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!
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.
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!
♥ ♥ ♥