Thursday, September 18, 2014

Quilty TBT: The Birdcage

One benefit of being a newer quilter is that I don't have THAT many quilts to add to my blog.  I want to get all of my projects chronicled and up here so I can keep track of every quilt I've made - via my Completed Projects page.  So, until I get them all posted and caught up, I'll be doing a Quilty TBT (throwback Thursday).  First up: My first "real" quilt!

This quilt was made for my best friend Emily and her new husband Pat.  It was given to them as a wedding gift during their rehearsal dinner.  The pattern is my very own design!  I mean - what else would you do for your first quilt - why not just go all out an make your own pattern - and on a deadline (I'm insane).  Emily and Pat had a birdcage theme for their wedding, with birdcages as the (beautiful) centerpieces.  So I wanted to commemorate that in the quilt.  The design just popped into my head one day, and I think I was loosely inspired by the invitations we used for Emily's bridal shower.

The Birdcage Quilt
I learned a ton from this quilt!  While it wasn't my first trip into sewing, it was my first applique project.  There are a few things I might do differently next time.  I would only outline the shapes in fusible backing so they are softer and use a tighter zig zag stitch - both I've used since then with success.  This was also the first time I used my walking foot and I was (used it a ton since then).

The design incorporates not only the birdcage theme, but also Emily and Pat's favorite colors - pink for her and teal for him (although I took some liberties and went with a girly teal to better match the pink).  I included a "block" with their names and wedding date that was embroidered by a woman I found on Etsy.  I think my favorite part of the whole quilt are the two little birdies with button eyes.  They are just too cute!

Tree Branch
Cute little birdies!
Personalize Embroidery
I have to admit - I'm not a HUGE applique fan.  I like the complexities and the "puzzle pieces" of piecing together quilt tops.  I know applique can be very intricate and impressive, but I'm just not a huge fan...  One other learning experience for me was the "faux chenille" back of the quilt.  I used that technique on a baby blanket I made for my friend's baby and it worked MUCH better on that smaller scale.  My mistake here was not quilting the lines close enough, which resulted in the raw edges not fraying and curling up in the intended manner.  It's soft, but I'm not pleased with the look, sadly.  I still love the technique, but I'll make sure to use it for tighter quilting only in the future.

Faux Chenille
In typical "me" fashion, I cranked this one out in about two weeks - and stayed up until around 4am the night before the rehearsal dinner to wrap it up.  My friend's were really impressed and thankful, which always makes the late nights, back aches and baggy eyes worth it.  :-)  Emily and Pat even hung the quilt above their bed as a makeshift headboard, so it now has a place of honor in their apartment.

I have aspirations to one day turn this into a pattern - it's my first (and so far only) truly, 100% unique project that I totally conceived of on my own.  I need to learn more about pattern writing and see if there is a market for applique patterns.  Maybe someday!  In the meantime, this one will always hold a special place in my heart - my own pattern, first real quilt and for my best friends!


  1. A beautiful quilt! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Melissa! Appreciate your comment - come back and visit again soon! :-)

  2. Hello Jessica ... you entered a prize draw to win Plum Crazy on my blog but you didn't leave an email address and you are coming up as a no-reply blogger. I don't want you to miss out on your chance to win, so you could you please email me your details so I can put you on the draw? .... lovely quilt by the way! Serena :)