I made my first quilt for my new baby nephew Bo!

I’m so excited on the new addition to the family! He’s living in a cold climate and what’s better to welcome baby Bo into the world than a snuggly baby quilted blanket? Well, I guess warmer weather would also be nice, I suppose.

Over the holidays I got a new Brother XR1355 Computerized 130-Stitch Sewing & Quilting Machine and so my current joy is learning how to sew. It’s computerized and works great, plus I got it at Costco at a really good price too! It’s leaps and bounds better than the sewing machine my mom has (probably 20+ years old) that I would sometimes borrow to make pillows or fix ripped seams. That’s about the extent of my previous sewing abilities, throw pillows and mending clothes.

I contemplated on getting a nicer sewing machine that I could grow with that can do embroidery but I didn’t have an extra $250+ bucks on top of what I already paid sitting around to buy a better one. Besides, I wasn’t sure how much use I’d get on it since I didn’t sew that often. Well, truth be told, I’m hooked on sewing and learning how to sew various different things I use, it’s actually really fun, frustrating at times but fun! Time consuming but fun! I’ve stuck myself so many times with pins but still fun!   😊

So far I’ve made pin cushions since I needed one (or 5). I’ve also made a draft stopper for my mom’s basement door, she was (is) using just a towel to keep the draft out, I haven’t given it to her yet. I love picking up random nice remnant home decor fabric just to use for stuff like this….and throw pillows. I also have made dog bed pads and cushy pad for the dog crate. Oh, I did make some dog booties but that will be another post. I had this crazy idea to make a baby quilt while my sister in law was pregnant. I didn’t tell her what I was planning to do since I wasn’t sure if I can pull it off.

My first attempt at making a quilt has been a challenge. There is so much information online and I must’ve watched 2 dozen youtube videos on quilt making and spent hours reading tutorials and gawking at pictures of baby quilts. Well, they don’t call it home made for nothing…it’s definitely not perfectly stitched straight and I’m learning as I’m going. Initially I wanted to make a regular quilt but then I saw these rag quilts that looked interesting and had read they may be a good beginner first quilt to attempt. So I did a bunch of research and did some calculations and set out to cut out all my squares, front squares, back squares, and inside batting. It took a long time to pick out the fabrics and took longer to cut them all out, and even longer to figure out how I want them placed. Then I realized that I actually had enough fabric to do two quilts so one would be more of a thinner blanket and the other is thicker with batting. Back to the store for other materials, buying fabric is addictive, I think I may have a problem…

I ended up using some extra squares of fabric to make a super cute quilted pillow to go with the quilts. I wasn’t sure if it would be cute, it was an envelope style and first time piecing quilt squares together so it was either going to be a major disaster or the cutest pillow ever! Glad it was the latter.   🤗

quilted baby pillow
Quilted Baby Pillow
back of quilted baby pillow envelope style
Back of Quilted Baby Pillow Envelope Style

It was really good practice for me and I also did a rag quilt sample to see how it looks. I haven’t started on sewing the pieces of squares together for that quilt but have all the squares cut out. I hope it goes smoother than the quilted blanket I almost finished last night. I spent most of the day working on it, pinning and repinning. The snuggle fabric (minky type) I bought was hard to work with since it’s so soft and stretchy. Any mistakes I made sewing where the backing fabric bunched up slightly, the seams had to be ripped out and resewn. I think it took 3 times longer to rip the seams out than it did to sew it in the first place. And I learned a lot working with that material….the main thing I learn is to not use it, haha.

Here’s what I learned about working with snuggle fabric:

  • Always use a rotary cutter for cleaner, less snowy cuts of this fabric.
  • Always cut the fabric slightly bigger than the front piece by at least 1 inch all around. I made the mistake of cutting it to the same size and when it pulls and stretches, it totally was skewed. No matter how many pins (straight and basting pins) I stuck in the fabric to hold it in place, it would shift and lay slightly crooked by the time I got down to the bottom.
  • When “quilting” the front and back together, never pull, stretch, lay the weight of the blanket off the table where it will leave you with extra back fabric. I learned that the hard way. I sewed a line down the middle, and then a cross line intersecting. Well the intersecting line bunched and i overlapped my sewing. Taking out stitches from the snuggle fabric side is a major pain in the ass. I think it literally took me an hour or more to remove those two lines. The next go around, I relaxed the fabric all around and not force anything. I let it feed through slowly. I’m probably not the best person to explain this. Sewing 9 lines through the quilt took me hours to do and it was ok once I was painstakingly done.

After all that, I realized that the super cool looking multi-toned blue thread I bought was really sewn all over the place and very visible against the lighter patches of fabric. Oops! On the pillow, I used a cream color thread and it barely showed my mistakes. Blue thread was probably not the best choice and I didn’t really notice how terrible my lines were until I was done.   😩  Hey, they don’t call it handmade for nothing! I can find other things to obsessed over, like the label (sigh).

basting quilt
Basting the Quilt Sandwich together, so much sewing and pressing
quilted baby blanket
The almost finished Quilted Baby Blanket
snuggle minky fabric back on baby quilt
Snuggle (Minky) Fabric back on Baby Quilt
baby blanket and pillow set
Baby Blanket and Pillow Set

In that last pic, you can kind of see what I mean about the blue thread seams on the blanket vs the white thread on the pillow. For my first quilt, it didn’t turn out too bad, it’s cute 😊

Last night I was obsessing over labeling the quilt. I did add a label after the fact that was hand written with fabric ink on white cotton but I am rethinking it and testing a printed version. I just have to figure out how to make the ink not bleed nor fade from laundering. I have an idea of using a qr code on the label to correspond to the blog post that talks about that particular quilt so if you found me by scanning the qr code on a quilt label, yay, it must’ve worked! Here’s the pertinent facts about this quilt:

Quilted Baby Pillow
Made for: My new nephew Bo
Pieced, Sewn, Quilted by: Jean Eng
Location: Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Date: February 2015
Materials Used:
Front & Back: 100% Nursery Cotton (flannel)
Pillow Form: 100% Cotton
Pillow Fill: Poly-Fil
Thread: Polyester
Envelope Style Pillow case is removable for laundering

Quilted Baby Blanket
Made for: My new nephew Bo
Pieced, Sewn, Quilted by: Jean Eng
Location: Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Date: February 2015
Materials Used:
Front: 100% Nursery Cotton (flannel)
Back: Snuggle/Minky Fabric (polyester)
Label: 100% Cotton
Thread: Polyester



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Good intentions revived with SimpleJoysofLife.com after 4 years

Back in 2011, I set out to start this blog, SimpleJoysofLife.com (still makes me smile seeing those words) and I’m not sure what happened. I had every intentions to make it the best blog I’ve ever put out. Through the years I’ve thought often about picking up where I left off but I didn’t, I got distracted with other aspects of life.  So much has happened in the last 4 years and I can’t very well backtrack and write about them as though it just happened, so I will do the next best thing…..just start anew and fulfill my good intentions.   I’m very happy and excited to start it up again, it’s good timing now, perhaps not so much before. Stay tuned. 😊