Needlework

The domesticity continues. A few weeks ago I came over all Austenesque and decided to make a belated wedding gift for my sister Sarah and new brother-in-law Dave. I wanted to give them something considered, something symbolic, a labour of love. After three 6-hours shifts of stitching it by the light of the moon (this only the last stage in the improvised process) I wished I’d never started the b*stard thing.

But here it is, a quilt, crafted by my own fair hand from fabric bought in Nepal that I really would have liked to keep for myself. It’s imperfect, it’s wonky, but it was made with reverence. If that’s not sisterly love, I don’t know what is.

How to make a (very simple) quilt:

You will need:

– 6m fabric of your choice

– 6m complementary cotton fabric

– about 3.5m 20mm wadding

– 9m ribbon

– 9m haberdashery cording

– 2 reels of cotton thread

What to do:

1. Take a 6m run of your fabric of choice. Cut it in half, stitch together down the long side and iron the seam flat. Do likewise with a 6m run of complementary fabric for the reverse side. Tempting though high-gloss satins are, they’ll slide right off the bed so use cotton.

2. Take a big piece of wadding (I used 40mm thickness but half of that would be more than enough) 3m x 2m. You may need to sew a couple of widths together to get the right square. Sandwich it between your two runs of fabric.

3. Pin and tack the three layers together. Tack liberally and make sure the thread tension is high. You need everything to stay firmly in place when you start sewing the ‘grooves’ in.

4. Meanwhile take a pretty ribbon, one that picks up a colour in the fabric. Get 9m to be safe. Take 9m of haberdashery cord and fold the ribbon around it, pinning along the full length.

5. Sew along the full length to seal the cord inside.

6. Measure an even border around the full width of the quilt. Measure and mark evenly spaced lines between these borders (the stripes made this a hell of a lot easier). Sew the whole fabric/wadding sandwich through to create ‘grooves’. You’ll need to manhandle the whole lot through the sewing machine. My advice – roll and squish.

7. That done, work your way around the edge, folding the fabric on each side, tucking it in towards the wadding to create a clean edge and pinning the ribbon cording between them. Fix with pins, many many pins.

8. Sew the cording in place by hand with tiny, neat, blinding stitches. Remove all traces of pins and tacking. Voila!

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