How to Gift a Quilt – My Top 6 Tips!

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I love giving quilts as gifts.

This post will go through my top tips for presenting and wrapping your quilt gift, sending it, what to say to your recipient, and the all-important attitude you must have before you give a quilt away.

rolled quilt with gift card

Let’s dive in!

What to do before you gift a Quilt

I will get in to some fun ideas for how to actually package and present your quilts as gifts lower down in the post, but to start off I wanted to go through some steps to take before we are at that final gifting stage.

Label your Quilt

quilt label on binding
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

I am a big believer that we should all be labeling our quilts. I’ve gone over the reasons for this in another post [ 8 Ways to Label your Quilts & Why you should! ] but in terms of gift giving there are two key reasons to do this:

  1. It is a nice way to personalize your gift and make it even more special for your recipient.
  2. It preserves the history of the occasion when the gift was given and your role as the maker of the quilt.

If you aren’t sure about how to make a quilt label check out the post above as well as this newer video where I print quilt labels to stitch on my quilt binding.

If you aren’t sure what to say on a quilt label check out this post: 100 Quilt Label Sayings & Quotes for Every Occasion

Should I wash a quilt before I gift it?

washing a quilt
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

Short answer. YES!

Why? Some folk talk about the lovely crinkle that washing a quilt gives, but for me the key reason to wash your quilt before you give it away as a gift is so that you are giving them the quilt the same way it will look when they use it over time.

If you have been quilting for a while you will know that it is after the first wash that you see any shrinkage to a quilt – even if it’s only a bit.

It is also after that first wash that you will see any changes in the fabric from smooth to crinkly.

If your quilt has any applique on it, it is usually after a wash and dry that you can see if any seams have popped and need to be repaired.

And lastly, the first wash is the most crucial for any fabric die bleeding.

So doesn’t it make sense to do this first wash before we give it away? Doing this allows us to for example use color catcher sheets in the wash to avoid bleeding of colors on our quilt (I still tell my recipient to use these for their first wash too but more on that later!).

Obviously the more often a quilt is washed the more it can soften and change over time but for the most part I have found that the big differences mostly happen after that first wash – so I prefer to do it on my turf rather than my recipient’s.

Packaging & Presenting Your Quilt as a Gift

Once we’ve washed and labeled our quilt we are ready to give it. But do we gift wrap it? Tie it with a ribbon? Here are some fun ideas as well as some tips for what to include with your gift.

Quilt Care Instructions

One thing I think it is important to include with any quilt gift is some quilt care instructions for the receiver.

Depending on who you are giving your quilt to they may never have owned a quilt or even a handmade sewn item.

When I first started making and giving quilts the number one thing my recipient would ask me is how to wash it – so I have started giving them this info before they ask!

If you’ve followed my advice you have already given your quilt it’s first wash before gifting it but it is still useful to let your recipient know what to keep in mind when they wash it for the first time and subsequently.

Some things to consider including:

  • What water temperature to use?
  • What type of detergent or fabric softener to use?
  • Should they include color catcher sheets?
  • Should they tumble dry, hang dry or lay their quilt flat to dry?
  • How often should the quilt be washed?
quilt washing instruction care cards
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

I have made up my own quilt care instruction cards that can be printed on demand on to nice card stock, cut out and tucked in with the quilt. You can find these quilt care instruction cards in my Etsy Shop. They come as a printable pdf that you can use again and again.

On these cards I have also left a space to include special instructions. Some of the things I like to say there are:

  • This quilt is not for special occasions – use it and love it, if you wear it out I’ll repair it or make you another!
  • If you are going to store this quilt either roll it or refold it frequently so it doesn’t get big creases in it.
  • I loved making this – I hope you love using it just as much!

Quilt Gift Wrapping Ideas

There are many ways you can present a gift as a present. Here are some of my favorite ideas:

drawstring gift bag wrapped quilt
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love
  • Make a large drawstring gift bag with the leftover fabric from the quilt (you can follow this gift bag tutorial just supersize it for the size of your folded or rolled quilt).
  • Fold or roll your quilt and tie a ribbon around it with your quilt care instructions & a sweet note.
  • Roll your quilt and gift wrap it with ribbons at two ends to make it look like a giant sweet.
  • Sneak into their home and lay it out on the bed with a card on the pillow.
rolled quilt with gift card
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

Sending Quilt Gifts

If you can’t be there to give your quilt to your recipient in person you can still use most of the gift wrap suggestions above.

