How to Make a Family Tree Quilt

By Jennifer Terry

A visual of your family tree can help your children and grandchildren appreciate their family better. Many people have trouble grasping the intricacies of family relationships. Having a visual will make these relationships more clear. A cherished keepsake is an old-fashioned quilt. Combining your family tree and a quilt can make a meaningful keepsake for grandchildren. Family tree quilts can also be a gift for your parent or grandparent. For you to have taken the time to learn the family history and document it in a personal item will make a powerful statement.

Prepare the Top

Draw a sketch of a tree on the piece of paper. Begin at the trunk of the tree. Write the name of a spouse on each side of the trunk. For example, if the family tree will be about your mother and father, put your mother's name on the right side and your father's name on the left side.

Draw a root system. Write the name of your mother's parents on the roots to the right side and write your father's parents on the left side. Continue adding roots under these if you know the name of their parents. Always link the parent to the child.

Draw main branches on the tree that come directly from the trunk. Draw one branch for each child of the couple. In our example this will be you and your siblings. Write a sibling name on each branch.

Draw smaller branches coming from these main branches. There will be a smaller branch for each of the siblings children. Continue adding branches until you have went through each current generation.

Lay your flat sheet on a large surface. Draw a family tree on the sheet using your sketch as a reference.

Stitch the tree using decorative stitches with embroidery thread and needle.

Paint the names of each family member with the fine tip fabric paint tubes. Or you can embroider the names on. Allow to dry.

Quilt the Top

Lay the cotton lining fabric flat on the floor, wrong side up. Lay the cotton batting on top of the lining. Smooth any wrinkles. Lay the family tree quilt top on top of the batting with the right side up. Smooth.

Pin the center of the quilt top. Work from the center outward toward each edge, pinning and smoothing as you go. Place pins every four inches.

Insert your quilt into a quilting hoop. Start with your hoop in the center. Pull to remove folds. Tighten hoop around quilt.

Use your hand needle, thread and thimble to work stitches through all three layers. Quilt every four inches or less.

Tip

Using a cotton batting makes your quilt have a traditional look.

Warning

Using low quality cotton batting will require quilting to be much closer.

References

About the Author

Jennifer Terry is program director for TriCounty Agency for Intellectual Disabilities. As a University of Alabama graduate, she holds a Masters in rehabilitation counseling and a Bachelor in psychology with an emphasis in child development. She also earned an Associate in business management and second Associate in computer information systems from Bevill State Community College. She holds a grant writing certificate from North Georgia College and State University.