Date: July 1, 2010
As your children got older, you probably gave away many of their baby clothes. But if you're like me, you kept the ones that meant the most — the ones that spark special memories of a little boy running around the house in Buzz Lightyear jammies or a young girl dancing in her Cinderella Halloween costume. Or perhaps you have a stack of T-shirts from high school, college or family vacations. No matter how your memories are collected, if they're represented in fabric, they can be turned into a unique quilt. Think of it as a scrapbook page that will decorate your home, keep your family warm and become a family treasure.
Search "T-shirt quilts" online and you'll find a number of companies that make them. But not everyone does a version from baby clothes. In addition to Campus Quilt Co. (www.campusquilt.com), the company that made my family's quilt, check out The Quilt Loft (www.tshirtquilt.com) and Jelly Bean Quilts (www.jellybeanquilts.com). All feature adorable photos of finished quilts on their websites. For a quilt for an older child with lots of Scouting badges, check out the Eagle Scout quilt at The Quilt Loft.
Feeling crafty? At Ticche & Bea (www.ticcheandbea.com) you can buy a T-shirt memory quilt kit for $35 that includes everything needed to make a quilt from a child's baby clothes: alternating squares of fabric, batting, a quilt back, safety pins, straight pins, a cutting template and specific directions. (Just add patience and time!)
The folks at Campus Quilt Co. took my son's special baby and toddler clothes and created a gorgeous handcrafted quilt. Every item of clothing was pressed and arranged on its own square and then carefully stitched down so it will stay put. It's a work of art that will last for generations.
I was a little worried about packing and shipping these precious baby clothes, but the company took great care to make sure my items were transported safely. I received a kit that explained everything and a large, heavy-duty mailing bag and pre-addressed label for shipping. The company sent an e-mail to let me know it received my package and kept me informed about the progress on my quilt. I also received a tracking number when they shipped the quilt. They understand how important these memories are and make sure customers are informed at every step of the process.
Having the quilt makes me realize how important it is to enjoy these treasured memories instead of keeping them in a box. Now I can see and touch, once again, Matt's first Halloween costume when he was a 10-month-old little pumpkin, his Spiderman jammies, the "I Love Grandma" sweatshirt with his toddler handprints in fabric paint, his "Woody" Toy Story jammies and his Superman T-shirt. What sentimental mom wouldn't love that?
Campus Quilt Co. prices run from $129 for a nine-square lap quilt (the squares are 15 inches) to $419 for a 49-square king-size quilt made of just T-shirts; there are additional charges for detailed work with baby clothes, adding extra fabric between the squares, etc. For details about costs, call the company directly (502-968-2850) and tell them what you have in mind.
What can you use for a quilt?
Don't have enough of your baby's clothes for a complete quilt? Want to do something different? Here are some other ideas for choosing items for a great quilt:
* T-shirts from your family's travels.
* Squares from your young swimmer's beach towels. (Use your quilt to stay warm at those early morning swim meets.)
* Baby clothing from different generations. Did your mom save some of your own baby clothes? Combine them with your child's for a true keepsake.
* Fabric from your wedding dress and a bridesmaid's dress.
* Fabric squares in your child's high school colors, mixed with squares featuring school T-shirts from sports teams or school clubs.
* High school or college sweatshirts from different family members.
* Costumes from school plays.
* Halloween costumes.
The list is endless. And if you're a new parent, and you're just beginning to save special items like the receiving blanket your baby wore in the hospital, the little soft cap the nurses placed on her head and those oh-so-tiny socks, you're in luck. You can plan ahead and save those items until you have just the right collection to make a quilt you'll treasure. It will warm your heart as well as your bed. Just ask Superman's mom.
Freelance writer Kathy Sena is mom to 14-year old Matt. She still has lots of baby treasures packed away in the family cedar chest.