Friday, 31 May 2013

Bear skin quilt

Since forever I've had an idea of making a funky quilt shaped like a bear skin. I have no idea how long I've had this idea on the back of my head, but I have always thought that it is too childish thing to make just for me. But now since we are having a kid I finally had the perfect excuse to make the quilted bear skin. I'm sure this is not my original idea. I must have seen this somewhere, but because it was so long ago I do not know where I got the inspiration originally.

I searched an image of a real bear skin and decided on the size of the quilt. Then I just randomly chose to use squares of size 8 x 8 cm (3.1" x 3.1"). I have never made a quilt before so I chose to use a simple square shape, I did not want to stress myself with some elaborate pattern, and I'm really glad I did decide on a simple style. I estimated the amount of squares I needed and draw a bear skin shape on a big piece of paper. 

I cut the squares over some period of time. I just took random fabric left overs I happened to have and cut them up. Most likely I did against all rules of quilting and chose fabrics with varying materials, textures and thickness. First of all I did not have enough of similar fabrics and secondly I want the quilt to have different textures so that the kid is able to touch and get different feels from the quilt. 

For me the cutting of the squares was one of the most annoying things to do. I needed to be so precise and I don't do precise. Well finally I had enough of the squares and some extra ones and laid them on top of my paper pattern. I tried to lay them so that dark square would be next to light one and no colour was too close to similar colour. I even took pictures of the unfinished layout, somehow I see better from a picture if there is something wrong with the layout. I think I did miss some but that is fine.

Once I had the layout done I sewed the squares together. I was surprised how easy that was, I just had to be very consistent so I did not mess up the layout. Then when I had all the squares combined together I laid them on top of a white sheet and an old blanket. The white sheet is the backing of the quilt and the old blanket is the batting. I attached all three layers with safety pins and then machine quilted them together. I'm glad I again chose a very simple quilting style because I hated that job. Really, it was horrible. Even though the quilt I made is quite small it was really difficult to roll it into the sewing machine and the back thread had to be spooled so many times. I think I would have been happier choosing hand quilting although it would have taken longer. But really the machine quilting was not for me.

Once the actual quilting was done I cut the excess material off according to my paper pattern. I made a bias tape from the carrot under sheet we had and attached that on the edge. Then I just had to attach the ears and embroider eyes of the bear. I'm not too sure I'm that happy about the eyes, but I don't know how I should have done them to make the bear look more bear like. Or maybe it should have a nose embroidered. Hmm... any ideas?

But besides the eyes I think the bear skin quilt is really cool. And I think the size is just perfect. It's not too large so that it's easy to take along if needed but large enough for the kid to lie on it and turn once s/he is able to do that.


  1. great idea and fantastic execution x

  2. That's amazing for being your first quilt. Very cute idea, I love the little ears on it too.

    1. Thank you Christina. I have done one patchwork pillow in school when I was around 10 years old, but never anything like this.

  3. That is an amazing quilt! I would never have known you've never made one before. I think that as long as all your fabrics are machine washable, it's OK. After all, that's the beauty of quilts--they are for scraps!

    I know what you mean about working with large pieces of fabric on the machine, though: it happens to me when I make floor to ceiling drapes for our windows. I have always wanted to make a quilt. You make it sound really doable!

    I love this.

    1. The batting is wool and some of the patches are wool too so it can only be washed with wool cycle, but I think that is ok.

      It is doable, only thing that I truly did not like was cutting the squares. Otherwise it was quite easy and systematic. Oh and other thing I did not like was the ironing, but I hate ironing anyway.

      Thanks Alana.


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