One thing I do often for mailing quilts is to vacuum pack them to make the dimensions smaller which often lowers the postage cost. If I do this I usually go with option one from the wrapping options above and place the vacuum-packed quilt in a big fabric drawstring bag with instructions about how to open the vacuum pack. This way even though the vacuum pack itself isn’t attractive at least the gift bag still makes the gift look appealing and thoughtful.

A Gift Giving Mindset

Apart from preparing and presenting your quilt to give away one of the things I see so many quilters struggle with is actually mentally giving that quilt away.

So many quilters have expectations about how their quilts should be received and used which can add stress and strain to relationships that aren’t necessary.

One thing I want to stress is that a gift is not really a gift if there are conditions attached. Once you hand that quilt over you can’t dictate to the recipient what they do with it. If you aren’t okay with that you probably shouldn’t be giving quilts as gifts.

Below are some thoughts that I hope will be helpful in mentally preparing you to truly give that quilt to your recipient.

Non-Quilter Lack of Knowledge is not Intentional

Remember that non-quilters do not understand how much fabric costs or how long quilts take to make.

Don’t expect them to take on the burden of that cost and time. They are receiving a ‘blanket’ for use – not the time and money you spent to make it.

One disappointment I hear from many quilters gifting quilts – especially when they send quilts long distances to someone who lives in another town – is that they didn’t get a thank you.

I hate to say it, but if the person you are giving your quilt to doesn’t generally send thank you cards for the gifts you send them, the fact that it is a quilt is not going to make them change their ways.

Non-quilters just aren’t in the club. They don’t get it and it’s not their fault.

Some quilt recipients will absolutely understand that it must have taken you a lot of time and effort and they will appreciate and cherish your gift the more for that, but many won’t and that is okay.

For the ones who do understand the time and effort I find they are the ones least inclined to actually use the quilt every day and I need to encourage them to relax about it and snuggle it!

The Act of Quilting is your Gift to Yourself

Try to remember that quilting is your hobby for a reason.

You love making or you love playing with fabric – or both. So you are getting value from the process of quilt making no matter what happens to the quilt once it’s finished.

So if you are thinking about the amount of time and money you spent making the quilt and then getting upset because your recipient lets their dog sleep on it try to remember the relaxation, creative energy and feeling of accomplishment you got from making the quilt in the first places. That is what your time and money paid for.

We don’t always get it Right

As much as we might think we know the person we are making a quilt for we are all human and we can’t all be right all of the time.

We may have asked them their favorite colors or favorite animals or themes or what have you, and based our fabric choices and quilt pattern on that – but that doesn’t mean the recipient will necessarily love it as much as we want them too.

I hate to break it to you but there are even some folk out there in the world who just don’t like quilts at all…I know hard to believe but it’s true!

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – this is true of quilts too.

Quilts are generally fairly large items of home decor and if the quilt your friend or family member got from you isn’t to their taste it needs to be okay if they fold it and put it in the cupboard or even gift it to someone else who would appreciate it more.

I know that can be a tough pill to swallow – but again – remember how much you loved making it and try to detach yourself from what happens to it later.

Your Quilt will have it’s own Life

Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

Once it is made that quilt will have it’s own life and you need to let it live it.

[the photo above is my Framed Scraps Quilt – a quilt I gave to charity – no idea where it is now!].

Much like our children, when we send our quilts out into the world we need to accept that we can’t control what happens to them after.

This is one of the reasons that I encourage you to label your quilts before you give them away. That way no matter what happens to them there is a history attached to them that explains that you made it, when & where, and depending on how extensive your label is, perhaps even why you made it and for whom.

For quilt historians that is all key information. Even if you don’t think a historian will ever be interested in your quilts you just never know! And future generations of your family may also be interested in this information as part of your family’s history too.

If you are having trouble letting go of your quilt and letting it live it’s quilty life, a label also signals to the receiver that this is a personalized special gift and might make them less likely to give it away themselves.

I hope this post gave you some fun ideas for giving your quilts and helped you release some of the expectations that cause so many quilters so much angst.

Happy Quilting & Happy Gift Giving!

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