Have you ever decided you were going to make a little quilt for a baby shower of a friend or family member? Maybe even told someone you were going to? And then, oh my goodness, the shower is in two weeks! Eeek! Of course that has never happened to you, but just in case it does someday, here's a little tutorial on how to make a quick little quilt. Probably wouldn't even take you two weeks, maybe a weekend at most.
The secret to making this quilt quick is it uses all of the following techniques which speed up the process: A small color scheme, rows (rather than blocks), flip-and-sew quilt-as-you-go technique, the pillowcase-method of binding and quilting with wavy lines (no accuracy needed). Now, this may not be the quilt for purists, but I guarantee that most moms-to-be will find it lovely. And it most certainly is handmade by you and is durable. This is the quilt that the toddler can drag around, get messy and nap on. It can go in the washing machine and dryer. It's a nice little quilt.
I'm not giving measurements in this tutorial, more of a how-to. You can choose the size of your quilt and rows and use these techniques to finish it.
Tips for choosing your fabric:
- When making a quick quilt, you will want to stick with a small color scheme, 3-5 colors. They do not need to "match", but should look pleasing together.
- Be sure to have at least one of each: dark, light and medium tones to the colors.
- Be sure to have at least one of each: small scale, large scale and medium scale patterns.
- Following these guidelines will provide you with exactly what you need to audition your layout to create a pleasing pattern.
Cut one strip of each of the fabrics you are auditioning for the quilt. Play around with the arrangement (taking pictures with your phone or digital camera is a great way to get an objective view). I found a pattern I liked and repeated it for my quilt. My pattern is: medium, light, dark, light, dark. ABCBC, ABCBC, and so on. I find that sometimes an odd-numbered pattern is appealing to the eye, much like in interior design. Of course, this is not an absolute truth, but a useful guide when needing to make quick decisions.
Flip-and-sew: (I originally published this part of the tutorial on Happy Serendipity) Flip-and-sew is a quilt-as-you-go technique used when sewing rows of fabric together. As you sew each row together, you sew it to the batting at the same time, eliminating the need to baste the quilt top to the batting after it is finished, as you would do with a traditional quilt.
A few flip-and-sew tips:
- A walking foot for your sewing machine is recommended for this technique. The walking foot will feed the top layer of your fabric through the machine evenly just as the feed dogs do with the bottom layer. There seems to be a great range of prices for walking feet, but for my machine (a Brother) they are very inexpensive. eBay is a great place to find them.
- When sewing long strips together there can be a tendency for the fabric to form an arc. Counteract this by sewing from the opposite side every other time and remaining vigilant to the possibility, correcting it as soon as you notice.
- 1/4-inch seam allowances are traditionally used in quilting, so where i say “sew” in the tutorial, i’m using a 1/4-inch seam allowance.
The pillowcase method of binding a quilt: Let's get this out of the way right now. This is not necessarily good method to use on a large quilt. And, it's not necessarily approved of by the quilt police ;) But, it is, in my humble opinion, an acceptable method for small quilts and throws. This quilt will not fall apart. But don't enter it in a show.
Okay, now that that's out of the way. Make your quilt sandwich with the quilt top and the quilt back right sides together. The batting has already been attached to the quilt top through the flip-and-sew method. Square up your top and backing. Stitch the sandwich together around the outside edge (1/4-inch seam allowance), leaving a 4-inch opening on one short side. Pull the quilt through that opening and turn out the corners. Hand-stitch the opening closed. Sew around the edge of the quilt using a 1/4-inch or 1/2-inch allowance, it's up to you. The 1/4-inch allowance will make the corners difficult with some sewing machines.
Quilting: I quilted this little quilt with wavy lines. No need for accuracy so it goes quickly. I also used a walking foot. I can't recommend quilting this way without one, I'm just not sure it would work. NOTE: Because you are quilting after you have bound the quilt, you can end up with extra fabric bunching up at the ends of your lines. The best way to prevent this is by starting on opposite sides every time you start a new line of quilting. Also, start your quilting lines an inch or so in from the sewn edge.
Fabrics used on my quilt:
- Main Star in Green from All Star 2 by Riley Blake (purchased from Above All Fabric)
- Argyle in Splash from Pure by Sweetwater (purchased from Above All Fabric)
- Shine in Ocean from Make Life by Sweetwater (purchased from Above All Fabric)
- Balls in Nest from Freebird by MoMo (purchased from Lily Bella Fabrics)
- Solid Ivory from Pure Organic by Robert Kaufman (left over from my old shop)