We often have serendipitous moments here in the studio when it comes to writing blog posts. There’s the time Naomi had an obsession for Rowan tees and when Meg learned a tough lesson on stretch percentage that is a cautionary tale on what NOT to do when sewing stretch jeans! Recently, what started as an offhand comment to Meg & Naomi that my childhood quilt was sewn in the Megan Nielsen Patterns brand colours has officially turned into this post! How to turn a vintage bed quilt into a Hovea jacket.
One of my strongest memories from my childhood is Mum taking over the dining table for days at a time while she worked on her latest quilt. My brother and I had one quilt made for us in our teenage years and I can still see them in my minds-eye draped over our beds in rooms complete with glow in the dark stars on the ceiling. Since then the quilt was folded in Mum’s linen cupboard, only being brought out if I fell asleep on her couch on a random Sunday afternoon while my kid’s nap in what used to be my bedroom. I’ve been pouring over images of quilted coats since we started talking about the Hovea release in the studio, there was something so special and heart-warming about the trend and I was excited by the idea of something so personal and precious to me, being given a new life. So fast forward a few weeks, and here we are; the 24-year-old quilt once loved by 14-year-old me (no need to do the math) is now a super comfy Hovea jacket loved even more by present-day Anita – I’m totally thrilled! I think Mum may have had a sharp intake of breath when I sent a photo of the quilt being cut into…but now that her hard work has been turned into something that will be used and loved…it feels a little full circle.
So, if you have a special quilt of your own you’d like to transform or maybe one you picked up in a thrift shop that was looking for a new home – we’ve got a few tips to help you create your own vintage quilt Hovea!
Tip #1 Repair, Wash & Press
If you’re using a vintage quilt, have a little look at the condition of your quilt before you dive in. If it needs a clean, give it a wash and an air out, being careful to make any repairs first to sections that will be further damaged during washing. Are there any sections that you will need to cut around because of heavy wear? Is the quilt backing in good nick or do you need to source some matching fabric to replace it?
You may prefer to make repairs such as restitching any quilting that’s come undone after you’ve cut out your pattern pieces as they will be easier to manage under the machine, but either way, finding and fixing these issues while your cloth is still in quilt form will be much simpler than trying to deal with them once it’s been made into a jacket! If your fabric & batting type allows for it, it’s also helpful to give your quilt a light press especially if you’ve washed it. If you cut out your pieces while everything is crinkled, you may end up with larger or warped pattern pieces.
Tip #2 Planning is key!
To make the best use of your gorgeous quilt and to ensure it turns out exactly how you’d like, it’s important to pause and plan! You can brainstorm the overall design by sketching or collaging a to-scale photo of your quilt onto the Hovea planning templates (available to all Newsletter Subscribers here).
When you’re ready to move to a larger scale & to double-check your design will fit into the quilt, layout your pattern pieces on the quilt, moving them around to try out different arrangements and ideas. Think about the placement of pieces to create symmetry or contrast and to take advantage of your favourite sections of the quilt design.
Tip #3 Take Advantage Of The Existing Work
Someone has already put a lot of effort into the details of your quilt like the borders & binding – so don’t let that work go to waste! You can do this by placing the hem edges of your pattern pieces along the edges of the quilt so you can take advantage of the built-in cuff design & finished bound edge.
To ensure a clean finish to the sleeve ends, cut the binding a little wider than the pattern piece and un-pick it a few centimetres so that you can sew & finish the sleeve side seam before finishing the hem binding as per the pattern instructions. For a little extra support on binding, check out Holly’s sewalong post here!
If you’re making a bound jacket but you’re not wanting the quilt’s border as your edge, consider unpicking the binding to use along the edge you do use. Why make binding twice if you don’t have to! Just be sure to check whether the binding was cut on the bias or not (lots of rectangle quilts will just be made with straight grain binding) as to get around the curves of the front edge you will need bias cut binding.
