baby quilt – the end of applique

okay, this is a lot of photos for a little bit of progress.  this marks the finishing up of all this applique quilting of clothing onto the top of the sandwiched, three-layer quilt.  instead of showing the monotonous slug progress of sewing on item after item, i decided to document the last several bits of clothing so you can see how i did it.

the oshkosh b’gosh overalls i got from my mom that might have been my little brother’s.  the onesie has been cut off halfway to reduce bulk (you wouldn’t believe how heavy this thing is now), and i’ve pinned it in.  when you do layered clothing like this, you need to plan carefully.  i cut away the back of the overalls to save on bulk, and saved only the shoulder straps.  i’ve sewn them onto the quilt halfway up their length, leaving the ends free so i can fasten the whole thing when it’s done.

you can see the bit of the back side of the pants on the lower right.  i cut a bit of the back side out so i would have more of a turn in the pants when i sewed them in, so i had to cut the back some of the way up, and now i’ve pinned the edge of the onesie right along the edge of the cut back, so it looks like it wraps around.  i’m going to have to go right into the inside of the coveralls in order to stitch down the sides of the onesie.  i’ll be stitching thru the onesie and the denim on the inside, and then will go at it from the foot and sew the rest of the pants seam down (below).

this is the quilt all rolled to fit neatly in the hole in the sewing machine.  my machine is particularly compact, so it’s a real bitch getting the thing in the space so i can sew.  that’s when i start dreaming about a quilting machine, about as long as it takes to look up the going price.  i’m going to go down the right side of the onesie/jeans, tugging on the back of the fabric, wedging the roll thru the throat of the machine, plumping the fabric in front of the needle so it doesn’t drag.  it’s going to be a real struggle, a physical struggle, partly because the machine is so lightweight and isn’t anchored to anything.  it’s just sitting on a board on top of my old cabinet sewing machine.

this shows the other end of the overalls and onesie we’ve been looking at above.  you can see on the lower right how i’m continuing the seam on the inside of the pants.  you can see the bottom end of the onesie under the folded-up leg in the middle – it’s crooked where i cut it but i don’t really care.  you can see where i’ve pinned in the snaps that will hold the legs in place.

see, i’m making the whole thing, at this point, as a play blanket.  it’s designed for older babies and toddlers to mess with.  they can unsnap and unzip everything, they can stick their little hands and feet into the hands and feet opening, and i was even considering leaving some clothes that an enterprising toddler might be able to zip him- or herself into.

moving on to the only girl item of clothing.  i debated about this.  but i didn’t have any girl things.  and the first dress i tried, a nice pink seersucker dress, didn’t work out when i cut it in half to save bulk.  so i went back to the thrift store and got this nice ruched thing with pants.  a very basic dress, really, but i had no trouble fitting it into the space i had for something there.

i sewed down the top edges of the dress, around the arms and shoulders, and came down the sides of the skirt, and then lifted the skirt and sewed the back of the skirt down.  since i wanted a lot of movement in my clothes, i made a few pleats, tugging the skirt down on the right side.  i just sewed the edge down as a precaution, even tho it would have been enough to sew the pants down on top of it.  with the pants, i did what i’ve been doing with most openings, and sewing down the bottom edge of the legs and the waist, leaving the top edge loose.

the last thing i had to do was the pair of kids standing on each other’s shoulders.  it’s the middle of the quilt, and it’s the only two pieces of clothing going the same way (every one is upside down to the next one).  so i figured i’d do something fun with it, and made them start to lose their balance.  i raised the right knee and tilted him over to the right.  this meant having to tuck the fabric at the knee and hip, and you can see the yellow-headed pins holding these areas down.  the trouble with these union suits is that the zipper runs from neck to foot and is plastic, and so won’t stay down.  it naturally buckles unless it’s under tension.  so it’s always going to look lumpy.  in the photo above, you’ll notice that i’m  not going to sew down the arms and shoulders yet, until i’ve figured out the guy balancing on top of him.

here you can see what i’m doing with the guy on top.  he’s even moreso lost his balance, and is reaching for the hand of the little girl in the pink dress, and over the shoulder of the guy to his right.  at this point i’ve just pinned everything down, i think, including the arms and hands of the guy holding him up.

this was tricky.  i’ve got to sew down the guy on the left first, except where he overlaps the guy on the right.  then i’ve got to come in and sew down the guy on the right, including where he overlaps the guy on the left.  and then i have to come back in and sew down the wrist of the guy on the left.  all this on top of a three-layer quilt plus whatever other appliqued clothing lays beneath it.

this looks like i have loads of room, but the throat of the machine, off camera to the right, is jammed with rolled-up quilt.  here i’m sewing down the arm of the guy on the left, and i’m going to come all the way down the right side and underneath the overlapping foot, which i’ll come back to finish sewing down once i’ve finished the layer underneath.  at some points i figure i’m sewing thru nine different layers, and sometimes that’d be nine different layers of seamed edges.  that’s very thick for a little ballpoint needle and a machine that cost around a hundred bucks.

i’ve re-rolled the quilt so i can sew the left side of the two kids.  i’ve got to put the left arm down over his side and over the pink sleeve, and then i’ve got to come down to the overlapping wrist of the guy on the bottom, and sew down the right side of his sleeve until i get to the foot of the guy standing on his shoulders.  does this all make sense?

but finally i’m done with that part.  i even got around to clipping all the loose threads on both sides and sewing down any edges i missed the first time around.

it’s hard to see the details at this distance, but i’ve got – starting from the top middle – a boy in brown standing on his brother’s shoulders, then a girl in a yellow striped top and jean shorts, turned upside down from the boy in the brown jumpsuit.  then there’s a baby bubble suit in white with green trim facing opposite to the kid in the jeans, and it’s heading to the right in the middle of the right side.  beneath that is a kid, facing the opposite way to the bubble shit.  this kid has dinosaur overalls.  next comes the brother holding up the kid on his shoulders, in the bottom middle of the quilt.  and next to him, and opposite, is a kid in green pants and a pink flowered top.  next to her is a kid in a onesie and overalls, in the middle of the left side of the quilt.  and finally there’s the little girl in her flouncy pink dress.  every kid depends and upsets the balance of the next kid, all the way around the circle.

of course, it’s hard to see the details at this distance.

what’s next?  well, turning the quilt over shows that there are areas which have not been quilted yet, and this will make a difference after 50 times thru the wash.  i need to devise corners for the thing after that, and then wash it 50 times.  stay tuned, i’m not finished yet.  but at least all the hard work is done.


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