My First Ever (Photo Memory) Quilt



Photo memory quilt from giraffes can sew



I’VE DONE IT!!!! It’s finished! Proceed with caution, this post is very pic heavy!


This about sums up how I’m feeling.


I made a lot of mistakes, things went wrong – including my machine, multiple times! But it’s finished and while far from perfect I love it!

I’ve been missing a while and I apologise, I’ve been studying (not as much as I should be but shh no one needs to know) and working on this quilt not to mention issues with a certain 9 year old! anyway excuses aside, I’m back!

I got the idea for the polaroid layout of the quilt from the My Crafty Crap blog, but after trying it, paper piecing, for this at least, was just too fiddly. Sticking to the approximate sizing,  I spent about a millennium (give or take a few hundred years) cutting out my strips.  I wasn’t too fussed about everything being exact, OK I was a little bit fussed but I got lazy – having a deadline to do a quilt takes a lot of fun out of it I have found. I put everything into piles and the sewing commenced.

I used 100% cotton for my quilt, the photos were printed onto cotton poplin and I used Woven Monkey to print my fabric.

I have decided not to do a proper tutorial as this quilt isn’t up to standards for that but I’ve included a step by step picture gallery of my process. I hope you enjoy and love it as much as I do.

The making of my quilt in (a lot of) pictures.


Each photo measured 2″ x 2″ with a 1/2″ border around the edge, the brown strips measured 8″ x 4″ and the 3 thin white strips measured 1″ x 4″ and the larger one 1.75″ x 4″.


Now to create the polaroid boarders on 70 pictures….






Sewing on the borders with 1/2″ seam allowance.




Using the same method as with the white borders, I added my brown border, I did each block in the same layout.


The blocks before cutting them down to size.


Cutting them down to 6.5″ squares.



Now to start sewing them all together. I placed piles of blocks for each row to make sure the same person wasn’t in the row twice ( I had enough different people to do this) and sewed into a row. I then place each row on the floor in the order I wanted so the same person wasn’t next to another picture of themselves.

Photo Memory Quilt from Giraffes Can Sew


Sewed 7 blocks per row, with 10 rows in all.

Photo Memory Quilt from Giraffes Can Sew

Don’t do this.

Photo Memory Quilt from Giraffes Can Sew


Once all the blocks were sewn together, I placed the backing, right side up, onto the floor, the front piece went right side down on top of the backing and the batting on top of the front panel.I had to improvise here, I made the mistake of not double checking my measurements when buying my backing piece so I couldn’t bind how I originally wanted. Instead I had to “birth” the quilt as I didn’t have enough material (or money) to make any binding. I was a little upset as this wasn’t the effect I had wanted but the quilt must go on! To make the top stitching a bit easier on my machine, I cut my batting roughly an inch smaller than the top piece. To keep in place I put safety pins at intervals through the length and width of the quilt. To keep the batting in place after I had turned it right way out I also safety pinned the front piece to the batting – you MUST make sure you go from underneath the front panel so that the safety pin is on the OUTSIDE of you quilt once it is turned the right way – otherwise you will end up with a safety pin stuck inside your quilt!

Photo Memory Quilt from Giraffes Can Sew


Photo Memory Quilt from Giraffes Can Sew


I marked a gap of about 12 inches halfway down one of the sides to leave open to turn and then sewed all the way around the edge. I then trimmed all the way around so to reduce bulk and snipped the corners. Take out the safety pins that are on the wrong side of the quilt (make sure you get them all!) leaving the ones  that are holding the batting in place alone (remember they MUST be in between the front piece and back piece and only attached to the batting and front piece!)

Turn right side out and press, top stitch all the way around. Now to quilt, I quilted around the white “polaroids”. Remove the rest of the safety pins and you’re done!

A quick de-thread and iron needed and you’re ready to go.

Photo memory quilt from giraffes can sew


Photo memory quilt from giraffes can sew


Photo memory quilt from giraffes can sew


Photo memory quilt from giraffes can sew




As I said earlier, this isn’t a proper, in detail, tutorial. I made too many mistakes for that so any questions you have please feel free to ask in the comments, I’m happy to help where I can.

I love this quilt, I was going to list all the mistakes I made (apart from the obvious ones you can see through the pictures) but decided to give myself more credit. This is my 1st ever quilt and I’m very proud of it, mistakes and all, and hopefully my Nan will like it just as much as I do.

Wondering what to do with any left over pictures? Wonder no more, I used mine for a photo pouch for my mum for Christmas

I have to admit, I am now an addict, there will be more quilts! But 1st I have a few more things to make for Christmas……


Photo memory quilt from giraffes can sew

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