My second Layer Cake® quilt pattern for Moda Fabrics has posted on the Moda Bake Shop blog. It’s called “Stargazer“, and I made the sample quilt with 10” squares from the new 30’s Playtime 2017 collection, paired with a royal blue Bella Solid, also by Moda Fabrics.
The Stargazer quilt is 64″ x 84″ as shown, which includes a 4″ solid blue border across the top of the quilt to give it the length I prefer for a twin bed quilt. That border also gave me an opportunity to include a practical feature that I have only seen once, on a vintage quilt in an antique shop.
It was a strip of muslin folded over the top edge of the quilt and basted in place. There was a row of daisies embroidered along the bottom edge. I wish I could have purchased the quilt, or at least taken a photo of it. When I described it to her, my Grandma Wiens explained that the muslin strip was a “bib” or a “whisker guard”.
If your quilts are used as blankets, as mine are meant to be, they are most likely to become soiled along the top edge by body oils and/or worn through by whisker stubble as they get tucked up under chins on chilly nights. Can you imagine trying to launder a quilt by hand, or even in a wringer washing machine? So, Grandma explained, she would baste a strip of muslin over the top edge of the quilt. Instead of washing the whole quilt, she only had to snip the basting thread, pull the “bib” off, launder it, and baste it back into place!
I did a little online research and found another form of quilt bib. This one was a sort of long, narrow casing that slips over the top edge of the quilt.
To make mine, I purchased 5/8 yard of one of the fabrics in the 30’s Playtime 2017 collection. I cut one 8.5″ x 40.5″ strip and two 8.5″ x 13″ strips, then sewed the shorter strips to the ends of the longer strip.
Hem the two long edges. I used my rolled-hem foot. Going over the seams was a little tricky, but if you go slowly and use a stiletto, it is a nice finish. If you don’t have a rolled hem foot…or aren’t on speaking terms with it…you can cut your strips 9″ wide and turn under a quarter-inch and a quarter-inch again, press and sew with a straight seam.
Next, I sewed the lace along one long edge on the right side of the piece to hide the basting stitches that would fasten it to the quilt, and keep them from snagging little fingers.
Then I folded the strip in half lengthwise, right sides together, and sewed the ends. Be sure to backstitch the ends of the seam. I added a second seam for strength, but it really isn’t necessary. Trim the top corner and turn the piece right-side-out.
Slip the casing over the top edge of the quilt, and baste in place. I used approx 1″ basting stitches, tucked under the edge of the lace. Be sure you baste through both sides of the casing, the entire length of the quilt.
Of course, there are other options for attaching the bib to the quilt. You could sew several buttons at intervals along the border of the quilt, and button holes on the casing. Remember you will need them on both sides of the quilt. A row of snap tape front and back would also work.
I don’t expect quilt bibs to come back into vogue anytime soon, but it was fun to take a step into history for this project.