A birthday present for a 5 year old… (or Spotlight, there and back again, again)

howdy world! I hope you guys had a fantastic Christmas and a great New Years.

Sometime last year I came across the following quilt design at Spotlight, a big chain store known for crafting supplies, average quality, being handy to home when I’m in a rush and terrible customer service. I thought it was pretty cute…

Spotlight instruction sheetThe colours and the owls all called to me but I know it wouldn’t fit into my house anywhere. So I came up with a cunning plan. My big cousins daughter was turning 5 in Jan and that sounded like the perfect excuse. As if I needed one…

So the plan was underway. For Ms B’s 5th birthday I would make my first full quilt – with cute owls! I went and purchased the fabric, washed it and put it in a pile. For a wee while.

Then one night I was talking to my grandmother who happened to mention that Ms B had a double bed, would the quilt fit a double bed? After spluttering incredulously over the fact that a 4 year old had a DOUBLE bed I quickly figured that no it wouldn’t fit. So adaption was needed. I am nothing if not a visual person so out came the scissors and the glue and I mocked up a new design by simply adding an extra column of owls and some extra horizontal striped border top and bottom and voila. The resulting quilt would be sure to fit a double bed and then some…

my pattern redesign...So after re-calculating the fabric requirements off to Spotlight I headed again and I was ready to go… and this time I got started.

What followed was a lot of cutting lines and bands of fabric but I then started with putting the owl segments together. All was going well until I got to the 5th square… and ran out of fabric… huh? Before I went to Spotlight for a third time I cut out all the other pieces… and discovered they were short as well…

Turns out the fabric requirements on the instructions were incorrect – despite buying more fabric I wouldn’t have been able to make the single size quilt with what I had. So a third trip was required to Spotlight. Only to discover they were out of stock of most of the fabric I needed. So no more fabric to finish a quilt I had already spent hours on preparing and sewing… Awesome.

Luckily Spotlight aim to be in handy locations so I got back into the car and headed out to the one several suburbs over, which was also low on the fabric… In the end, between the two stores, and using my creative head to think of alternatives I was almost sorted… the one fabric I was missing was the dark pink around the owl panels… and there was none to be found, not even after a 4 week “search” by a Spotlight employee (boy was I glad I started this early!).

So I went back to the drawing board. There were 9 owl panels in total – 5 were completed, I could squeeze another one of scraps so I was just going to have to use something else for the middle three panels. So, back to Spotlight I headed to stand in front of the wall of quilting fabrics to find something that matched.

The pink dots is the replacement fabric and you can just see the dark pin paisley it should be...

The pink dots round the middle panel is the replacement fabric and you can just see the dark pink paisley it should be above and below…

As always, after the purchase I double guessed myself and hated it, but in the end the quilt was so so busy that it looked 100% fine.

The thing that took the longest with this quilt was the cutting of the fabric – putting the top together didn’t take too long at all. So once done, I headed back to Spotlight (surprise!) to decide on the quilt backing. Man that is a hard decision! I ended up with a blue almost the same as the blue in the pic above, which I thought toned the “pinkness” of the quilt down – not that a girlie-girl 5 year was was going to mind, but it was starting to give me a sugar headache.

So I sandwiched the quilt top, batting and backing together, pinned it at key areas and then to the machine I went. Do I have a walking foot? Nope… I just made do. And I tell you the back wasn’t too pretty when I finished. But after some unpicking it was looking better.

Thats a lttle machine and lot of quilt!

In the end I only quilted round the three squares that made up the owl panels – that was enough! And to be honest this will never win a quilting prize. The sewing is wonky and some of the lines don’t meet up (gasp!). When I had brought the batting I pre-washed it as recommended but that meant when the quilt was washed after being finished it didn’t puff up as much as I hoped it would. And then it didn’t cover my sewing sins as I hoped!

After putting it all together it was time for binding… I can hand on heart say that the binding is way better than on my first quilt. But it an’t near perfect. I looked up binding techniques online and lots of them recommend hand sewing the binding which I started doing. But after 40 mins I had hand-sewen about 20cms and Mr C forbade me from hand-sewing any more so off to the machine I went. My binding technique will improve in time, that’s all I have to say about it 🙂

But this is a present, made with love for a pretty awesome 5 year old to be. Perfectionism wasn’t the aim. And after some huffing and grumping about all the things that weren’t right with it, I stopped and took a look and ended up pretty pleased. And for the test – Ms B loved it! She lives overseas but I got a voice mail on her birthday extolling her praises, so I’ve created a winner. And that’s the important thing!

And now some more pics…

Finished and posed over my King size bed. Should fit a double huh. And check out the matching pillow case

Finished and posed over my King size bed. Should fit a double huh. And check out the matching pillow case

I used printable fabric to make the quilt label - swoon!

I used printable fabric to make the quilt label – swoon!

How could I not make these guys up?

How could I not make these guys up?

All done, dusted and looking pretty damn good!

All done, dusted and looking pretty damn good!

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8 thoughts on “A birthday present for a 5 year old… (or Spotlight, there and back again, again)

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