Friday, March 7, 2014

Sunset Window Quilts

My daughter's room was cold, so I made some beautiful window quilts for her windows. Our house was built in 1951 and the heating system has never been updated. We installed new, insulated windows in her room last summer but they aren't quite enough. Plus, she gets a lot of light pollution at night from the headlights of the street that we abut, even with curtains, so I needed something thicker yet aesthetically pleasing.

 I absolutely love color, so I went for a sunset pattern that I found on Craftsy- totally worth a membership- and altered it to fit my specifications. The pattern link is here.

I didn't buy any new fabric for this quilt. It is made up entirely of scraps from previous projects, a pair of black corduroy pants, and a Value Village pillowcase for $1. Ok, so I guess that I bought a dollar's worth of "new" fabric but it was used, just new to me.

The black of the night sky was from a pair of corduroy pants that I had intended to alter and wear about 5 years ago, but never got around to. The deep red was left over from making a friend's apron that I still haven't gotten to her. I will probably post photos of its construction in a later post. I have a lot of DIY to catch up on and a lot of projects to begin.

The pink was from an unfinished quilt that my mom started when I was 14 and she never finished.The orange was the African-themed pillowcase that I bought at Value Village, or Village des Valeurs, if you want to be a little posh. The yellow, light green and blue were scraps leftover from the baby quilt that I made my daughter- the first quilt that I had ever had a pattern for. The dark green was repurposed from a pair of curtains that I made about 10 years ago that no longer go with anything in the house. They were a very pretty watercolor forest green. I'm a little less Bohemian now than I was then, though. Not by much.

I intended to make a Moulin Rouge-esque can can skirt out of the brilliant red, but never found a pattern that I liked. I had already cut it into 5" strips, so that was useful. The brown of the binding was left over from a Halloween costume that I made for my husband- Robin Hood- a couple of years ago. I bought it, again, at Value Village and had a lot left over.

For my relatively standard windows, I altered the picture portion of the quilt to 52.5"x 38", with a 5" wide border strip. Honestly, I'm pretty slapdash, so what I really did was sew all of my fabric strips together and then hold it up to the window to see if it fit. It was a little bit uneven, so if you're more precise than me, you probably don't need a 5" border. I like to wing it, but I have a lot of experience "winging it." Do not try this at home. Or do.

 Sorry that I don't have pictures for these steps but life was pretty hectic and I completely forgot about my blog. See? Slapdash.

I made two of these window quilts because my daughter has two windows in her bedroom. I just flipped the second one so that they weren't *exactly* the same. See?

Anyway, cut the main strips to your dimensions. I added extra strips on the top and bottom to make sure that I had the length that I needed without sacrificing the design. The applique comes next. I backed mine with interfacing, and zig-zag stitched it to the background.

I think that I shouldn't share for free someone else's property,  so I will just give you a link to the original pattern (here) and tell you what I did differently.

I think that I added two extra strips to the top and one extra to the bottom. I figured that it would be neat to have the deep dark of the night sky at the top, so I added the black corduroy and as the very last step, glued on some jewels with Aleene's Tacky Glue, used a fine mist of spray adhesive on the rest of the corduroy, and sprinkled silver glitter sparingly. I then sealed it with another light spray of adhesive spray. It really isn't dryer safe, though, so don't use it on a regular sleeping quilt. If you want sparkles on a regular quilt, it is better to sew them on securely.

I then added the borders according to the pattern. Quilting comes next. An old flannel sheet made the backing, so I put that down first, right side out. Next came the batting. Then comes the quilt. I painstakingly (ha!) smoothed out the wrinkles with my hands.

Let me just take a moment to say that the keys to a beautiful finished piece are measuring and ironing. Unfortunately, I still haven't learned so my finished pieces are less than perfect. I still love them. I take more care with them than I seem to,  I promise. The flaws are my signature.

 Here's a picture of the backing and batting cut to size. I learned afterward that you are supposed to keep the backing a little bit larger than the main piece, just in case it shifts during sewing. Good thing that flannel is kind of stretchy, huh?

Now is when I sewed the backing and batting on. I quilted it by just doing the stitch-in-the-ditch, the technique of sewing in the grooves left by the existing seams. If you have ironed the seams open, unlike me, this should be a piece of cake. Just in case, use thread that blends in.

Next comes the binding. I used this amazing tutorial by the Missouri Quilt Company. I whip-stitched the binding to the back, then applied the stars.

I took about a two-foot long piece of ribbon, cut it in half at an angle, and blanket stitched it to the top so that I had Roman-style blind tiebacks.

I also considered other options but decided that what I wanted would be too bulky for this no-sew Roman blind tutorial. Here is an amazing tutorial about how to convert your horizontal blinds into Roman blinds without any sewing, for those who are averse to machine sewing and have horizontal blinds that they don't know what to do with. I am all about repurposing.

Anyway, now I'm done! If you wanted to, you could add a rod pocket to the back for a curtain rod, just take about a 4-inch wide piece of fabric two inches shorter in length than the width of your finished product, hem the short ends and bottom, sew the bottom of the fabric 2 inches below the top edge of your quilt, and then tuck the top under the binding when you sew the binding onto the quilt. Easy-peasy!

Anyway, most future tutorials coming should have more pictures, but I still have to catch up on blogging the things that I have half-finished; the Celtic-themed "stained glass window, Celtic knots on the kitchen table, knitting squares for my sister-in-law's photography business (Too Sweet Photography in Coos Bay, OR), crocheted alligator-pattern slippers for a friend, landscaping my whole backyard, including planting a large garden, hops, and a bush fence.

Anyway, I hope you had fun and happy crafting!

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