I’m guessing you’ve done what I did. As your children got older, you gave away many of their baby clothes — but you kept the ones that meant the most to you. The ones that spark special memories of a little boy running around the house in Buzz Lightyear jammies or a sprite dancing in her Cinderella Halloween costume.
Or perhaps you have a stack of T-shirts from high school, college, or family vacations. No matter where your memories come from, if they’re made of fabric, they can be turned into a unique quilt. Think of it as a scrapbook page that will decorate your home, keep your family toasty warm, and become a family treasure.
Plenty of options
Google “T-shirt quilts” and you’ll find a number of companies that make them. But not everyone does the “baby-clothes” version. In addition to Campus Quilt Company (campusquilt.com), the company that made my family’s quilt, check out The Quilt Loft (tshirtquilt.com) and Jelly Bean Quilts (jellybeanquilts.com). All feature adorable photos of finished quilts on their websites. (For a quilt for an older child with lots of Scouting badges, check out the Eagle Scout quilt at The Quilt Loft.)
Feeling crafty? At Ticche & Bea (ticcheandbea.com) you can buy a T-shirt memory quilt kit and make it yourself. The $35 kit includes everything needed to make a quilt from a child’s baby clothes: alternating squares of fabric, batting, a quilt back, safety pins, straight pins, a cutting template and very specific directions. (Just add patience and time!)
The folks at Campus Quilt Company in Louisville, Kentucky, took my son’s special baby and toddler clothes and turned them into the most gorgeous hand-crafted quilt I’ve ever seen. Every item of clothing was pressed and arranged in a cute way on it’s own square and then carefully stitched down so it will stay put. As I told my husband, it looks as if someone who loves our family (and who is very talented!) made this quilt.
It’s a work of art that will last for generations.
Having the quilt makes me realize how important it is to enjoy these treasured memories instead of keeping them in a box. Now I can see and touch, once again, Matt’s first Halloween costume, when he was a 10-month-old little pumpkin; his Spiderman jammies; the “I Love Grandma” sweatshirt that includes Matt’s toddler handprints in fabric paint; his “Woody” Toy Story jammies; and his Superman T-shirt.
What sentimental mom wouldn’t love that? And it’s something I know I’ll eventually pass down to Matt. A true family heirloom. (Won’t his kids giggle when they see their dad’s toddler-sized Superman shirt one day? I love the thought of that.)
Campus Quilt Company prices run from $129 for a 9-square lap quilt (the squares on these quilts are big — 15 inches) to $419 for a 49-square king-size quilt. These are the prices if the quilt is made from just T-shirts. There are
additional charges for doing special detailed work with baby clothes or adding strips of extra fabric between the squares. Go to their website or call (502) 968-2850 and tell them what you have in mind and they can give you all the details regarding cost.
I was a little worried about packing up these precious baby clothes and sending them. But the company took great care to make sure my items were transported safely. They sent a kit that explains everything, and they included a large, heavy-duty mailing bag and a pre-addressed label for shipping. Then they emailed me when they received my package. They kept me informed of the progress on my quilt and they got in touch with a tracking number when they shipped the quilt back to me.
What will you use for your quilt?
Don’t have enough of your baby’s clothes for a quilt? Want to do something different? Here are some other ideas for choosing items for a great quilt:
• T-shirts from your family’s travels.
• Squares made from your young swimmer’s beach towels. (Use your quilt to stay warm at those early morning swim meets.)
• Baby clothing from different generations. Did your mom save some of your own baby clothes? Combine them with your child’s for a true keepsake.
• Fabric from your wedding dress and a bridesmaid’s dress.
• Fabric squares in your child’s high school colors, mixed with squares featuring school T-shirts from sports teams or school clubs.
• High school or college sweatshirts from different family members.
• Costumes from school plays or Halloween.
The list is endless. And if you’re a new parent, and you’re just beginning to save special items like the receiving blanket your baby wore in the hospital, the little soft cap the nurses placed on her head and those oh-so-tiny socks, you’re in luck. You can plan ahead and save those items until you have just the right collection to make a quilt you’ll treasure. It will warm your heart as well as your bed. Just ask Superman’s mom.
Freelance writer Kathy Sena is mom to 14-year-old Matt. She still has baby treasures squirreled away in the family cedar chest, including beloved Mr. Bear.