How to Preserve Your Family History Through Quilting

How to Preserve Your Family History Through Quilting

Quilting has long been an artistic medium of channeling personal culture and heritage, but it can also be a unique way to preserve your own family lineage and memories. The beautiful thing about putting together these quilts is that they can last lifetimes and pass from generation to generation. You can make them into meaningful pieces of your family history in many ways, designing quilts based on your family tree, childhood, past events, vacations, and personal achievements. There are even ways to print photographs onto fabrics now. Imagine your descendants, many years from now, being able to see the face of their relative who created that heirloom on it. Even if you do not already have any of these special quilts from previous generations, you can begin the process today of preserving your family history for those to come. Here we offer some creative ways of how to preserve your family history through quilting.

A Quilt to Commemorate Your Family Tree

Creating a quilt centered around your family tree is a wonderful idea for not only current members of your family but also the future members to learn about those who came before. This type of quilt can come in many forms. One simple but beautiful direction that you can take is to make a quilt of different squares that each have a person’s name sewn into them, along with their years of birth and marriage. To make it special, you could construct each person’s square using specific fabrics that represent that member of the family tree. This is an easy quilt that you can construct yourself. There are other wonderful suggestions, though, for taking this concept a few steps further. Search around for any unique articles of clothing that you or other family members have kept from loved ones. Instead of standard fabric squares, use these garments to make up each section that represents that individual. Take sentimental items like a badge or piece of your grandfather’s uniform from his time in the military or pieces from your grandmother’s wedding gown, and rescue them from being lost by adding them to the quilt.

A Childhood- or Infant-Themed Quilt

A quilt centered around the infancy of your child or grandchild is another beautiful idea for a memory quilt, as it captures some of the most important memories and gifts in life. The quilt can come together in a few different creative ways. One of the simplest ways is to start by collecting the clothing that your children wore as infants. You could choose to use clothing from other parts of childhood as well. Rather than throwing them out and just forgetting about them, save these garments and use them as the patchwork for the quilt. What’s great about this concept is that you can apply it however you want. You can use clothing items from one of your children, making it unique to them, or from all of them, to represent your whole family. You could even use clothing from various years of childhood so that it maps out one child’s growth as they age. You can always expand upon your quilt by adding squares from various achievements, sporting events, and school events that were significant for that family member.

A Quilt About Events

While we mention above that events can be part of other types of custom family quilts, another idea is to make a quilt focused completely on the events themselves. If you’re wondering how to preserve your family history through quilting in a unique way, using it to commemorate an event is a notable one. And again, there is a lot of latitude within this idea. An event quilt can be about an individual’s event—like a wedding, birth, graduation, or even a vacation. Group events can be a good way to incorporate multiple family members into one quilt. Commemorate a large family reunion with the names of everyone who attended. Consider stitching a square that reads something like “Home Sweet Home” with the date you moved into a new house. Save more of these moments by sewing in specific items, such as parts of a graduation gown or wedding tie. To capture awards and events centered around sports, include part of a jersey or team shirt. In fact, the next time you’re at a special event or on a vacation, consider looking for specific items that you could collect to use on a project of this sort.

Create a T-Shirt Quilt

Quilts made from T-shirts have continued to be a very popular means of preserving favorite memories. There are a few common versions of these, such as ones made for sports teams, teachers, and even stage performances. You can do the same to commemorate your family memories. Use old team shirts from the sports family members played. If the quilt commemorates special extracurricular activities from one’s school days, like theater, and there are t-shirts from various plays and musicals, these can make a quilt of wonderful memories. Quilts in remembrance of dance, cheerleading, gymnastic, or any other activities can work in the same way. Don’t forget T-shirts from places you’ve visited, which can make great additions to a quilt centered around family vacations or special trips.

Quilts Made From Photographs and Other Special Materials

A very special and new way that you can represent your family history on a quilt is in the use of actual photographs. Through new methods, your personal photos can be printed cleanly onto fabric. You can research the various ways to do this yourself online, or you can choose to have this done professionally. Quilts of this nature are an amazing option to present family history to future generations that have never been available before now. A wise tip would be to have this done on the best fabrics with the proper tools. You can find fabric sales online from Canada or search for other online imports for the fabrics just right for the job. For a beautiful family quilt that your family can keep and preserve over the years, it will pay to construct it out of the highest-quality material you can find.

Family History Through Quilting Infographic