Memory Quilt for a New Baby

A friend contacted me during the spring to ask if I’d be willing to make a baby quilt. Because of my Lenten promise not to start new projects and because of the House Divided quilt I knew I’d have to make between April 20 and May 23, I wasn’t sure I had time. The friend said she wasn’t looking for complexity as much as she was looking for simple squares made out of meaningful fabrics, so I agreed to try.

The friend’s nephew and his wife were expecting a baby in June (the baby is here safely and everyone is doing well), and they wanted to have a baby quilt made with the fabric from a favorite shirt of the baby’s grandmother, who had passed away. The child is named for the grandmother, which makes it even more special. I was also asked to include silk from one of the bridesmaid dresses from the wedding (that my friend washed and dried to make sure it would stand up to such abuse before making the request), as well as fabric from a shawl that was carried in the wedding.

I used the arms of the shirt first, so that the grandmother’s arms would be wrapped around the baby. Then the fronts of the shirt, then the shoulders, and then the back. There’s about a 12″ square of fabric left of the shirt that can be used for a future quilt if they want another one. There are two dark squares in the quilt that were the fabric under the front pockets of the shirt. The patch that would have been over the grandmother’s heart is on the edge of the quilt, so that they could monogram the baby’s name into it if they wanted to.

I quilted flowers into it because of the grandmother’s love for gardening, since the denim shirt was her gardening shirt.


Working with denim, silk, and satin damask proved to be an interesting challenge. The quilting cottons were a good stabilizer and helped keep the quilt square as I finished it.

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I was going to add brighter fabrics, but found that the competed with the shirt and the silks, so I chose instead to go a more subtle route. The final result was very good, I think.

My friend said that when she delivered the quilt to the new parents and shared the order in which I made it and that I made the quilt top on Mother’s Day, there was not a dry eye in the room.

I’m really glad I got to be part of this important project.

One thought on “Memory Quilt for a New Baby”

  1. The colours worked so well together. I like how you explained the use and placement of fabrics to have certain meanings.

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