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Hit It Out of the Park With the Baseball Star Pattern

Updated: Jun 21

A Special Mother/Son Project.

“Take me out to the ball game, buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks” will be playing over and over in your head while you make this adorable quilt for the special baseball star in your life. At least it did mine! My son and I are so excited to finally debut our first quilt pattern together– Baseball Star. Yep, you read that right! My son and I teamed up (no pun intended) to combine his love of baseball and my love of quilting to create something special. Keep reading to see our entire behind-the-scenes process bringing the Baseball Star to life, a special interview with my son, wonderful pictures in the historic baseball Cooperstown, NY, and much more!



To purchase the Baseball Star Quilt Pattern click one of the buttons below.

The pattern comes in a PDF or paper version.





Mother/Son Summer Project:

Ever since I started My Sew Quilty Life, my son has been my biggest cheerleader. From my very first pattern, he has encouraged me to do my best and do what I love. He is very much my “why” that keeps me going, even when times get hard or I’m completely exhausted and want to throw in the towel. There's not a day that goes by that he doesn't ask, “Mom, what are you working on?” or “Mom, how are your sales going today?” He is wiser than his age. And, he's watching how I handle adversity through the good and hard times. Some of the things he asks me, I think to myself, “I wasn’t even thinking about that when I was his age.” It amazes me, but also makes me sad at the same time. He’s getting too big and before I know it, he will be out of the house and on his own. He is currently 13!


A few months ago while twirling around in my computer chair, he asked if he could help me design a pattern. I was completely in shock! I think he was slightly joking, but at that moment my mom heart was completely full. I thought it was a brilliant idea and knew it would be the perfect project to work on during his summer break. I wanted to show him how much fun it could be to take an idea and bring it to life while learning so many different things. One thing I really love about my quilt pattern business is that I get to wear so many hats. I get to be a designer, problem solver, mathematician, accountant, organizer, maker, writer, photographer, marketer, customer service extraordinaire, and more. It’s not every day that I can show him how each of these very important jobs work together in order to run this business. In the end, I wanted to show him how you can be the designer of his life. You can do something you love and make a living off of it. It doesn’t have to be traditional, but hard work, consistency, and passion (plus many other things) can go a long way.


I’m excited to take you through our entire process. I hope you enjoy!


Our Process

It isn’t very often that I can take you through a behind-the-scenes look at the process involved in bringing a quilt pattern to life, so I’m excited to bring you along!

Brainstorming:

We took a few days of brainstorming what would be the best theme for our design. We knew we wanted to make it boy-focused, since that was something I have never really done before. We toyed with ideas of traditional star blocks, baby boy themes like bears or other animals, Legos, but ultimately we couldn’t get away from his favorite sport, baseball.


Sketching:

Once we had our theme, we began sketching out a few different options. This can sometimes be the hard part, but this quilt design just flowed out of us. I think within 10 minutes we had the design completely sketched out. I love it when that happens. We drew baseball quilt blocks wrapped in stars and then together they created an opportunity to make the secondary design of home plates. I love when I can sneak a secondary design in a quilt. Do you see the home plates? The name “Baseball Star” slipped out of me and the look on my son's face was priceless. You would have thought I won the lottery or something. He thought that was brilliant, so that's what we went with. While in the sketching phase, I like to do some research to see if what we designed or something similar was already out there. I love to do this because I never want to design and release a pattern that is similar to someone else's, for many reasons but mostly out of respect for the other designer. To our surprise, there wasn’t another quilt like ours. So it was a go!


Digitizing:

The next part of the process is to digitize our design. I digitize all my designs in Adobe Illustrator. It is a very robust program, but I feel I have the most control over my design. Because I knew the software, I drew up the pattern, but showed my son how to do it. He thought it was the coolest thing. It’s not easy to digitize a design. You have to factor in so many things. For our quilt, size of the blocks, number of blocks, borders, shape of the quilt, and color scheme were all factors. For this quilt, we had to draw up a few different baseball options. I drew up three options and we talked each one over. In the end, we chose one that had the least amount of seams, and one that would be easier for the maker. With every quilt, I print out the blocks/quilt layout and write out each piece size I need to cut and how many for the quilt. This really helps me when I make the test block and write the pattern. My son wrote down every piece we needed to cut.



