Good friends of ours were due to have their first baby and I got invited to the baby shower. I really wanted to go, but they live in Boston. It ended up that I was just not able to make it work to attend that weekend. This just meant that I had to make her something extra special, and I knew a baby quilt would be the perfect present to send!
Then it so happened the mom, Kelly, reached out to me and asked if I could turn her baby blanket into a quilt for her son. And so, her quilt became the inspiration for this quilt.
Read on to find out how I repurposed a mommy’s baby blanket into a new keepsake for her son.
You may also like to read about how I repurposed a pillow case to make a dress in my Pillowcase Dresses post here
In the above photos, the arrows are pointing to Kelly’s baby blanket fabric that I incorporated into the quilt and 2 pillows for Jack, her son
Kelly told me the nursery colors were grey and white with a little blue. She said she didn’t have a theme, but they did have a few whale things going in the room. She mailed me her baby quilt, and once I got it, I was able to pick fabrics to coordinate with her blanket.
It was very apparent that her blanket had been well loved. And I was so happy to see that because I myself had a crocheted blanket that went with me every where when I was growing up (and for longer than I care to admit). This brought back wonderful memories for me. And I knew I had to do her quilt justice and turn it into something very special for her son, Jack. Something he could keep forever as a keepsake.
Kelly’s blanket was all one print that had faded yellow giraffes and light blue hippos. It was a happy print! But it did give me pause at first to try to find something that would go with this print, as well as a blue/grey/white nursery with whales in it. I ended up using mostly basic prints, like stripes, in blues and greys. My focus was on incorporating the nursery colors and finding “quiet” prints that would compliment the soft colors of Kelly’s quilt. I did stumble upon one cute whale print in 2 shades of blue that I couldn’t resist. I also used a low volume white print with blue birds on it that I just love in this quilt. It gives the blanket some interest, but allows the eye to rest a bit in between all the darker prints.
For the pattern, I went with a classic design called “Baby love” by Camille Roskelley from her book “Simply Retro“. This book was gifted to me by my mom one Christmas. I think I’ve already used 3 or 4 patterns from it. It’s such a wonderful book, and this pattern was super fun to sew up. I think this pattern makes such a sweet baby quilt.
In order to use Kelly’s baby blanket, I had to first take it apart and cut it up. I always hesitate when my customers send me their prized possessions to use in quilts. I guess its because I know once I cut, I can’t go back. Fortunately, it’s all worked out for me so far.
I will say with Kelly’s blanket though, I did get a little more nervous than usual. After I removed the quilting stitches on top and pulled the fabric away from the batting, I found it was so thin you could see through it. I was afraid it might not hold up to more sewing. And if it did, it may not hold together for too many more years. The good thing was I had plenty of her quilt fabric to work with. Another plus was that I went with a pattern that called for small pieces of fabric (5″ charm squares) for the blocks. I think this was a good direction to go in because each piece of the original quilt fabric would get surrounded by new, good quality quilting cottons. My hope was that this would help secure and stabilize the ‘old’ fabric.
Now that it’s finished, I can say it came together nicely and I believe it will wear beautifully over time.
For the backing, I went with a super soft solid white minky fabric. You know me and my minkys…I have a hard time using any other material for the backings of my quilts. Especially for baby blankets. I feel like they should be warm and cuddly and make people want to use them. And what better way to do all that than with a super soft, inviting fabric!
I believe minky backings are ideal for baby blankets. They are perfect to take on car rides, walks with the stroller, or even as the sole blanket to sleep with in the crib. Both my boys have used their minky-backed baby quilts as their only sheet/blanket in their beds since they were babies. They love the soft backs!
Since I had plenty of Kelly’s baby blanket fabric, I went ahead and made 2 pillows to go with the quilt. For one, I made an extra block using Kelly’s blanket fabric. I matched this front with an ombre grey print for the back.
For the other, because I wanted to ensure I gave Kelly back something with an adequate amount of her original quilt, I made an entire pillow using only her baby quilt fabric. I figured this way, regardless if she used this pillow in Jack’s nursery, she would at least have one thing from her original quilt that she could store and hold on to as a remembrance. And to try to emulate her original quilt, I hand quilted this pillow on both sides with some short white stitching in diagonal lines. You can see this in the close up photo I shared earlier.
I just love this quilt. I love the soft colors and the feeling it invokes. It’s definitely one of my favorites I’ve made to date! I hope this family gets to enjoy this quilt as much as I enjoyed making it.
Kelly shared with me the photos Amy Linn Photography took during Jack’s newborn shoot. Didn’t the nursery come out beautifully? I love love love seeing my quilts being used in photo shoots like this. It just thrills me that this family thought the quilt was special enough to be included with such an important milestone.
above photos credit: Amy Linn photography
When I told Kelly I was going to write this post, she sent me some recent pictures of Jack during tummy time (or rolling time :-)). I mean, look at how cute this little nugget is on his quilt! I’m so happy he’s getting good use out of it!
I truly hope Jack loves his quilt as much as his mommy did hers, and I did mine. There’s something truly special about having an item that is so comforting. You know it will always be there to give you a big warm hug when you need it. I am so happy that I got to make this special quilt for this family. It’s seeing photos like these that reminds me how much I truly love what I do.
And just one more because I can’t help myself…
If you have an old blanket or some sort of fabric/material that’s special to you and you’d like to transform into a forever keepsake like this, contact me!