Friday, April 18, 2014

How to Make the Quickest Cutest Baby Quilt Ever


As promised here is my tutorial for a quick and easy baby quilt - perfect for beginners or sewists who don't like to quilt since there's no piecing or quilting involved.  

This is a lengthy post with tons of pictures.  I learn best when I have as many pictures of each step as possible.  So I wanted to make sure my tutorial had enough pictures that someone who never did this could understand the directions from the pictures.

This baby quilt really comes down to 3 simple steps - cut fabric to size desired, make a binding, and then attach the binding.  Voila! You are done.  It may take you longer to decide which fabrics to use for the quilt and binding then it does to sew it up.

Anyways, on to the nitty gritty...

Materials Needed:

  • 1-1/4 yards double-sided quilted fabric
  • 3/8 yard cotton quilting fabric for binding
  • matching thread


Tools Needed:

  • sewing pins
  • scissors/rotary cutter
  • sewing machine
  • iron


Double-sided quilted fabric or double-face quilted fabric is just 2 pieces of fabric and a layer of batting that have been quilted at the factory for you.  It typically runs about $17-$20 a yard - that may seem pricey but when regular quilting fabric is usually at least $10 a yard and you would need 2 pieces plus a piece of batting and then you would have to quilt it yourself you can see that the double-sided stuff is actually a bit of a bargain.  

You can find similar fabric at Joann's or fabric.com or I bought mine from hawthornethreads.com.


After you gather up your materials we need to prepare your fabric.



Step One:  When the fabric comes from the store the cuts on the ends are usually not straight or square.  You'll need to cut a straight edge on the first side.  I used my rotary cutter and a ruler but you could also do this by marking a straight line with a ruler and a pen and then cutting with your scissors.



Step Two:  After you have squared up on one side you can measure the fabric to your desired length and cut off the excess.  I wanted my quilt to be approximately square so since the width of the fabric was about 42 inches I cut the length to the same 42 inches.



Step Three:  Cut off the selvages .  The selvages are the prefinished edges that keep the fabric from unraveling.  Since we are finishing the edge with a binding we don't want or need these.  Do this on both sides of your quilt.

Now we are going to make your binding.  



Step Four:  Fold your binding fabric in half so the selvage edges are touching.  You may need to iron if your fabric has a lot of creases or is wrinkled.  Then measure and cut 5 strips each 2-1/2 inches wide.  



Step Five:  Cut off those selvages on each end of your strips.



Step Six:  Match up the short ends of the strips right side together and then sew them all together so you have one long strip.  Make sure that the seams all face the same way.  I used white thread because it was already in my machine, I always have a ton of it on hand, and these seams won't show anyways.  For stitch length I just go with a small 2.2 which is the default length when I turn on my machine.



Step Seven:  Now take your really long strip over to the ironing board.  Fold it in half lengthwise and press it in place.

Now that your binding is done we are going to attach it to the quilt.



Step Eight:  Starting in the middle of one side of the quilt you are going to pin the raw or cut edge of the binding along the cut outside edge of your quilt.  I pin about every 5-6 inches but you can put in more or less pins to your liking.  When you start your binding leave about 3-4 inches extra length flapping at the top.



Step Nine:  The corners are the trickiest part of the binding but once you do it a few times it becomes second nature.  As you get to the corner you lay the fabric all the way down the length of the side till it is hanging off.  Then you fold it to the right make a 90 degree angle.  Use your fingernail to make a nice crease on the angle.



Step Ten:  Put one finger at the top of the little triangle you just made and then fold the binding back over itself.  You will end up with a little triangle-shaped flap of fabric kind of hiding under the binding.  



Step Eleven:  Now pin down that little flap and keep pinning the binding all the way around the quilt doing the little flap at each corner.



Step Twelve:  When you get back around to the first side of your quilt your are going to leave a few inches of extra length on your binding.  You want the binding to overlap itself about 6 inches or so for now.  



Step Thirteen:  You are going to start sewing the binding to the quilt about 3-4 inches down from the end.  You want a scant 1/4 inch seam.  Again I used white thread to do this because this seam is not going to show at all.



Step Fourteen:  When you get close to your corner you want to remove the pin holding down your flap and fold the flap back.



Step Fifteen:  Now keep sewing stopping where the crease for the 90 degree line is located.  Lock your stitches and pull the quilt out from the needle.  You can either cut the thread or not.



Step Sixteen:  Turn your quilt 90 degrees so your first seam is now perpendicular to the machine.  Now fold the flap up and start sewing the next side.  Do this at each corner.



Step Seventeen:  Finish sewing all the way around the quilt leaving a gap of about 6-8 inches where the binding is not attached to the quilt.



Step Eighteen:  You want to make the ends of the binding meet as if they were already sewn together.  Make a crease with your fingernail where the seam should go.  Then pin the 2 ends together exactly as they were in place.



Step Nineteen:  Pull the pinned binding over to your needle and sew a seam on the crease you just made.  I like to go back and forth on the seam to make sure it is nice and secure.



Step Twenty:  After you test that your binding fits perfectly along the side of the quilt - no bulges, not too loose, just perfect like the seam was always there perfect - then you cut off the excess binding.  You may see on other tutorials that different people join the ends together different ways.  I don't think any is right or wrong just use the method you find best.



Step Twenty One:  Now finish sewing your seam starting where you left off at the top and continuing to where you first began.



Step Twenty Two:  Press the binding from the top side of the quilt out - by top side I mean the side that you sewed the binding onto.  Do this all the way around the quilt getting as close as you can to the corners but not actually pressing the corners yet.



Step Twenty Three:  Now turn your quilt over and press the binding into place on the bottom.  You want to make sure that your binding is covering up the seam that you made when sewing it to the top of the quilt.  This time you are going to press the corners.  Do the corner in 2 steps - first it will just be like in the picture above, then when you fold over the adjacent side it will make a nice mitered corner.  



Step Twenty Four:  Flip your quilt back over to the top side and pin if needed to make sure the binding stays in place while you sew the top stitching.  I always pin at least my corners and usually a couple of places along the sides just to make sure I am covering up that initial stitch line.  You are going to sew in the ditch or right next to where the binding meets the quilt.  This is where you are going to want to have a matching thread - I used white on the top and green in my bobbin.  You could use white for both or green for both but if your stitching is not perfect than contrasting thread really stands out.  I also like to lengthen my stitches for this top stitching to match the length of the quilting stitches.  It just makes the stitching blend in that much better.  On my machine I use a length of 3.5.  Sew your seam all the way around your quilt pivoting at each corner.



TaDa!!!  Your cutest quickest ever quilt is done!!!  These make the nicest handmade baby gift.  Especially if you can match your fabrics to the baby mama's theme or colors.  You could even make matching burp cloths or bibs out of the same materials just by cutting the fabric to shape.  



If anyone has any questions or tips please feel free to leave them in the comments and I'll try to address them as quickly as possible.

I'd love to see your projects if anyone makes a quilt using this tutorial.

~ Gold Shoe Girl ~

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