Stitching a quilt of memories

DO-IT-YOURSELF

Stitching a quilt of memories

I don’t frequent malls nor am I an impulsive buyer. Yet old clothes pile up in my house. After weighing several options such as giving them away for charity, etc, I realised that recycling them was a good option.

Moreover it is a clever way of disposing of old clothes. Instead of buying cushion covers or pillow covers, laundry bags, purses, etc, you can stitch them. Quilting is both interesting and practical because you can even make blankets, bedspreads and even mattresses out of random cloth pieces.

Quilting is not something new, it has been there since quite a long time. In Kannada, it is known by various names like koudi, dupti, etc, and in Konkani, it is known as gojadi/godadi.

You have to stitch together two or three clothes together to form a thick, single piece of cloth. It is mostly used to wrap newborns and infants. Any design with geometric uniformity looks nice in quilts. Depending upon the availability of old clothes and the amount of time you can spare on it, you can create the design(s).

It certainly requires a lot of patience since it is time consuming. In my own case, it took nearly two years to complete my first quilt though I had a new sewing machine. The delay could be due to the fact that I had time constraints.  

Here is a simple example of a do-it-yourself quilt. First get the top layer of the quilt ready by stitching together uniform pieces of cloth to form a design. Then begin working on the middle layer. You can use old cotton sarees for this middle portion of the quilt. Finally, the innermost layer or the base can be stitched out of some bright looking old saree or dupatta or even lungi.  

How to go about it

- Plan your design and cut the required number of pieces at one shot.

- Leave half a centimeter extra for all the pieces for stitching.

- The inner surface of clothes is often brighter than the outer as it fades because  of constant usage. It is therefore advisable to use the inner surface for the front layer if the material you are using is plain.

- Colour combination and size can vary according to the availability of clothes, individual taste and the purpose of use./utility.

- If you are a novice in stitching then plan a design with a square or rectangular pieces of clothes. As you gain experience, switching over to complex designs with triangular shapes becomes easier.

- Iron the cloth before and after stitching in order to join the layers together.

- Cut 20 square pieces of mustard coloured cloth measuring 10 cm by 10 cm.

- Cut 20 pieces of black cloth measuring 10 cm by 5 cm. Then cut 20 more pieces of same cloth measuring 15 cm by 5 cm.

- Cut 20 pieces of grey cloth measuring 15cm by 5 cm. Cut 20 more pieces of the same cloth measuring 20 cm by 5 cm.

-  Cut 12 quadrangular pieces measuring 20 cm by 20 cm and 14 triangle shaped pieces half the size of the quadrangular pieces. Then cut 4 triangles half the size of the triangle using white cloth.

- First cut and then stitch a long strip of grey cloth with a width of 5 cm. Later fold and stitch one edge of it neatly.

Quite simple

Whenever a motif or a strip of motifs is ready, it is to be neatly ironed to simplify the stitching process. When all the motifs are ready, you can stitch plane squares alternately.

This will not only save on labour, but also enhance the beauty of the quilt. Since these pieces are placed diagonally in this quilt to give it the unique look, diagonal strips are to be made ready, stitching the triangular pieces at appropriate places.

When you join all the diagonal strips together referring the ground plan, the front layer of your quilt is almost ready. All that you have to do is to stitch the grey border neatly on all the sides of the front layer. Since the size of the quilt is considerably big, you have to spread it on the floor for stitching the layers together. Spread the front layer on floor in reverse position.

Neatly spread two or more faded cotton sarees without forming any wrinkles on this. Finally spread a bright looking dupatta and stitch together in long and short stitch roughly to hold all the layers together. Now, fold the border on the innermost layer and hem it together to bind the edge.

Reverse the quilt, facing the front layer up and neatly stitch in long and short stitches in white thread in each white square and triangle.

This will ensure that the stitch is not seen on your quilt and giving it an ugly appearance. When it is done, the rough binding stitch made earlier, can be removed. Now the quilt is ready.

Since everybody has different kinds of old clothes and tastes differ, each one will be a designer quilt.

Stitching your own quilt has multiple benefits. On the one hand, you will save money on buying new quilts and on the other hand your problem of disposing old clothes is solved. Also you will be the proud owner of a masterpiece.

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