Family Heirloom Quilt is Made with Love


Learn a unique technique for adding family photos to your quilts to hand down through generations of your family.

I am certainly not the best person to write this particular article, because it isn’t about me or even a project that I created.  This story is about a long time fan that created a one of a kind family heirloom quilt.

Through tons of love and time and technology, a daughter put this quilt together to warm and heal the heart of her father who had recently lost his wife.

I thought the quilt was a lovely symbol of love and family and asked if I could share it with all of you.  Obviously my wish was granted and I have enough information to give you an idea about how this quilt was put together so that if you are interested, you can put one together for your family.

Materials List:

  • Fabrics of your choice
  • Family photos
  • Quilt batting density of your choice
  • Photo scanner
  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Printable fabric sheets
  • Fons & Porter pieced block letter instructions

You might want to check our article “How to Make a Sampler Quilt” and even take a look through the different block designs and use some of them in your heirloom quilt.  There are a whole lot of instructions on how to piece everything together and put the quilt together in the articles in our quilting section.

Basic Instructions:
1.  According to our quilt maker, she started by determining what her design would be, how many photos she would need and what fabrics she wanted to use for the quilt.


2. With a layout in mind, use template plastic to cut the shapes out for your non-photo blocks and stitch those together.  (Remember, the blocks shouldn’t be any larger than the size available for your photo blocks through your printer.)


3. For the photo blocks, scan your family photos into your computer. It doesn’t matter if they are a little discolored or too small because you can use your computer (yay technology!) to fix just about anything.


Use your photo manager to crop and size the photos, brighten the colors, etc. to make them as bright and clear as you can.  Sometimes with older photos you need to take a bit of the yellow out to get back to the original colors.


4. Print the photos onto the printable fabric sheets purchased from your neighborhood fabric store.  Follow the instructions on the packaging for specifics on printer settings and dry time.


5. If you plan on adding lettering, you might consider using the guide our quilter used.  Her letters were from Fons and Porter’s pieced block lettering instructions.


6. There is even a bit of appliqué and embroidery on this quilt.  What a perfect opportunity to make a personal creation using all your talents!  You can learn about appliqué by checking out our “Stamp Basket” quilt block article.

Once you have all of your blocks created, you can follow along in the instructions for the Sampler Quilt to put the quilt top together.  It will explain how to layer your quilt back, batting and top, how to quilt, and how to bind.

Many thanks to one of our longtime fans for allowing us to share her lovely family heirloom quilt.  The quilt is now forever with her father, may he rest peacefully, and the photos will be their memories.



  1. Bonnie Goehring says

    Dear Shari, I must confess that I have note been on the web site in quite a while. Working 40 hours a week does take up quite a bit of my time and it seems like I am always involved in working on some kine of project for the residents at the nursing home, where I have been working since my father’s passing. I started as a volunteer when he was a resident, after my mom so unexpectedly died before him. I am pleased that you still have the story about his quilt on your website!! I thought after all this time and the changes that it would probably be gone! It was nice to see it again and it brought a tear to my eye. Thank you again for such a nice write up!!! Sincerely, Bonnie Goehring, Room by Room fan from Poland, Ohio

    • Shari Hiller says

      Bonnie, it’s very nice to hear from you. I’m glad you took the time to visit. What types of projects have you been doing at the nursing home, anything to share with our visitors? by the way, I wouldn’t take the quilt story down, it’s a great project and touches many hearts!

      • Bonnie Goehring says

        Dear Shari, I just now saw your reply! Thank you for your sentiment regarding the quilt!
        My last big project for the nursing home was making 3-D flowers for Mother’s Day that the ladies could wear in their hair. I had a friend help me and we had 3 machines stitching in her basement, mine and 2 of hers. It was sew much fun!

  2. Bonnie Goehring says

    Hi Shari!! I have now joined the ranks of official senior citizen, so i have cut down my work week to 32 hours. Still need the benefits, mainly health insurance, not eligible for Medicare yet. I have more time to do the fun things, sewing, crafting, and checking on my favorite websites. The changes are so nice on this one!!!
    Especially the printer friendly articles. By the way, it was nice to be able to reminisce about the quilt I made for my father. Can’t believe it’s almost 7 years since he passed. Miss him lots!! Hope you had a great mothers day!! and that your family is doing well!! Bonnie

    • Shari Hiller says

      Hi Bonnie! My goodness, so nice to hear from you and so sorry it took so long for me to reply. I’ve been spending more time working (doing design projects) and much less time sitting at the computer! I’m happy you have more time for the fun things in life – I’m about ready to cut my hours down and make another quilt!! If you decide to do more quilting, send along some photos! Great to hear from you!

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