Tom’s Four Generations Baby Quilt


The plans for Tom’s baby quilt had been forming in my mind for a long time. Even though it was a baby quilt, I didn’t want it to be babyish. I didn’t want it to be outgrown, I wanted it to be… manly. And so I looked to the three older generations of men in our family, and I made it with menswear fabric from clothes that they wore.

His Great-Grandpa’s Sunday ties.

His Papaw’s plaid shirts.

His Daddy’s khaki pants.

And his own newborn onesies, just now barely outgrown.

Trying to sew it during the day was ridiculous at times. It was lovely to sew the last stitches while holding a sleeping baby in my lap. I love you little guy.


The front and back. (Click to view larger.)
20091223-toms-quilt-front-small 20091223-toms-quilt-back-small


The size is 48″ x 64″, so it’s bigger than a crib but smaller than a twin, and just right for a throw. The batting is organic cotton, and the back is light blue linen. I love the rumply look of linen. The shirts and pants for the quilt blocks have been washed a hundred times, so they’re nice and soft. I tried to include details like pockets and buttons on the shirts. I sewed it on my Grandma’s 40-year-old Nelco sewing machine, and hand-stitched the binding.

I hope it will be well-loved and well-used. I already spilled bacon on it.


About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. WOW. It is beautiful (and manly!). That is a wonderful present and you did a GREAT job.

    Happy Holidays.


  2. It is so perfect I could just cry. Absolutely BEAUTIFUL!

  3. It is GORGEOUS, and I love the generations of fabrics that went into it. Marvelous idea. If I were a quilter, I would attempt the same for my baby (due in January). Maybe I’ll have to “hire” my sister-in-law to make one for me!

    Minnesotamom´s last post…Becoming a Family of Four

  4. Love this! I have a quilt my grandmother made me that has all types of fabrics I remember from my childhood. Pajamas, dresses, robes, aprons…all that were made by her sweet hands and then cut apart to make my quilt. Miss that lady and love that legacy she left me.

    Southern Gal´s last post…Love this time of year

  5. it is wonderful. did you hand quilt it? he will love that forever.

    • No, I quilted it on the sewing machine to save time. I don’t know that I have the patience to hand quilt.

  6. oh it’s lovely! :)

    rachel´s last post…their silver band is awesome too…

  7. So sweet. What a wonderful idea for a gift he’ll never outgrow. I love the mix of fabrics (especially the way you used the embelishment from his onesies) and the meaning behind them, but my favorite part of the whole quilt is the tag. It’s the cherry on the top.

    Meg´s last post…Dressing Up $0.99 Stockings

  8. This little quilt is amazing! I love the rumply silk back, too…and his little onesies? So cute. Not to mention, a very special heirloom…beautiful

    Michelle´s last post…Wednesday in the Word: 1 Corinthians 13:3

  9. That’s a wonderful idea, and I’m totally going to steal it! :)

  10. This is so lovely! I’ve been thinking about creating similar blankets for my kids from their outgrown clothes and seeing how beautiful yours turned out inspires me to get started. But after Christmas! Happy holidays!

    Sarah´s last post…Creating S4

  11. it’s wonderful! job well done!

  12. Ohmygoodness. That is so beautiful!! And that you finished it with a newborn in your lap makes it all the more precious. What a loving heirloom you’ve created. :D

  13. What a great present! It will be well loved.

    Tara´s last post…Changes

  14. Rachel, that is so beautiful! I am very impressed. He will treasure it forever.

  15. Really, sweet idea. I love your embroidery on the tag.

  16. absolutely precious. what a wonderful gift and keepsake. i’m sure it will be dragged around everywhere and then tucked in a secret place to be taken out and cherished as the years go by.

  17. fabulous job – what a wonderful keepsake as he grows older! Great work!

    jodi´s last post…what a face

  18. Gorgeous concept & quilt. congrats on finishing.

  19. It is beautiful! I love it!

  20. absolutely beautiful.

    I have saved alot of the clothes my kids wore their first year with the hope that I will make a quilted throw for each of them. You have inspired me to start it.

    Did you follow a pattern or some type of directions? I have never quilted before and my sewing skills are pretty basic…any advice?

    Kristia @Family Balance Sheet´s last post…Holiday E-Cards – Tuck This Idea Away For Next Year

    • My quilt is basically sewing squares together, but there are some shortcuts and tips that really help.

      Kids’ clothes tend to be stretchy knits. I used a square of muslin under each of the knit squares as a stabilizer.

      There is a good detailed series about making a quilt at Oh Fransson.

