Retrospective: 2005 Cuddle Quilt

Welcome to the eighth in my more-or-less monthly series of quilt retrospectives.

2005 Cuddle Quilt
2005 Cuddle Quilt

Size: 80″ square
Design: traditional
Fabric: cotton flannel
Batting: 100% wool
Backing: cotton flannel
Pieced and quilted by machine (Janome MemoryCraft 8000) July 2005

In July 2005 I wanted a quilt to wrap around myself when watching TV or reading. I was back in Canberra full-time by then and the cold winters required warm covers. While I had several quilts in the cupboard, they were all fairly smooth cottons, which feels cold to the touch, and they didn’t drape well. I decided I was going to make a quilt out of flannel instead (technically it’s flannelette, flannel being a wool fabric, but the term cotton flannel is used more and more these days).

The choice of patterns in flannel is much more limited than in quilting cottons, but I found six that coordinated reasonably well in pink, purple and turquoise (even if the patterns themselves were nauseatingly cutesy) with a plain pink flannel to use as sashing. I cut out 8″ squares, put sashing around them and assembled the top. I chose wool batting for its warmth, and used another flannel print as the backing. It was machine-quilted around the sashing, leaving the squares themselves open and fluffy. All told it was finished in a week.

Even though it is not a beautiful quilt by any means, it’s the one I’ve used the most since it was made. It sits on the sofa and gets pulled around me any time I get cold — it’s soft, it drapes well and it’s very warm. I’m not afraid to pull it or twist it, or to eat or drank near it. It will probably wear out fastest (some of the fabrics are of a loose weave and now, 15 years later, are pilling badly and pulling at the seams), but I can always make another one.

Lessons learned:
1. It’s a good idea to build a small flannel stash because good quality and decent patterns may not be available when you want them.
2. Pre-washing flannel at high temperature to shrink it would be a good idea to combat the loose weave.
3. Flannel cotton + wool batting is heaven.

January Achievements and February Goals

It’s been a weird month — I’m in Canberra, so fire and smoke has been prominent in my life and to be honest, it’s hard to be creative when you’re checking the ACT Emergency Services website several times a day and sorting all the food and water stores for the umpteenth time. I think I’ve had the balcony door open all of four times since the New Year, and both I and the cats are getting increasingly fractious.

As a consequence, I didn’t accomplish much in January — I put buttons on the sacque dress and made a new petticoat for it, but now I can’t find the stomacher, so no photos. (I’m sure it will turn up eventually — things usually do, like the three costume books I couldn’t find for six months which I found two days ago hiding under a pile of other books.)

Regency slip front view
Regency slip side view
Regency dress front view
Regency dress side view

I also made a slip for the Regency style dress I made last year — you can see it above, modelled by Julie from American Girl. I made my own pattern for it and I didn’t allow quite enough room at the sides to get it over the arms of the doll — I was hoping to get away without a centre back opening, but I think the only way I can manage that is to make the fastening at the shoulders, and that will be tricky to do without altering the fit of the dress itself. I’ll have to think about it some more and try a couple more experiments. It’s also a bit too long for a quarter-inch hem, but that’s an easy fix.

Alternatively, I could add a skirt lining to the dress (the bodice is already lined so it wouldn’t be too hard).

For this month’s goal I’m going to make another doll dress, this time from the 19th century:

Thimbles & Acorns 1850 day dress pattern

The pattern is by Shari Fuller of Thimbles & Acorns, which I bought through Pixie Faire.

I have the perfect fabric for it — a diagonal plaid print that I bought a couple of years ago, with the intention of using it for laundry bag linings, but it will suit the pattern very well.

Grey plaid fabric

As always, I will make some alterations — there will be no pleating of the sleeves, for a start (in real life this was done only as an economy measure when puffed sleeves fell out of fashion but the dress was otherwise serviceable and the cost of replacing it too high). I’m keen to try the ruffling/pleating attachment on my Singer 99K — I’m not sure if I can do that in both directions or if it will mean all the pleats going around the skirt in one direction, but we’ll see. As for the trim, I’m not sure whether to use a black/grey or to find a bright contrast like green or red.

I’m also preparing a series of posts on my new doll acquisitions — this was supposed to have been done last October but I kept adding dolls to the collection. The last few are on their way now and I should be able to start posting later this month.