The gateway drug of quilting is the baby quilt tutorial. Once you try one of these easy, itty-bitty marvels, you'll be hooked, and small pieces of fabric will begin stacking up all over your house. This handsome quilt is just one of eight tutorials in our modern, baby boy nursery series, sponsored by our good friends at Michael Miller Fabrics and created using their new Color Story concept. Designer Alicia Thommas picked out the best and the brightest of the bold geometrics in our chosen Citron-Gray Color Story. With names like, Feeling Groovy, Play Stripe and Disco Dot... you know it's going to be a fun tutorial. We added a custom monogram to the bottom right corner square, which personalizes the project and will make it a cherished keepsake. However, first it has to be dragged around the house for a few years, cried into, and cuddled with; only then can it be a real keepsake.
This quilt finishes at 40" x 40". Our binding is wider that what is traditional, because it was sized to take advantage of the design of the Gray Quarter Dot Fabric; we wanted one full dot to show on each side.
Michael Miller's Color Story concept combines hues that consistently work so well together, they create their own ambience, their own feeling... their own story . These fabric color pairings are also currently prominent in other areas of fashion, interior style and pop culture: Citron-Gray, Aqua-Red, Cocoa-Berry, It's a Boy Thing, It's a Girl Thing, Lagoon, Orchid-Gray, Retro, Rouge et Noir, Sorbet and Urban Grit .
Like good friends who hang together over time, Michael Miller's eleven Color Story pals will evolve from one release to another. Their stories will update and build momentum as color trends evolve, but their compatibility will remain. You'll be able to add new fabrics within the same Color Story , knowing they'll fit in and work well together.
For more baby projects, take a look at our original Shower Power Baby Gifts.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome DC2011)
- Clear View Quilting Foot and Guide Set (optional)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- PRINT fabric for the QUILT FRONT: ½ yard EACH of SEVEN 44-45" wide fabrics; we used the following seven designs from the Citron-Gray Color Story by Michael Miller Fabrics: Sunny Quarter Dot, Citron Stitch Petal, Gray Huevos, Citron Play Stripe, Citron Tiny Gingham, Citron Feeling Groovy, and Charcoal Disco Dot
- PRINT fabric for the QUILT BACK: 1¼ yards of 44-45" wide fabric; we used Citron Feeling Groovy from the Citron-Gray Color Story by Michael Miller Fabrics
- PRINT fabric for the QUILT BINDING: ½ yard of 44-45" wide fabric; we used Gray Quarter Dot from the Citron-Gray Color Story by Michael Miller Fabrics
- SOLID fabric for the front and back: 2 yards of 44-45" wide fabric; we used Blanca-White Cotton Sheeting by Michael Miller Fabrics
- Baby Quilt size lightweight batting (at least a 40" x 40" square); we used Warm & Natural Needled Cotton Batting from The Warm Company
- All purpose thread
- Cotton quilting thread (optional)
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Tape measure
- Straight pins
Where to Buy
Michael Miller Fabrics recommends the following online retailers as great places to shop for and buy the beautiful fabrics within the Citron-Gray Color Story as well as many other Michael Miller collections:
Hancock's of Paducah: 10% discount on Michael Miller Citron-Gray Color Story fabric. Use promo code: Citrongrey
NOTE: Quilting is all about personal choice. We created our Baby Boy Quilt to include all our Michael Miller Citron-Gray favorites, and we've listed these cuts below so you can recreate the exact design. Everything is also broken out in groups so you can select and cut your own fabrics. As with all our tutorials, we recommend reading through all the instructions once before you dive in.
For the QUILT FRONT, cut the following:
- TWELVE 5½ x 5½" print squares (or 11 printed and 1 solid if you choose to add a monogrammed square as we did). Our sample cuts were as follows: 3 Sunny Quarter Dot, 4 Gray Huevos, 4 Citron Tiny Gingham, 1 Blanca White Sheeting.
