Saturday, February 8, 2014

McCall 885: 1940 Quilted Comforter

I am so excited to say I finally finished my hand-quilted 1940 satin comforter! I started this comforter in early August and have been working on it in between projects since then. 
The 1940 pattern, which sometimes makes me wish I had gone with a dusty rose color like on the pattern. The pattern picture also looks puffier than mine, oh well. 

I definitely didn't want to ruin the original design so from the start I traced the pattern. I've never hand quilted something before and I actually even meant to machine quilt this too but found out quickly with so much fabric that is slippery it would be too hard. I originally safety pinned all the paper tracings onto the quilt and was going to quilt through them but that was horribly annoying so I ended up marking through the entire design with a removable pen. I still had safety pins all over to hold it together but used the pen tracing to quilt my design on. 
It matches my 1940 quilted back-rest pillow!

I do like it, but there's a lot of things I wish I could improve on. I started the quilt by making teeny tiny stitches which is partly why it was going so slow, I'd just get so bored. In December when I had to finish it quickly I started making larger stitches, partly to get done but also because I noticed on hand-quilted quilts I had looked at none of the stitches were as tiny as mine. They were all bigger. I took that as an okay to make my stitches bigger. With the larger stitches though I have to say I don't feel like the design is as distinct. If I were to ever quilt another large quilt by hand I would definitely want some kind of quilt stand (something like this maybe), even getting the largest embroidery hoop I could was annoying having to move it often and I think contributed to the fabric moving around. 

Because of the slippery fabric I do have some bumps in it but I guess at the same time, with this kind of fabric, it's a little harder to notice the bumpiness. Next time I quilt something I think I would try that sticky spray stuff to keep the layers together (I have no idea what it's called, but it's used for quilting!) 
I made piping for the edge to enclose it but at the end of the day I don't think it really mattered or stands out much. I did machine sew some of the closing edges. You can also see a bit of the wonkiness and not straight lines, oops! Also the larger stitches are noticeable compared to the center of the design. I may go back someday and machine stitch over the whole thing just to re-enforce it but I'm not sure it wouldn't mess it up somehow! 
I have it shown on a queen bed, but I actually made it for a full. So it fits on top but doesn't reach down the sides at all! I think I also made it even smaller than the pattern intends because it was hard to get fabric the correct size. I had to actually add some pieces onto the sides to get this to be the correct size. 

Part of me never wants to make another again but part of me wants to try again just to make a better one. I am interested to see how it would look in a cotton or a fabric not so slippery. I think the design would maybe stand out more without the shine. I would also try to use a thicker batting to get more puff in it like the pattern photo and like the 1940 satin comforter my friend owns. Maybe I'll try making a doll size one, that would be pretty quick and easy! 


  1. I think you did a marvelous job! All those little things you pointed out are things that I think only you will ever see. And really, the fact that there are little odd things makes it special and hand made. I agree with you that the fabric caused some of your troubles. I'm sure it was sliding around and being slippery. I also think that the thicker batting and a non satin fabric would make the design more distinct. But hand quilting takes a long time, so be proud of the work you did and the product you have.


    1. Thank you! That's so true and the more I use it lately the less I even notice the tiny things and I just love it as a whole!

  2. Wow, this is so impressive! It must've been a great learning experience, and for that, it's priceless. And honestly, I like this color even better than the dusty rose (even though my comforter is pink--shh!) because this shade of blue seems kinda modern, and thus more versatile. (:

    1. It was definitely a huge learning experience but you're right it's worth it! Knowing what I know now encourages me even more to do more hand quilting. I didn't even think of blue being more modern and versatile but that's a great point! I was just being boring since most everything I have is blue haha! Thank you! :)