Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Fleece Patchwork (Un)Quilt
In today's installment of Do Something Sustainable for the Holidays, I'm going to encourage you to make a quilt.
No, I haven't gone round the bend here. I am in love with this fleece patchwork quilt pattern, which is really quick and easy because there is no actual quilting involved -- that is, there is no batting between the layers and no top stitching. Therefore, it might best be called a fleece blanket, but I like the idea of calling it an (un)quilt.
You already know of my love for the remnant bin at my favorite fabric store, Joann Fabric and Crafts. The prices there are amazing; bolt ends and miscuts are sold at whatever that day's sale is on the fabric, plus 50% off for remnants, plus whatever coupons you have. I can regularly score a yard of fabric for around $2.
For this project, all you need are remnants in fleece patterns and colors you like, plus a cut of fleece for backing. Follow these simple steps:
1. Cut the patchwork fleece into squares. I use a 4.5 inch square quilting template because I like the look of random patches of regularly-cut fabric. But feel free to get more complex or to try patterns like 9-patch squares (my next attempt). Just remember that the more complex your patchwork, the more time it takes.
2. Sew your squares together. For me, I sew 14 squares to get the width; this is about five feet in width. I like this width for a fleece quilt because bolts of fleece come in 58-60 inch widths, so this will fit the backing without piecing two cuts of fleece together to make the back. That is difficult and unwieldy. Five feet wide also allows me to put the quilt on my side of the (king) bed without disturbing over-heated hubby.
3. Sew your width strips together to make about six feet in length. Again, six feet is two yards of fleece, which is an inexpensive backing. Alternately, you could patch the back as well, but that would be more work.
4. For this quilt, I bought a piece of bluish grey fleece for the back that was two yards long and about 60 inches wide. It cost (after sale and coupons) about $14. Place the backing and the topper with right sides together and machine sew on three sides, like you are making a pillow case. For the fourth side (which would be open on a pillow case, turn the edges in and sew both sides together. You can do this on your machine (remember, that is four thicknesses of fabric, so you may want to change to a heavier needle) or by blind stitch (which I'm going to do on my next quilt).
Voila! A soft, warm "quilt" that really relies on the warmth of air sandwiched in two layers of fleece instead of the normal cotton and batting sandwich. If you are crafty, you could easily sew one of these up as a Christmas gift (a lap quilt also would be nice and take even less time), or you could start one to keep your own toes toasty in the bitter months to come. (This is particularly nice if you are participating in The Crunchy Chicken's Freeze Yer Buns Challenge.)
Fast: In quilt-time, this one comes together in a jiffy. Cut squares while you are watching TV at night, and then sew together in a few bursts of sewing. I like to work on one of these while I'm writing, because it gives me a chance to turn away from the computer and think for a few minutes while I assemble a few squares.
Cheap: I put my first fleece quilt together for the cost of $14 for two yards of backing fleece, plus whatever I spent on remnants. With the remnant bin full (as it is right now with everyone using fleece to make gifts), you should be able to bring this project in under $30 with some smart shopping.
Good: The fleece quilt is one of the (very) few things I actually like about winter. It is so soft and warm, it follows me everywhere: downstairs onto the couch during the day, and upstairs onto the bed at night. I can't wait to finish another.
Posted by Jennifer Lorenzetti at 8:04 AM