While I was in the process of making Madelyn's baby quilt a few of you asked if I would do a tutorial on how to make it.
So...here it is!
I am not a quilter.
Not at all.
But I do like making cute (and easy!) quilts for my kiddos.
This tutorial is for the simplest of all quilts.
It probably has a proper name but I call it a scrappy strip quilt because well...it uses strips of fabric (duh!).
Should we get started?
-fabric scraps or strips of fabric
-a large piece of fabric (or a flat sheet) for the back of the quilt
-cotton batting (I use Warm and Natural)
-scissors, thread, disappearing ink pen, etc.
This is the fun part!
Pick out your fabric and lay out in whatever design/order you like best.
*Tip: The awesome part of strip quilts is that you only need to get small cuts of fabric to make each different strip (or layer) of the quilt. Depending on how big I want each strip to be I usually only get 1/8 to 1/4 of a yard of fabric in each print. You can also use up your fabric scraps as well.
*For this quilt I decided that I wanted each strip to be a different size. For Wesley's strip quilt I made each strip the same size. The possibilities are endless. It's totally up to you!
Create a template (or pattern) for each strip (or layer of your quilt) using poster board.
First you need to decide how big you want each strip of your quilt to be. As I mentioned above I wanted each layer of this quilt to be a different size. If all of your strips will be the same size you will only need to make one pattern. If you want different sized strips (like me) you will need to make a few different sized patterns.
Once you have laid your fabric out in the pattern you like (making each strip approximately the size you would like it to be either by folding or overlapping the different pieces of fabric), lay your piece of poster board next to one of your strips and measure the length of the strip. Then...add 1/2 inch extra to your measurement (to allow for seam allowance) and create a pattern piece out of the poster board. For example...if you are making a strip quilt where each strip will be 4 inches wide then your pattern pieces should be 4 1/2 inches wide to allow for a 1/4 inch seam allowance on both the top and bottom sides. I should also warn you I am horrible at math so hopefully this is making sense.
You will probably have to tape 2 pieces of your poster board together to make the pattern piece long enough. You will want your pattern to be the width (plus 1/2 inch for seam allowance) of the strips you want and a good 4 inches longer than the entire width of your quilt. This will leave lots of extra room for error. For example my baby/toddler quilt was approximately 36" inches wide so I made the pattern at least 4o inches long. So if you want your strips to be 4 inches wide (once sewn) your pattern pieces should be approximately 4 1/2 inches wide by 40 inches long. I hope this is making sense.
Once you have your pattern piece or pieces, trace the pattern onto each strip of fabric with disappearing ink and then cut out.
You should now have all of your strips cut to size (width wise...they still may be different lengths but that is fine for now).
Now take a deep breath...the hardest part (at least for me) is over!
Onto the sewing....well almost.
Before you begin pinning or sewing take all of your strips to the ironing board and press them.
You want to get all the wrinkles out so they lay nice and flat as you pin and sew them together.
Once ironed, lay the last piece of your quilt (the one that will be at the very bottom) on the ground (right side up) and pin the next layer (the second from the bottom of your quilt) onto the top of the bottom layer (right side down). I'm just realizing I totally should have taken a better picture of this to clarify. Basically you want both right sides of the fabric to face each other so when you sew along the seam at the top they will open up to look like the picture below.
Sew the first two strips of your quilt together.
When you take out your pins it should be in the correct order and look like the picture above.
Continue to pin and sew each layer onto the previous one. For example I laid the first 2 quilt pieces right side up on the ground and then pinned the next layer (the hot pink leopard one) right side down on top. Then I sewed along the top and when I took out the pins and opened it up this is what it looked like. I now have 3 layers to my quilt.
Continue pinning and sewing each layer together until you finish your quilt top!
Once your quilt top is finished it should look something like this.
Notice how all of my sides are still different lengths...that is fine for now.
