Sewing for baby: Totem quilt.


Totem quilt for Laurie_10_Carolyn Friedlander


Almost any day now, my sister will be giving birth to her first kid. I’m excited to be an aunt again. My brother has two little boys, and they’ve been a great joy in my life as well as a blast to sew for. My sister however, is having a girl, which will change things up. I’ve gotten so used to needing to be creative with what I sew for my nephews. While there are some great boys-sewing projects and fabrics out there, the options pale in comparison to the overabundance of projects and fabrics for girls.


Today and tomorrow, I’m doing a couple of posts for two things that I’ve made for her and her new baby. First up, is a Totem quilt.


Totem quilt for Laurie_Carolyn Friedlander


I started this project much earlier this summer, long before I knew the gender. Had I known what they were having then, it wouldn’t have changed much. I like the idea of creating something that can appeal to both baby–regardless of gender–and parents, and not necessarily cater to stereotypes. We don’t know what the baby’s tastes are going to be, so why not give her some variety? It was fun to make it more of a creative challenge to find a mix of things that would be pleasing to all parties involved.


Totem quilt for Laurie_11_Carolyn Friedlander


Eventually, we did find out the gender, and so I might have loosened up by adding more small florals, that still weren’t too in-your-face-feminine. I kept to a soft palette of pretty peaches and blues, with some chambrays, gingham and other wovens for added texture. Of course, I also made sure that all of my fabric lines so far were represented–architextures, botanics and doe.


Totem quilt for Laurie_12_Carolyn Friedlander


Choosing the fabric for the borders was a bit of a tough decision. I wavered slightly between going for more of a peach, but the soft Dusty Blue Essex linen that I went with was what I had in mind all along. It just looked and felt right. When I sister brought it into the baby’s room for the first time, we realized that the border fabric matched her rocking chair perfectly.


Totem quilt for Laurie_13_Carolyn Friedlander



Totem quilt for Laurie_14_Carolyn Friedlander


On the back, I went with a pretty Leah Duncan floral print. I didn’t have quite enough, so I was able to squeeze in a little bit of a Lotta Jansdotter print as well. I love how the combination of the two worked out in terms of both color and pattern. The binding fabric is from Lizzy House’s Catnap line.


Totem quilt for Laurie_8_Carolyn Friedlander



Totem quilt for Laurie_15_Carolyn Friedlander





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11 Responses to Sewing for baby: Totem quilt.

  1. jodi December 4, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

    Oh, I love how it’s not all girly-girly, but just the right amount of feminine. I have two grandsons, no grandgirls, so I know what you mean about the lack of boy fabrics. Blessings to your soon-to-be-born niece and family!

    • carolynfriedlander December 4, 2014 at 4:15 pm #

      Thanks, Jodi! And speaking of sewing for boys, I just found the most adorable Lego and Mini Cooper fabric from Bunnys Designs. I’m going to make a shirt for my older nephew, so stay tuned for that. 🙂

  2. kristin December 4, 2014 at 3:35 pm #

    i love this quilt!! agree that it’s “just girly enough,” but still has your signature style. lucky little niece! 🙂

  3. Rachel at Stitched in Color December 5, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

    Oh, how pretty! I love how those soft, floating florals contrast with your structured, architectural fabrics. Dreamy!

  4. Gina December 6, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

    This is one of the loveliest baby quilts I’ve ever seen! The color/pattern combination is amazing! On a side note– will doe be available before Christmas? All websites simply say available in December. I’d like to add a bundle to my wish list!

  5. Leila December 14, 2014 at 8:21 am #

    Just beautiful! I love it. So inspirational!

  6. Lisa January 5, 2015 at 12:34 pm #

    Did u use the sliver piecing technique to piece ur blocks?

  7. Veronika January 10, 2015 at 10:21 pm #

    Oh my, I am in love! This quilt is so imperfectly perfect…I hope someday I can mix fabrics up the way you do!

  8. laurie Berman April 22, 2015 at 11:57 pm #

    Beautiful and so creative!


  1. Color Block Baby Quilt | We Three Steins - June 1, 2016

    […] did not use a pattern for this quilt, the inspiration for a lot of the design ended up coming from a quilt by quilter Carolyn Friedlander. I arranged the blocks in different configurations and ended up editing some of them out. Then I […]

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