear floor space in the house), laid out the backing fabric, added the batting, and then placed my quilt on top of it.  The backing fabric was cut 2" wider all around than the quilt, folded in and pinned.  Binding a quilt with its own backing fabric may not be recommended, but it worked.  And looked finished.

Instead of quilting, I grabbed a skein of dark blue yarn and tied the quilt at each intersection of squares.  The yarn wasn't visible against the backing fabric, and I knew that the quilt was only going to be seen from the top anyway.

I was happy with the result, and pleased to see how good it looked on stage.  The play, by the way, was fabulous.  Their first review -- overwhelmingly positive -- is here.

** edited to say, I guess "recommended" might not be the right word to use regarding the self-binding, since the first two comments have mentioned seeing it before.  I've mostly seen bias-bound quilts, and have been told by those who "know" these things that binding is the proper way to go.  Nice to know that my quick-and-dirty method is perfectly acceptable.


JustGail said...

Nice job on the quilt! The costumer did right by saying big blocks, I'd think small intricate blocks might not read so well from a distance. I had no idea it is "not recommended" to fold the backing around to the front as binding. I have several old quilts that the maker used that method and they've held up well around the edges.

Imo Thomas said...

Why not bind a quilt with it's own backing? I haven't done it, but I have seen several. They all looked very nice. Just curious here.