Introduction: Personalized Baby Quilt

About: I'm an interior designer, tinkerer and maker :)

I am a self taught sewer and I wanted to make my dear friend a baby quilt for her baby shower. In my first attempt at making a quilt, I decided to stick to a simple pattern and I am very happy with the final result! Hope you find this tutorial helpful for creating your first quilt.

Step 1: Supplies You Will Need

Supplies you will need to complete this project:

  • Fabric
    • Cotton quilting fabric in multiple complementary colors/patterns
    • I gathered the fabric before creating my quilt pattern (when I make a quilt again will likely make the pattern first so I know exactly how much fabric to buy)
    • I bought 1 yard of each fabric (5 different fabrics- one of which was cream colored and used colored fabric markers on it) and had ample fabric for another quilt
  • Thread
    • I used white thread but you could use thread that is the same color as the fabric if you prefer (none of the thread is visible on the quilt)
  • 1/8" Satin Ribbon
    • This is optional but I used it to create small bows
    • 2 yards
  • Cotton Batting
  • Straight Edge Ruler
    • This was incredibly helpful in cutting the fabric precisely
  • Cutting Mat
    • Self healing cutting mat with grid line
  • Rotary Cutter
    • This made cutting the fabric very easy and fast!
  • Sewing machine
    • I used a basic Straight stich
  • Iron
    • This helped keep the fabric seams crisp
  • Fabric Markers
  • Cardboard
    • For templet
  • Utility knife
    • To cutout cardboard templet
  • Nice to have:
    • It is great to have a large work surface where you can spread out all of your fabric and tools

Step 2: Create & Cut Your Pattern

Keeping the pattern simple allows everything to be sewn in straight lines.

  • Wash and dry all fabric before cutting it (this is very important! If you wait until after then the final product won't look the way you intended)
  • Sketch out pattern
    • I created a very rough sketch on a piece of scratch paper
    • It took a few sketches and brain storming to figure out which fabric to use where
  • Decide on dimensions (see photos)
    • 30" x 44" quilt which meant that there would be 5"x5" squares, 2"x2" squares, 2"x5" rectangles and 30" and 44" panels not including the seam depth!!
    • Seam was 1/4" so add 1/2" to each fabric dimension 5.5"x 5.5", 2.5"x 2.5", 2.5"5.5", 2.5"x30.5" and 2.5"x 44.5"
  • Iron all fabric so it is smooth for cutting
  • Make template
    • I created a cardboard template using the straight edge ruler, utility knife and cutting mat for the small pieces of fabric: 5.5"x 5.5", 2.5"x 2.5", 2.5"5.5"
    • Be very careful while using the utility knife! Keep fingers away from blade, don't use dull blades to cut, firmly hold down straight edge over the cardboard and score the blade along the ruler. It may take a few tries to cut all the way through.
  • Cut fabric
    • Make sure to pay attention to the direction of the fabric pattern and make all cuts in the same direction
    • Cut long strips first then use the template to cut the long strips into smaller pieces
    • Per side: (double to make both sides)
      • (2) 30.5" x 2.5" pieces
      • (2) 44.5"x 2.5" pieces
      • (24) 5.5" x 5.5" pieces (on one side I used all one color and on the other side I did 12 in green and 12 in blue)
      • (15) 2.5" x 2.5" pieces
      • (38) 2.5" x 5.5" pieces
  • Now for the fun part! Create your designs by drawing on fabric.
    • Using fabric markers draw art or message on the 5.5" x 5.5" pieces of fabric (I chose to only do this on one side of the quilt and used solid cream fabric)
    • Be sure to leave a little space (.25") and not draw all the way out to the edge of the fabric if you want the drawing to be seen in entirety
    • Make sure draw on fabric with a scrap piece of paper underneath because the markers bleed. Do not draw on fabric after the quilt has been assembled for the same reason.
    • Tip: For my friend's quilt, I had friends and family write messages to her and her new baby. Your drawing can be messages, doodles, designs, or just about anything you want.

Step 3: Assemble/Sew Fabric Together

  • Assemble
    • Lay pattern out on a flat surface
    • Working in rows pin pieces of fabric together as you go
  • Sew panels together
    • Sew rows together
      • Take your first 2 squares in your first row and line them up right sides together
      • Pin the edges that you are about to sew
      • Now stitch 1/4" from the right edge
      • Line up your 3rd square right sides together with the 2nd square and sew a 1/4" seam. Continue until your entire row is pieced
      • Continue this process with every row front and back sides of quilt
    • Press Seams and trim thread
      • Place rows right side down then iron all the seams down and open
      • Trim all loose threads
    • Sew rows together
      • Take rows 1 & 2 right side down line up the seams and pin together
      • Sew rows together with a 1/4" seam removing the pins as you go
      • Continue until all the rows are sewn together
      • Do the same for front and back panels of quilt
    • Press the entire front and back panels so they are very crisp
  • Sew quilt together
    • Add the batting. There are different techniques for adding batting to a quilt, but this is how I did it:
      • Lay back panel of quilt right side down
      • Measure panel and cut batting to same dimensions
      • Place batting on top of back side of back panel
      • Using a thread and needle loosely weave batting and panel together in a few spots throughout the quilt (This thread will be cut out and pulled out of quilt once other side is attached)
      • Flip quilt over so the right side of the back panel is facing up
      • Place the right side of the top panel on top of the right side of the back panel and pin together
      • Sew panels together on 3 sides and leave 12" in the center of the 4th side unsown (the bottom of the 30" side)
      • Remove pins as you go
      • Using the 12" opening pull the quilt so that it is right side facing out (the batting will now be on the inside)
      • It will be challenging but use the eraser end of a pencil or pen and place it in the corners of the quilt so that the corners look crisp
      • Use an invisible stitch to close the 12" opening making sure that the seam allowance is folded over
      • Remove the hand sewn thread that was holding the batting and back panel together

Step 4: Tack on the Bows

  • Add small bows
    • Make 120 small equal sized bows. This can take a little while so put on a good movie
    • Hand stitch them at the corners of every small square in quilt pattern. If you are new to hand stitching then check out this YouTube video
    • Do this on both sides
    • Make sure to thread needle through some of the batting so to secure it in place

Step 5: Enjoy the Finished Product :)

And there you go! I hope you found this Instructable helpful :)