This memory quilt holds a special place in my heart, since it’s for a family member. One of my cousins lost her 38-year-old daughter to breast cancer last summer, sadly leaving behind a beloved husband and young son. When I’m making memory quilts, I always wonder about the person – what were they like? Typically, families give me the person’s favorite clothing, or certain shirts they remember their loved one wearing for a memorable occasion – so when I handle the clothes and start cutting them up, I get some sense of who the person was and what they liked, just based on what type of clothing they chose to wear. I end up with an emotional attachment to the quilt, and I try to imagine how the family will feel once they get the finished product – so much symbolism in a quilt made from the clothing of a person you loved! I hope that wrapping up in something once worn by a loved one brings some comfort.
My cousin’s family gave me enough clothing for several projects, so this first quilt and set of pillows is for the husband and son.
This type of quilt is called a string quilt because you use strips of fabric called “strings” to construct the blocks. It is assembled using a simple type of foundation piecing – the strings are sewn to a permanent foundation, in this case muslin. Most of the clothing was knit fabric, so quite stretchy – making a string quilt ideal, since the stretch will be controlled as it’s sewn to the muslin. I used 100% cotton batting – so the quilt ended up quite weighty due to the shirt fabric, the muslin, the batting and the backing fabric – which adds to the cozy comforting feeling.
I used a fairly simple quilting design and accented the diagonal aspect of the white stripes.
For the pillows, I was given these two dresses and a sweater. I applied fusible light-weight interfacing on the dress fabric before cutting them, as the fabric was summery and light and wouldn’t stand up to repeated use. I decided on a zipper back so that the cover could be easily removed to be washed. The sweater I simply hand sewed the bottom edge closed.
I hope this quilt and pillows might help my sweet cousins in some small way – I know they miss their daughter, mom, and wife dearly. Sending much love their way…
Thanks for reading.