A Patchwork Story Blanket & Quilting with Multiple Fabric Types

I started quilting around 2008 when a friend sent me a link to Allison’s blog. My friend sent me a link to an old door turned head board DIY post Allison had put up. Almost immediately, though, I was sucked into the pictures of quilts I saw on her blog. Her blog was my first taste of the modern quilting movement, and I have not stopped since.

Making a story blanket out of vintage fabrics.

Because my first exposure of quilting was Allison’s blog, I learned to quilt with 100% cotton fabric. After finding her blog, I climbed through webs of online quilting blogs to figure out all the best supplies and fabrics. Even though I had a very small and somewhat inexpensive sewing machine from Target, I started with the best fabrics and cotton batting. Still to this day, I quilt almost solely with 100% high quality quilting fabric and 100% cotton batting.

Making a story blanket out of vintage fabrics.

Early last summer, a friend messaged me and told me she was helping her mom clean out all her sewing supplies. She asked if I wanted the fabric. Yah, no cost, no labor. Do you want it? Do you want it all? YES!! It was kind of one of those exciting yet guilty moments in life because I’ve never met this friend’s mom, yet I’m going to use all her old fabric. 🙂

I went to pick up the fabric and there wasn’t just a little bit. There was a LOT of fabric. I sorted through it slowly for a couple of months and decided to donate some that I never ever ever thought I would use. The rest of it is sitting in a huge storage tub under my sewing table.

Making a story blanket out of vintage fabrics.

I found the perfect use for lots of this fabric now. Recently an expanded ministry was launched at our church. It’s a ministry focusing on allowing children to find joy and delight in many of the arts God so graciously gave us. During our planning and preparation time, we talked about having blankets for the younger classes to change up the scenery and sit on the floor with them.

Out came this story blanket with made with lots of fun vintage fabrics. Most of these fabrics I never ever would have chosen myself, and I had so much fun working and experimenting with new fabrics, patterns, and textures.

Making a story blanket out of vintage fabrics.

Since I have only ever quilted with 100% cotton quilting fabric, this project threw a few curve balls at me. First off, I decided not to use a pattern. I’d use scraps of fabrics and create large blocks and piece those large blocks to create one huge blanket. It was fun. No pattern and stress free.

Until…I learned a few of the consequences of sewing with different mediums of fabric all at the same time. In this blanket, there are old sheets, corduroy, jersey type fabric, thin cotton fabric, and some thick almost upholstery type fabric.

Yep, I used them all in one blanket. For all you experienced quilters out there…was that a really bad idea?

Making a story blanket out of vintage fabrics.

I starched EVERYTHING as I ironed. I was fearful of some of the thin cotton fabric not holding shape, and my fears came true. All fabrics twist and turn a bit different, and when you are working with five different kinds of fabric at the same time, the uniformity was a bit off.

I had never sewn with corduroy, and I had a really hard time with it puckering while quilting.

Making a story blanket out of vintage fabrics.

Some of the smaller patchwork grew a bit wonky because of the jersey type fabric. (I don’t know the best way to get jersey fabric to hold shape.)

And I learned the consequences of not have seams going the whole distance across the quilt. Since I used the seams as guides for my quilting, I had to stop and start a lot with lots of back stitching.

All that to say, though, I learned a LOT. This was a fun blanket to make because of the freedom I had. I sewed with some fabrics I had never sewn with. I didn’t have the stress of following a detailed pattern. And, I didn’t grow super concerned about the flaws since I wasn’t giving it as a gift or selling it.

Making a story blanket out of vintage fabrics.

My little one year old wasn’t concerned about the flaws, and I don’t think all the little kids sitting on it every week will be either. 🙂

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