      • Thanks, Kristia for the question and Rachel for the reply. I too am inspired to make one after reading about your awesome gift for the little one. And he has grown so much so fast, since the last pix I saw online ;))

  21. I love it!! You did such a nice job…

    I made a quilt with our old denim, my materity flannel shirts and my son’s baby fannels.

  22. that is so SWEET! definitely something to be treasured.

  23. Beautiful in every possible way, Rachel. Love it.
    Merry Christmas!

  24. Congratulations! I’m so happy for you! I managed to finish my I-spy bags for my kids last night…so high 5 to both of us! I am not a crafty lady, so I was really glad I was able to pull it off. I’m sure our kids will love our pressies we made for them! ONE more sleep till christmas over here in New Zealand!

    Meeks´s last post…Sun…Glorious Sun!

  25. What a totally fabulous gift. It’s wonderful. It looks very classic Ralph Lauren.

    Nice job, Rachel. I am very impressed.

    Emily@remodelingthislife´s last post…Randomly Festive

  26. I’m in tears looking at Tom’s beautiful blanket. Makes me miss my Daddy so very much. What a treasure. It’s been fun watching you work on this and now that it’s finished it’s better than I could have imagined. Great work!

  27. I think you need to add a second tag, detailing where you got the fabric….so when Tom’s grandson is trying to decide what to do with Tom’s old quilt….the history will be known and cherished.

  28. WOW! That is AWESOME!!! My sister made my son a quilt when he was a baby, and I’ve wanted to do something for my daughter, but am all thumbs when it comes to using my sewing machine.
    Have a very Merry Christmas Doug, Rachel, Lane and Tom. :)

  29. Oh Gasp, He is beautiful!!! That is so very darling. The boy and his quilt. The perfect gift. Love it!!! I am so impressed, quilting is way over my achievement scale, and it always looks so gorgeous!!!

    se7en´s last post…Se7en Do Christmas Decorating and Crafting…

  30. Oh, I’m in love with it! I love the rugged manly look. he will be able to keep it forever. Cute kid by the way!

    Jaimie´s last post…Santa’s Goodies

  31. This is beautiful. What a special present! Very inspiring. I’m going to keep this idea in mind.

    Rachel´s last post…Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

  32. Beautiful, Rachel. Love the little note from you the most. Does he look like Daddy’s twin in real life? He sure does to me in his pictures. :-)

    Suzanne´s last post…Accepting the 365 Days of Decluttering Challenge for 2010?

  33. Your quilt is truly a labor of love and bound to become an heirloom. What a lucky little guy!!!

    Jan´s last post…Last Minute Christmas Blues….

  34. Can I just say that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this quilt. I think anything that has family history as a part of it, is such a wonderful gift! Wonderful job. I hope you have a wonderful holiday!!

    The Cottage Mama´s last post…Christmas Stockings

  35. Love it and the bacon will just make it smell like home!

    Lisa´s last post…Send it to Dr. Good!

  36. I was close to tears reading your blog, what a sentimental and treasured gift to give to your son.

    Tracy9´s last post…Lippy Space Savers

  37. Love the quilt. An heirloom already. Tom’s a lucky boy.

  38. WOW, it’s gorgeous and what a special gift that will be treasured for years and years to come.

    I also love the embroidery :)

  39. P.S. You have lots and lots of patience :)

    Leigh from 123 blog´s last post…I feel like a failure

  40. Tommy’s quilt is beautiful!

    Happy Holidays to You and Yours from Frankfurt, Germany.

  41. I love this-what a great use of items both sentimental and practical!

  42. I’ve read your posts for months but have never commented. Couldn’t resist, though, on this one. So, so beautiful in every way. I don’t know what I love more, the quilt, your love for the men in your life, or the sweet photos of little Tom. You all will treasure this gift. Christmas blessings to you and your lovely family!

  43. That is absolutely beautiful and I love the meaning behind all the fabric. What a great idea! I’m sure it’s something he’ll always treasure.

  44. Wow, what a treasure!!
    And what is it about seeing a picture of a (manly) man holding his newborn baby so touching?

  45. Amazing!!!

  46. awesome awesome idea!! and i agree, the linen fabric goes perfectly & definitely adds to that “manly” touch you were wanting. i can’t wait to learn how to quilt – someday. ;) just beautiful!!

    Vicki´s last post…Luminaries and little ones

  47. I love it! Just beautiful! What a treasured gift! Someday his bride will thank you!

    mrs.e´s last post…Christmas Eve 2009

  48. That is so fabulous! I love that your handwriting shows in the stitching on the back. Any kid (or adult for that matter!) would be lucky to get that as a gift. Great job!

