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hand sewn quilt

A Gift To My Mother: My Hand Sewn Quilt

I’m so excited to show you my new hand sewn quilt!

My mom is getting older, and has been ill for the last few years. Because of this, I wanted to make this upcoming sewing project extra special.

As her birthday approached in September, I wondered what I could make her for a present. Having my sister Donna being her full-time caregiver, and my other sister Tonya helping out too, most things are done around the house (so there aren’t many things she needs)

After a few weeks of racking my brain, I decided a quilt was in order. I went to my go-to place for ideas (Pinterest) and began looking. I wanted something that would show her that she has a ton of people that love and care for her.

After a little while of searching, I found the perfect idea: a family tree.

I figured out my next steps and, with fabric in hand, began this project of love for my  mother.

Step 1: I selected my background fabric (a white-on-white pattern looking somewhat like clouds), and the tree fabric (which looks like tree bark). I cut out the bark and placed it where I wanted it to go on the white fabric.

Then, I applied “Wonder Under” – an iron glue – to stick it firmly in place. It ended up looking exactly as I wanted it to.

hand sewn quilt

Step 2: I then sewed around the outline of the tree with a blanket stitch. This added subtle detailing and ensured the tree stayed in place.

hand sewn quilt

Step 3: I looked online and found the perfect phrase to add to my quilt, as well as a heart with my parents’ names in it. I machine-embroidered these on with my fancy sewing machine, and took a look at my handiwork. I loved it!

hand sewn quilt

hand sewn quilt

Step 4: Now I wanted to make sure the names of our whole family were on it. These included my mom’s three daughters, seven grandkids (and their spouses), and 12 great-grandkids.

I wanted her to be able to identify which children belonged to whom, so I grouped them each family together – each daughter with her kids and grandkids – and put these families in different colored leaves.

I machine embroidered each name onto a leaf, and applied them to the quilt the same way I did the tree. I also blanket-stitched each leaf (like I did the tree), but with black thread to make them stand out.

Step 5: I chose very soft minky for the back – this is a very soft fabric similar to fleece, but is softer and thicker. I also found a red border to go around it, since that’s Mom’s favorite color.

hand sewn quilt

I decided not to stitch the minky into the quilt, as I knew doing so would bunch and tear the delicate fabric.

Here’s how it looked when all was said and done:

hand sewn quilt

Note: I completed this project with the help of my baby lock embroidery machine – it has many fancy stitches! However, you don’t need to have a fancy machine to make a quilt or wall hanging like this.

Instead of a blanket stitch around the tree and leaves, you can do a satin stitch, or just a zigzag stitch. Whichever you choose, make sure to follow the directions in your machine’s book.

For the phrase at the bottom, you can use machine embroidery, or can sew it on by hand. You can also write the words using fabric pens. There are many ways to get the job done!

This project was very difficult for me mentally, knowing that my mom’s time here on earth is short. But, through it all, I was able to take comfort in knowing that this project had a very personal message: “I love you. WE love you. And we want you to know just how much.”

Sewing Tip: I have said this before, and I’ll say it again: homemade gifts from the heart are always the best. It may be tempting to purchase a present from the store, but in the end a homemade gift speaks volumes, and is so much more meaningful. Not to mention, the process of creating is fun enough to make it all worth it!

I’m not sure what my next sewing project will be yet – it will be a surprise!

Happy Sewing!


A Dragon Gift from the Heart (and Sewing Machine!)

Children, Grandchildren and Christmas can stir all kinds of creativity inside one’s soul. And I am no different. It is so fun to give from the heart, and I’ve been sewing gifts for Christmas longer than I care to remember. What I most enjoy is that I get to think of something that is made with just one person or group of people in mind. It’s personal, and it’s heartfelt.

I usually wait to post Christmas presents until after Christmas because the gift’s recipient might see the post! But the person receiving this gift won’t see it because he is so young. I want to inspire you make a gift this Christmas even if it is only one, so you can get warmth of giving from the heart.

So here it is – one of my Christmas gift projects:

My grandson Aiden saw some fabric I had bought for a camp and just loved it. He said that it looked like dragon scales. That is high praise from a little boy who adores dragons! He wanted me to make him a shirt out it but  there was one problem: the fabric was red and it just had to be green to fulfill Aiden’s vision.

So I went on the hunt to find this fabric in green. After a long exhausted search I decided that it didn’t matter which fabric it was but that it was green and looked like dragon scales.  It wasn’t long before I found the perfect fabric and the perfect pattern.

What do you think?  I added a dragon head coming out of his pocket and found these red eyes in my button stash. I was going to add a tongue but was afraid that Aiden would pull it out. He is almost 5 but I am hoping that the head stays put for a while and doesn’t disappear right away.

Naturally I had such fun with this pattern. Button-down shirts are not for the faint of heart, but luckily this pattern was on the easy side. I wanted it to look more like a shirt he already had so I changed it up a bit. The pattern called for two pleats in the back, but instead I did one in the center. I made flat welt seams, which is fancy way of finishing off mens shirts, and changed the front placket where the button holes are.

I love the finished product. I hope he does too!

Merry Christmas and good luck making gifts form the heart.

Happy Sewing,


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