“I’d like anything you’d make for me.”
That’s what my husband replied when I told him I was working on this article and tried to use him for some market research. It was, of course, the correct response. But making a quilted gift for your significant other is not as easy as that.
At the very least, chances are your significant other knows you’re a quilter. You might even keep your SO up to date with what you’re working on, or your sewing space may not be private, meaning it’s hard to keep a work-in-progress under wraps.
The real trick, though, is to make something expressly for the other person you share your life with, not something that mainly appeals to you and that he or she also might like. The longer you’ve been together, the more challenging that may be. After all, what do you for get the person who has everything (meaning YOU), right?
When I thought about the types of quilts I might make for my husband, projects that I could tailor to his tastes, I came up with these three general categories.
1. T-Shirt Quilt
Making a quilt out of retired-but-still-meaningful t-shirts is an obvious choice for a personalized gift, and for excellent reason. T-shirt quilts are a popular way to hold onto fond memories and to give utilitarian objects a new purpose.
For the basics of making a t-shirt quilt, you can view an episode of “Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting” in which Liz Porter and Marianne Fons demonstrate their techniques, including using a serger.
For a great value, check out the DIY T-Shirt Quilts course with Jodie Davis. In addition to Jodie’s video tutorial, the course includes a full lesson from Marianne Fons and Liz Porter, bonus videos from Sara Gallegos and Mary Fons, as well as three patterns so you can choose the best way to save your memories. This course will answer all your questions about t-shirt quilts so you can get sewing right away. You can learn more about it here.
2. Small Art Quilt
Don’t be put off by the label “art quilt” if your SO isn’t particularly artsy. Once you get the hang of certain techniques, you can create a small quilt that showcases a favorite sports or college logo, a beloved pet or precious family members (or all of the above in one super-special quilt!).
By putting your own interpretation of a scene or portrait into your fiber art, you can make something wholly unique and heartfelt. You’ll pick up some new skills along the way, and in the end you’ll have your own masterpiece, as instructor Lea McComas says.
Lea teaches a variety of her applique and thread-painting techniques via on-demand video courses. She’s a professional educator and an award-winning art quilter, so you’re really learning from a master when you take one of her courses, which include the following:
- Successful Pictorial Quilts with Lea McComas
- Pet Portrait Memory Quilts course with Lea McComas
- Fused Raw-Edge Applique Portraits with Lea McComas
- Thread-Painted Portraits with Lea McComas
If your SO loves the outdoors, take a look at the eBook of The Art of Landscape Quilting by Nancy Zieman and Natalie Sewell, which is currently on sale for 30% off (price subject to change).
To learn how to turn any photo into a personalized art quilt, join award-winning art quilter Sarah Ann Smith to learn her process for creating a fused and free-motion stitched fabric collage in Art Quilt Design from Photo to Threadwork with Sarah Ann Smith. The class is available both as an on-demand video, and a DVD (with the DVD currently on sale at 75% off) (price subject to change).
For something organic that will allow you to experiment with surface design, check out the video course Printing on Fabric with Natural Materials with Jane Dávila (featured image at the top of the article shows just one of the many things you’ll learn). All of her printing and painting methods use easy-to-find supplies, non-toxic and water-soluble paints and inks, and environmentally friendly techniques.
3. Bed Quilt
As I mentioned above, it’s hard to make anything at all that will be a surprise for someone who shares your home. So if you’re going to try to make a bed quilt as a gift for your SO, it shouldn’t be something you’re working on for months. Well, you’re in luck. Not only is Nutmeg and Cinnamon made with precut 2½” strips, this fast-and-easy pattern for a queen-size quilt is available as a free download. All you need to do is pick out a color palette tailored to your significant other’s tastes, and you’ll be well on your way to a treasured gift you’ll both get to enjoy.