Fabric Reqs/ Fabric Selections:

Once we landed on our final design, we now had to pick the perfect color scheme. My son really wanted a red, white, and blue quilt, so that's what we went with. We picked white for the baseballs and home plates, a light blue for the background, a medium blue and dark blue for the stars, and red for the baseball strings and border. We also made a trip to Joanns to pick out our backing fabric. He went with the star print and it is magical. When the quilt is held up in the sun, it looks like the quilt is sparkling. Check out the picture below. Once we selected our colors, we worked out the fabric requirements so we knew how much fabric we needed to order for our quilt. This is where math really comes in. When I write my patterns, I try to make sure the maker can quickly cut out all the pieces and have the least amount of waste as possible. Here's how I do it, I draw a yard of fabric 36” x 42”. Then I draw each piece and duplicate it until I have the correct amount of pieces you need to cut for that particular piece for the entire quilt. Then, I look at how many of the pieces you can get from a WOF strip. I will also calculate how many pieces I can get out of the WOF strip. Example: If I need 2.5” squares, I know that I can get 16 from a 42” WOF strip. 42 / 2.5 = 16.8 round down to 16. So if I needed 20 - 2.5” squares, I need to cut out 2 - 2.5’ x WOF strips. I like to use both ways to double check myself. After we knew how much fabric we needed, we picked our fabrics from the Bella Color Card by Moda Fabrics and ordered them. My son told me he didn't realize how much math it took to make a pattern. He said, “I know why your head hurts all the time now.” We both had a good laugh!


Pattern Writing:

After we digitized the design and figured out all the fabric requirements, we wrote the pattern. Depending on how I feel I will sometimes do this step after I make the quilt. It really just depends how much time I have and how I’m feeling. Because I have written so many patterns, I have a system and template down and it was a breeze.


Cutting:

Because my son wasn’t comfortable cutting the fabric, I cut out all the pieces needed for our quilt. He was right by my side telling me what I needed. He got really antsy during this part. I don't think it was his favorite. He needed lots of breaks, even though he wasn't the one cutting. I think cutting the fabric is also my least favorite part of the poricess, but it must be done.



Testing the Design:

Because I cut the quilt out, I thought it would be fun for him to make the test block. I love making test blocks because I can test out the pattern, make sure all pieces are the correct size, test out my pressing directions, and see if there is a better way to make the block. He hasn’t sewn since 2020 when he helped make his 3rd grade teacher a baby quilt with the rest of his class. He learned how to sew in 2019 when he made his first quilt and helped me make his dad’s quilt. I was a little nervous that he had forgotten how to work the machine, but he jumped on the machine and whipped our test block right up. I couldn't believe how good he was. His smile says it all. He was so proud of himself and so excited to see the design come to life. I think that might be one of my favorite parts of the process–getting to see the design come to life in a physical product. It's so cool! From this test block we were able to see where we needed to line seams up better and change our pressing directions.



Making:

Because we were on a time crunch, I made the rest of the blocks myself. If you don’t sew often, like my son, it can be tiring. It took me about 6 hours to make all the blocks. He was by my side for some of it and would make comments about how fast I was going on my machine and how fast I could make the blocks. Total, I finished the quilt top in 12 hours. I’m proud of my points!



Quilting:

We ran into our first major problem when we got to the quilting. I mentioned previously that we were in a time crunch. On July 1st, my family headed to Cooperstown, NY, for my son to play in a baseball tournament at Cooperstown Dreams Park. My son really wanted to have the quilt done in time to take our final pictures in Cooperstown. If you are not familiar with Cooperstown, NY, it's like the baseball history capital. It’s where baseball originated, home to the first baseball field, DoubleDay Field, and home to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Some amazing once-in-a-lifetime picture opportunities. We didn't really plan out for the quilt to be finished by then, but when we saw the opportunity, we needed to take it. This meant, we only had about 3 days to have the quilt quilted and ready to go, which meant we didn't have time to send it to my quilter. We had to quilt it ourselves. I have free motioned on my machine many times and was comfortable doing so, so I thought no big deal. Well, after I basted the quilt and began free motioning an allover meander, something just wasn't right. My machine wasn’t working properly. I picked out the stitches and began to panic. After about an hour of trying to get it to work, we sat down and went over our options. Option 1: See if I could straight stitch the quilt. This is not something I like doing on larger projects. Option 2: Try to find a quilter in NY to quilt and bind the quilt. This would have taken a lot of time and logistics and I didnt feel we had time. Option 3: Ship it to my quilter and not take it to Cooperstown. The look on my son's face was devastation. I couldn't let him down, so we decided to try Option 1. In the end, Option 1 worked fine, but I was a nervous wreck. I wanted it to be perfect for my son. Everything up until this part had gone so smooth, I didn't want to let him down with a bad quilting job. I was almost in tears over this! In the end, it had some puckers, the lines weren't straight, and it wasn't perfect, but the look on my son's eyes when I showed him the quilted quilt was priceless. It was all worth it. He didn't care about the puckers or jagged lines–all he cared about was that the quilt was done and that we could take it to Cooperstown. He was so happy!



Pictures:

Pictures are a huge part of the process. Capturing the process was something I really wanted to do. We took pictures along the way and then I showed him how I take pictures for social media. He thought that it was fun to arrange all the blocks on my wood planks and pose the final quilt. Because we finished the quilt, we took pictures in the DoubleDay stadium, out front of the Hall of Fame, and in Cooperstown Dreams Park.



