Baby clothes are special, aren’t they? Because they’re not just clothes, they’re memories.
As a Mum (or Dad), you can look at old baby clothes and remember where you were when your baby wore that outfit; what they did; who you were with. I suppose because the things you did were all First Times – first shopping trip, first picnic, first family lunch…
And that’s why we hoard those outfits. In my case, they were folded up, in an old Pampers box, and put away for safe keeping. They moved from the loft of our house in Brighton to our new home in the North, still in the box. I had a vague idea of turning them into a quilt one day but, well, quilting is really hard, and I didn’t want to mess it up.
So the clothes sat, forgotten, in their box. Once in a while we’d find them, usually while hunting for Christmas decorations, and Flea would look through the box and ask to hear the stories. I suspect that’s why I kept them. But it seemed a waste, somehow.
Then, out of the blue, this February, I received an email from Jennifer at Vintage & Floral, which specialises in hand-crafted memory quilts. Would I like her to make Flea’s old baby clothes into a quilt?
I know lots of my friends have long thought about doing this – but like me, just never got around to it (if you’re inspired, read on to find out about an exclusive discount on custom-made memory quilts exclusively for Who’s the Mummy readers).
I posted off the box of clothes using special delivery, and a few days later, Vintage and Floral got in touch with some questions about my clothing items, and what backing colours I’d like. The 40 items of clothing I sent would be sufficient for a single sized quilt, and Jennifer offered to gently wash some items that had persistent stains on, or work around stains.
This settled, it’s just a case of waiting. You’ll need to be patient – each quilt is hand-made, and that takes time. Many quilts I’ve seen chop up all the baby clothes into squares, which are then quilted – or made into a soft toy.
Those things are really cute, but for me, the Vintage & Floral design is nicer. The quilt incorporates details from your baby’s clothes – collars, pockets, buttons and fastenings, even whole dresses.
The pattern obviously involves more work – these irregular pieces need to be carefully stitched to make them secure. It takes around 40 hours to hand stitch each quilt together. But the end result is well worth it, preserving shapes and details that would otherwise be lost.
Personally, I think it makes it a bit more special, as the clothes are built into the quilt, not just the cloth.
Our quilt was completed in the middle of July, and shipped via special delivery. It arrived boxed VERY thoroughly, carefully packaged and wrapped in paper, along with a hand-written note with some care instructions. There was also a small bag with pieces of clothing that hadn’t been used, so we got those back.
What do I think? It’s gorgeous!
The overall design is really well harmonised, and incorporates so many details and memories. The needlework is really great quality, and the backing and piping is just what we had in mind back at the start of the process (we were sent some samples to choose from, just in case).
The quilt is now covering the chest in my bedroom. When necessary, it can be washed on a gentle cycle, and I’m confident it will last long enough for Flea to take it with her when she leaves home. Having a quilt like this made is an investment, for sure, but it’s a future family heirloom!
I love the quilt. LOVE IT.
The final quilt is beautiful in its own right but to me, it’s more than just pretty. It’s the baby-gro my Mum bought the first time we took Flea into town. She pulled an Exorcist in M&S, and we had to buy something new. It’s the pair of shorts she wore on the beach during our first overseas holiday, the dungarees from the first picnic. It’s the cosy, striped top and trousers that she’s wearing in the photograph I took the first time she met her cousins.
A quilt brings those memories to life for a child, in a way that photographs don’t.
I’m so very grateful to Jennifer for creating something so lovely for our family. It will be treasured for a long time to come, and I’m happy to report that we found the service, quality and value for money offered by Vintage & Floral was second to none. I received a free quilt in exchange for a review, but as you can see, we’re really happy with the product, and very happy to recommend it to you.
I’d love to hear how you’ve captured similar memories of your babies, especially if like Flea, they’re a long way from being babies these days.
Get 20% off a Vintage & Floral Quilt
If you’d like to commission a quilt like this, then prices start at £250 for a keepsake quilt. A single quilt like Flea’s costs around £650. Customers pay 50% upfront, with the balance payable 2 weeks before completion. Who’s the Mummy readers can benefit from an exclusive discount code worth 20% until 30 September – just use the discount code WTM2016 when you check out!