I have been making a lot of baby quilts lately and I thought it would be fun to share a tutorial on how to make one. This is a VERY simple and quick quilt and it would be a great project for beginners (the benefit of using the tutorial rather then winging it is that all the math has already been figured out for you). So here we go…
Supplies - Fabric 1: 1/2 yard (the pink floral in my quilt) - Fabric 2: 1/2 yard (the blue floral in my quilt) - Border Fabric: 1 yard (the grey fabric in my quilt) - Cotton Machine Quilting Thread - Rotary cutter / Cutting Mat / Clear Ruler - Iron / Ironing Board
Tip for Beginners: In this case I pre-washed / ironed my fabric but I often make quilts where I don't pre-wash the fabric. Some quilters don't pre-wash the fabric so that when you wash the quilt for the first time it shrinks and you get more "wrinkling". I use Warm and Natural cotton batting for my quilts which wrinkles plenty even if you pre-wash your fabric. So it is really just personal preference.
Making the Top of the Quilt
1) Square / trim the cut edge of fabric 1 and cut two 5.5 inch strips. From one of the strips cut two 8.5 inch pieces off (making 5.5 x 8.5 inch rectangles), these two pieces will be used to create the bottom row of your quilt.
Tip for Beginners: Any time you are cutting fabric for a quilt you want to be sure to cut off the selvage edges (these are the "uncut" woven edges of the fabric that prevent fraying and occasionally have the brand / name of the fabric printed on them). One of the reasons you would cut these off is that they can break quilting needles.
2) Square / trim the cut edge of fabric 2 and cut two 5.5 inch strips. From one of the strips cut one 8.5 inch piece off (making a 5.5 x 8.5 inch rectangle), this piece will be used to create the bottom row of your quilt.
3) Square / trim the cut edge of your border fabric and cut six 3 inch strips and four 3.5 inch strips. The 3 inch strips will be used to create the grid in the quilt and the 3.5 inch strips will be the edge around the quilt.
4) Time to start piecing! Take one of the strips from fabric 1 and one of the 3 inch border strips. Put the pieces right sides together and sew down the long edge of the fabric using a 1/4 inch seam (assume a 1/4 inch seam unless otherwise stated). Repeat with the remaining one strip from fabric 1 and the two strips from fabric 2 (it is okay that the fabric 1 and 2 strips are shorter then the border strips, just sew to the end of the fabric 1 and 2 strips). Press the seams to the border fabric side on all four pieces.
Here is what your sewn strips should look like.
Tip for Beginners: Many sewing machine feet are actually designed for a 3/8 inch seam instead of a 1/4 inch seam which is okay, your quilt will just end up being slightly smaller if you use a 3/8 inch seam. Also when you sew a quilt you don't have to "reverse / back" stitch when you start and stop sewing. As you piece your quilt you will be sewing over all of your seams with another seam which will keep your stitches from unravelling.
5) Take the longer fabric 1 strip and cut it into four 8.5 inch pieces. Cut the shorter fabric 1 strip into two more 8.5 inch pieces. You should now have six fabric 1 rectangles with border pieces sewn to one side. Repeat with fabric 2.
Tip for Beginners: I like to fold my fabric strips in half so that when I cut my blocks I am cutting two at a time. Just be sure to line up your edges when you fold the fabric.
6) Now it is time to piece the three columns. Put a fabric 1 rectangle right sides together with a fabric 2 rectangle (make sure that the border fabric of the fabric 1 block is lined up against fabric 2 and that the border fabric of the fabric 2 block is lined up against fabric 1 so that when the block is finished it will alternate border, fabric 1, border, fabric 2). Stitch down the longer (the 8.5 inch) side of the block of fabric 1. Repeat one more time so you have a total of two blocks. For the remaining pieces (four times) follow the same steps only stitch down the side of the block with fabric 2 (these blocks will alternate border, fabric 2, border, fabric 1). Now you should have a total of six blocks.
The first block shows how the pieces should be stacked, but you would want to line up all the edges like the second block demonstrates.
Here is what the finished blocks should look like.
Tip for Beginners: When you stitch multiple pieces in a row it is much faster to "chain stitch" them rather then start and stop your thread between each block. To do this you start by sewing you first block, sew to about 1/2 inch from the end of the edge. Get your next block and line it up next to the first block as if the two pieces were one continuous piece of fabric.
Stitch off the edge of the first block and onto the second block.
Repeat the process until all of your blocks are sewn. You will now have a long "chain" of blocks. Clip the thread between each of the blocks.
I promise this tip is a real time saver.
7) Take the two blocks that alternate (border, fabric 1, border, fabric 2) and put them right sides together. Stitch down the 8.5 inch side of the block. Take two of the remaining blocks that alternate (border, fabric 2, border, fabric 1) and put them right side together. Stitch down the 8.5 inch side of the block. Repeat with the remaining two blocks. You should now be left with three "columns" of blocks.
8) Take one of the fabric 1 rectangles from step 2 and sew it to the bottom (border fabric) of one of the columns making sure the keep up the alternating fabric pattern. Repeat with the other fabric 1 rectangle and the fabric 2 rectangle from step 3. Press all your seams towards to the border fabric. Congrats your columns are done.
9) Take one of the remaining 3 inch border strips and put it right sides together with one of the end columns (one of the columns that starts with a fabric 1 block). Stitch down the long side of the column. Repeat with the column that starts with a fabric 2 block. Trim the edges of the border fabric off so that they are in line with the edge of the pieced columns.
10) Stitch the three columns together so that they alternate: column (starting with a fabric 1 block), border, column (starting with a fabric 2 block), border, column (starting with a fabric 1 block). Press the seams towards the border fabric.
11) Almost done piecing the top! Take one of the 3.5 strips and put it right side together along one of the longer sides of the quilt (one of the columns) and stitch. Repeat along the other long side of the quilt. Press seams towards the border fabric.
12) Take one of the 3.5 strips and put it right side together along one of the shorter side of the quilt (going across all three columns) and stitch. Repeat along the other short side of the quilt. Press seams towards the border fabric. Viola! The top is done.
Since this tutorial is starting to get really long I am going to stop here. I will do a second tutorial on how to actually quilt this puppy up. Happy sewing!