Tip # 4 Matching Design Lines
We find it best to cut the quilt as a single layer (not on the fold), so you can pay attention to each pattern piece and make sure things are exactly how you’d like them. When trying to plan out how the quilt design will flow between pieces, you can sketch the seam lines onto the pattern pieces (taking seam allowances into account) so when you cut out the corresponding piece you will know where to line things up. You can also use your lines to get the positioning right when you go to cut the second piece of a pair.
Alternatively, if you’re cutting out a symmetrical pair, you can also just use the first piece as a cutting guide instead of the pattern piece. Simply lay the first piece over your quilt, lining all the seams of the patchwork along the edges of the top piece with the quilt seams below, that way you know it will be perfectly symmetrical!
Tip #5 Reduce Bulk Wherever You Can
To prevent your jacket from having chunky seams, don’t forget to trim away any excess that you don’t need. An example of this is when you cut along a patchwork seam and the seam allowances are pressed towards the side you are keeping. When this happens, you can unfold them and trim them back to be in line with your original cut.
Tip #6 Sneaky Pockets
If you’d like a really discrete pocket that doesn’t disturb the design of the patchwork, cut out your pockets in a section with the same patchwork pattern as the jacket fronts, then use a pocket facing to finish the top edge instead of binding!
Tip #7 Let Nothing Go To Waste!
While we are all about efficient cutting and nice tight cut layouts, sometimes you just can’t help having scraps and odd-shaped remnants, especially if you were cutting strategically to take advantage of different patterns & patchwork sections. The leftovers don’t have to go to waste though!
There are a multitude of smaller projects these scraps can be used for – cushion covers, cute squishy tote bags, children’s garments, pot-mitts & holders, soft toys, zip-up project and travel cosmetics bags, table runners, wall hangings, placemats *deep breath* fabric scrap baskets, pincushions, sunglasses slips, pin cushions and craft tool rolls! The possibilities are absolutely endless and if you have any other suggestions, don’t forget to share them below in our comments section!
| LOOKING FOR MORE HOVEA POSTS? |
Here’s the full list of Hovea inspiration and ideas:
- Inspiration & Ideas for Hovea
- Hovea Tester Roundup
- Hovea Curve Tester Roundup
- Hovea Planning Template
- Traditional Korean Textile Arts with Youngmin Lee
- Beginner Quilting concepts with The Weekend Quilter
- Top 10 tips from a quilters first journey into Me Made Clothing with Shannon Fraser
- Introduction to Indian Kantha Quilting with Manjari Singh
- Simple Log Cabin patchwork tutorial with Scribbly Gum Quilting Co
- Wholecloth quilting with Natalie Ebaugh
- Introduction to Japanese textiles and embroidery with Mari Yamada
- How to make a patchwork quilt design without a pattern with Broadcloth Studio
- Modern Quilting with Porfiria Gomez
- Making a patchwork jacket with leftover fabric
Here’s the full list of Hovea tutorials & Hacks:
- Sewalong | How to Choose Between Hovea & Hovea Curve
- Sewalong | Common Hovea pattern alterations
- Sewalong | Quilting prep
- Sewalong | Quilting Design & Planning
- Sewalong | Machine quilting
- Sewalong | Tips for making a patchwork jacket from scrap fabrics
- Sewalong | Basic Binding Method for quilt coats
- Sewalong | Pockets and Seams Quilted Views BDF
- Sewalong | Inset Sleeves Quilted Views BDF
- Sewalong | Final Finishes Quilted View BDF
- Pattern Hack | Tips for making Hovea reversible
- Pattern Hack | Sewing a Hovea Dressing gown
- Pattern Hack | How to make a quilt coat from a vintage bed quilt (this post!)
- Sewalong | Unlined pockets Views ACE
- Sewalong | Lined pockets Views ACE
- Sewalong | Flat Sleeve Insertion Views ACE
- Sewalong | Ties & Hang Loop Views ACE
- Sewalong | Hemming Unlined Views ACE
- Sewalong | Full Lining Views ACE
- Sewalong | Collar band Views ACE
- Sewalong | Belt & Belt Loops Views ACE
Don’t have the pattern yet?!