I have a love/hate relationship with quilting. (Ok, hate is probably too strong a word.) I loooove the results but I really dislike cutting all the fabric and I get impatient with how long the whole thing takes. But oddly enough, I love attaching the binding by hand. I find it totally soothing even if it takes forever. I guess it’s one of those weird crafty quirks, we all have things we like and don’t like, right? Anyway, because of this, I tend to stick to pretty simple quilt designs. I don’t have the time and mental energy to attempt super intricate piecing. But that’s ok! I really enjoy making up my own designs anyway. And since I made O a crib quilt (which he used in his toddler bed from about age 2 up until a few months ago), I knew baby #2 needed one too. And even though infants shouldn’t have a blanket in the crib, it’s nice to have in the nursery in case mom or dad gets chilly while rocking or feeding baby. Here’s my super simple strip quilt plan!
Simple Strip Quilt
Cotton quilting fabrics of your choice for the front of the quilt and the binding. Should add up to 45″ x 60″
One piece of cotton quilting fabric for the backing of the quilt, 45″ x 60″
Quilt batting (I like this kind best)
Sewing machine and matching thread
1. First figure out what you want your quilt to look like. You could do this with colored pencils on graph paper. I grab the little thumbnails of the fabrics I’ve chosen from the fabric store website and arrange them in Illustrator until I’m happy. Here is my finished plan:If you’re wondering, these are the fabrics I used: 1,2,3,4,5,6
Then I measured and cut all the strips I needed for the quilt front. All strips were 45″ long. The children at play fabric was 15″ wide. The medium sized patterned strips were all cut to 4.5″ (this all includes seam allowances). And the peach strips between each patterned strip were cut to 1 3/4″.
At the same time I also cut all of my binding strips (3″ wide). I needed a total of at least 210+” inches worth of binding to go around the entire quilt. Once you have cut enough strips to total that in length, set them aside.2. Then I began attaching all the strips in the order of my diagram using a 1/2″ seam allowance. 3. Once all the strips were attached and my quilt top was finished (see, wasn’t that easy??). I turned it over and pressed all the seams. You can press them open or to the side. I went with to the side because it was getting bulky near the thin peach colored strips when they were pressed open. 4. Now it’s time to put the layers together. First lay out your quilt backing fabric right side DOWN. Make it as smooth as you possibly can. If your backing and batting are bigger than your quilt top, that’s a good thing. Technically they’re supposed to be. I like to live on the wild side and mine rarely are. (I’m such a quilting daredevil!)
5. There are lots of different ways to baste a quilt (i.e. temporarily attach the layers together before quilting). I usually safety pin mine. Use a lot of safety pins, the more secure the layers, the less likely things are to shift and wrinkle. 6. I just have a regular sized sewing machine which can be tricky to quilt with if you have a lot of fabric to deal with. I would probably never attempt to quilt anything bigger than a crib sized quilt with it. To prepare for my machine, I roll the quilt up partway like this. 7. I decided to quilt this quilt by just stitching in the ditch of all the seams. But choose whatever quilting pattern you want! There are definitely rules about how close together your quilted lines need to be to prevent batting from shifting etc. but like I said, I’m a quilting daredevil, this was good enough for a small quilt! (I’d imagine shifting batting is more of an issue on bigger quilts or if you use thicker batting…
If you have a walking foot for your sewing machine, use it! If you don’t have one, get one, they are soooo worth it.
8. When you are done quilting, lay out your quilt and trim the edges so the top, batting and backing layers are all even and square.9. Now my favorite part! The binding! (I bet some of you think I’m crazy for liking this step…) Get out all those strips you cut earlier and sew them together. Press the seams open. Then using a hot iron, fold your loooong binding strip in half the long way and press. 10. To attach the binding to the quilt, I always use my all time favorite quilt binding tutorial. For a square quilt there’s no need to use bias binding (which uses up a lot more fabric) and there’s no need for diagonal seams. I’d show you the steps myself but, in my opinion, this tutorial is perfect, she lays it out well and in the simplest manner possible. No need to be scared of quilt binding!
11. Sew the quilt binding to the front of your quilt using an invisible ladder stitch. Cup of tea and good movie are optional…I think there are two schools of thought over whether you should wash your quilting fabrics before you start. I never do because I like how quilts get wrinkly when you wash and dry them. But it’s really up to you. Since I didn’t, after the binding was attached, I washed and dried my quilt and then it was done!
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