Introduction: $15 Star Wars Pixel Quilt
Runner Up in the
Sew Warm Contest 2018
This is an entry in the
Pro Tips Challenge
Quilt/Wall Art Size: 38.5" x 43.5" (Bigger sizes in Step 13)
Pro Tip Challenge: How to make a start-to-finish quilt using tested money and time-saving techniques.
How many of us love Star Wars or know someone obsessed with the conflicts of a galaxy? Or, more importantly, the number of us looking for an inexpensive, last-minute baby shower gift that any Imperial, Rebel, or Bounty Hunter will love? Yes, yes. I have become a master at making cost-effective and quickly-made quilts for tiny humans. If you have all the sewing basics, like thread and a sewing droid (machine), even beginners can use my complete quilt process and "Pro (Jedi) Tips" to make a "clone" of this blanket for just $15 and a day or two.
There are some stellar pixel quilt how-to guides here on Instructables - like this one -, but the $15 pixel quilt is "the chosen one" for you if you want cheap, quick, and without the extra materials like oven paper and iron-on material. Like Jango Fett once said, "I'm just a simple man trying to make my way in the pixel quilt universe." In honor of him, here is a $15 Boba Fett baby pixel quilt that's about as cozy as a Tauntaun.
Don't say, "I've got a bad feeling about this." You can do it! May the quilt force be with you.
Step 1: Pack Your Wookiee Bandolier... (Gather Your Materials)
- Fabric - at least 42" wide (WOF): This is how much you'll need to ask for at the store.
- Green: 20"
- Black: 15"
- Dark Grey Front: 5"
- Dark Grey Backing: 52"
- Tan: 36"
- Red: 15"
- Gold: 5"
- This project uses polyester to keep costs low and create a loftier quilt.
- Cream or Grey - I use cream because I have more of it.
- Optional: Clear (Top Quilting) - DO NOT use clear thread on a baby quilt, as it can get wrapped around their fingers or toes.
- Option: Grey (Bottom Quilting)
- I use 505 Spray and Fix from Walmart or Joanns (use 50% coupon!)
Step 2: Jango's Lingo
- Backing: bottom part of the quilt
- Batting: squishy middle layer of the quilt that provides thickness and weight, usually made from cotton or polyester
- Bind: fabric that covers the edge of the quilt and finishes it. This pattern uses the “bind from the back” technique.
- Iron: glide heated iron, set to cotton, over the material to remove creases and wrinkles.
- Right Side vs Wrong Side: this isn’t just the light side and the dark side of the force. This means the patterned side (right side) and back/faded side (wrong side). I used fabric that does't have a right and wrong side.
- Piecing: sewing blocks or pieces together to create the top of the quilt
- Press: briefly lay iron on fabric to remove wrinkles. If you glide iron over fabric, the material will stretch (We want the pixel quilt’s points to line up as best we can).
- Quilt Sandwich: three layers of the quilt
- Quilt Top: front of the quilt with pixels
- Quilting: combing the quilt sandwich together, with thread, to form one thick layer
- Seam Allowance: when piecing, sew ¼" from the edge.
- Selvage: tightly woven edge running the sides of the fabric
- WOF: Width of Fabric, edge to edge, usually 42-44”
Step 3: Gather Your Bounty
Even better than buying fabric? Using scraps! However, if you want your perfect colors, take a trip to your favorite fabric store – Joann’s, Hobby Lobby, Walmart, local quilt shops, yard sales, thrift stores, etc. To get my fabric and batting, I went to Joann’s on a random day – without looking at coupons – and used what was available. (Joann’s loves loyalty, so get the app, sign up for texts, look on their website, or get the mailer; there are always different coupons on each).
On this day they had 50% off of country classic solids, 40% off batting, and a $5 off $10. I’m gonna be real here. If you want to get this cheap, you will need to go during a low-traffic time and ask for just the inches you will need, plus a few inches extra. Beware: the fabric cutter might look at you like you're a scruffy looking nerfherder for being so specific.
If you pay too much for your fabric, you're looking in Alderaan places.
The names of the fabrics featured:
- Bronze Gold
- Scarlet (Red)
- Antique Tan
- Vineyard Green
Step 4: Prep Materials (45 Minutes - 1 Hour)
**Jedi Tip: You don't need to pre-wash your fabrics; I like working with crisp fresh fabrics and when you wash it, it will wrinkle and soften like an old-fashioned quilt.
- Iron fabric.
- Cut fabric. **Jedi Tip: Because there isn't any excess fabric, measure twice and cut once!
- Trim off selvage to square up material.
- The chart shows how many 3.25" strips to cut from each color and then the number of blocks to cut from the strips.
**Jedi Tip: When cutting many strips, cut more than one at a time; after cutting first set of strips, turn them 90 degrees, trim off selvage, place your ruler over the multiple strips and cut 3.25" strips again.
