It had been a while since I had made a quilt. Oh, I have 15 quilt tops all ready to go, but none of them have been sandwiched and quilted. In fact, some of those quilt tops have been sitting around for a “few” years. In order to get back into the swing of things I decided to start with something small, and decided on a changing mat for my soon-to-be first grandchild. A changing mat was an easily managed project, and in fact could be sandwiched and quilted in one evening.
For this project I chose flannel. It’s incredibly soft and would feel wonderful to a baby’s sensitive skin. One yard of fabric is a perfect size. As most garment fabric is 44 to 45 inches wide, cutting straight down the fold line gave me the perfect width at approximately 22 inches. One yard in length, or 36 inches, also provided plenty of length for the changing mat. It was not necessary to have a different color on the back of the mat, but I already had a variety of flannel in my stash so I chose a contrasting fabric for the back. There would be no piecing of a design, as this would be a “whole cloth” quilt design.
My preference for batting is to use all-natural fabrics. My current bolt of batting (which is really quite huge and has lasted me 5 years thus far), is cotton. I also prefer a batting with a low loft. Placing the cut flannel on the batting yardage, I cut the batting allowing for approximately 2 inches greater than the flannel fabric on each side. This allows for some maneuverability and adjustments as I sew. That’s not always needed, but sometimes things shift and I prefer to have a little wiggle room. I also like to be able to start my stitch line in the batting, rather than on the main fabric. I gave up pinning my sandwiched quilts together a very long time ago, and instead use a spray adhesive, also called basting spray. I spray the adhesive on the batting rather than the fabric, one side at a time, and smooth into place. It holds up well during the quilting process and comes out in the wash.
Since this project was meant to be simple and uncomplicated, I decided to use a simple straight stitch quilt pattern. I marked my center line down the length of the fabric, then sewed at 1 inch increments out towards each edge. I have a lovely variegated cotton thread which uses hues of blues, greens, pinks, and yellow. It’s subtle but really quite lovely with certain pastel fabrics, and it worked beautifully on this little changing mat.
For the binding I decided to cut my fabric from the same color used for the backing of the mat, a solid blue. I will not go into detail here regarding how to create strips for a binding, or how to miter corners, but may at a later date. Mitering corners is not as difficult as it first appeared to me to be, but mostly because I found a fabulous tutorial by Patrick Lose on YouTube. His trick for mitered corners saved me, I kid you not.
Once the binding was sewn on the front and my corners all neatly mitered, I sewed the back of the binding down by hand. Some people prefer machine, but to me that’s quick and dirty, and just doesn’t turn out as neat for me. So I turn my hand work into a portable project I can take with me and work on during lunch hours or while relaxing in the evening while watching TV or listening to an audio book.
At the end I had a nice little project that served multiple purposes. My daughter had a great little changing mat that will fold or roll up easily for transport in her diaper bag, it’s smooth on baby’s skin, and washes and dries quickly. For me, I got back into the swing of quilting. This simple project helped me to feel comfortable with it again, and helped me to refresh my memory on a lot of different steps and techniques. Next up, of course, will be a Quilt of Special Magnificence for my grandson. Because as we all know Nanas have to spoil their grandchildren.