While giving away your child’s old baby clothes is a good way to make some extra room in the attic, it can be hard to let that stuff go, which is understandable. Those clothes are attached to memories of you being a new parent and your child being as adorable as ever. At the same time, those clothes are taking up valuable household storage space that could be used for more important stuff. If you can’t just throw them away but don’t really have any use for them anymore, why not turn those baby clothes into a memory quilt?

Used baby clothes are the perfect material for making a proper quilt. First of, if you’re a parent, you already have a lot of old baby clothes. Chances are, you already have more than enough at home to make a sizeable quilt, even if it’s just from one baby. Secondly, baby clothes aren’t just adorable, they’re designed to be soft, warm, and comfy: exactly what you need in a quilted comforter.

You can either use your new quilt to cover your new bed, hang it up as adorable wall decoration at home, give it to your kids, or wrap it up as a handmade gift to someone you love. Making your own memory quilt might take some time, but it’s a good way to free up some space in the attic while stretching your creative muscles. You might even convince your kids or spouse to help you out.

What’s the first thing you need to do before you can make a memory quilt?

Gather Quilt Materials and Ensure That They’re 100% Clean

Apart from actual baby clothes, you can use old holiday costumes, your baby’s old linens, cute caps, hats, and blankets, and basically anything else that’s not too soiled and has an interesting pattern. If the stuff has been in storage for quite some time just gathering dust, you’ll want to launder them first before doing anything else. The last thing you want to do is make a quilt out of soiled or dusty old clothes.

The Squares Layout is the Simplest Way to Make a Quilt

This method of quilt-making is exactly what it sounds like: cutting squares out of old baby clothes to form a very simple repeating pattern, and then sewing those squares onto the backing fabric in a way that’s visually interesting.

Don’t worry if you don’t know how to sew. Any professional tailor (or anyone who knows their way around needles or a sewing machine) can take care of this for you. If you want, you can just do the fun part: picking out patterns and arranging them to make the best design.

You can start by making cardboard squares that are either 4 x 4 inches or 6 x 6 inches. You’ll need these as guides to trace on the clothes so you end up cutting nice perfect squares out of the baby clothes you have available. Why use 4 or 6-inch squares of fabric? These two sizes are easy to organize when you’re using standard blanket sizes measured in feet: to make a square foot of the quilt, you’ll either need 9 pieces of 4-inch fabric, or just 4 pieces of 6-inch fabric. Either way, laying them out onto the backing fabric will be easy because of the size and shape. You can even use both square sizes to complete different parts of the quilt. Just make sure to cover the entire surface of the backing fabric with squares.

Make as many 4-inch and/or 6-inch squares as you want from the baby clothes and accessories you have available. Don’t be afraid to make too much: the more you make, the more you can play around with the design. Lay out the squares onto the backing fabric. Move them around. Arrange them according to age, or arrange them according to color. Arrange them in a way that forms a light to dark gradient on the whole quilt. Do whatever you want and experiment with the different visual effects you can accomplish using a bunch of squares. Spend some time playing around with the layout to get the best results. This is the best part of quilt-making, so enjoy it!

You can use pins to keep the fabric squares on the backing fabric. This is important so you won’t mess up the pattern you’ve chosen when you’re either sewing it all together yourself or having a pro do it for you.

Embellishment and Labelling Gives a Quilt Some Swagger

Once all fabric squares are fully sewn onto the backing fabric, you can either call it a day or give some extra swagger to your memory quilt. Embellishments can come in the form of sowing on socks, hats, or particularly adorable and intact pieces of clothing over the finished quilt. This is a great way to break the monotony of the fabric squares as well as showcase particularly interesting parts of your child’s old wardrobe.

Labelling is an awesome way of giving your memory quilt a highly personal touch. Your quilt’s label can look like however you want. Just design it in a way that somehow tells the quilt’s story. How old was your child when she or he wore the clothes used on the quilt? What’s the story with the complete Batman and Superman costumes dramatically laid out on the fabric? You can even include a small laminated picture of the child/children whom the clothes belong to.

Make a Fun Weekend Out of It!

Why cut square pieces of fabric alone when your whole family will probably help you do this? There’s nothing quite like sitting in the living room with your kids while working on a comfy memory quilt that you’re planning to give grandma for Christmas. Order a celebratory pizza after finishing the quilt for some extra good vibes.