A Ballerina Quilt for a Sweet Girl

Happy Birthday, Andrea!!

An accomplishment that was months in the making, our Ballerina quilt is finally finished! Woohoo! Just like the sweet girl that it was made for, it took months and there were some snags along with way. To say we love and adore the recipient is a mild understatement. We both took time and care selecting every component of this quilt, and I am happy to share all the details with you today. It’s a long read with oodles of pictures!

Ballerina Beginning

Our little Addison, who we refer to as Sweet Girl, has shown her spunk right from the beginning. She was due in late December and we were all praying that momma would be able to finish her nursing class and test before she arrived. Not only did Addison allow that to happen, but she also said daddy had to wait for a tax deduction by arriving in early January!

She had that stare down right away, giving you a look that questioned if you knew what you were doing. Thankfully, we did recall how to hold a baby, etc. thanks to her 16-month-old brother. He taught us all the ropes!! Both littles spent lots of time with GG and they were able to teach her that useful skill of spitting. Not impressed with her new skill, I used to tell her often, Addison! No spitting.

Her response to that, in December 2019, was to pull out her pacifier and spit at me. I believe her face says, did you say please spit? HAHA! That was during her momma’s graduation ceremony with Auntie Sue photobombing her mom and dad. We made her oodles of quilts by this time . . . probably more than one sweet girl would need but just the right amount in our minds!

Ballerina – A Quilt Beginning

A move to a new home precipitated a slew of bed switching. Prior to the move, Addison was a fabulous sleeper and a happy waker. Not so much after the dust settled in her new bedroom, but everyone got through it. However, the new larger-sized mattress that ended up hosting our sweet girl definitely required a new quilt. STAT. Hmm. What theme and colors should we focus on? Our little twirling and dancing sweet girl led us to the ballerina decision.

For me, that started a flurry of thoughts. What fabric would be best; what should the center star-of-the-show be; and when can we get started?! Once I spotted Tula Pink’s Fairy Dust line, the decision about the fabric was cinched. I ordered a slew of it from the Fat Quarter Shop in Addison’s favorite color, purple. We also selected a ballerina image to base our center model on with some artistic changes to hair color, etc.

Ballerina Construction

Fabric cutting and construction sewing began in earnest. Sue and I debated block size and border ideas endlessly it seemed, and even more fabric was ordered. It’s hard to match fabric colors online, don’t you think?? Unless it is part of the same line or the designer identifies it as a coordinating fabric, you are on your own with only the best of intentions on your side.

The gray Fairy Dust fabric was a winner as a consistent background theme throughout. The smaller ballerinas in the second border embrace different hair colors and skin tones, although it is difficult to view that without an extreme close-up picture! Tying the small dancers together along with a final border of stars came next and led to a finished quilt top.

The piece quickly outgrew our design wall so the living room floor was the only option. The behemoth quilt wasn’t long enough for our taste so we added a final gray border to the top and bottom edge.

Ballerina Quilting At Its Best

A backing choice was the easiest decision of all. Almost before we knew we were going to make a quilt, Minky was the only option. The color and amount needed had to be determined in a hurry . . . and may have proven to be a challenge in a short bit!

Our sweet girl LOVES to bury her face in anything soft. Anything and everything, like this cute polar bear hat we picked up with matching gloves. She loved that hat to death – needless to say, it was a really good purchase. We all get lucky once in a while, right?!!

Layering happened rather easily we thought. That was until we noticed that 108″ wide Minky fabric was just the exact same size as the quilt top. There was maybe half an inch to spare on one side and zero on the other size. Egad. That took several attempts at getting the three layers aligned just perfectly . . . sev-er-al. I never imagined that I might need to seam fabric this wide for additional width. We applied some tape from corner to corner to use as a guideline for a crosshatch pattern. At last, it was ready to quilt . . .

A Few Ballerina Snags

Yeah. The first snag is that we chose blue painter’s tape to mark the stitching guideline. DO NOT EVER USE PAINTER’S TAPE and expect it to stick well to the fabric. It’s not designed to do so, apparently. Little known fact prior to trying to stitch that first line by me, but we had to wrestle that mother back on the island and remark with good ‘ole regular masking tape. Score one for the quilt. Not to be bested by some fabric, I started quilting again.

Seriously. Skipped stitches . . . not just one or two but HUGE gaps of them. Not just on the appliquéd pieces but all along that first long line of stitching. Score another for the quilt. Is it a sign that we are not meant to make this quilt for Addison? Heck no, with a capital “H”. The sewing machine went in for a spa week or two!

A Ballerina Near Completion

Did we ever make it to the finish line? The title of this post leads one to believe that we did, right?! When I selected the thread in a pretty coral color, 300 yards sounded like plenty for this project. Since it took nine bobbins to complete the first pass in one direction, it was quickly apparent that I didn’t have enough thread. Seventeen bobbins worth exactly – we had to punt for the last one. Sue rallied quickly, pulling a slightly lighter-colored thread which no one would ever notice. One would think quilting would be completed without another issue . . . right?! Earlier, I mentioned that the backing was just barely wide enough. We thought we squeaked and eked through. Alas, that was a wrong thought.