For this quilt I thought it would be extra fun to add Madelyn's name to the front. If you are planning on adding any embellishment or applique to the front of your quilt now is the time to do it!
To make Madelyn's name I used "Steam a Seam" to iron the letters to the front of the quilt and then I did a zig zag stitch around each letter to secure it down and keep it from fraying.
Once the front our your quilt is finished you need to iron down the seams.
Head over to your ironing table and lay the quilt top down so you can see all the seams on the back.
Iron open all of the seams as pictured above.
See how all of the seams are pressed open and laying flat?
This will help your quilt top to lay nice and neat.
Now it's time to assemble to different layers of your quilt.
First lay your backing (the piece of fabric you want to have as the back of your quilt) on the ground right side down. Make sure you smooth it down to get all the wrinkles out. It should be laying very flat along the ground. Oh and be sure you iron this piece of fabric first too!
Next, lay your piece of batting on top of the fabric for the back of the quilt.
*Everyone I talked to about quilting recommends using cotton batting (like the brand Warm and Natural) instead of the big puffy white kind. It is much thinner and apparently holds up better. This is all I have ever used and it has worked great!
Finally, put your quilt top on top of the batting (right side up) for the final layer.
All of your layers should look exactly as they will for your final quilt.
You should have your...
-back layer of fabric right side down (with the pattern facing the floor or carpet)
-your layer of batting
-your quilt top facing right side up (towards you or the ceiling)
Now you need to pin the 3 layers of your quilt together.
Joanns or Michaels sells quilting pins that look like these. They are curved to make it easier to go through all 3 layers but the regular safety pins will work fine too. Also for what it's worth I prefer the larger ones.
When pinning I have heard that you should work from the center of your quilt out. You should also make sure each layer is laying out as flat as possible so you don't get any wrinkles or creases. I usually continue to smooth it out and flatten it as I go along and pin.
Some people pin in a circular pattern, but I prefer to pin going across each row or strip at a time. I try to pin in between the spots I didn't pin on the row before and after. See picture above.
Keep pinning and pinning until your entire quilt is completely pinned together. I always error on the side of over pinning rather than under. This is what will be holding all 3 of your layers together as we start the actual quilting part.
Quilt your quilt!
Since I am not a quilter and the thought of quilting any type of pattern seems way to complicated and time consuming for me I just sew along the seams of each strip (the part where each new print meets). I think the technical term for this is called "sewing in the ditch".
For a strip quilt like this you are basically just sewing straight lines across your quult which will serve to hold all 3 layers together.
*It is important that you actually do some sort of quilting when making a quilt otherwise the batting will get all funky over time. So...don't skip this step!
Here is a peek of the back of the quilt. See how you can see the lines going across? That is where I sewed (or quilted) along each seam on the front.
Trim your quilt to size.
*Please note that you want to trim the top layer only!!! I usually use a yard stick to measure how big I need my quilt to be and then I draw lines with a dissapearing ink pen so I know where to cut.
The approximate size for a baby/toddler quilt (like I made) is 36 inches x 50 inches.
This was the most intimidating part of making a quilt for me.
But I promise it is really easy!
I always use THIS tutorial for my quilt binding so I am just going to direct you over there to learn how it's done.
P.S. It might be helpful to look at the quilt binding tutorial before you trim your quilt to size. She is the one who suggests only trimming the quilt top to begin with.
*The one thing I do different than the quilt binding tutorial above is that I machine sew all of my binding instead of finishing off the last part by hand. I do this because I am lazy (there I admited it) and a horrible, horrible hand sewer. Plus it is much faster on the machine.
Then once you have finished your binding
you. are. done!!!!!
Take a step back and enjoy your precious piece of work and labor of love!
Hopefully I didn't make it sound too much harder than it really is! I promise that this kind of quilt is super simple and easy! It is definitely a little time consuming but I think the end result is so so worth it. I hope you give it a try and if you do I would love to see a picture of the final result.
Also, as always, feel free to email me with any questions!