Put a bird on it

My friend Manya had this really cute baby quilt from her youth and asked me to take a shot at resurrecting it for her new baby due this Spring.

the original quilt - bunchy batting

Sadly, the quilt was really beyond repair. The quilting was so scant that the batting had bunched into big mounds. It really taught me the importance of making sure your quilting pattern hits every six square inches to avoid this problem as the quilt ages!

Also – the birds were either completely falling apart or getting a little frayed (they were needle-turn appliqued, but the needle-turned edge had popped out). So I took apart the whole thing and decided to just recreate the blanket.

sad, dissected birds

I wanted to use as much of the original fabric from this quilt as I could, but the pieces were literally disintegrating as I disassembled the blanket.   So I decided to turn the old birds into wings!  I found fabrics that matched the jewel-tone/gender neutral theme from the original quilt and made new birds.  I did my favorite applique technique – sewing the birds to muslin and turning the unit inside out, appliqueing to the background fabric (more on this method in this post).

I picked a white-on-white print for the background, as I refuse to use solid white for a baby quilt.  At least this will somewhat camouflage spit-up stains. And I quilted little clouds (continuing on a theme from this project)!  White thread on top, invisible thread in the bobbin.

And for the birds I added a little quilting, with invisible thread on top and in the bobbin.

Invisible thread is so frustrating!  Lots of tension issues, but then again my machine was literally dying and spewing out its insides while I quilting this blanket (more on that HERE and HERE).  I cleaned up a little bit of the quilting on my NEW MACHINE and the tension issues weren’t as bad.  I think I need thinner invisible thread…

I’ve had this teal backing fabric for a while and what a perfect fit for this project!  It matches the jewel tones and it is gender-neutral.  I also used some super soft peacock print cotton I recently got as a gift.  Hoping I still have enough to make myself a little dress out of this lovely fabric!

What a fun challenge to recreate this beloved blanket!  I hope Manya and her future baby like it!


Filed under Quilting

5 responses to “Put a bird on it

  1. So darling! I love how you thought to use the old fabrics for wings – such a great idea 🙂

  2. Fabulous! Your friend has to be just thrilled to have such a fun and happy quilt with pieces of her treasured quilt. You rock!

  3. Ele Kotowski

    You are very creative. I loved the quilt and the story behind it!

  4. Manya Lisse

    I had no idea what a huge project this would turn out to be – naively I thought you’d just pop off the top, fixed the bunched batting and voila! I’d have a fixed quilt. This is amazing! I am so frakking lucky. Brilliant idea to make wings out of the old birds – both gorgeous and meaningful. Thank you so much.

  5. amyelizabethsmith

    Wow, Jenna, I’d love to pay you for that bird quilt for the new baby 🙂 You’re just awesome.

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