Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Monday I made this baby quilt.  Yes, Monday....and in just one day.  

Hard to believe?  Not when you are sewing and quilting it together at the same time. It took me almost as long to gather the material and prepare the pieces as it did to sew it together.

I started this method with placemats a couple of years ago.  (It is one of my top tutorials.) Several people asked me questions that got me to thinking. (dangerous as that is)

Anyway, when my quilting friends and I decided to make baby quilts for Project Linus and after making a few, I decided I wanted to use the method I used for my placemats and make a baby quilt.  Actually it is pretty simple....just make everything bigger.

The baby quilts we have been making are 36 inch - square. If I increased the width of the strips to a finished 3 inches, I would only need 12 strips to make the quilt.  Using 4 different prints, that would be 3 of each. Wow!  That will go so fast....I thought.

I gathered my material (material Friend Janice and I bought at an estate sale earlier this summer - a BIG tub for $50 it didn't cost me much.), washed and pressed it and then preceded to cut it.

I cut a 37 - inch square from the material that I was going to use for the backing and also from the thin batting.

To make it simple, I just cut the 3-1/2 inch wide strips the width of the material.  (The excess I cut off later and I put them in my scrap pile.) So I cut 3 strips from each of the four prints.

Moving to my dining room table (it is bigger than my work area in my sewing room), I laid the backing face down on the table. Then I placed the batting over it...making sure it covered the entire surface of the backing. 

Because this all of this was larger than the placemats I am used to making, I decided to randomly pin it together to hold the backing and batting together. I just removed the safety pins as I worked across the quilt.

To start, I laid the first strip down on the right hand side of the quilt along the edge face up.

Then I laid the second strip down on top of the first one face down matching the edges. (Once again I pinned several times down the strip and removed as I sewed.)

On the left side of the strip, I sewed through all four pieces - the two strips, the batting, and the backing - 1/4 inch in. I did backstitch at the beginning and end each time, but it isn't necessary as you will probably be trimming the edges off. 

Speaking of the end - stop stitching at the lower end of the quilt. Do not stitch to the end of the strip. (Sorry about the shadow)

I opened up the seam and pressed it on the right sides. I now had the first two strips sewed down.

Taking the third strip, I laid it face down on top of the second strip making sure I matched the edges, pinned it in several places, and then stitched it down on the left side of the strip 1/4 inch in. (I won't bore you with any more pictures) Opened up the seam, pressed on the the right sides and I had finished with three strips.

I bet you know what I did next.  Right. I repeated the process with the fourth strip 

and then started back with the first print for the fifth strip....until I had worked my way across the quilt.

Moving back to my dining room table, I squared up the quilt by trimming the edges. I matched my seams with the lines on the template ruler to make sure my top and bottom were going to be square.

Here are those loose end I cut off on the other end.

I didn't cut any off the sides (except the backing and batting on the far left) but if you do need to, just make sure you cut the same amount off each side so the first and last side strips are the same width.

Another TIP that I don't have a picture of but highly recommend especially when working with a bigger project like this is stitch down close to the edge of the first and last strips to make sure the three thicknesses stay together. When sewing on the binding, the backing can easily slip and might not get caught in the seam with the binding.

With the quilt top finished, I was ready to cut the binding and sew it on.

Preparing and sewing the binding:

You can read different opinions on the width to cut the strips to make binding. I admit, I always cut my strips 2 - 1/2 inches -- before meeting Friend Kay. Kay always cuts her strips 2 inches.  It makes a narrower binding, but oh so pretty.  I never actually liked the results of my cut 2 - 1/2 inch binding, because there was always more binding on the back than on the front OR the binding got thin on the outer edge.  It takes a little getting used to, but if you have never tried it, I would suggest you least once.

Anyway, I cut four 2 - inch - strips from the print I was going to use for the binding (a striped print always looks so nice for a binding).

Using my square template ruler and matching the diagonal line on the ruler with the left edge of the strip, I marked the end of each strip with a diagonal line. (I use fine line washable markers - another tip I learned from Kay)

Laying two of the strips perpendicular to each other, I sewed along the line to join the strips together. (continue this until you have one long strip)

I trimmed the seam down to 1/4 inch.

I cut off the"dog ears" that were made when the strips were sewed together and pressed the seam open.

Folding the strip in half with wrong sides together, I pressed to make a double fold strip.

Now another tip I learned from Kay -- Taking the quilt to my dining room table, I laid the binding around the quilt to make sure I would not have a "seam" of the strip close to a corner. Then I pinned it at the beginning and moved back to my sewing room to sew on the binding...another 1/4 inch around.  

If you want to see how to make perfect corners, check out my tutorial HERE.   I didn't bother taking pictures on this project. You will have perfect corners every time with this method. I have learned a much easier way to join the binding together instead of the way I

Joining the binding together in a diagonal seam:

Back around to the side I started on, I always leave a generous amount with the ends.  (I probably started sewing 12 inches down on this project at the beginning due to the size and I left more than that at the end - since it was the end of the strip I had made.) 

Open up the strips and lay them on top of each other making sure there is no excess material.

Choosing a place about half way down, mark (it might be hard to see the mark)

and cut a diagonal in the end of the strip on top
Replacing this piece on top of the bottom strip once again making sure the pieces are laying flat and there is no excess,

I marked exactly where the two met with dashes (look closely and you can see them especially in the lower right. I moved the upper piece up so you could see the mark.)

Then I drew a line on the lower strip 1/2 inch above these marks (this is for the two 1/4 inch seams). The dashing are under the line on the template marked 6.

Then I brought the ends together with right sides facing (not twisting the pieces) and centered them with about 1/4 inch "dog ear" on each end.
Pinned them in place and then stitched across.  

I pressed the seam open with my fingers, laid the binding down on the quilt (just checking to make sure it is flat with no excess), cut off those "dog ears", and then stitched from where I stopped to where I had begun - stitching in place at the end and beginning.

Slip stitching the binding down on the back:

I start about in the center - doesn't have to be exact - and wrap the binding around from the front.  As I said earlier it will make a narrow tight binding. I usually work with about 3 or 4 pins and pin down an area at a time and with a single thread, slip stitch the binding down.  I wanted to get the quilt finished before I went to bed, so I didn't take pictures during this process.  BUT I show you how when I made my Sudoku Lap Quilt HERE.

Materials you will need for this blanket using 42 - 45 inch wide fabric:

1 - 1/8 yards each for backing and batting

3/8 yard of four fabrics

1/4 yard for binding 


  1. Thank you for creating and sharing this wonderful tutorial! The detail and photos you included really made this a great learning experience. Thanks again! Linda ☺

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Linda. I am so pleased they were helpful. I started this blog just for this reason. With my years of teaching, I felt I could produce easy to follow instructions. Being a visual learner, I have to have lots of pictures. Patricia

  2. Thank you for the easy to follow directions! I'm going to be making one like this for sure!!

    1. So glad my tutorial was helpful for you Hallbevans. Would love to see a picture of your finished quilt. Patricia

  3. Going to try one of these for Project Linus! Thanks

    1. Wonderful idea, Maartje Maartje. I am sure some little one will love it.

  4. Thanks for the excellent instructions!

    1. So glad they were helpful, JaneseC, and thanks for letting me know.