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I love to make quilts and it's much easier than most people think. This Instructable includes tons of photos and complete, clear instructions for constructing a simple doll quilt. The same process can be used to make a quilt of any size.


For more quilting fun, swing by the blog:
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Step 1: Supplies and tools

Picture of Supplies and tools
20 4 inch squares of cotton fabric*
1 piece of cotton fabric approximately 16x18 inches (for back)
1 piece of batting** (flat stuffing to put inside the quilt) approximately 16x18 inches
2 yards of embroidery floss
all purpose thread

sewing machine (or needle and lots of time)
large, embroidery needle
small sewing needle
seam ripper (most likely)

*make sure your fabrics are pre-washed and dried so you are certain the dyes are set and the fabric won't shrink after your quilt is complete

**I like to use a thin, cotton batting which can be purchased by the yard at the fabric store. Buy 1/2 yard for this project (18 inches). You can also purchase polyester batting. Choose a very thin weight (3-5 ounce). Alternatively you could use a scrap of flannel inside your quilt--make sure your flannel is plain (no pattern to show through) and pre-washed.

Step 2: Decide on a layout for your quilt top

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I used 4 squares each of 5 different fabrics to make up my 20 squares. You could use 20 different fabrics or make a checkerboard with 2 different fabrics. Regardless, you'll want to make a plan by laying out your squares and deciding how they will be arranged. For the quilt, make a rectangle that is 4 squares wide by 5 squares long.

If you can't decide on a layout, just start sewing and let fate be your guide.

If you want to do something a little more complicated, now is the time to decide. You could cut each square into half or into quarters or triangles. Note that the more pieces you cut each square into, the smaller your final quilt will be because each time you sew pieces back together you lose 1/4 inch in the seam allowance. See the end of this instructable for a few ideas for modification.
I am making my first quilt for my daughters baby. Not a baby quilt but more of a child quilt. Anyway, I did an equally eye-catching design on both sides and they are also equal in size. Is that going to be a problem? I was going to send it out for "quilting" and now I've seen a couple put together beginning with a backing much larger than the front! EEEK!! I've already put so much work into it.
greentrees1 year ago

great instructions, a real help for me :)

Love it. Looks great.

Thank you! You have just saved me countless hours. I never knew quite what that ball was for and have been using one of these for years.
ChrysN4 years ago
I'm planning to make my first quilt, these instructions are very helpful, thanks!
izzyinsf4 years ago
this is such a great instructable. i'm finishing up my first quilt and although the process is simple, your tricks made it so much simpler. especially ironing the rows in opposite directions, the "perfect corners" trick, and your method for tying knots for hand sewing. thank you!
Faynilla5 years ago
you could easily strip piece these together, i love that orange and the blue! and the wavy stripes!!
jleeschu5 years ago
can anyone share with me a quilt pattern called "Turning 21"?
ean56 years ago
Great Instructable. I have been planning a tshirt quilt and I think your method will work wonderfully.
mdhaworth (author)  ean56 years ago
for your t-shirt quilt, one tip, put iron on interfacing on the back of the t-shirts before cutting them out. It reduces stretching.
ean5 mdhaworth6 years ago
Thanks so much! I am a complete novice at quilting. Do you think I could use fleece as the backing and as borders between the tshirts, or would that also stretch? Should I use interfacing on the fleece as well?
mdhaworth (author)  ean56 years ago
Personally, I would not use fleece as borders between the shirts (or, if you do, DON"T interface the shirts and just resign yourself to a puckery quilt). Stretchy fabrics are hard to incorporate into quilting, especially for a novice. Fleece on the back would still be a pain but MUCH easier than on the front. If I were you, I'd use pre-washed quilting cotton in between your interfaced shirts and if you're in love with fleece, fleece on the back with no interfacing on the fleece and no batting in the quilt. Good luck!
jauncourt6 years ago
this is how I make the few quilts I do make. :) Yay!
kd1uc6 years ago
Cool methodology!! I have been sewing for years but am new to quilting. I just finished my first quilt. My wife has been quilting for years so I learned from her. Your method of sewing and inverting the quilt is cool. Eliminates the need for binding and make things go much quicker. I also love your description for lining up the seams. It is what I did in my Radiant (Morning) Star. Worked great. Have you ever sewn a small border on both sides so it looks like binding when it is done ?? If someone cannot make a quilt with these instructions they just don't want to make a quilt. GREAT JOB!!
mdhaworth (author)  kd1uc6 years ago
Thanks for the nice feedback. I haven't done that with a border but i think it would may need to top stitch after.
WHN7 years ago
This is so awesome!!!! Thank you so much!! I'm new to sewing/quilting, tho I've made a few things. They were not the best looking! You have encouraged me to try again!! Thank You, Thank You!! Give yourself a warm Texas hug!!!
redbandita7 years ago
Thank you very much for posting these instructions. I have made a big blanket commemorating my sister's wedding. I folloed your instructions step by step. It was the first time I have ever made anything of this magnitude, and it turned out great! You can find the full process with here:
Thank you for this instructable! It is very clear, and I'm going to start as soon as I pick up some fabric!
LittleMeTG7 years ago
Thank you so much for your instructions!!! I had one failed attempt and after seeing your instructions, you've sparked my interest again! I already started and it looks great so far! YIPPY!
walkie747 years ago
Every other set of instructions I've come across for quilting are disgustingly complicated. This is EASY! My great grandmother used to make quilts. Now I know how too!
mdhaworth (author)  walkie747 years ago
Glad you found it helpful. -Melissa
rachel7 years ago
This is a lovely, well written, clear instructable! Now I'm inspired to finish the quilt I started six months ago for my new little nephew. Thanks!