After quilting, I trimmed to see the damage and it wasn’t too bad. One corner and along one side needed some additional attention. My solution was to add a patch on the reverse side which added some additional stitching on the front side. I really don’t think anyone will notice this, do you?

An easy fix that will nearly be covered with the binding. Chalk up one more tick for the quilt – that’s four if you are counting. Alas, that was the end of them and a wonderful finish is in sight. We won in the end, no doubt.

Ballerina Dance, Dance, Dance

After hand sewing down the binding to the reverse side, it was time for washing and drying. We wondered if we were going to have to take it to the laundry mat . . . but who has enough quarters for that?!! Our washing machine and dryer stepped up to the challenge and before you know it, we had a completed quilt. Addison was happy to model underneath her new quilt in the afternoon. Then momma snapped of her sleeping princess! She still had to have Olaf on her bed.

One last shot of Addi and Chase checking out her pretty new quilt.

Dance, dance, dance sweet girl!

♥ ♥ ♥

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19 Responses

  1. I saved this in my Inbox to read ‘later’ and only just now clicked on it, doh! I love how it turned out Roseanne! Of COURSE it had to have Minky backing, but oh do I ever love your background fabric too. Your sweetie pie looks super adorable all nestled up under it in her bed. Such precious things we do for our oh-so-precious littles. 🙂

  2. Patty says:

    Thanks for linking up with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal and congrats on your finish.

  3. Karen says:

    A lovely quilt to be treasured for many many years.

  4. A beautiful finish for a sweet girl. They never see the errors, just the love that goes into the quilt. She’ll love it all the more when she gets older. Though mine went through the stage where her beloved Little Mermaid quilt needed to be given away because she’d out grown it. Now she likes that it’s up in the closet to pass on.

  5. Oh my gosh it turned out so lovely!!! Addie looks great and snuggled up under it! I love the colors and the lay-out! I know this project was a challenge but you and Sue really hit it out of the park! It’s great ! Have a safe and happy day!

  6. Colette says:

    What an awesome quilt for such a sweet girl. It will be well loved. And the story of its making is great.

  7. Kathleen McCormick says:

    Hooray for Addison’s birthday and her quilt. You and Sue did a marvelous job on this, working your way through each challenge. I love the way you fixed the final problem, that almost no one will know. It is so fabulous and such a beautiful quilt, I am sure she will love having this to cuddle underneath.

  8. Be still my heart! Roseanne it is a sweet a finish as we could ask for in spite of (or perhaps because of the issues 😉). Well done! It’s perfect and I’m sure your little ballerina was smiling from ear to ear.

  9. Your perseverance has paid off, Roseanne! This is absolutely gorgeous. That picture of Addison underneath it is so darn cute!! I bet that minky fabric is soooo soft and cuddly! Great job and great ingenuity to handle the snags!

  10. Chris says:

    It’s wonderful! Fit for a Ballerina Princess!!

  11. Mary says:

    Oh my goodness, talk about persevering through multiple obstacles! Congrats on getting that ginormous quilt finished! It turned out beautifully. I love seeing the photo of Addison and Chase admiring it. She will always treasure this gift of love from her aunties.

  12. Oh my it is huge. What a big quilt, but gorgeous. I appreciate the juggling to make sure the minky would fit on the back. It is hard with that at the best of times but when it’s just a little short. Been there! I think you did fantastically well. And minky is so cozy, although at the moment I am trying to avoid it. I think all the hours put into this are just a glimmer of the love you have for Addison. I smiled at the she can’t have enough quilts. I am sure she will receive a few more in her future.

  13. Gail Sheppard says:

    YEAH!!! I knew you guys would be able to finish the quilt with a flourish!!! How fantastic it is!! I love the pic of Addison and Dominic checking it out! priceless!
    I’m sure Addie is doing a very happy dance!!!

  14. Great to see it finished! Addison loves it and that is what matters the most! Congratulations and on to the next! 🙂

  15. Rochelle Summers says:

    Congratulations and a huge finish!! What a tale of challenges. Lucky it was warm for most of it. Addison looks so small under that quilt. Imagine Chase being that interested! This was truly a labor of love! Such wonderful photos throughout

  16. Wendy Tuma says:

    Yay for the finish, and how fun to see her snuggled under the quilt, sleeping, admiring it later, and I’m sure there will be plenty of twirling!

  17. Hooray for a finish, Roseanne! That quilt is perfect for Addi, and turned out beautifully. I’m sorry it give you such fits along the way, but you persisted! It is so satisfying to see your girl sleeping under a quilt you made, isn’t it?

  18. Vicki in MN says:

    How fantastic you got it finished!! Addison has good taste if she loves purple;) As for the patch on the back, I know Addison is not going to care one bit, it’s clear she loves the quilt!

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