The Baby Quilt Lady put down her needle long enough to list the little-known questions shoppers should ask before they buy a baby quilt. “Not all baby quilts for boys and girls are created equal,” she explains. “Shoppers who want make the very best selection should be aware of the many variables that separate the excellent from the rest.”
Is the quilt washable?
“Everyone knows that babies are adorable, but very messy little people,” she says. “A baby quilt has got to endure lots of machine washing and drying. While the thought of incorporating an heirloom christening dress or a loved one’s communion veil is charming, it’s unlikely that such fabrics will hold up to the laundering challenge.”
Is the quilt safe?
Has the quilter matched batting and fabric?
“There are cotton battings and polyester battings,” she continues, “and the type used needs to match the fabric used. The batting is the soft filling that goes in between the top and bottom layers of fabric. If cotton batting is used in a quilt made from polyester material, the batting might shrink and the fabric won’t, so the quilt’s appearance will suffer.”
Does the quilt have a bias binding?
“There are several ways to finish the edges of home-made baby quilts,” the Baby Quilt Lady confides, “but the one that will go the distance is the bias binding. If you’re hoping the quilt will be kept as a treasured keepsake, it’s wise to make sure the binding is the one that will last. Bias binding is cut at a 45 degree angle to the selvedge and is stretchy. This allows the quilter a nice flat binding around tight corners. Bias binding uses the most fabric but looks great with patterned designs for baby quilts.”
Is the thread top quality?
“Even the thread type used is important,” she notes. “When the quilt is made of cotton, the thread should be cotton also. And threads come in different weights, so the quilter might use a 28 weight cotton thread for best results in hand quilting. Quality counts.”
Will the quilter personalize the quilt?
“Because it is hand-made by a person you can contact, you can ask if the quilter can create a design that complements the family’s lifestyle or harmonizes with the nursery’s design motif,” she says. “And if requested, some quilters will embroider the baby’s name onto the quilt, so that it’s the ultimate personal possession.”
Whether the quilting is done by hand or machine, if it’s done right, there will be no difference in durability, the Baby Quilt Lady states. “But if it’s hand-stitched, the look of the quilt will be more puffy, and it will feel softer. A machine-stitched quilt has a flatter and less yielding appearance.”
Is the quilt the right size?
“Make sure to ascertain that the quilt you’re buying is the same size as the crib,” she suggests. “If it’s skimpy, it will be inadequate. If it’s too big, it is awkward to handle and doesn’t look neat in the crib. The size of the baby quilt depends of the intended use of the quilt. Typically, the size of a handmade baby quilt is slightly larger than the mattress it will be used with. Since handmade baby quilts find themselves used as play mats or stroller covers, these too can become determining factors in the baby quilts’ size.”