Bridal Shower / Quilting Bee

Last week I mentioned that I had been doing a lot of sewing, but I couldn’t tell you about it yet.

Well, now I can!

My mom used to sew a lot. She wore out two motors in her sewing machine. She used to make most of my clothes. She made sock animals, pound puppy replicas, and dolls. In the last few years, these things became too complicated, so she sewed scraps together for quilts. She’d throw any fabrics she could find together–cottons, denims, flannels, knits, curtains.

At first, she’d put the quilts together and tie them, then donate the quilt to a charity. Eventually that became too much work as well. The completed quilt tops were folded up and stuck in a box. Or boxes as we were to discover.

My sister had an idea that we should have a girls’ day to put these quilts together. Then my niece became engaged and we had a perfect venue for a girls’ day. (A niece I might add that was a flower girl in my wedding. How old does that make me feel?)

My sister brought me eight quilt tops of various sizes that she thought we could do something with. Each top was a different size and shape, a couple were all cotton, two were a light velour, and two were a mixture of denim, flannel, and curtains.

And sew the figuring and sewing began. There was lots of measuring and trying to figure out how to put the pieces together. At times it was easy. The cotton quilts laid mostly flat and were relatively rectangular. Other times it was difficult. The denim quilt tops were concave and bunchy.

But we were able to pull it all together and come up with the following:

Denim quilt

This is the denim quilt. I put two tops together for the top and two of the velour ones for the back. This one was a gift for the bride.

Baby quilt

This one was a mixture of brightly-colored cottons and knits with a few polyester double-knits thrown it. I cut the original quilt top in half to make a baby quilt. It is going to the next great-grandchild, expected in April.

Purple and green quilt

This quilt was fairly rectangular and twin sized. I made a backing for it out of fabric and I had and pieces I got from my sister. It went to the sister of the bride who guessed the number of buttons in an antique mason jar.

Sampler quilt

My sister had given my mom a bunch of samples from a men’s clothing store. Mom sewed lace seam binding over the holes and made a quilt top. I love this one. I tried to find away to keep it. It involved making a deal with an eight year old. I was out of luck.

Quilted grocery bags

I made the last quilt into five tote bags. The bride got four bags for groceries or whatever and I kept the fifth smaller one. 🙂

Velour bag

With the scraps leftover from the back of the denim quilt, I made the bag on the left.

I thought I was done with this project. I was out of quilt tops.

Then my sister found another box!! I was so excited. I dug through the box enthusiastically, dreaming about the possibilities. I made six more bags.

The bag on the right in the picture above was one of the first. My mom topstitched all her seams with zigzagging, usually in a contrasting color. I started experimenting with a gold thread and fancy stitching running diagonally across the bag. The fun part is that since the squares aren’t square, I can make the stitching go in whatever direction I want.

The rest of the bags:

More quilt top bagsMore quilt top bags 2

I had a blast doing these. And I have a whole box of quilt tops in various stages of completion to delve into.

That isn’t where the creativity ended at this shower. My sister has a tradition of creating a “bride” as her gift. Each piece that goes into the bride must be useful for something else.

The bride

My sister created a bride out of a Christmas tree (with various kitchen utensil ornaments), a shower curtain, an afghan, a broom, an iron, and fold up ironing board. The list of other things that went into this bride is too long to list here. Needless to say, the actual bride will have a well-stocked kitchen.

There was one more bag, that made us all laugh until tears ran down our faces, but I forgot to take a picture of it and it would be too embarrassing for my mom. Let’s just say she saves EVERY PIECE of fabric and now my sister has a new bag for her clothespins. 🙂


  1. My mom has 2 unfinished quilt tops and I thought that was a lot! Now I see where you get your energy and your creativity.


    1. It’s either a gift or a curse. My siblings and I aren’t very good at sitting still and doing nothing. But this was so much fun.


  2. marsharwest · ·

    I continue to be amazed by your creativity and energy, Joselyn. This must have been such a fun time for you and your family. I have a couple of quilts my grandmother made and looking at them remind me of clothes she wore. It’s pretty cool. Great pictures. Do you ever sell your bags? Seems like there’s a real market out there for them what with folks trying to not use so much plastic.


    1. We had a couple older quilts that Mom didn’t finish and everyone could pick out fabrics they remembered. I have the shirt and pants bags listed on etsy, but no sales there yet. Lots of sales to family and friends though.


  3. What a great way to spend quality family time! I’m sure your mom is glad to know her quilt tops are being used in such a clever way.


    1. Mom doesn’t really remember making them, but she did enjoy watching everyone work on them. She kept saying how Dad would get a kick out of seeing everyone sewing on his pants. I don’t think any of the denim was from his overalls though.


  4. What a very special day to share with your family. And quite productive! You were busy bees. Did you get ALL this accomplished in one day? You are all wizards with a needle. Lots of love in every stitch. I hope the bride took a lot of pictures to remind her of this memorable shower.


    1. We got everything prepped so all we had to do was tie the quilts on the day of the shower. With about 20 people that went quickly.


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