How I made my first quilt for $1.69

Before now, I don’t think I would have put “I made” and “quilt” in the same sentence.  I have had a desire to learn to sew for a while now, but making a quilt was not on my radar.

About two years ago, a lovely couple gave me this built-in sewing machine.

We have been using it as a piece of furniture in our bedroom.  The couple wasn’t sure if the machine worked, so “searching out the matter” was not high on my to do list.  How would I have known what to look for anyway?

Now, earlier this year a very special friend of mine gave me 12 of these 8″x8″ cross-stitched squares (in different colors).

She spent hours stitching these bears to make a quilt for her grandchildren.  Things don’t always work out as planned, and said grandchildren are all to big for baby quilts.  She explained to me that these bears are special to her and she would not pass them on to anyone who she suspected would not put them to use.  Talk about pressure, sheesh!

How was I supposed to  figure out how to make a quilt?  I decided to do what any other great mind would do…..look on youtube.  Lol!  I watched so many videos, I don’t know “who” is responsible for teaching me “what”.  The next thing I know, I’m  searching the house for materials to complete this project.  You know my motto, “use watcha got”.  I meant to say it just like that.

Cotton bed sheet – check.  Scissors – check.  Ruler – check.  Thread – check.  Oh wait, need want to buy matching thread (this is where the $1.69 comes in).  Straight pins – check.  Batting, hmmmmm.  What to use?  I guess I could use this mattress pad with a quilted top – score.

So, how do you make a quilt when you don’t know how to use a sewing machine and refuse for your first project to be hand sewn?  You learn how to use a sewing machine.  Now, I told you all I married a great man.  I’m so serious about that.  He knows that, at times, a gentle nudge from him is all I need to get going.  One night, he set up the machine, put the owner’s manual on the table, looked at me and said, “Read, now!”  What he didn’t say (but because we are one I instantly pick up on these things) was, “And don’t get up until you know how to use it.”  You know I didn’t move, right?

When I got up from the chair, the machine was threaded and bobbin was in place.  I was ready to go.

The next morning, I sprinted out of the gate.  Here is what I accomplished.

You can see here I'm trying to get the arrangement together. Some squares have already been joined together and ironed.

The next thing I know…

quilt top is done and pinned to the wall.

I was so excited, I didn’t know what to do.  I took a break for a few days and just marveled.  I had no clue what the next stage of this project would look like.  After building up more courage, here is the finished product (finished at this point).  I probably should do something to tack the the 3 layers down (quilt top, batting, and backing).  I just don’t know what that looks like.  Good thing is, the batting won’t shift around inside, if washed, because it was already quilted.

my very first quilt

Go, Tamika.  Go, Tamika.  Sometimes you just have to encourage yourself!  I cannot believe that sewing machine sat in my house for 2 years, before it even crossed my mind to see if it worked.  Well, technically, it didn’t cross my mind at all.  If you look at me and the hubs as one, then I guess you could say it crossed my mind.

I have continued taking on other projects.  You guys will not believe the other things I’ve been working on.  Maybe you would.

What dreams have you pushed to the side because you don’t think you have the necessary resources to accomplish them?  What you need may be “right under your nose”.

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14 thoughts on “How I made my first quilt for $1.69

  1. That is a pretty quilt. I have no idea how to sew. I am thankful that my boyfriend does. Keep on keeping.

  2. That is a beautiful quilt! Where do you get your motivation from? I have so many things that I want to accomplish but never seem to find the time or the motivation. I would also never think to use what I have in the house. I would just go out and buy the things that I need. You keep on sewing and being creative! My mother made my clothes for me for a very long time and saved so much money!

    1. You know what I have been learning? We can get pretty creative when we actually have time to think. When I was just living on autopilot, the only things available to me were things other people created. Now that I am trying to be more aware of what my family needs and the resources we have, I am thinking and experimenting with things a lot more. A lot of the stuff I have learned to do in the last two years I’ve been at home, I never thought I could do before then. For example, when I wanted to make a chicken pot pie, I would go to the store to buy ready-made pie crust. Now, I have learned to make my own for a fraction of the cost. It never crossed my mind to make my own, because it was easiest to just go buy it. If resources are limited in an area, you do what you can to keep things moving. Now, it has just turned into a lifestyle for me. I try to make the best use of the things I have been given. My husband says I can “squeeze a nickel til the buffalo poops”. LOL!!! Hey, I do what I can. And for the things I cannot, I ask others.

  3. Great story and adorable quilt. I’d say your friend knew exactly what she was doing by giving you those squares:) Keep going!

    1. See Victoria, that’s great. I don’t think I’ve built up enough “umph” to tackle knitting yet. There are some really creative people on youtube. I appreciate their generosity.

  4. Your reply to Jennifer (above) was so true, and humorous! Attitude is everything. Since March, I returned to “work” and it’s been a challenge — wanting to make meals from scratch vs. putting it on the table before 9 p.m., ha! But, with a little planning and prep in the morning, I haven’t had to sacrifice my homemade aspirations. God is so good! 🙂

    I especially liked your statement about living on auto-pilot. How true. I’m SO happy for you, fully enjoying the “abundant life,” even when your budget is less. (And having FUN doing it!) With God, all things are possible… 🙂

  5. Tamika you are such a marvel. Maybe I should use the sewing machine my husband bought me for Christmas, at my request, 2 years ago. Love the quilt. I knew the baby would be wrapped in love.

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