Updated: Nov 14
Back in 2016 when I had George, I couldn't imagine leaving him to go to work and so I started working hard on my own business to allow me to work around him. I am now writing this on his last day at nursery, he starts school next week and my fabric venture is three years old. How time flies! Time at nursery gave me much needed time to work in daylight hours and it has been amazing to see him grow and learn. I hadn't realised quite how much we both needed those hours until we went into lockdown. I have seen lots of beautiful thank you gifts and keepsakes on the walls of nursery over the last few years so, I wanted to make a leaving gift that is just as beautiful but could be used by the nursery and the new children that come through the doors. I have seen the idea of an eye spy quilt a few times and I thought it would be a great game to play with a group of 4 year olds. It is also a great reason to raid my scrap box.
I gifted the quilt a few weeks ago so that it could spend time in quarantine and George could still play it with his friends before he left. I was told they had great fun playing it and the nursery staff loved it too.
The finished size is approximately 75cm x 120cm. Use 1/4" seam allowance and press your seams open after each stage.
YOU WILL NEED
35 fun fabrics
1 metre plain fabric
1 1/2 metres of backing fabric
Wooden dowel (bamboo or a stick from the garden would work too)
Iron and ironing board
Have a good raid through your fabric scraps and fat quarters to find some fun prints with details that can be picked out. You will need 35 5" squares.
Lay your squares out in a way you are happy with. My top tip is to make any characters look into the middle of the quilt. This helps keep your eye looking into the quilt. Also try to avoid too many repeated colours in the same rows and columns.
Cut 35 2" x 5" strips. I decided to use green although I would usually be drawn to black or white. The green worked well with the fabrics I had chosen.
I have staggered the columns so pile up each column and add a green strip to the bottom of the first pile, top of the second and keep alternating.
5. Cut 4 2" strips, the full width of the fabric. Sew your columns and strips together but not on the outside edges.
6. Cut 4 3" strips for the border. Sew the long sides on first, press and do the top and bottom edges.
7. Lay the quilt top on your wadding and pin. Quilt over your top however you feel inspired to. I recently bought some Aurifil rainbow thread so it seemed a great opportunity to use it. I also took the chance to use one of my fancy stitches on my new Janome machine. I love the effect it has given and the green background has worked perfectly with the green and orange shades in the thread.
8. For the backing fabric, cut a piece of fabric that is a few inches taller than you need. Cut it in half. Sew it back together but leave a gap in the centre for turning out. I have sewn a square of light fabric onto the back and written a message to nursery on it.
9. Cut a strip of fabric 6" x 25". With right sides together sew the long sides together. Turn it out and press it with the seam in the centre. Push the short edges in, press and top stitch the openings closed. Position it near the top of your backing but not too close to the edge. This will be where your dowel feeds through to hang your quilt. Top stitch the top and bottom edge.
10. Place your quilt top on your backing, right sides together and pin. Sew around the edges.
11. Trim your edges and corners. Bag it out through the hole in the backing. Push out the corners and press. Slip stitch the opening closed. I have top stitched around the edges.
12. Thread your dowel in the back and tie the ribbon on each side.
You are finished! The game can be played in loads of different ways depending on the age of the child. You could do traditional eye spy and say "I spy something that begins with....". We are still getting the hang of phonics, so we decided to take turns thinking of something we could see, and the others asking questions that could be answered with yes or no, for example "is it an animal?", "is it food?", "does it have any green in it?". I hope you have hours of fun with your quilt. I would love to hear from you if you give it a go. If you enjoyed this tutorial and you want to hear when knew blogs come out, make sure you subscribe to my mailing list. You will also be the first to hear about special offers and new fabric arrivals.