- TWELVE 5½" wide x 12½" high print rectangles. Our sample cuts were as follows: 3 Citron Stitch Petal, 3 Citron Play Stripe, 3 Citron Feeling Groovy, 3 Charcoal Disco Dot.
- EIGHTEEN 5½" x 2½" solid strips. Our sample cuts were all in the Blanca White Sheeting.
- FIVE 40" x 2½" solid strips. Our sample cuts were all in the Blanca White Sheeting.
For the QUILT BACK, cut the following:
- ONE 5½" wide x 40" high print rectangle. Our sample cut was Citron Feeling Groovy.
- ONE 28½" wide x 40" high solid rectangle. Our sample cut was Blanca White Sheeting.
- ONE 7½" wide x 40" high solid rectangle. Our sample cut was Blanca White Sheeting.
For the QUILT BINDING, cut the following:
- FOUR 3" x 41" print strips. Our sample cuts were all Gray Quarter Dot.
Finally, cut the lightweight batting into a 40" x 40" square.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- We added a monogram to the bottom right corner square of our quilt. This matches the monogram on our Crib Bumpers. As with the bumper project, this is totally optional, but totally cool as well. As we mentioned above, a monogram adds a wonderful bit of personalization and makes the quilt a definite keepsake.
- If you choose this option, as noted above, cut one of the twelve 5½ x 5½" squares from a solid fabric, and be sure to correctly size and position the monogram in this square. Our Quilt monogram is about half the size of our Bumper monogram and is positioned on the bottom right corner of its square.
- If you are new to monogramming, check out perhaps it's time for a shopping trip.
Creating the individual front patchwork panels
NOTE: Paying special attention to seam allowances is important in every project, but is essential in quilting, because your seams need to match up perfectly (quilters call this ‘perfect points'). Therefore, you need to be very careful to make sure all allowances are consistent. For this project ALL our seam allowances are ¼". If you are brand new to patchwork, check out our tutorial on quilting basics.
- Using our diagram above as your guide, assemble the SIX vertical patchwork panels for the quilt front. To do this, it helps to sort out the fabric cuts needed for each panel and stack them in the order to be sewn. For example, for the outside left panel in our sample we collected our seven cuts in the following order:
5½" x 5½" Citron Tiny Gingham Square
5½" x 2½" solid white strip
5½" x 12½" Citron Play Stripe rectangle
5½" x 2½" solid white strip
5½" by 5½" Gray Huevos Square
5½" x 2½" solid white strip
5½" x 12½" Feeling Groovy rectangle
- Take the first pair (Tiny Citron Square and the solid white strip) and pin them right sides together along one 5½" side. Stitch together (remember - all seams are ¼"). Press the finished seam open.
- Pin the next cut in the sequence (Citron Play Stripe rectangle) right sides together with the remaining 5½" raw edge of the 5½" x 2½" strip. Stitch together and press the seam open.
- Pin the next cut in the sequence (another solid 5½" x 2½" strip) right sides together with the remaining 5½" raw edge of the Play Strip rectangle. Stitch together and press the seam open.
- I bet you are starting to see a pattern here, right? Continue adding one cut at a time until you have assembled all seven pieces. You should have six ¼" seams and the top and bottom edges should be raw.
- Follow these same steps to create the remaining five vertical panels.
Assembling the front patchwork vertical panels
- Find your five 2½" x 40" strips. These go between the vertical patchwork panels to create the quilt front.
- Working from left to right, lay the first solid strip, right sides together, along the RIGHT 40" edge of the first vertical patchwork panel, matching the raw edges. Pin in place. Don't worry is there is a bit of excess top to bottom, you can trim everyting flush later.
- Stitch, using a ¼" seam allowance. Press the seam open.
- Align the remaining raw edge of the solid strip you just stitched with the LEFT raw edge of the next vertical patchwork panel in the sequence, right sides together. Pin and stitch in place.
