Make a memento quilt

Recycle childhood mementos by stitching them to this quilt cover.

By Jo Calvert

This quick-to-stitch cover for an old quilt or sleeping bag is one of the best recycling ideas we've ever received from a reader. Molly Boyd of Whistler, B.C., had assembled quite a collection of badges – brought home by five children – from athletics, scouting and school activities. She couldn't part with the badges, so she patched them, with bits of denim and calico, into a colourful cover. She says the patchwork inspires "happy memories and mirth" whenever her children and her grandchildren come to visit.

If you don't have enough mementos to cover a quilt, Web visitor Joan Roger suggests, "Years ago I did a similar thing using a kit bag for our son and sewed all his badges to it. He still has it. He is now 35 years old and uses the bag for camping and various activities."

You need:

•Badges and crests
•Scraps of denim and calico, cut into 20 cm (7-7/8-in) squares (49 denim and 50 calico)*
• 4.10 m calico, 90 cm wide, for backing
• .50 m Velcro, 15 mm wide
• Matching thread

*Patchwork cover shown uses 9 squares across and 11 down (measures approx 198 x 162 cm/ 78 x 63-3/4 in). Add or subtract squares and adjust backing to change to desired size.

To make:

Note: Sew with right sides together and use 1 cm (3/8-in) seam allowance throughout, unless otherwise indicated. Press each seam open when stitched.

1. Centre 1 badge (or group of badges), right side up, on right side of each denim square; pin. With matching thread, machine-zigzag in place.

2. Arrange 99 squares into patchwork top, having calico square at each corner and alternating fabrics, checkerboard-style.

3. Stitch squares together to make 9 lengthwise strips of 11 squares each. Working from centre strip outward and matching seam lines, stitch strips together along long edges to make patchwork top.

4. Cut backing fabric, selvage to selvage, into 2 equal lengths; stitch together along 1 long edge. With backing seam centred lengthwise, stitch backing to patchwork top around edges, leaving 50 cm (19-3/4-in) opening centred along bottom edge. Trim backing to fit. Turn right side out.

5. Press under 1 cm around opening; topstitch Velcro along each inside edge. Topstitch 1 cm from all remaining edges.

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