Completed: A fabric hug

160303_1This quilt was a very belated birthday gift for my youngest sister. It was supposed to be finished early January 2014 but was delayed several times.


When my sister asked if I’d mind if she moved into the same building my boyfriend and I were living in at the time I didn’t hesitate for a moment. Of course I didn’t. I think we both benefited from the arrangement. She didn’t feel quite so alone when she moved out of my parent’s house to go to university at 17 and I got another person close by that could help me out when life got tough.


A couple of years later my boyfriend and I moved to a house and while she was now a very short bike ride away instead of just a stairwell we still saw each other often.

This changed in 2013. She finished university, moved to a different city to start her first job and a bike ride turned into a train ride. As a result we don’t see each other as often as we used to and I miss that. So for her birthday I wanted to give her a special gift. One of the things we used to do together was watch Grey’s Anatomy huddled together under my very first quilt. This quilt is small, it measures less than 1x1m, but it can cover two sets of legs when two people in need of some extra warmth like each other enough.

160303_2So, a quilt it was to be. I devised this plan probably a week before her birthday. That was my first mistake. I do not make quilts in a week, I simply do not sew that fast and should know better. My second mistake was to sort of start sewing straight away instead of carefully thinking about the actual design of the quilt. My mind needs some time to figure out the best layout. This process can easily take weeks for a more complicated quilt but should take at least a couple of days so I can test out some different options. Sooo, to make a long story short, I had already pieced quite a bit of the top when I realised that the layout was completely wrong.


I went through several design options before I picked the final layout for this quilt.

If you’ve been around long enough you’ll know how much I like unpicking… I considered to simply soldier on (and seriously I had to unpick everything) but deep down I knew I would regret not fixing the mistake every time I would lay eyes on the quilt. So, I did nothing. For a very long time.


A year later I had another attempt at finishing the quilt in time for her birthday. I unpicked the lot and changed the layout. Then we bought a house and that took up a lot of time, but at least I got most of the quilt top completed this time. Only issue, I didn’t love it as much anymore, so things stalled again…

160303_8Then I bought two packs of ten squares from Cotton + Steel, Tokyo Train Ride and Mochi, and started playing with these. At some point I realised I should just turn this top into a quilt for my sister because I was loving it so much more than the abandoned quilt. And now it is finally finished, a quilt for my sister that made it into her hands a couple of days ago.

160303_7The top was made by first cutting the squares into triangles and combining these in light and dark pairs using the different values to create a pattern. This was the first time I used I Cotton + Steel quilting cotton and I love it, it is super soft. For the backing I used a confetti print that was combined with a column of 10” squares that were left over from piecing the front. The batting is Hobbs Tuscany Cotton Wool and Guttermann Sulky thread was used for the straight line quilting. The quilt was bound with a dark blue solid fabric.

Happy belated birthday little sister, it was a pleasure to be there when you turned into a woman.


March 3, 2016

Emmely Treffers

About Emmely

I am a sewing enthusiast from the Netherlands. I live in the Leiden area with my husband and two daughters and I am currently working as a senior researcher in molecular virology. With my quilting patterns and sewing blog I want to infect as many people as possible with my love for sewing.

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  1. katechiconi

    Truly, a labour of love. To persist in the face of major unpicking, and to develop a new vision for the quilt is real evidence of affection. You’ve made something very beautiful which will be greatly appreciated and much loved, I’m sure.

    • Emmely

      Oh yes, she loves it and was really surprised when she received it. I hadn’t told her a quilt was even in the making.

  2. CurlsnSkirls

    Oh, well done you! What a glorious heirloom you’ve made, and how disciplined you’ve been in overcoming roadblocks. CONGRATULATIONS! It’s gaw-jus!!!

    • Emmely

      Thank you! If I had been really disciplined I think she would have gotten a quilt 2 years ago… But the quilt she has now is much nicer than the one she would have received back then so in the end it played out alright. 🙂

  3. delightfullypeculiar

    It’s gorgeous and admirable that you unpicked everything, I would have given up, but it was worth it. I’d love to have it in my house.

    • Emmely

      Thank you! This is actually not the quilt that was unpicked, that top is still somewhere in a closet and maybe I’ll finish it one day. I’m really happy I decided to start afresh because this quilt make me much happier than the other one. It was a little bit difficult to part with it.

  4. LittleAnne

    The pattern of your beautiful quilt is captivating. I can tell it was sewn with such care and I love the sentiment and time spent making it. Well done.

  5. tialys

    This is so delightful and so ‘you’. Your sister will think of you every time she cuddles up under it. I love the improv design and the colours – it really is so original and modern.

    • Emmely

      Thank you! My sister was very happy when she received it and I know it will be used often. She dislikes cold even more than I do.

  6. Thimberlina

    It’s stunning! And worth the wait, your sister’s very lucky 😃

  7. dezertsuz

    It’s a lovely quilt, but your last comment just says it all. What a sweet thought for your sister!

    • Emmely

      She’s very special to me. 🙂


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