Sunday, August 11, 2013

Finished: Coral Herringbone Quilt

It's so nice to have a finish to share! Come to think of it, this custom quilt has been in the works since the end of last year. It's going off to a share adventures with a sweet little girl in Texas. This was the first time I worked with someone long distance to complete a custom quilt. It was a great learning process, and it allowed me to take the new knowledge and make other custom projects go even more smoothly.

Custom quilts are tricky. The ideal situation is for you to make quilts and have folks buy from that inventory. (Hear that folks? Etsy shop.) If someone wants a custom quilt to go with the colors of a particular nursery, tell them how much fabric is needed and let them go buy it. You can point them to online and local resources if there are some quilt shops in their area or loan out your color cards on a deposit. It's important to make sure they know the difference between quilt shop quality fabrics and big box store or home dec material. This approach saves you from spending lots of time trying to find the right colors, when the client already knows exactly what they are looking for. The other benefit is that you only have to quote the cost of labor.

My baby quilts are usually in the neighborhood of 60"x40" before washing. Depending on how they are pieced and quilted, I usually see shrinkage in the neighborhood of 3-5%. I haven't ever measured 6% shrinkage, but I've heard from others that it's totally possible. If someone wants a quilt of a certain size, let them know that you can hit it within 5" in either direction, but that the nature of fabric, quilting, and laundering makes it nearly impossible to have specific dimensions when that quilt comes out of the dryer. It should be pretty easy to hit the mark within 2"-3" in either direction of the desired measurements. Do let your client know that design elements near the edges of a quilt may be cropped differently depending on how the squaring process goes.

I loved all the feedback about laundering quilts before you send them off. I'm definitely pro-washing so that they can go through the washing machine with a color catcher and through the dryer on high heat for good shrinkage. I always want to be able to check for color bleed, any threads that need trimming, and any necessary repairs before sending off the quilt. There were also great suggestions for sending along some extra color catchers with washing instructions for those first few times through the washing machine.

Quilty Stats:
Pre-wash dimensions: 62 1/8"x 41 5/8"
Post-wash dimensions: 59 3/8"x 39 3/4"
Batting: Warm & White from The Warm Company
Front Fabrics: Kona White, assorted prints including three Razmatazz Hipster prints
Back Fabric: Modern Meadow Herringbone in Pond by Joel Dewberry
Binding: Centennial Solids Silver Lining
Quilting: Angela Walter's "paisley" free motion quilting with the Janome Horizon 8900 QCP

I'd love to hear any lessons ya'll have learned from making custom quilts either for free or for revenue ;-)

I did have to make a test quilt for this guy, so I look forward to sharing those photos this week!

Happy Crafting!


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Washing Quilts

Howdy! Some minor injuries and illnesses have distracted me from blogging this summer. I've got sewing to show for the downtime, though, and I'm excited to share it.

I just finished this custom quilt, and I put it in the wash today to get all crinkly. A few months ago, someone asked in the Austin MQG facebook group if people wash the quilts they make before giving them as gifts. Here are photos of this quilt before and after laundering:

1. The quilt shrinks anywhere from 3-5% in my experience. It can certainly shrink 6% if you quilt it densely. I wouldn't want the recipient to feel like they did something wrong when the quilt came out of the dryer so much smaller.

2. The whole texture of the quilt changes. I love quilts in their pre-washed and post-washed states. They're so flat and smooth before they're washed, and you can really appreciate the quilting. It can't last, though. The quilt will have to be washed sooner or later, so I just get it over with. I wouldn't want the recipient to fall in love with the pre-washed texture then feel differently about the quilt when it's washed.

3. Last minute repairs. Heaven forbid a seam shouldn't hold up or the binding didn't catch all the way around. Yikes. If anything does go wrong during that first laundering, you can make repairs by hand before sending it on its way.

I'll do a proper finished quilt post about this guy tomorrow. In the meantime, I'd love to know what ya'll think about washing quilts before you give them away :-)

Happy Crafting!