Saturday, June 24, 2017

Baby Union Jack

     Five years ago, my niece married a wonderful guy from Great Britain.   Later that summer, I happened upon this blog, which had such an adorable quilt using the Union Jack pattern.  I thought that if Kim and Thomas ever had a baby, this would be a perfect quilt!   
     Earlier this year, I was delighted to hear that a baby was on its way, so I started thinking about this quilt.  There are many very different Union Jack patterns out there.  I found this you tube tutorial  which in turn, directed me to a book that I was able to find at my local library. 
      I didn't follow the pattern exactly.  Like the you tube quilter, I only used the middle part (the Union Jack part), and adapted the process to cut down on the paper piecing.  Instead of paper piecing the whole block, I only pieced the four corner units, then sewed then together with strips for the center cross.
      I could only imagine doing this quilt in bright 30s prints.   I have always loved those bright whimsical prints for children's quilts.  My stash was pretty well depleted (See some older 30s print quilts here), so I ordered up a bundle of Judie Rothermel Aunt Grace fabrics and a bundle of Darling Barnyard by Kaye England, and mixed them with my remaining other pieces.  
          Trying to cleverly ascertain whether the expected baby was a boy or a girl, I asked my niece about her color scheme.  Gender neutral - grays and whites and creams.  Uh oh!  While I am certain I could make a very cute baby quilt in that color scheme, I didn't want to do it for this pattern!   I kept the quilt light, but used blues, yellows and reds, which in my mind are gender neutral! 
          I began putting together the blocks, and chose a blue, yellow and red solid to use for the narrow strips. I created one block at a time, and had to be careful when there was a clearly directional pattern.
Chain piecing the four units needed for each block.  I used the light table to help with the fabric placement. 

            I had marked a 1/4 inch around the pattern before scanning and making copies, but realized that it didn't come out accurately, so I ended up using my ruler to trim the pieces.
             I learned from working on my New York Beauty blocks that it speeds up the process to remove the paper just from the seams before sewing pieces together.  I have also found that the pieces hold their shapes better if some of the paper is left on while putting units together.

One down, three more to go!

Adding the middle strip
          After I finished the first three blocks, I took a look at them, and realized that my yellow solid was really the wrong shade of yellow - a bit too orangey.  No problem - I ended up using the yardage in my Eye Candy Quilt.  Once I fixed the yellow solid, I started making more blocks.  
The orangey-yellow is on the lower left.
       I had purchased a Moda Essential dots - creamy white with small red dots to use as sashing to keep the top light and airy looking.  After laying it out, it needed a little something more, and so added a white and red fabric from the Aunt Grace bundle 

The sashing  with the added little blocks.

Check out these adorable little fabrics! 

      The finished quilt was 42 inches wide and 48 inches long, but shrunk a tad when washed and dried.  (And I promise I washed it after draping it on the beach logs for those artsy quilt shots at the beginning of the blog!)
My trusty quilt holder at work!. 
     Keeping in mind that I had totally ignored their preferred color scheme, I backed the quilt in a cream and gray fabric.  

          The baby is here, and is a beautiful little girl!  Welcome to the world, baby Pippa! 
Aunt Gretchen 


  1. What a wonderful baby quilt for little Pippa - congratulations!!

  2. It's just beautiful and the finished quilt shows how much thought went into the color selection and placement. Well done!