Monday, May 16, 2011

Simple Quilt: Beginner Tutorial - make in an afternoon :)

One of the things I love about craft blogs is the tutorials. I get excited when I find one! Recently I've noticed I'm also getting a bit of traffic on this site (quite a shock to find I'm not just talking to myself).

So... in the interest of giving something back, I thought I'd give writing a tutorial a go. Please bear in mind that I have three small kids (sometimes literally) hanging from my shirt tails, so it might not be the most comprehensive tutorial ever, but hopefully it might help someone (somewhere) out :) Please feel free to tell me how many holes I've left in the instructions, ask me questions or berrate me for confusing you!!

*DISCLAIMER* I am by no means an accomplished seamstress. I think anyone who really knows what they are doing will look at my work and shudder. But hey, it's functional, simple and does the job :) Mr Z's quilt is now five years old and still going strong, no repairs have been required :)


You need:

* fabric strips (for a cot sized quilt you'll need approx a dozen strips measuring 12cm x 85cm)
* bias binding (buy or make your own, see here for a tutorial)
* polar fleece - you'll need a piece that's slightly larger than the quilt you are wanting to make

Step 1, lay your fabric strips out to find the combination/pattern you'd like to end up with

Step 2, Sew the strips together to form the top part of your blanket/quilt. Iron the finished piece. I hate ironing, but trust me, it's worth the effort to press this top part thoroughly :)

Step 3, Lay your pieced together strips onto your piece of polar fleece. I bought a new Queen sized polar blanket for under $10, and then trimmed it down to size. I will be able to get two more cot quilts from this same blanket :) There might be some left for some softies, too.

Be sure to leave at least an inch around the edges of the top part - polar fleece stretches slightly as you sew it and you might need to allow for this.

Step 4, Starting at one corner, pin along one of the long sides of your quilt. Pin along one of the short edges of your quilt. You will start sewing at the corner where your two rows of pins meet. Don't use too many pins as you will no doubt have to move them as the fleece stretches. I used 12 - 15 pins along each side and it was pretty perfect :)

The dots are where I put my pins.
Step 5, Now sew! Starting at one end of the quilt, sew along the top (shorter - pink dots) edge of your quilt. Then sew the joins in your strips. As you go, add an extra row of stitching along the middle of each strip (see picture).

My apologies for the wrinklies - I actually went and took this photo after I had put the blanket through the wash. I like the wrinkly/cuddly feel, but it makes it hard to photograph those (once straight) lines of stitches clearly.

*NB* The polar fleece will stretch, just go with it. It is more important to ensure that the fleece does not bunch up under your fabric strips. Keep it lined up as best you can, but remember you will be able to trim off excess polar fleece. You might need to move some pins as you go.
Step 6, trim off excess polar fleece.

Step 7, add bias binding to the edges. You might find a better tutorial on youtube, but here is how I do it (it's quick)

Pin along the side til you get to the corner

Turn the corner tightly with your tape

When you fold the tape down over the edges, it will bulge slightly at the corner. Do not panic!
Use your finger to shove the bias tape all the way into the corner - see arrow. Sorry, I can't really explain it any other way! Hopefully it makes sense when you are doing it.

The corner should now easily fold as above. As you can see it may wrinkle slightly. This means that you'll need to adjust your pins so it all lies flat. Sew right the way around your binding, adjusting as necessary. Remember, imperfections mean character :)

Step 8, if desired, add applique.

Step 9, enjoy! This snuggly blanket will keep little legs warm in the winter, long after they've outgrown their cot.

If you decide to make this easy quilt, I'd love to know :) When I made my first 'blankie' I couldn't find a simple tutorial for basic quilting that would be easy and cheap, so I hope this tutorial might help someone, somewhere to create something for somebody they love.


  1. Great work!! I had 4 babies in 4.5 years, they'd play at my feet & sleep to the hum of my sewing machine, i loved it!! Best thing about sewing is you can stop & fix them a sandwich or wipe a bottom, then get back to where you were, might be a day later but it doesn't spoil - which is probably why i'm such a bad cook. Love Posie

  2. Wowsers! That's a lot of nappies :) I love that sewing can be a stop-start activity, too. I always have a basket of hand sewing beside the lounge to pick up in a spare minute x

  3. Looks great Sam - I think I could even manage this...meaning me, who has never quilted before ever :-P Wonderful tutorial!

  4. Strictly speaking, I don't think I quilt, either!!!


I love reading your comments, thanks for stopping by :)