Sunday, April 9, 2017

Five Small Memory Quilts

More than two years ago, I made my very first memory quilt from the clothing of a loving father. The daughter gifted it to her mother and I understand it has been displayed on her mother's bed every day since then.

Late last year she asked me if I would take the scraps from that project and make five small quilts so that each of her siblings could also have a memory quilt to remember their father by. That is the primary project I have been working on in 2017. She wanted to gift them for Father's Day this year and I will be delivering them to her this week.

I wanted to make these versatile so that they could be used as a pillow, a table topper, or a wall quilt. Each one has an envelope backing so that a pillow form can be easily inserted.

Here it is as a table topper. Each small quilt is 23" to 24" square. The backings are made from clothing as well. They are just as unique as the quilt fronts.

It was a sunny and breezy day when I was taking photos. There were very few big pieces left by the time these backs were made. The center one uses a shirt that was a bit too thick for patchwork but made a great pillow back. The pillow form fits in that one by unbuttoning the shirt front.

Here is a closer look at each of the quilt fronts.

I was constantly reminding myself that the focus of these quilts is the clothing. Not the patchwork. Not the quilting. There were a couple of tops I made and set aside because the clothing was not the focus. While I love them all, this simple square in a square is one of my favorites, mostly because in the beginning, I thought it would be boring. It is anything but boring.

You can't see it in the picture, but this is the most heavily quilted of the set. I was so nervous with this one because about half way through, I thought it was going to be overdone, but once it was finished, it turned out to be the one with the most old fashioned feel to it. Most of the clothing fabric is shirts. Some is pajamas, and some, like this solid red, is from boxer shorts. In this case, red Santa boxer shorts. It's the perfect accent fabric and I just love the fun behind the history of it.

I wanted each one of these quilts to be special. There was one point when I was struggling to come up with patchwork designs for them. This was a last minute addition to replace one that I was feeling ho hum about. When these were in the completed top stage with no quilting on them, this was my favorite.

What I like most about this quilt, is that every piece of fabric is from clothing. All of the others have a Moda Bella solid for the background. There weren't enough really light clothing items to do that throughout, but I'm happy that this one is all clothing.

This is the only one where part of the quilting is in a darker thread. There is a flower quilted in the center of the larger squares in a dark blue thread, and that same thread is used to stitch lines diagonally through the darker fabrics. There is also a layout mistake with the patchwork on this one. I did not see it until it was far too late to correct, and I think it adds an element of quirkiness. Can you find it?

I am really excited to finish and deliver these small quilts. Making memories is a very special part of quilt making for which I am thankful to be a part.


  1. Very nicely done and you know they will all be appreciated so much.

    1. Thank you. I really enjoy making quilts with so much meaning behind them.

  2. Debora, what a wonderful and meaningful project this is. You did a great job with it. These will be treasured, I have absolutely no doubt.

  3. You have done an amazing job transforming these articles of clothing into beautiful memory quilts. I love that each is unique, but when they are hanging on the line you can tell they clearly belong together. I'm sure they will be cherished by the family for a very long time.

    1. Thank you so much. I delivered them today, and seeing how much they are appreciated is always very special.

  4. It's hard to express exactly how I feel about these little quilts. I am once again blown away. These quilts are truly the expression of an artist, working from a palette of loving memories. Thank you so much, Debora. My brothers and sisters will treasure this visible reminder of our daddy.

  5. These are fantastic. What a wonderful tribute.


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