  49. RACHEL! I totally have tears in my eyes. This is GORGEOUS. An heirloom to be treasured by generations to come. AMAZING work, mama. I love it.

    Megan at Simple Kids´s last post…What We’re Reading: Santa’s Prayer and ‘Twas the Night Before Christ

  50. Came here via @SimpleKids.

    Your quilt is gorgeous! I love the meaning behind it. And it is quite masculine. I’m sure it will be loved.

    Beth´s last post…Befuddled

  51. First time post. I love your blog and check it often. The idea behind your quilt is really beautiful. I had to leave a comment. Absolutely beautiful.

  52. I just love it! What a gorgeous quilt for a beautiful boy! :) Merry Christmas all…

    angelvalerie´s last post…and it’s Christmas…

  53. It looks like I’m the only bloke to comment. Like the Mums who have already commented, I love the quilt you’ve made for your son Tom and I’m in awe of the effort needed to complete such an item.

    Now, knowing what I was like as I grew up (and seeing how my own son is developing!), I hope he will understand your effort in time to appreciate it.

  54. Rachel I absolutely love this! I have some ties and shirts from my Dad that I can’t stand to part with, but that will rarely if ever get worn. I love the idea of mixing them in with the quilts I’m planning for my girls!

    Steph @ Problem Solvin Mom´s last post…The Gingerbread House

  55. I just recently found your blog and am enjoying it! This quilt is absolutely beautiful, a perfect lasting quilt for a baby boy! I am not a quilter, but this inspires me to try (having two little boys of my own). Thank you for sharing your lovely work!

    Kami@Nurturing the tender years´s last post…Wishing you

  56. That’s so sweet! =D

  57. Beautiful. Such a great idea.

    Andrea @ The Train To Crazy´s last post…A Mei Tai winner!

  58. So beautiful! Congratulations.

    Holly´s last post…Heart Attack!!!

  59. The beauty of all that history breaks my heart.

    Rayna´s last post…A Christmas Pageant

  60. Wow, beautiful! So impressed that you could complete it with two little ones, and in time for Christmas! The last quilt I attempted for baby #1 was finally finished for baby #2!

  61. What a wonderful gift and one that will be used and treasured by many generations.

    Nancy´s last post…digging out

  62. What a wonderful gift! It is something very special to treasure for a lifetime.

    anne´s last post…My favorite Christmas song

  63. Wow. What a gorgeous labor of love. Your children are blessed to have you!

    Juice´s last post…A Semi-Homemade Christmas

  64. Wow, beautiful.

    I am saving old clothes for a similar quilt made of squares, but I’m saving my guy’s shirts, khakis and boxers (by far the most interesting fabrics!). And I was thinking of piecing the thicker fabrics for one side (solids from the khakis) and the thinner fabrics for the other side (mostly patterns). Your mix-and-match looks awesome (with ties and onesies even!) and I love linen also.

  65. It is beautiful (in a manly sort of way)! I love the detail you added on the backing.

    Nicki at Domestic Cents´s last post…Baking Soda Paste – A Stain Remover

  66. It’s beautiful. I’m in awe, and I feel envious of Tom!

    Sally Parrott Ashbrook´s last post…Life, Evolving

  67. wow, all I can say is wow. You go quilter!

    abbie´s last post…for our newest family member

  68. What an amazing piece of work! Absolutely stunning!

  69. Fritzi says:

    I recently made bunting from my husbands old shirts. He mostly wears blues/whites with his suits so it looks really lovely and colour-coordinated. As I am no expert sewer (could never do a quilt!), everybody can do it!

    Love your blog!!!

  70. this is so beautiful!!! Gosh i need my sewing machine and the know how to use it lol.

    christy´s last post…Wool is magic-

  71. tara pollard pakosta says:

    this is exactly what i have saved 3 bins of my daughters clothes for! I want to have made for them baby-siZed quilts for their babies from their little dresses/onsies/pants…..
    yours turned out beautifuL!!!! do you know anywhere I could get one made?! tara pollard pakosta

    • Hi Tara, you might want to look on Etsy. I think I’ve seen some custom baby clothes quilts there.

  72. I still have the crocheted afghan that my grandma made for me when I was 8. It’s small, about the size of your boy’s quilt, and it’s perfect for a throw on cold fall evenings. I also have a (very much abused) quilt that my mom made for me. She backed it with the receiving blankets that she used when I was brand new…so it’s super soft.

    Lovely legacies, and reminders of the love that went into them!
    Peregrina´s last post…Vote Today

  73. gorgeous :) love your blog