NOTE: As you pin, be sure to carefully line up the solid horizontal strips (the short white strips in our sample). As you can see in the diagram at the top of these instructions, there is a solid strip that should form through the middle of the quilt. There are also other horizontal strips that should align on an every-other-panel basis. To check this, you can pin first, then gently open up your pinned seam and use your see-through ruler to confirm the strips are horizontally aligned.
- Continue in this manner until all five narrow solid strips are stitched in place between the six vertical patchwork panels. The extreme left and right sides are still raw edges.
- Trim the quilt front if need be so top and bottom edges are flush.
Assembling the back panels
- The back of the quilt is simply three pieces sewn together. Find the 5½" wide x 40" high print rectangle (Citron Feeling Groovy in our sample) as well as the 28½" x 40" and 7½" x 40" solid rectangles (Blanca White Sheeting in our sample).
- With right sides together, pin a solid rectangle to either side of the print rectangle along the 40" sides: the large solid rectangle is on the left and the small solid rectangle is on the right (see the diagram at the very top to confirm).
- Stitch both sides together with our standard ¼" seam allowance. Press both seam allowances open.
Layering to make a quilt sandwich
- Place the assembled quilt back right side down and flat on your work surface. Layer the batting on top of the back. Align all four raw edges of both layers.
- Place the assembled quilt front on top of the batting, right side up. Using the top and bottom edges as your guide, line up the vertical seams of the back print print rectangle with the appropriate corresponding seams of the front patchwork panel.
- Pin through all five solid vertical strips from top to bottom, spacing the pins about every 5"- 6", and making sure they are exactly ¼" from seams. The pins represent where the stitching will go when you quilt the layers together. Also, the heads of the pins should be facing towards the bottom edge of the quilt. This will ensure easy removal as you are quilting the layers together.
- When you get to the front print panel that corresponds with the back print panel, pin from top to bottom on the front, then flip that section of the quilt over to make sure that the back side of the pin is also ¼" from the back seam. When quilting, it's always a good practice to check now and then to make sure the back of the quilt is lining up with the front.
NOTE: You could also use a fabric pen or pencil (one that will FOR SURE easily erase with water or air exposure; test a sample first) to draw a line to follow that is ¼" from each seam line. Or, you could use a cool foot with lots of helpful markings, like Janome's Clear View Quilting Foot & Guide Set.
- Place cotton quilting thread in the machine, and wind a bobbin to match the backing fabric. We used white thread in the top and the bobbin for our sample.
- Following the lines of pins you have created (or your drawn lines or your presser foot markings), topstitch ¼" from each seam on the solid vertical strips. Stitch from the top to the bottom of the quilt each time, removing pins as you stitch. You are stitching through all three layers: the quilt front, the batting and the quilt back.
- After sewing both of these ¼"-from-the-seam stitch lines, sew a third quilting stitch line through the exact center of each solid vertical strip - right in between the two lines of stitching you just finished.
- To keep this line straight and centered, you can take the quilt from your machine, back to your work table, and draw the line with your fabric pen or pencil and a see-through ruler. If you are more experienced, you can use a marking on your presser foot to keep yourself aligned. As with the original lines, again stitch from the top of the quilt to the bottom.
- When finished, you should have three lines of quilting stitches in each of the five solid vertical strips.
- Repeat this same technique to create three lines of stitching in each of the three HORIZONTAL bands. The difference here is that ONLY the very center band goes all the way across. The other two bands require that you stop your seam line on either side of the long rectangles. In other words, you are only stitching within the solid portion (the white in our sample) of the horizontal band. (Except on the back -- the horizontal stitching does go through that printed panel, but that's okay.) Our horizontal quilting stitches stop exactly when they meet the vertical quilting stitch line (see below).
Creating and attaching the binding
- If necessary, trim the quilt layers so they are flush all the way around.
- Find the four 3" x 41" print strips. Pin them together end to end (the 3" ends) to create one long strip. Stitch together and press all seams open.
- Create and attach the quilt binding, using your favorite edge binding technique or one of ours:
Project Concept: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Gregory Dickson