Monday, August 4, 2014

My Favorite Rag Quilt........... Camo Style! (A Retake of My Favorite Denim Quilt)

For years now I have wanted to make My Favorite Denim Quilt out of military uniforms instead of denim jeans. (Like a military memory quilt) I finally got my chance a few weeks ago when my neighbor (who courageously served our country) had a baby and I offered to make a baby quilt for his sweet little guy. (His sweet wife jumped at the chance to get rid of some of the clutter in the garage!)
SPOILER ALERT!!! This is the finished product. I was so pleased with how it turned out, and so were my neighbors!!!

 So after viewing My Favorite Denim Quilt Part 1 and My Favorite Denim Quilt Parts 2 you will kind of get the basic idea of how I make these quilts. This way I can jump straight to the adaptations I made for this particular quilt.
Always check each article of clothing for surprises. This can include but is not limited to insect nests, items in pockets which for this project included, medication and military service patches. Be sure to wash the uniforms well before your start cutting.
 First, get ready to spend a lot of quality time with your seam ripper. Seriously, sit down with your favorite TV episodes and start picking to your hearts content, then get ready to pick out some more!
Remove all hook and loop strips (not from the pockets), tags, pockets, zippers and closures.
A trick I found for the pockets was to leave the hook and loop sections of the pocket attached while I removed the pocket from the pants or jacket. This gave the pocket structure as well as being able to use the fabric under the pocket for the squares.
Don't worry about the stitching holes that are left in the fabric. A good steam or mist of water while ironing the fabric will cause the holes to close quite nicely. (I was super excited about that trick!)

 Next cut out the seams from the areas you do not want (i.e. side seams from the jacket) and iron each piece so that it is as flat as possible. Remember to use the fun seams as part of the quilt. (See the second to last picture for examples.) Experiment with what gives you the most usable fabric. This will also determine how big of squares you will cut. My uniforms were a small/medium so I was able to get a 6X6 square nicely. Now start cutting using a rotary cutting tool, matt and large ruler. Have fun using the character of the material to make unique squares. 
Lay out your squares in a nice large open area and play with how large you would like the quilt. Remember this is the creative stage. Arrange your squares with the pocket and seamed squares as well as rotate the fabric so the print goes in different directions. Take into account that you will loose about 1/2 to 1 full square width with seam allowances. You may go back and add another row or two.

 For this quilt I ended up with an 8X11 rowed quilt of 6" squares. This was about 45 to 50 inches wide and about 1 1/2 to 2 yards long. (Yes this is a big baby quilt but I wanted this little guy to enjoy it for many years) Once the pieced top is finished, turn it over and iron the wrong side to set the seams and make it nice and firm. This will help when you are adding the batting and backing.

 The other adaptations I made on this quilt were the addition of "Warm and Natural" batting and using flannel for the backing as opposed to Polar Fleece. I wanted this quilt to be a little warmer and little more firm than my other quilts so I added the batting between the pieced top and the flannel backing and pinned the entire quilt so there would not be any puckers.
I stitched around the entire quilt edge and then went into the ditch of each intersection of the four squares and did some stay stitching to keep the batting in place.
Clipped, washed, dried and tah dah! A very handsomely cute rag quilt!

 Here you get a close up of the different types of squares I was able to cut and arrange in the quilt. I really had fun designing this quilt and adding the pockets on it. What little boy doesn't love pockets to stash his cars, rocks, and other treasures in?
My sweet Little Crafty Camper Girl who helped my with this quilt said, "Momma, you need to add pockets for baby food and milk for him!" Seriously I could just eat her sometimes, she always says the cutest things!!!
 Here is the finished quilt all rolled up like a bedroll. I used the collar from the uniform jacket to secure it. (That was a happy accident, as Bob Ross says!) All in all I was very pleased with how the quilt turned out. I did learn a few things along the way. Newer military uniforms have lines that run through the fabric called "rip stop lines." These were a blessing and a curse. The blessing came in that when the fabric was turned a certain way it gave a great gauge for clipping the fabric. The curse came in that because it is a "rip stop" the fabric did not fray as well as the denim does.

This quilt was about a 3 solid day project, from preparing the fabric to finished quilt. I hope you enjoyed this retake on My Favorite Denim Quilt. Happy sewing (and seam ripping!).


Amanda Bullard said...

Ang, this turned out AMAZING!!

Marisa Avila said...

Just amazing! I love it.