Marketing and Releasing:

The next part and most important part of the process is to market and release our quilt out into the world. This is also the most nerve wracking part. You just never know how your design will be received. It's so vulnerable and I wanted my son to see how this felt. There's truly nothing like showing the world something you have created and for it to be well received. But, there is also the alternative–it not being well received or the pattern not selling. That is something every pattern designer goes through. I’m writing this blog post before the pattern is released, so I don't know what the outcome will be, but my son and I have already been discussing both outcomes. I have had many patterns be a success and a few be a flop. It's just the nature of the game and I have told him, if I would have given up after one of my patterns flopped last summer, I never would have seen the success of every single one after. The lesson is don't give up! Ever! This is a huge life lesson for him and one I am so grateful to teach him through our summer project.


So far since we have started sharing about our pattern, so many of you have left beautiful comments and messages. You have truly made my son’s and my day. We are so thankful for all your support. It means the world to us. Regardless of how this pattern sells, my son and I will have the best memories to cherish. I wouldn't take them back and I would do it all over again. My son has already asked me if we can design more patterns together. That’s a WIN in my eyes! Maybe a future line of boy quilt patterns?

My son getting to hold the pattern in his hand for the first time.


Giving Back:

Regardless of how the pattern sells, I wanted my son to understand that it is important to give back. We are taking a portion of all pattern sales and donating them to a local youth charity. We have been doing research to find just the right one and this has been so eye opening for him. Reading through each charity really shows him how fortunate he is. I want him to know that we have been so blessed, even though it has been hard in the past. I will update on which charity we chose and our donation soon! Thank you so much for your support and your help to be able to give back to our youth!


Interview with my son, Seth:

Alright, are you ready to hear from my son? I interviewed him to hear his point of view from the process. See his answers below:


In your eyes, what does your mom do?

She is a quilt pattern designer.


Why did you want to design a quilt pattern?

Because watching all the stuff my mom does inspired me to want to design a quilt pattern.


Why did you choose the baseball theme?

Because baseball is my favorite sport.


Why did you pick red, white, and blue as the colors for your quilt?

Because I think those colors resemble baseball and they are the colors of the fourth of July.


Do you think it takes a lot of math to design a pattern?

Yes, because you have to get a lot of measurements in order to make the quilt.


What was it like seeing your quilt come to life?

I was very excited.


What was your favorite part of the process?

Designing the quilt blocks and sewing.


What was your least favorite part of the process?

My least favorite part of the process is all the measurements you have to do.


What do you think was the easiest part?

I think the easiest parts are designing and picking out the fabrics.


What do you think was the hardest part?

I think that the hardest part of the process was making the quilt.


What has surprised you most?

How fun the process is.


Why did you want to take the quilt to Cooperstown?

To get amazing photos of the quilt.


How did it feel to read the comments from others on social media about the pattern?

It felt good because all the hard work me and my mom put in paid off with all the wonderful comments.


Would you want to do this again?

Yes, because it was an amazing experience making a pattern with my mom.



Baseball Star Fabric Requirements:

See the fabric requirements below for the Baseball Star quilt. Want to make the exact quilt from the pattern? I have included links with the same fabric we used for our quilt.



Red: Bella Solid, Cherry 9900-230


Light Blue: Bella Solid, Pastel Blue 9900-247 https://www.fatquartershop.com/bella-solids-pastel-blue-yardage


Medium Blue: Bella Solid, Little Boy Blue 9900-307


Dark Blue: Bella Solid, Imperial Blue 9900-307 https://www.fatquartershop.com/bella-solids-imperial-blue-yardage


Find other Bella Solid colors perfect for the quilt here:


Mockup of other Color Ways

Personalize it for your baseball lover's favorite team. It's as easy as changing the colors. See some mockups below:

Can you guess the MLB teams I mocked up here?


Tip: Select your favorite teams colors for the stars then select a lighter version of one of those colors for the background.


Softball Star:

Want to make the Baseball Star quilt into a Softball Star quilt for your favorite softball player? No problem. Just change the colors of the baseball to make it a softball. Check out some fun mockups below:


Tennis Star:

Did you know that by changing the colors of the baseball to green and white and making 16 more Block D (page 4 in the pattern) instead of 16 Block A (home plates page 3 in the pattern) you could easily turn this pattern into a tennis quilt for your tennis lover. Check out my mockups below:


I hope you enjoyed this behind the scenes look in our process. I cannot wait to see what you create with our pattern. Don't forget to share your progress and finished quilt with us. Use #baseballstarquilt on social media and tag me @mysewquiltylife


Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy the pattern!


Happy Quilting,

Heather



This blog post does contain affiliate links. I make a small portion of each sale placed using my affiliate links at no extra cost to you. This really helps me out alot. Thank you!



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Allison Reid
Allison Reid
2023년 7월 15일

What a fascinating and inspiring read! Thank you for sharing the whole process of designing and making a quilt and all that goes into writing and promoting a pattern. I do hope you and your son have a lot of success with this pattern and enjoy collecting a charity gift too.

좋아요

Congratulations to you and your son for a job well done... and a special Mom/son time for you together!! My brother loved and played baseball growing up and would have loved this quilt... may just have to make it for him as an adult! ;)

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