EFFORT: 3 out of 5
RESULTS: 5 out of 5
Ah, that feeling when you’ve spent $300 — and countless hours of your time — sewing your child a one-of-a-kind Harry Potter quilt … and they quickly toss it aside for the next Christmas gift. Ouch.
Let’s back up, though. I decided back in the fall that I wanted to sew a Harry Potter quilt for our nine-year-old son. He loves Harry Potter and he’s been using the same red-white-and-blue plaid bedding set since he was a year old, so it was certainly time for an upgrade.
I spent ages browsing online for different Harry Potter fabrics and ended up deciding on 12 different ones. Actually, 10 were official Harry Potter fabrics and two were just fabrics that coordinated: red bricks for Platform 9 3/4, and swirly dark clouds to represent Dementors.
I like easy math, so I purchased a half-yard of each of the 12 fabrics. Since a half-yard of fabric is 18” long and 44” wide, this would easily give me 24 quilt squares — two squares cut from each fabric.
After the fabric was washed and dried, I cut two 16” squares from each half-yard. Then it was just a matter of deciding how to arrange all 24 squares. I decided to make six 4×4 squares, each with two fabrics, trying to balance the lights and darks as much as possible.
Once I had all six 4×4 squares assembled, I sewed them into pairs and then sewed all three pairs together — giving me a quilt that was four squares wide and six squares tall. It seemed a little too skinny, so I decided it needed borders along both sides to beef it up.
I ran out to the fabric store and grabbed two metres of a snowy owl print that reminded me of Harry’s owl, Hedwig. I sewed a few strips together so I had a long piece of fabric (about 12” wide) to sew down each side of the quilt top and widen it.
The quilt top was finished, so it was time to lug it to the fabric store to pick out backing. I always have to laugh when the ladies at the fabric store ask me what size it is — twin, double, queen, etc. I never use quilt patterns. I just make things up as I go, and the quilts turn out whatever size they turn out. They’re always great about helping me spread it out and measure it so we knew how much backing I’ll need.
Gryffindor colours are scarlet and gold, so I lucked in with an extra-wide deep red cotton flecked with gold bursts that looked like little magic spells. It was just perfect for the backing. For the binding around the edges, I chose a warm brownish-gold fabric with gold sparkles.
I’ll admit, it was a little horrifying to add up the receipts and see that I spent $120 on the fabric for the quilt top — 12 half-yards of different fabrics — and another $170 on the backing, batting, binding, thread and six iron-on Harry Potter patches. Oh, and another $16 on three Harry Potter throw pillow covers. But it would feel worth it, I was sure, when our son excitedly snuggled up with it on Christmas morning.
After washing and drying the new backing and binding fabrics, I made my usual “quilt sandwich” of right-side-down backing, fluffy batting and then the right-side-up quilt top. The quilt was so large that I probably used at least 100 safety pins to keep all of the layers together.
I stretched the sandwich across my quilting frame and began the process of hand-quilting in each “ditch” (the place where two different fabrics meet) and around each ironed-on patch, using gold quilting thread. I also quilted Deathly Hallows symbols down the snowy owl strips along each side.
After the quilting, I sewed and pressed a long strip of binding and stitched that in place to finish the edges. The finishing touch was stitching a “Made with love by Mom” tag to the bottom corner. I’d wrapped up the project just two weeks before Christmas and didn’t even try to photograph it in case he caught me and spoiled the surprise.
In hindsight, it shouldn’t have been the first gift he opened on Christmas morning. He had a one-track mind for the video game system he knew he was getting, so the quilt and matching throw pillows just didn’t grab his attention. Once the Christmas morning frenzy was over, he did genuinely seem to like it and appreciate what went into it. At least, he’d better.
Yes, this Harry Potter quilt was expensive to make, but it’s king-sized so it will grow with our son as he upgrades to bigger beds as he gets older. Plus, it’s a one-of-a-kind handmade quilt made with love from his mom. Can that really compete with a Nintendo Switch? Well, let’s not ask him to choose. 😉