Featuring Animal Party by Amy Schimler for Quilts for Kids, Inc.
I’d consider myself a beginner when it comes to sewing, but it still only took me about 4 hours total to finish this project - hand embroidery and all. If you’re pressed for time, or you’re just much better at free-motion quilting than me, use your machine when you’re ready to outline the animals, or skip that step entirely. You could also “bind” your book using your sewing machine, I just find hand sewing to be a nice way of getting out of my brain for a moment.
One Animal Party panel repeat, any colorstory (2/3yd AQK-7809)
30” x 50” piece of batting
Embroidery floss in 2-3 coordinated colors
[A rotary cutter, ruler & cutting mat make things much easier]
1. Center the Animal Party panel over the batting and either a) generously safety pin all around the edges, or b) stitch a 1/8” hem around the entire edge of the panel, securing the panel to the batting.
2. Using a large embroidery hoop (12” or bigger) center each animal motif around the hoop. Use a running stitch to outline your favorite elements of each panel square. The distance between each of your stitches will affect how raised (or not) your motifs appear.
3. Once you’ve finished outlining, you’re going to cut your panel into four pieces, measuring approx. 10” x 22” each.
4. Take two 10” x 22” pieces and lay them on top of each other, right sides facing each other. Stitch a ½” seam around the edges, leaving about 7” open at the bottom center. Backstitch at the beginning and end of your seam to make sure it doesn’t come undone during the next step. Repeat this process with the remaining two 10” x 22” panel pieces. Now you’re halfway done!
5. Take each of the pieces you’ve just sewn together and trim the corners at a 45 degree angle. Now you’ll turn the pages right side out, using the 7” opening you left when stitching the ½” seam. Using anything slightly pointy (like the eraser end of a pencil, a crochet hook, or any other pointy-but-not-sharp object you have handy) to push the corners out to reduce bulk. Tuck the 7” openings in so that they’re flush with the rest of the finished edge, and whipstitch closed. A whipstitch is pretty much the same as a running stitch, as close to the edge of the fabric, so that it is hardly visible.
6. Almost done!!! Set your sewing machine stitch length to 3, and using the asymmetric squares of the panel motifs, outline one (or two if you’d prefer) square. Repeat on the remaining 3 panel fronts.
7. This is it!!! Now you’ll “bind” your book. Pick your favorite panel to be the soft-book cover. Place this piece, favorite panel facing down and on your left-hand side. Layer the other panel “page” on top. Pin together at the center top and bottom. Using embroidery floss and a running stitch, sew right down the middle, securing at each end with a very small knot.
That’s it, you’re all done! Fold your soft-book closed, stand back, and admire your own handiwork!
Once you’re really ready to squeal, find the nearest baby and bask in their amazement of the little treasure you made just for them!