Whoa whoa whoa. This is a blog about being self sufficient and saving money doing it yourself, and I’m telling you that making your own blanket, something I just completed today, is NOT cheaper than buying one?? Correct. It absolutely is not. This is the first thing that popped up in an Amazon search for “baby quilt”, and at $60, you may think that it would be more expensive than making one. Well, for one thing, it’s branded, and for another, it’s organic cotton, so those add to the price. And scrolling down, there were certainly many other cheaper options. And if you don’t care about it being a QUILT there’s infinite cheap options for blankets. So making one yourself will almost always cost more.
There’s a lot that goes into making your own quilt. Buying the fabric, for one. For the front pieces and the back. And the more complex and fancy you want the quilt to be, the more types of fabric you need. You need a sewing machine, unless you’re super hardcore and insane and are going to hand sew it. Then batting, which is not cheap. Thread. Time. Energy. Patience. Some sort of craft skill.
Now, I don’t think that the supplies themselves for this quilt did cost $60, (not factoring in the sewing machine) although I received most of the fabric as a gift. But the time and patience are important things to factor in. So why on earth would you ever make your own when buying is so cheap??
Hubbins asked me the other day why they sold pre-made pie crust and filling. “Why not just buy a pie?” he said. The answer I came up with was that you could still “make it yourself” even if using pre-made components. Or make the filling, and not the crust. And there are a plethora of DIY kits that contain everything you need to make just about any craft you can think of. These kits take the idea of something homemade (a pie, or a blanket, or a bookshelf even) and make it accessible to just about anyone, with skills or without. So clearly, the FEELING behind “home made” is important! People like to know they made something with their own hands, especially if that something is a gift. I love to make things myself, knowing full well that knitting a hat costs way more that buying one at Walmart, but is far more rewarding, and often, better quality.
So, I made my baby a quilt, not to save money, but to know that I was making her something with my own two hands. I am no expert seamstress by any measure, and I foolishly decided to try something new. Pinwheels. How hard could they be?
Not terribly hard… except I just jumped in, sewing opposite colors together.. and discovered that half my pinwheels were not pinwheels but diamonds. Apparently it does in fact matter which ones you sew together. Fortunately, I discovered my error before I had done too many squares. Once I got all that figured out, it was pretty straightforward until today when I decided to do the quilting.
My machine is new, and I haven’t played with many of the settings. It took me a few minutes to understand how to attach the quilting foot, and then I did some practice quilting. And failed miserably. It took me many more than a few minutes to discover that I wasn’t dropping the foot down. Oops.
I did long-arm quilting for a living for a little while, and I was pretty good at it. Quilting on a small machine is waaaay different however. Instead of the quilt being stretched out in front of you and moving the needle with handles, you hold the fabric down and move it around the needle.. trying not to go to fast so you don’t get giant unruly stitches (I did this) or too slow or too choppy (yep these too) and you also have to control the needle speed with your foot and then try to plot out your next steps while doing all of these things and stabbing yourself with pins as well. Fun!
I think I’ll get better at it, this was just the first attempt. I did pull out the first bit I did as it was royally terrible, but I’m way to lazy to keep ripping stuff out, so it is what it is. If you don’t look too closely, it’s not bad. And probably don’t look at the back. It’s far from perfect, but my wee baby will likely not notice the flaws, just the love that went into making her something cozy. Take that, corporate America!