7 Year Old’s Quilt

She finished her quilt! She was so proud. It looked a lot better after it was laundered and quilt baste was washed away. But we were too eager to get the photo to wait.  She had to return home shortly after this image was taken.

“Nana, I want to make a quilt,” my 7 year old granddaughter announced last summer. This statement was no noble urge to learn the womanly art of quilting.  Make no mistake,  cold, hard cash was her motivation.

Vivian Rose had listened quietly at a family gathering as the women reminisced around the kitchen table about county fairs in the past and the huge sums that my daughter (Vivian’s mother) and Vivian’s older cousin had earned in premium pay outs.  Their quilts had been the most fun and earned the most prize money. Vivian  was dazzled and convinced this was indeed her road to riches.

I explained to her that making a quilt was a big commitment of time, especially with her living across the state.  We could not get together very often and we would have to work long hours in blocks of  time.  “I can do it,” she declared with determination.  And she did!

When sewing a with a child, it’s important to remember that it is HER (or HIS) project, not yours.  It is hard to simply suggest and not insist when it comes to making design decisions.


My quick and easy plan was for a 15 block quilt, 5 rows of 3 blocks.  Each block would be 8″ finished, seam allowances would be 1/2″.

NOTE: Of course, I did all the rotary cutting.  No child should handle a rotary cutter. She did, however, do the ironing, with supervision.

Eight 12″ blocks were cut from solid white fabric for machine embroidery and seven 10″ blocks were cut from the cat prints Vivian had chosen. Knowing her lifelong obsession with cats, I had a hefty stash of cat fabrics on hand and a Covid shopping prohibition.  We had to make do with what was on hand.

She selected her favorite 7 cat prints with no concern for color coordination. Next, she proceeded to select 8 redwork cat machine embroidery designs from Embroidery Library’s Crafty Cats Redwork Design Pack in the 5 x 7 size.  I’m so grateful for on-line shopping! The 12″ blocks allowed for easy hooping with water soluble stabilizer.

She had done a good bit of machine embroidery before this so she breezed through the redwork blocks. Here she is joining a block to cat fabric.


After embroidery, the blocks were trimmed to 9″ and were sewn into rows with the cat print blocks.  They, too, were trummed to 9″.  Then the rows joined together.  TIP:  After laying out the blocks in rows, we found it helpful to take a picture with my phone.  Then sewing them together made it easier to do so without mistakes. 

Vivi was very particular and most of her corners met almost perfectly. There was no sashing, as the seams were covered with jumbo rickrack.  It seemed almost a shame to cover them.



A glue stick helped hold the rick rack in place, pins added extra security and the laser on my Brother Dream Machine was a great aid in guiding her stitching.



After the rick rack was applied,  the backing was prepared.  It was 2″ wider and longer than the finished quilt top, prewashed and pressed.

A quit label was embroidered and stitched to the backing.



The batting was placed on a firm flat surface and sprayed with quilt baste.  The quilt top was smoothed over it.

The backing was placed face down to the quilt top and pinned securely on all sides.  It was stitched around all sides, leaving an 8″ opening at the bottom to turn the quilt right side out.

After it was turned, the opening seam allowance was folded  under and the edges pressed.  Rick rack was applied to the perimeter, sealing the opening and creating an outer border.

Carefully selected buttons were sewn by machine to each intersection and the ends of each length of rick rack.  They were secured in place with a glue stick.

TIP:  Just as when arranging the blocks before sewing,  the carefully selected buttons were photographed in place, section by section so they were visible as it was their time to be sewn in place.


She was just preparing to sew on buttons. I should have waited until she had sewn on a few. We had  repositioned the machine to the dining room so she had a big table to support the quilt but hadn’t  rotated it to be helpful.


Vivian learned so much while making this quilt, most importantly the satisfaction of a job well done, even though it took a long time, especially with  frequent canine interruptions.



And about that  plan that this quilt would be her road to riches?  That didn’t work out. Sadly, due to the pandemic, the county fair was cancelled for the first time since 1923.

She handled her disappointment very well.  I comforted her with news that now she had a great head start for next year, and now she has time to get more projects ready to enter.  So perhaps that road to riches beckons yet.  But there is more fun in the projects and the learning than the riches.  And more fun with Nana.  Yay!

Required disclaimer:  I am a paid Brother Brand Ambassador.  Not required:  I LOVE my Brother machines.



8 responses to “7 Year Old’s Quilt

  1. So beautiful!! You are so talented.

  2. Perfection! The comments on her motivation and the road to riches was great for a chuckle. Here’s hoping fairs can return in 2021. Good job Vivian Rose and Nana.

  3. Thanks for your kind words, Cristina. Vivian did all the sewing and design work. I just did the rotary cutting and provided lots of cookies and ice cream. She was so proud of her work and I was so proud that she stuck with it!

  4. Cheryle, Vivian certainly learned a lesson in commitment. She was tempted to quit on hot summer days as the sewing room window looks out at the pool. But she was determined to finish and was so pleased when she did, so pleased when her corners matched up. So many lessons learned. And so much fun while learning. Lots of cookies and ice cream involved 😉

  5. The quilt is beautiful but honestly, no surprise at all. This child is destined to excel at any and everything she ever does! Truly one of a kind! Love you,Vivi .

  6. Rheeta, what a loving, but honest comment from am unbiased great aunt. From her loving but unbiased grandmother, I would have to agree that Vivian is definitely destined to excel at whatever she does. What a special child she is.

  7. This touched my heart. One of my granddaughter’s started sewing with me when she was five. My favorite time was when she designed her first prom dress and I drafted a pattern. Together we made it and according to her “It can’t ever be more perfect!” I love the time with my grands as I know you do.

  8. Sandra, we are kindred spirits, treasuring these very special moments with our granddaughters. What an incredible experience that was to create that prom dress with her, to watch her as she designed her first prom dress and saw it come to life! Congratulations on guiding a young sewist to her perfect dream dress!

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