Modern Plus Pattern Baby Quilt

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Dear reader, I specifically told you in my last blog post to remind me not to start a new quilt. You dropped the ball. I recently made a baby quilt. Okay, okay, so this has more to do with my lack of self control than your accountability. My little niece was born in January, and I had been itching to meet her, so to help temper my longing heart, I started cutting out squares of fabric.

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Ninety squares to be exact. For baby quilts, I base the dimensions on a standard yard of fabric – 36 x 44 inches. So I cut 5-inch squares out of two different fabrics: a navy solid and a light blue print. (Totals = 39 navy squares and 51 light blue squares)

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This quilt is a great pattern for beginners because you’re working with squares and straight lines.

After cutting the 5-inch squares, arrange the pattern on a flat surface (in my case, it’s the floor). Begin sewing the squares together a row at a time (always right sides together). I used a 0.5-inch seam allowance with the basic walking foot on my sewing machine. Then sew each row together. Stop periodically to iron the seams, and after sewing on the last row, iron the entire piece.

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It is important to take the time to iron the seams. For this quilt I used the quilting technique called “stitch-the-ditch” (I explain further down), and you need your seams to lay flat for this technique to work. Before moving on to the next step, also take the time to cut off the loose thread from the seams.

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Now that you have created the front piece of your quilt, the next step is to layer the three pieces together and start quilting. I found an adorable floral print for the back piece. It’s a standard yard (36 x 44 inches).

First, take the piece of batting and lay it on a flat surface (again, I use the floor). (I bought a crib-sized piece of polyester batting.) Take the front piece and lay it on a flat surface, with the wrong side facing up. Spray with temporary spray adhesive and let stand for a minute or two (this step is best to do outside). And then lay the front piece on top of the batting, smoothly the fabric as you lay it down. (It’s helpful to have a friend hold up one end as you smooth.) Flip the batting over and do the same with the back piece of fabric. (The back piece is a larger piece of fabric, but still make sure it lines up with the front piece. Once complete, I pin safety pins around the quilt as a precaution to keep the fabric in place.

The next step is quilting! Using the “stitch-the-ditch” quilting technique, you sew along the existing seam, creating a quilting pattern that matched the front piece. For this quilt, I sewed along the outline of each plus sign.

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Once complete, cut off all loose thread as well as any excess fabric that extends beyond the length and width of the front piece.

The final step is calling binding, the creation of the quilt’s edge. Since I had a lot of blue in a quilt made for a girl, I went with a pink binding. (I think it’s important to pick a color or fabric that helps connect the pattern and colors of the front and back pieces.) First, cut out several 2.5-inch strips, and sew them together so the fabric measure the lengths + the widths of the quilt. (I can’t remember the exact dimensions.) Iron down 0.5 inch on one side, and then pin the strip of fabric to the front side of the quilt (remember, always rights sides together).

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When you get to a corner, keep the fabric aligned with the edge, folding at the corner so the fabric overlaps (hopefully the picture can help explain). With the fabric in place, sew along the quilt’s edge with a 0.5-inch seam allowance. As you approach, stop sewing about 0.5 inch from the corner. Remove the needle from the quilt, and turn the quilt 90 degrees. Because of how you folded the fabric strip, you’ll have a excess triangle of fabric. When you put your needle back into the fabric, make sure that excess triangle is out of the way.

This process is hard to explain, but trust me, there are a ton of YouTube videos out there that are very helpful (especially for those who are visual learners like me).

With the one edge of the binding in place, I fold the fabric over the edge and whip-stitch the other side in place. (It’s a long process, but I find it easier that machine binding the whole thing!)

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Before I finished the binding, I took a moment to embroider my niece’s name. These personal touches make all the difference!

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I love the modern twist to the classic gift of a baby quilt. (And I’m a huge of the navy, blue and pink combination.) I did finally get the chance to meet my little niece, and she looks crazy cute wrapped up in this!

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A Chevron Quilt

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Several months ago, I pinned a chevon quilt on Pinterest with the intent of making it. But as the months past, the idea never came to fruition. That is, until I started to think about what I wanted to make for a friend whose baby is due at the beginning of October. I knew it was a design she would adore, and I am excited to say, it’s a design that is super easy to make.

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The entire quilt is made of these squares. For my quilt that was 36 inches x 40 inches, I used 90 of them.

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The process of making these squares is a trick that  all beginning quilters should learn. Once made, these squares can be arranged in several different patterns, including a pinwheel. The first step is cutting out 7×7-inch squares of both the white and grey fabric.

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Next, I  layer a square of the grey fabric on top of one of the white and sew a border, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

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I then cut the square in half, diagonally. I repeat this step with the two triangles I just created.

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To finish, I unfolded the triangles and ironed the seams. I also cut off the extra fabric at the corners. As you can see, one 7-inch square quickly creates 4 smaller squares. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find you have 90 squares before you know it.

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Once you have made all of the squares, you simple have to sew them together. My quilt was 10 rows of 9 squares each. You arrange the squares so the same colors are always touching.

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Since we’re dealing with squares, it means we’re exclusively dealing with straight lines. So once you create the rows of 9 squares, all you have to do is sew the rows together.

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To accompany the chevon design on the front of the quilt, I used a yard of an adorable elephant pattern for the back that matches perfectly (if I do say so myself).

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Once I basted both sides of the fabric to the polyester batting I purchased, I simply quilted along the chevron pattern.

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For the binding, I chose a green fabric that matches one of the elephants on the back. I cut the fabric into 2.5 inch stripes, sewing them together to have enough to fit the diameter of the quilt. I next ironed down a half inch of one side of the fabric.

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I sewed the binding to the quilt, using a 0.5 inch seam, using my short cut you can read about here for the corners.

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Now that I have made a handful of quilts, I wanted to create a tag that would start to mark them as mine. But for this quilt, I didn’t want to use my initials since I am making the quilt for a friend, so I decided to use the year – the year her baby would be born.

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I couldn’t be more happy with the final result. Of course, the quilt contains a few mistakes (if you look closely, you’ll notice I accidentally purchased two different colors of grey fabric). But with such an easy first-time experience,  I know I will make another chevron quilt in the near future. And coincidentally, when I gave the quilt to my friend, I found out the chevron and the elephants match her nursery perfect. I guess you could just say I am very on top of the current trends!

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Oh Baby (Quilt)

The day after my brother and sister-in-law announced they were expecting, I found myself in a fabric store freaking out over all the adorable baby patterns. I saw this fabric and knew I had to do something with it. Let’s face it, a baby opens up a whole new genre of crafts that can be made, and I am so ready to embrace it.

Naturally, the first thing that came to my mind was a quilt. So I bought a yard of this fabric, a yard of this amazing plaid fabric (that matched perfectly, I might add), and 4 inches of an orange polka dot fabric (that matched the monkey) for the binding.

To assemble the quilt, I decided to not cut up the fabric but keep the pieces whole. This made it super easy and super fast to make. I used the adhesive spray to stick the fabrics to the batting, and then I simply quilted boxes using the plaid side as my guide.

Finally, I attached the binding (see instructions on earlier posts). I was able to make the quilt in less than a day, and it might be the most adorable thing I have ever made.

I can’t wait for the newest member of this family to get here, but in the mean time, I’m sure there are many crafts I can make until then.