Step 5: Layout Quilt Top (25 Minutes)
1. Layout blocks into grid.
2. Ensure you have 14 columns and 16 rows.
**Jedi Tip: no seriously, do this. As you might notice from my GIF, I missed a row and had to go back later to add it. As wise Obi-Wan said, "your eyes can deceive you. Don't trust them"; in quilting, truer words were never spoken.
Step 6: Piece Quilt Top (4-5 Hours)
- Using cream or grey thread, sew 1st row of blocks together - with a quarter inch seam allowance - and lay back down onto grid pattern without pressing. Add a clip to the leftmost side of the strip to make sure your rows don't get flip flopped. Repeat. **Jedi Tip: GIF shows how I clip my pieces together to stay organized.
- After all row's blocks are sewed, pick up every odd row - one at a time - and press towards the left clip (purple arrows). Repeat with all even rows, but press to the right (blue arrows).This ensures the seams fit together, and you won't sew over multiple layers.
- Sew two rows together. After each set of rows is sewed, press seams down. You can either pin/clip your rows together or just hold them together and ensure points are lined up while sewing. The latter allows for more flexibility for getting points to align. But like Yoda says, "Do or Do Not Clip. There is no difference." **Jedi Tip: to ensure points, "nest" your rows (as seen in picture).
- Continue to sew all rows together.
**Jedi Tip: Use paper labeled 1-16 and add to your leftmost clips to keep rows in order.
Step 7: Square Quilt Top (15 Minutes)
- Press quilt top.
- Square quilt top by trimming off the sides.
- Place a ruler line on the first row's seam (blue arrows), where there is a little bit of scraggly material peaking out the full length edge of the ruler (red arrows).
- Trim off that scraggly material.
- Continue to the rest of quilt using the seams as your straight lines. Trim the same amount off of every side (i.e. 1/8" from each side).
Step 8: Quilt Top Is Done!
Step 9: Make a Sandwich (30 Minutes)
Before we quilt our Boba Fett, we are going to combine the three layers to make a quilt sandwich.
- Method: Using spray baste:
- Lay batting down and smooth.
- Place backing on top, centered on batting. If you are using fabric with a wrong and right side, make sure backing fabric is right side up and facing you.
- Roll back half the quilt and spray baste the wrong side of the backing, NOT the batting.
- Slowly lay the backing back down on the batting - (**Jedi Tip: Use a long tube, bar, or pipe to help guide the fabric evenly back down over the batting).
- Repeat on the opposite side of the backing.
- Flip over the 2-piece sandwich so batting is on top.
- Lay quilt top, right side up, on batting and center.
- Repeat spray basting steps, again spraying on the fabric and not the batting.
- Method: Using straight or safety pins:
- Lay backing piece right side down.
- Lay and center batting on top of backing.
- Lay quilt top, right sides up, on batting
- Smooth and pin (more than you think you need to).
Step 10: Quilt (1 Hour)
For this quilt, we are "stitching in the ditch." This means we are sewing straight on seams, throughout the entire quilt.
- Attach your AT-AT foot... I mean your walking foot.
- Optional: replace top thread with clear thread and bottom thread with grey thread to match backing fabric. **Jedi Tip: When using clear thread, you must have a regular thread (i.e. cotton) in your bobbin. Reminder, DO NOT use clear thread on baby quilts.
- Start sewing on a seam near the quilt center and work outwards from there.
- Let the machine pull the quilt through, but make sure you're keeping the fabrics taut.
Once you start, you'll need to roll up the quilt to fit it through the arm of the machine. It will be tighter than a Death Star trash compactor, but it will fit!
Step 11: Bind (45 Minutes)
There are a few ways to bind a quilt, but the fastest way is to "bind from the back". This means you are using your backing fabric and folding it to the front to finish off the quilt.
- Press entire top.
- Use scissors to cut off excess batting. **Jedi Tip: Hold backing down and away from scissors so you don't accidentally cut it.
- Trim off excess backing so only 1" is visible around quilt top. Do this by lining up 1" line on ruler to edge of quilt. You might have to shimmy the quilt to get it to line up. Trim off excess.
- Take quilt to ironing board.
- Fold one side of 1" trim in half, so the edge of the backing is now touching the edge of the quilt, and press.
- Fold once more so that the 1/2" bind is now on top of the quilt. Press and pin in place.
- On corners, turn the quilt so the next workable side is closest to you.
- Tuck the bottom right corner up at an angle.
- Continue to fold trim in half as stated in Step 2 of 'Create Bind'.
- Continue this all the way around.
- Put your regular sewing foot back on.
- Sew around the bind using 1/8" seam allowance.
Step 12: Done!
Step 13: "There's Always a Bigger Fish"
Qui-Gon Jinn once said, "there's always a bigger quilt". If you're wanting a larger blanket or wall art, use these dimensions with the same 14x16 block diagram above!
We have a be nice policy.
Please be positive and constructive.