Since great-nephew Trevor got a fish quilt for Christmas, it was time to make something for his brother Jake who was (is) crazy about Star Wars. Especially Lego Star Wars. I was immeasurably inspired by a quilt I had found online by Jodell of Modest Maven.
After struggling with triangles on Trevor’s quilt, I thought this would be a little easier to manage. And for the most part it was. I did not use Jodell’s back as a model, because I knew mine was going to be Minky. I was able to locate some of the same fabrics that she used (phases of the moon, and constellations, etc.) and then filled in with some other “spacey” fabrics and blue and green scraps from the fish quilts.
The real learning on this quilt came in two phases. First, when I decided to put pre-made applique figures on the quilt; and second, when I had the brilliant idea to do a scrappy binding out of the leftover striped sections, which had been strip-pieced. I learned:
- Stitching down the pre-made applique was not much fun. I used invisible mono-filament thread and it was a total pain to work with. I’m pretty sure Jodell made her own appliques. However, I knew I didn’t have the talent or patience to do that. So I bought these applique figures on Etsy and was thrilled with them. They were iron-on, but since I wanted to make sure they stayed put, I ironed them on and then stitched them down. As far as I know, they’re still staying put.
- Picking out seams/stitches done with invisible thread sucks. I guess that should go without saying.
- I don’t much care for hand sewing binding. Did I mention this already? If not, I should have. I am not very good with a needle and thread, and a scrappy binding (2″ finished strips) with the seams pressed to one side and not on the diagonal was just more than I could handle. I couldn’t get my needle through all those layers of fabric without an enormous effort, so it ended up getting done by machine.
- Machine binding may be way faster and less aggravating, but I didn’t really care for the ultimate look. The binding went on the front as normal and then I stitched the back down by machine which left an extra line of stitching showing through on the front. It wasn’t too bad because the thread matched the background pretty well, but I didn’t like that extra row of stitching. Had I known how difficult the hand sewing was going to be, I definitely would have done that binding differently.
- I should have done more research on machine binding. There are tons of tutorials out there, and some have provided me with relative success on later quilts.
- Working without a pattern was very liberating! I loved being able to decide for myself how big things should be, where they should be and what color they should be. Me? A control freak? No… why do you ask?
I had purchased the appliques months in advance. When I knew that I wouldn’t get the quilt done in time for Christmas, I decided that I would get the Lego figurines that matched the appliques I had, and finish the quilt for his birthday in April. Guess what? Another learning experience! It took hours and hours to find just the right figurines. I had to scour eBay, Craig’s List and all sorts of places to get just the right figurines, without having to buy a 600 piece set to get each one. Each figure cost anywhere from $5 to $15. Holy crap! I hope he noticed. He was 5, so I’m betting not. Still… totally worth it. 😉