- Guests can’t mess up the squares - writing on the wrong side of the fabric, writing in the seam allowance, writing on top of the tape you put on there to keep them from writing in the seam allowance (!) are avoided if you have the quilt made in advance.
- Less worry about markers bleeding - sometimes the marker can bleed onto the square beneath it, if people are writing on a stack of the unfinished squares – or onto the table cloth beneath the fabric…With a finished quilt, I have never known a marker to bleed through the batting onto to the back of the quilt. (Let me know if you have!)
- Time - It’s less work over all to just make the completed quilt. It takes time to prep all the squares for signing, then find them all after the wedding, and then force yourself to sew them into a quilt. I get 2-3 requests a year to finish quilts for couples who have unsewn squares from their wedding 2-3 years ago! So, if you finish the quilt in advance, it can be really convenient for you and the happy couple.
- Easy to write on - Ok, it’s pretty easy to write on the unsewn squares. But it’s also really easy to write on a finished quilt. My favorite method, which isn’t as fancy for display, but very practical and still pretty – is just to lay the quilt over a table! I have also known people to hang the quilts on walls or on a display board (as pictured here).
- Guests all sign in one area – or sign in the wrong areas. You can tape up the areas you want to keep unsigned like in the above example – you can even use pretty washi or decorative tape – most masking tape works great for this, and it comes in all colors and designs. However, you might have someone check to make sure that the guests aren’t all signing in one corner, etc. A simple readjustment during the reception can help with that!
- Weddings are cray-zay! Guests sign with the wrong pen, spill wine on the quilt, pen explodes, someone draws a lewd picture on your quilt. Yes, I have personal experience with all of the above. But, these issues aren’t incredibly common. Having a quilt host – much like many weddings have a person host the guestbook – can help prevent a lot. Also, having the blocks near the entrance – i.e. away from the dance floor/bar – also goes a long way! If you do have disasters, you can mark over any mistakes with your signature pens, like fixing a regrettable tattoo. You might even have some artistic friends who can make that mistake truly awesome! You can also patch over mistakes with fabric, or use a bleach or stain pen to get stains out. I have gotten a lot of stains out of quilts – but be sure to do all stain removal before you put that quilt in the dryer!
- Quilts are bulky: If you are making a queen size quilt and/or flying across the world for your destination wedding, a ziplock baggie full of squares is a lot either to drag along than a quilt.
- Time: Most folks don’t have piles of free time for spare sewing during wedding planning. While it is less work overall to make the quilt in advance..umm..there was no way I was going to get our signature quilt done in time for our wedding, so I just brought the squares, and had plenty of time to pick out the pattern after the wedding.
Another great option is to bring the unquilted top to the wedding – then if there are problems, you can pull out the offending square and sew in a new one, which is a tricky bit of sewing surgery, but it’s something a rock n roll quilter like myself has done a few times before.
I think the main thing to consider is your personality – will your head explode if someone draws a penis on your quilt or a baby grabs the marker and goes to town? Or does that sounds like a hilarious memory you want captured forever? The quirky mistakes and silly drawings on my quilt make me laugh every time I see them, so it just depends on your vision.
Questions? Ask away!