Quilt making is the wonderful process of sewing many sections/patches of fabric together to create a whole. Making just one patch is a great way to introduce children to sewing, and provides a fun, creative outlet with few rules. It’s also an opportunity to scavenge about for interesting textiles to use and recycle.
- fabric scraps
- sewing machine
Children will need to be guided through this project by an adult who knows how to sew and can help with the iron.
If you sew, you probably already have an assortment of fabric scraps to choose from. Otherwise, you can head to a fabric shop to see if they sell inexpensive bags of scraps. If in Toronto, another great source is the annual More Than Just A Yardage Sale at the Textile Museum of Canada.
1. I would first recommend having children look at some books and/or websites to get inspired and see how much fun this can be. Search for “quilt patches” and “textile patches”, then look under images. Here are just a few:
Patch Work-The Art of Decorative Patches
1000 Artisan Textiles by Sandra Salamony
2. The patch will consist of 3 layers: the top layer, the batting, and the back layer. Decide on the size you would like it to be. We used 8″ x 8″ squares, but any size will do.
3. Assemble your supplies and select the fabrics for the top layer. Cut them into a variety of shapes and sizes, and sew them together. If you don’t want the stitching to show, place the first 2 pieces of fabric right sides together and sew them with a straight stitch, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance. Press open with an iron. Continue adding pieces of fabric in this manner until it’s the size you want. Trim to straighten edges and iron flat. If you would rather have the stitching show, simply place 2 pieces of fabric right side up, side by side, and overlapping about a 1/4″ before sewing. This is a good opportunity to have children experiment with different types of stitches and colours of thread.
4. Select a single piece of fabric for the back of your patch and cut it the same size as the batting. Both of these layers should be 1/2 ” smaller on all sides than the top layer.
5. Here is one way of making the border. The top layer should be 1/2″ larger than the bottom layer and batting so you can fold it behind and stitch. To do this, iron the edges of the top layer behind at 1/4″ from the edge, fold under and iron again at the next 1/4″. Now pin all 3 layers together, making sure the batting and back layer are tucked inside the top layers’ ironed edges. Sew using your preferred stitch.
6. With your patch fully assembled, add some top stitching to give it a quilted look. A variety of colours and stitches can be used.