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 made up of bright, bold geometrics in a gender neutral citron yellow and warm gray color palette. We added a custom monogram to the bottom right corner square, which personalizes the project and makes 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.
Quilting is all about personal choice. We've created a color-block template below to allow you to follow our design, inserting your own favorite fabrics... or, of course, the favorite fabrics of baby-to-be (or Mom-and-Dad-to-be). We used SIX different prints for the main patchwork, ONE coordinating print that is featured both on the front as well as for the accent stripe on the back, ONE coordinating solid for the back panel and the front framework (sashing), and ONE additional coordinating print for the binding.
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 or twice before you dive in.
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 polka dot fabric; we wanted one full dot to show on each side. It's your choice to leave the current binding width or narrow the width to something more traditional.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot; you'll need a machine with monograming functionality if you wish to add the corner personalization
- Quarter Inch Seam foot; optional but helpful as all seams allowances are ¼"
Fabric and Other Supplies
- For the QUILT FRONT: ½ yard EACH of SIX 44"+ wide quilting weight cottons; #1-6 in the template below
- For the QUILT FRONT AND THE ACCENT STRIPE ON THE QUILT BACK: 1¾ yards of ONE 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton print; #7 in the template below
- For the QUILT BINDING: ½ yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton print; #8 in the template below
- For the QUILT BACK AND FRONT FRAMEWORK (SASHING): 2 yards of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton solid; #9 in the template below
- Baby Quilt size cotton quilt batting (you need a minmum 40" x 40" square)
- All purpose thread
- 50wt cotton quilting thread to best match the solid fabric (#9); optional
- Bobbin thread to best match the solid fabric (#9); optional
- See-through ruler
- Tape measure
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
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 squares of Fabric #1, 4 squares of Fabric #3, 4 squares of Fabric #5, 1 square of Fabric #9.
- TWELVE 5½" wide x 12½" high print rectangles. Our sample cuts were as follows: 3 rectangles of Fabric #2, 3 rectangles of Fabric #4, 3 rectangles of Fabric #7, 3 rectangles of Fabric #6.
- EIGHTEEN 5½" x 2½" solid strips. Our sample cuts were all in Fabric #9.
- FIVE 40" x 2½" solid strips. Our sample cuts were all in the Fabric #9.
For the QUILT BACK, cut the following:
- ONE 5½" wide x 40" high print rectangle. Our sample cut was Fabric #7.
- ONE 28½" wide x 40" high solid rectangle. Our sample cut was Fabric #9.
- ONE 7½" wide x 40" high solid rectangle. Our sample cut was Fabric #9.
For the QUILT BINDING, cut the following:
- FOUR 3" x 41" print strips. Our sample cuts were all Fabric #8.
NOTE: We used straight cuts, not bias cuts, fussy cutting to center the 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 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 the solid fabric, and be sure to correctly size and position the monogram in this square. Our Quilt monogram is approximately 2" and is positioned on the bottom right corner of its square. Remember to leave enough room to the right side and the bottom to allow for the binding.
NOTE: Because this is essentially a quilting project, we are not going into any additional detail on the monogramming. Your machine manual should have all the information you need to add this embellishment.
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. 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 five-part quilting basics tutorial series, which starts here.
- 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" Fabric #5
5½" x 2½" Fabric #9
5½" x 12½" Fabric #4
5½" x 2½" Fabric #9
5½" by 5½" Fabric #3
5½" x 2½" Fabric #9
5½" x 12½" Fabric #7
- Take the first pair (Fabric #5 square and the Solid Strip Fabric #9) and pin them right sides together along one 5½" side. Stitch together (remember - all seams are ¼"). Press the seam allowance open.
- Pin the next cut in the sequence (Fabric #4 rectangle) right sides together with the remaining 5½" raw edge of the sewn-in-place 5½" x 2½" strip. Stitch together and press the seam allowance open.
- Pin the next cut in the sequence (another solid 5½" x 2½" Fabric #9 strip) right sides together with the remaining 5½" raw edge of the Fabric #4 rectangle. Stitch together and press the seam allowance open.
- I bet you're 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" sashing 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 will trim everything flush later.
- Stitch, using a ¼" seam allowance. Press the seam allowance 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 diagrams at the top of these instructions, there is a solid horizontal stripe 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 sashing 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 (Fabric #7 in our sample) as well as the 28½" x 40" and 7½" x 40" solid rectangles (both Fabric #9 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 diagrams at the very top to confirm).
- Stitch both sides together with a 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 accent print stripe 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: Rather than pins, you could use a fabric pen or pencil to draw lines to follow that are ¼" from each seam line. As always when working on the right side of your fabric, make sure your marking tool is one that will wipe away easily or will vanish with exposure to the air or the heat of an iron. You could also use a presser foot with helpful markings, guidelines or a flange, like Janome's Clear View Quilting Foot & Guide Set. In this case, your pinning could be more random or you could thread baste the layers together
- Thread the machine with cotton quilting thread in the top and bobbin thread to match the backing in the bobbin. If you've used a more unusal color for your solid, wind the bobbin with the matching cotton quilting thread.
- Following the lines of pins you have created (or your drawn lines or your presser foot markings), quilt ¼" from each seam along 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 quilting 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 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 follow our step-by-step tutorial: Bias Binding: How To Make It & Attach It
Project Concept: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Gregory Dickson