Quilts make fantastic gifts. They take a lot of time and effort, but the results are worth it. A blanket is not always the most exciting gift for a kid, but there are things you can do to help make sure that they love their quilt.
When making a quilt for my five-year-old daughter, I let her pick a lot of the fabrics for her quilt. It made a great outing to go to the store together and look at all of the fabrics. She helped to choose the ones that she liked, and also stopped me from getting some that she didn’t like. First of all, this was great because it made a great activity to do together. Secondly, it really helped her to feel ownership of her quilt before it was even put together. She felt like it was her quilt because she chose most of the fabric.
I made quilts for both of my daughters. Although they are similar, I made sure that they both have unique designs. Not only are the fabrics and color schemes completely different, the designs are different as well. Again, this reinforces that I didn’t just sew something generic, I made the quilt specifically for them and their personality. Choose a design/pattern that works for each individual child.
I want my kids to love their quilts now, but I also want them to continue loving their quilt. I admit that I have a vision of my daughters packing up their quilts and bringing them with them as they grow up and move out and go on their own adventures. I want them to be childish enough that they love them now, but timeless enough that they still want to use them in five or ten or fifteen years.
One of the ways that I feel like I accomplished this was by mixing in the more childish fabrics with more sophisticated ones. My seven-year-old, for example, has a pink and aqua color scheme to her quilt. Some of the squares have Cinderella or My Little Ponies on them, but other squares in the same colors have florals or patterns that I would use for myself. This mix helps to create a quilt suitable for a child, but one that will also grow up with her.
The easiest way to finish the back of the quilt for a child is to use a sheet. This is usually cheaper than buying that much cute fabric, and it is already sewn and cut in the correct size. There is another advantage to this. If you let your kid pick a sheet set, it will come with a matching pillow case, flat sheet, and fitted sheet. Use the flat sheet as the back of the quilt, and then you already have a matching pillow case and fitted sheet. This helps them all to seem like they belong in their room.
You can also coordinate with their favorite toys, colors, or room decorations. My five-year-old, for example, has been obsessed with the color orange since she picked her very first favorite toy as a tiny baby. This means that the orange in her quilt matches pretty much all of her favorite stuff and her bedroom.
Finally, relax. You are not selling this quilt or trying to impress people with it. You are showing your kid that you love them. If you make a few little mistakes (or even big ones), it probably doesn’t matter.