When my daughter was getting ready for her Bat Mitzvah she was very busy with the preparation of the Torah reading which took almost a year to learn. While she was proud of herself for learning how to read from the Torah, I sensed that she needed to express her artistic side as well as her spiritual side at her Bat Mitzvah – we needed a project. After lots of thinking we came up with the idea of doing a Bat Mitzvah quilt.
First we found a local artist who could make quilts and was happy to work with us on this project. Here is what we did.
We went on-line to see different types and colors of fabric and my daughter picked her favorite patterns and sent the names and codes to the quilter.
Next we decided how large we wanted to make the quilt and how many people we wanted to help in decorating the squares. The artist then wrote out a diagram for us so we could see what the finished quilt was going to look like. We decided to make a quilt that would hang on the wall instead of covering the bed so that it would last longer and not get dirty.
Then we had the artist prepare the squares of material for us ahead of time. She did this on cream colored material. We brought the squares home and invited 25 of my daughter’s best friends to come and help create the quilt. I bought fabric markers, fabric paint, and stencils that matched well with the colors of fabric that my daughter chose. The girls needed some help with what designs to draw so I cut out pictures and decorations from magazines and from the Internet that they could copy (flowers, birds, trees, hearts, etc).
Another idea we incorporated was to take photos of my daughter and put them into the quilt. We bought pre-treated fabric sheets (like iron-on transfers) that are made for your printer. You can buy them at Michael’s or other major craft stores. Read the directions carefully so you get it right the first time. We scanned the photos into the computer and printed them out on the transfers and the quilter ironed them on for us. We interspersed the pictures of my daughter with the squares made by her friends. It is important to mention that not all of the transfers turned out as bright and clear as we wanted. I recommend buying double the amount that you need as you might have to make several attempts to get this right.
When we finished making all our squares the quilt artist took all the squares, and sewed them together into a quilt with the fabric my daughter had chosen. She also added some puffy hearts in the corners of the quilt which was a great effect and she created a fantastic quilt. We hung it up at the Bat Mitzvah party and all the girls got to see it and find the square they made for my daughter. Now the Bat Mitzvah quilt hangs proudly on her wall. She will treasure it for a lifetime!
In order to inject some Jewish meaning into the project here are a few ideas;
o Write the name of the girl’s parsha (Torah Portion) on one of the squares and her name in Hebrew
o Add the date of the Bat Mitzvah
o Write the word “Bat Mitzvah” or “Mazal Tov”
o Use Jewish symbols such as the Magen David, Menorah, Chai or Hamsa
o Use Jewish sayings in Hebrew or English that have meaning to your daughter
Most importantly – have fun with your daughter. Make sure her Bat Mitzvah is the most special occasion in her young life.