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Monday, October 19, 2009

How to make... fake a Quilt

I'm a bit sewing machine-challenged. I tried a few times, failed miserably, just can't keep the stiches in a straight line unfortunately.

But of course, I wouldn't let such a thing stop me when I came up with the idea of making Gus a comforter. He'd been wanting one for his bed in Los Angeles and I thought "Wow, wouldn't it be great to surprise him with a personalized comforter for his birthday?" Definitely, great idea Annie. Too bad you have no sewing skills to speak of.

What to do when you can't make a quilt? Fake a quilt!

The quilt above is actually made up of the following things: a duvet cover, blue fabric squares, embroidery thread, and fabric photo transfer sheets. It took a surprisingly long time to make but wouldn't had I actually been able to use a sewing machine.

Here's the how to if you're interested in creating something similar. Though it took a long time, this was a really lovely gift and Gus has really enjoyed it.

  1. For the PHOTOS, first identify photos you'd like to use. For Gus, I used 12 photos - each that corresponded to something special about him or about our relationship.
  2. Use a photo program like iPhoto to convert all of the photos to Sepia.
  3. Set up each photo to print at your desired size (the above are 8"x10" since that was the largest I could print from an inkjet printer).
  4. Print each image on printable fabric sheets like these. Try to use ones that are washable - the ones I used for Gus's comforter are not so I'll have to convert it soon to a wall hanging since it can't be cleaned (see a future post for the wall hanging tutorial).
  5. Once you have the photos printed on fabric sheets, peel the protective backing off to reveal the fabric sheet.

  6. Take each sheet and fold each of the edges over slightly, ironing to keep the 'hem' down. This way, all the frayed edges will be folded beneath the panel and won't be seen when you sew it to the fabric square.
  7. For the PANELS, prepare 14" by 14" squares of fabric (any color, your choice). Using an embroidery hoop to keep the fabric taught, sew the photo panel in the middle of the square. I used the most basic stitch you can do in sewing.
  8. Do this for each of the panels until you have all of the panels you want to use on the comforter.
  9. For the COMFORTER, take a Duvet Cover of the size and color of your choice and open it up at the bottom. Pin all of the panels wherever you'd like to the top side of the duvet. 
  10. Using the hoop again, sew all the panels into place by sewing around the edge of each (the same way you did with the photo panels).
  11. To add personalized detail, use embroidery thread. I free-handed all of the designs but you could probably use chalk to trace your details before if you'd like. 
  12. Finally, insert a comforter into the duvet and close the duvet at the bottom. Presto, a gift that took me from Thanksgiving to Christmas and continues to show Gus how much I love him :)

To make sure that no matter what happened to the comforter (like a giant rainstorm) Gus could remember it, I made him a keepsake to go with it using scrapbooking stickers. Good luck with your own photo fabric projects... please show them to me if you make anything :)


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