Category Archives: Keepsake Quilts

The Rugby Shirt Keepsake Quilt

One of the things I love most about making keepsake quilts is the huge variety ….. I never quite know what I’m going to get next, and each quilt is its own challenge.

Here’s my most recent ….. a kingsize rugby shirt keepsake quilt …..  There are a lot of memories from a long career here,  and this is such a lovely way to keep all the memories together – and free up some space in their cupboards!

rugby shirt keepsake quilt
It’s so lovely working with all the little notes attached the individual shirts – it gives me a really clear idea of what’s important, and helps to drive the planning for the size and layout of the quilt. The best thing, really, was that they were all quite large, so although it was a HUGE quilt (6ft x 6ft) working the blocks on a large scale (8×8″ basis) meant that it wasn’t going to be too painful to construct it.

rugby shirt keepsake quilt

The biggest challenge (over and above the size and weight of it) was the fabric itself ….. in my head it became known as the ‘please-don’t-melt’ quilt as I ironed on interfacing and pressed seams open …. but fortunately, no mishaps. (phew).

rugby shirt keepsake quilt

And it starts to come together …. it’s always a little tricky with quilts like this, to find a layout that incorporates all the important elements from the shirts, but is still visually & aesthetically pleasing …… I think it’s worth every second of crawling around on the floor arranging and re-arranging squares of fabric to get it right ….. I really want my quilts to be enjoyed and appreciated for a long time.

rugby shirt keepsake quilt

…… and everyone loves a nice crisp corner ……

rugby shirt keepsake quilt

some time later, and the quilt top is finished ….. and it’s on to the quilting …..

A simple, classic, geometric grid for this one – enough to hold it all together (both visually and technically) but not so much that it distracts from the important memories in the pieces ….

rugby shirt keepsake quilt

More crawling around on the floor, with long ruler and quilt square to put the lines in before wrangling it through the machine ….. such a good workout for the arms and shoulders!!

rugby shirt keepsake quilt

And into the home straight now ….. just the binding to add.

rugby shirt keepsake quilt

a plain and simple navy blue ……

and after several miles of slip-stitching the binding closed (OK, 24-odd feet) …. the quilt is done ….

rugby shirt keepsake quilt

All done, and off home it goes ….. hopefully to be enjoyed for a long time to come.

 

Wedding Dress Keepsake – a bed runner

 

With wedding dress keepsakes, it’s all about the dress …. whatever else happens, the details and the character of the dress – the elements that make it memorable and unique and a precious memory of a special day – must (in my opinion) be preserved and incorporated into any keepsake – be it a quilt, or (as in this case) a quilted bed runner …….

wedding dress keepsake

Isn’t it gorgeous? I love the detail of the bodice – the pleating and beading, and the long, flowing skirt …. this one pretty much designed itself.

It seemed the only, obvious choice was to take the bodice, and the back, and lay them top-to-top, quilting into the pleats to hold them in place, and then to just allow the skirt to spill, flowing, over the sides of the bed to pool on the floor …

wedding dress keepsake

 

a little like this ….. in its ‘raw’ state – all the boning and lining removed, a few nips and tucks here and there to straighten out the edges, and the basic shape is there …

wedding dress keepsake

 

with all that glorious detail preserved ….

several hours of basting later …..

wedding dress keepsake

 

and the quilting goes in, mostly along the pleat-lines to hold everything together (and the basting comes out …. it can sometimes seem a bit tedious, all that basting, when you know it’s only temporary, but I just absolutely believe that for things like this it beats pinning, hands  down, every time).

wedding dress keepsake

 

a little decorative stitching along the edges of the skirt, and along the hem (where I trimmed it, just a little, to reduce the dust-catcher & trip-hazard potential of great pools of fabric lying on the floor)

wedding dress keepsake

 

and the embroidery can go in …. the quilt is backed with a piece of white vintage bedlinen, and edged with ivory satin ribbon …. with the embroidery going across the long sides, top and bottom – the bride & groom’s names, the date of the wedding, and the place they got married.

wedding dress keepsake

 

And done ….. all that wonderful detail on the back and bodice preserved …..

wedding dress keepsake

 

the flounces on the side of the dress re-attached, using a piece of beading, just as it did on the dress originally ….

wedding dress keepsake

 

…. echoed on the other side by the generous pool of fabric taken from the train …

 

wedding dress keepsake

 

It does, I think, make a rather special keepsake?