Introduction: Dog Memory Quilt

About: Love to sew, quilt, cross-stitch, and scrapbook. Etsy shop owner and Amazon book seller

Over the past ten years our dog family has grown from 1 to 3. All of our dogs require grooming so I have collected well over 100 bandanas! A while back I had the idea of using these bandanas to make a "Memory Quilt," and thought it would be great way to commemorate Topper's 10th birthday. I also used other leftover fabric from previous quilts, as well as batting scraps and a small blanket.

The basic quilt consists of 3 layers: the quilt top, batting, and the backing, referred to as "the quilt sandwich." Depending on the size of the quilt you may need a lot of fabric (5-6 yards) just for the backing. Last year, when I started making memory quilts, I incorporated a stadium blanket into the backing of one of my quilts. I also piece together batting scraps whenever possible. If you are unfamiliar with some of the terminology, I refer you to Suzy Quilts, which contains a convenient glossary of quilting terms as well as a comprehensive list of supplies.

Many quilt instructions have all of the cutting first; however, I like to cut as I go. I like to play around with the layout before making a final decision since you can't uncut fabric.


  • Self-healing cutting mat
  • Quilting ruler (24"L x 6"W)
  • Rotary cutter
  • Scissors
  • Seam ripper (for mistakes)
  • Fabric scraps, including bandanas from my dogs' many groomings
  • Batting scraps
  • Pins (straight, and quilting)
  • Thread in a neutral color such as gray or off-white.
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Ironing board

Step 1: Select Pattern and Fabric


  • I am relatively new to quilting, so I looked for an easy pattern using triangles and decided on this Kaleidocscope Pinwheel Quilt.
  • According to the instructions, it could be made in one evening, but I worked on it gradually for two weeks, probably 10 hours total.
  • The pattern will also tell you how much fabric you need for the squares, sashing, border, backing, and binding.


  • After selecting the pattern, I sorted the bandanas. I decided to focus on red, white, and blue, since many of his bandanas contained these colors, and I also had other fabric in these colors on hand.
  • For the backing, I had some leftover plaid cotton, as well as his "baby blanket."
  • For the sashing, borders, and binding I had some leftover blue cotton from our 25th Anniversary Quilt (made by my mother-in-law, who introduced me to quilting).
  • All fabric should be clean and pressed prior to cutting.


Step 2: Cut Triangles for Pinwheels

  • After deciding on four combinations, I started cutting the triangles. Ordinarily, to make a pinwheel quilt, you would use squares and cut these diagonally to create "half-square triangles" Since the bandanas were already triangles, I just cut them in half several times to create the right size triangles.
  • I would need 16 triangles of each of 8 fabrics. One large bandana could be cut into 8 triangles. I also used several smaller bandanas from my two smaller dogs, Daisy and Bear.

Step 3: Create Pinwheel Squares

  • With right sides together, Join two triangles along diagonal, stitching with 1/4 inch seam allowance. Repeat for remaining three sets. Layout the four pairs in a pinwheel design. Stitch top two together vertically. Press seam open. Stitch bottom two together vertically. Press seam open. Stich top to bottom horizontally, taking care to make sure points meet exactly. This was the tricky part, and I had to take a few apart to get it right, although some were not perfect (hence the seam ripper). Press seem open. Turn over completed square and press from right side.
  • Repeat to create three other pinwheels in same pattern.
  • Repeat for the three other remaining color combinations.
  • There should be 16 squares in all when you are finished.
  • Cut finished squares to uniform size if necessary (for me it was!)
  • Give each finished square a good press.

Step 4: Sashing

  • Using the rotary cutter and ruler, cut 2.5" strips from blue fabric
  • Cut 12 x 8" pieces
  • Cut 3 x 34" pieces
  • The remaining strips can be used for the backing
  • Starting with the top row of four squares, attach the 8" sashing strips between the squares with 1/4" seam allowance.
  • Repeat for the three other rows.
  • Insert 34" Strips between each row.
  • All 16 squares should now be connected.
  • The quilt will be 34 x 34 at this point

Step 5: Border

I originally thought I would use the plaid fabric for the border, but I decided that framing the pinwheels in blue would look better. I had exactly the right amount (a couple of pieces totaling about 1 yard) to cut the sashing strips, border, and binding.

  • Cut 2 strips 3.5" wide by 34" long from border fabric.
  • Attach the strips to the sides of the quilt
  • Cut 2 strips 3.5" wide by 44"
  • Attach these strips to the top and bottom
  • Assuming 1/4" seam allowances, the quilt will be about 44 x 44 now

Step 6: Prepare Binding

  • Even though attaching the binding is the final step, I usually make it at this point, since I know how much I will need
  • Add up the 4 sides of the quilt 44 + 44 + 44 + 44 = 176"
  • To this number add about 20"
  • Attach strips by facing right sides together in an L shape.
  • Stitch diagonally.
  • Snip triangle, open seam and press.
  • Once all the strips have been combined, fold lengthwise and press
  • I tried it around the quilt top to make sure I had enough

Step 7: Make Backing

  • I used the fleece blanket to cover most of the back.
  • I used some of the remaining sashing strips to attach the border, first sides and then the top and bottom. I attached the sashing about an inch from the edge of the blanket, so the blanket would be "batting" behind the sashing.
  • From the plaid fabric, I cut the border strips 3.5" wide and pieced some batting strips behind to the back of the border.
  • I had some scraps of batting which I attached using a zig-zag stitch. Amazingly I had just the right amount leftover from a previous quilt.

Step 8: Assemble the Quilt

  • With wrong sides together, pin the quilt top to the backing using quilting pins.
  • I used the "stitch in the ditch" to quilt, as explained in this tutorial.
  • One the quilting is finished, remove the pins and use the rotary cutter to square off the sides
  • Using the binding made in Step 6, I use the following instructions to attach the binding.
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