Simple Patchwork Quilt Baby Blanket Sewing Tutorial
This easy blanket tutorial is a beginner pattern for people new to sewing, or those who want something easy to make for themselves or as a gift!
Written by beginners for beginners with clear instructions on how to make this blanket.
Once you’ve finished your blanket it will make the perfect addition to your nursery or as a gift for a new arrival.
Top Fabric – You will need squares of fabric – this is great for using up off cuts. The size of squares you choose is up to you but it will affect the look and size of your finished quilt. The quilt shown uses 6 inch squares. Woven cotton works best for this but you can also use soft corduroy, flannel, or fleece. You can even use jersey but you may wish to iron interfacing on to the back to stop it stretching as you sew. If you choose to use jersey it is a great way to turn old baby clothes into a keepsake.
For a beginner we recommend using standard cotton. Any of our cottons would be ideal.
Bottom Fabric – We have used bamboo terry towelling for our blanket. Bamboo terry is highly absorbent but also has antibacterial properties so is ideal for a newborn. Our bamboo terry has loops on one side and a plush finish on the other. I chose to have the plush side facing outwards for a super soft touch.
Cut yourself a firm cardboard template for the size of the squares you are using. With a rotary cutter and cutting mat use your template to easily cut your selected top fabrics into squares of equal sizes. I used 6 inch squares but the choice is yours on size. The bigger the squares, the quicker it’ll be to piece together. Neat and accurate cutting will make it easier to get your lines to match up later.
Lay your cut out squares to arrange them in a configuration which is pleasing to the eye. You can choose to go for a symmetrical arrangement or deliberately avoid it. The best way to decide is to lay them out and play around.
Start at the end of a row and pick up the first two squares. Place them face to face, ensuring if you have a directional design that you haven’t turned one of the squares when picking it up. Make sure your squares line up neatly with each other. The better they line up now, the more accurately they will match up when sewing row together.
Pin the side seam of your square. ( I always use clips instead of pins as I find them easier but will refer to pins in this blog as it is a standard term. )
Now you have pinned your seam unfold it to check you have pinned the correct side and that the fabrics are still the correct way up.
Sew your first seam with a 1cm seam allowance – this will give a strong seam for a blanket which is intended to last rough handling and possibly be washed a lot.
Repeat step 3, continuing across the row adding one square at a time until you have a long strip of squares to complete one full row.
Place your first row back down in your layout and repeat steps 3 and 4 until you have all your rows laid out.
Press all seams open so they lay flat and return each one to the lay out so they stay in order.
Take your top row of the blanket and fold it down onto row 2 matching up the outer edges and internal seams. Pin along the top edge where row 1 and 2 meet. Once pinned open it up to check you have your vertical seams lined up and both rows the correct way up.
When happy sew a 1cm seam allowance along the full strip.
Open it up and check that the joins all match up neatly and you have no puckers or miss matches. If you do need to unpick and do it again it is best to do it now before adding any more rows.
If yours joins don’t all end up with perfect alignment it isn’t a problem. Handmade quilts often have quirks about them which add to rather than take away from the end result.
Repeat step 7 with the remaining rows until you have a full top section all joined together.
Press all seams open on the reverse to give a flat finish
Step 10: Optional
Add embroidery detail if you choose. To create this embroidery I drew out my image onto a piece of paper. Choose something with simple clean lines for this look.
Then I decided on the text I wanted and printed it out on the computer. It took a couple of attempts to get it to the right scale for the square. Tip – don’t choose a text that’s too tiny as you’ll find it hard to embroider later. Once I was happy with my image and text I stuck them onto a window with masking tape.
Then I taped up my top fabric lining it up with the image behind.
If you have a light box you might find it easier to work flat rather than at a window but in my case needs must as it was all had.
Once up on the window I traced through the image and text onto my fabric. You can either use a basic pencil or a fade out fabric pen. I prefer a pencil as I can keep the lines really light and narrow.
Once I had my image on the front fabric I used basic embroidery to go over the lines and create a finished design.
Alternatives to this are to use an embroidery hoop and bought embroidery design which you complete and treat as a fabric square before sewing the quilt together. Another option is to use iron on vinyl images to give detail.
Of course you don’t need to add any text at all if you don’t wish to.
Spread out your backing fabric and lay your top layer on your backing with both fabrics being face to face.
Smooth out both layers to ensure no wrinkles and then trim the backing to match the size of the top layer. I choose to do this step once the top layer is complete incase the sizing has shifted slightly during sewing. Pin around all the edges to prevent it moving while sewing
Sew around the edge of the fabric leaving a gap at the bottom to turn it the right way out. The size of the whole you leave depends on the size of the item you are turning. For this size blanket its best to leave about 10 – 15cm opening.
Turn correct way out and give it press with the iron. You may find that you need to gently ease the edges out so that when you press them you are getting the full amount of fabric and aren’t pressing a crease into the seam edge.
Once you have it pressed and are happy that your edges are straight you can pin around the edges to hold them taught ready to top stitch. If you don’t do this you can find that your backing shifts or rolls against the top layer and you end up with a twisted finished item. Be sure to turn in your opening so tat the raw edges are tucked inside when you top stitch.
Top stitch around the full blanket. I like to follow the inside of my walking foot to get a nice even distance from the edge. You might choose to follow the marking plate on your machine to get a steady line. I recommend a distance of 5-8 mm but do ensure your opening seam allowance is trapped inside.
Once you’ve completed your top stitching then your quilt is finished.
There are alternative ways to top stitch your quilt to add more detail such as diagonal lines or free motion swirls. I recommend this simple finish for your first quilt while you build your confidence.
Fold or roll your blanket and finish it with a ribbon tie to keep it neat and tidy.
It is now ready to be given as a gift.
Alternatively you can place it straight into its new home and enjoy it.
How about making these as Baby’s first Christmas gifts. You can use any of our festive cottons and really enjoy arranging them in a way that is pleasing to the eye. Its a delight to receive a hand crafted gift which someone has put time and effort into making. Your friends and family are sure to love your creations.
Happy Crafting & Don’t forget to show us your finished makes!