Thats me – self confessed! The need and wish to hold on to the memories the children have given us is immeasurable, so, what do I do? I cut up their past and stitch it back together! Of course…..What else would I do?
The girls each have one quilt, made from clothes they wore from 3 years onwards. Mixed in with their clothes are scraps from Murray and me, a piece of Murrays suit from our wedding day (20 years ago this year!!!) clothes I have worn and made. Christmas PJ’s, vital to have a special Christmas pair each year, plus odds and ends like their T-towels made at school and nursery with their drawings on.
The pieces are edged with their old bed sheets and backed with our old quilt covers. Its like a diary of our lives post children, also a glimpse into old Boden, Gap and Laura Ashley catalogues!
They love them and we’re not precious about them, they are in the sitting room and they snuggle under them watching TV. I am in the process of making up a small photo album showing them wearing all the clothes so they can remember what the item was and see how big they were when it fitted etc.
Why do we need to do such things? I try to live in the moment but its so tricky, life’s almost too busy to notice ‘the now’ – so much easier to live in the past and remember the days gone with rose tinted specs. Don’t get me wrong I don’t see these pieces of clothes and remember that life with small ones was always fun, the sleep deprivation and the fact that at times I missed the old me! At times Angela seemed to have gone and was replaced by two little people’s Mum.
Twelve years on from our first child and nine from our last I do remember the tough times but no where near as much as I remember the good ones. I was not cut out for the baby stage (never got that maternal feeling and still I’m not drawn to other people’s babies) but I loved it once they got to 3 and upwards. Perhaps thats why the quilts only incorporate their clothes from this age up. I have a couple of pieces from their early years but did not want to cut them up. The snow-suit they came home from the hospital in (far too big on both occasions) their first baby grow and some tiny socks. These I keep more to marvel at how small they were than how much I loved this stage. The rest I sold at NCT sales, almost rejoicing the fact that the baby stage was over for me after Megan was born!
The girls loved the small pockets from their old uniforms etc to stash ‘stuff’ and the remnants made great presents to Grandparents when incorporated into Cushions etc.
These quilts are not difficult to make, the hardest part is taking the scissors to the special pieces and making that first cut. By the third or fourth item you have a fairly carefree approach! Stitch them together in lots of long lines, ensuring the main feature on each piece remains central to the overall line. Don’t trim each line yet, just sew line to line and then trim. I didn’t worry about mixing fabrics with different thicknesses or textures and it worked out great. Use a material such as an old duvet cover for the backing so that it also has memories and secure the wadding between with buttons from the clothes you have used or specially selected buttons that enhance the image in the garment. Examples below show how you can do this easily. The girls helped choose these with me.
Have fun with it, I know some people would tut tut at what a waste of good clothes but frankly as a seasoned ebayer a potential 99p per item is not worth the loss of a fabric memory – Agree?