Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Really Easy Baby Quilt

Many years ago, when my son was born, my friend sent me a baby quilt she had made.  I was impressed by the shape and even more by the construction -- it was not complicated, to put it mildly.  If you can baste (aka running stitch) and tie knots, you can make one, too. 

This is the original quilt.

I decided to make one, using the original as my pattern.  I discovered that it was easier to do it all "by hand," given that quilt batting tends to get stuck on the presser foot. 

I also realized it could also be made in a rectangle, too.  That way, all the cutting necessary is trimming seams and thread.

Here's what you need to make this simple baby quilt. 

1 yard or meter of printed fabric - I use polyester/cotton or 100 % cotton

1 yard or meter of plain fabric for backing.  (Use the same kind as printed fabric)
NOTE:  I always pre-wash and dry all fabrics.

1 yard or meter of quilt batting  (NOTE:  I've only ever used polyester batting, so I don't know how this would work with other kinds)

Scissors for cutting batting, smaller ones for trimming threads.

Thread to match.  (If using polyester/cotton blend  fabrics, make sure you get polyester thread.)

2 or more skeins of embroidery floss, depending on # of colors used

marking pencil or fabric marker that will wash out

pins, needles for sewing and embroidery

Here's what you do:

Pin the pieces of fabric right sides together.  (The "right side" will be the brighter side.  If you can't tell, it doesn't matter which side you use.)

Pin quilt batting to fabric. 

Mark seams on fabric.  I do a wide seam, usually 3/4 inch. 

Using sewing thread, baste three layers together, leaving opening (4 - 6 inches) to turn inside out.  Remove pins. (I'm assuming non-sewers may be trying this.)

Trim seams to about 1/2 inch.  Trim batting a bit more.  Trim across corners (so you'll have a little triangle of fabric cut off) and even closer to seams for about an inch near corners.  

Turn inside out through opening.  I find it easier if I reach inside the opening to the fabric at the corner farthest from the opening, hold that and slowly pull back through opening.  This can be tricky, as the batting is thick, so take your time if you're new to this sort of thing.) 

Slip stitch opening. If you can't do a slip stitch (or hemming stitch), fold sides of opening to inside to match seam and pin, as it will be sewn closed when basting around sides with embroidery thread.)

Press.  This will make the next step much easier. 

Laying quilt flat, pin around edges and through all 3 layers within quilt to hold fabric together while working.

Mark along 1/2 inch or 5/8 inch from outer edge of quilt all around quilt.

Separate a piece of embroidery floss (see how here) and using 3 stands, baste around edges of quilt following marking.

 Join threads with reef (square) knots and trim about 3/8 - 1/2" from knot.

On right side of fabric, pick a place in the pattern to tie knots.  I pick the center of flowers, for instance, or the stars as in pictures shown.

From front, insert needle straight down through all 3 thicknesses, leaving 3/4 to 1 inch of floss at front.  Now here's where it gets a bit tricky.  Insert the needle up through the back and all 3 thicknesses so it comes out close to where you inserted the needle to make a stitch.  Take a look at the back.  The stitch should be small, about 1/8 inch.  It can be a bit larger, but not much.  If it's too large, pull out and try again.

When you're satisfied with the stitch, don't cut it yet!  Tie a knot, pulling floss tight.  Cut floss about 3/4 inch from knot. 

Continue until you've put a stitch and knot in every spot on the pattern. 

Trim the knots.  I trim them to about 3/8 to 1/2 inch.  Whatever length you decide upon, be consistent.  Here's one where the pattern was regular.



Here's one that's more random:

 Remove all pins.  Wash and dry as per fabric used.  

 And that's it!


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