Babies love texture. In this tutorial I created a strip quilt on my sewing machine using three flannel patterns for the front and a minky fabric for the back. I have made my children a few of these and they love them. They are soft and warm without being bulky. But the best thing about these quilts is….we quilt with a simple sewing machine. Yea! Also, I have a tutorial on creating a matching crib sheet. Tutorial soon!
Let’s get started!
For starters you need a cutting mat, quilting ruler and a rotary blade. For a few years I have used the Fiskars 3 Piece Rotary Cutting Set. It runs about $35 on Amazon.
A basic sewing machine. Mine is a Brother SE400 Combination Computerized Sewing and 4×4 Embroidery Machine . I choose a Brother because there is a repair shop within 3 hours of my house. (Yes, I live in the boonies). It is something to keep in mind when buying a sewing machine because parts for sewing machines are brand and style specific and are not always available online. Plus, sewing machines have lots of moving parts, which may mean a trip to the sewing machine mechanic.
Since my sister and her husband chose not to find out want the sex of their first baby will be until it is born, I went with a neutral or uni-sex combination. She bought an adorable little blue-eyed elephant for the baby so I went with this combination from Flannel Fabrics for the top and I chose a grey minky fabric for the backing. Buy thread that matches the backing so that it does not standout. It this case my minky fabric and thread are grey.
You can use two or more flannel prints for the front but be prepared to use your math brain. If you are like me and don’t like math you can always round up. Okay, so I am helpless with out diagrams when I am figuring out much fabric is needed for a project or how many rows I want/need to get the measurements to come out correctly at the end.
Baby blanket/quilt sizes vary but my babies grew out of their blankets before they turned one. (I will be the shrimp one day, I know.) I make my baby quilts 42 in. x 54 in. Technically, the crib is 52 in. but I have three different flannels and 54 is easily divided by 3. I like round numbers. I decided to use 6 inch strips which meant I needed eighteen inches total of each flannel. I prefer having extra on hand for mistakes and future projects. So I ordered a yard of each but if you are using 3 flannels instead of two, you only need a 1/2 yard of each. Flannel material is generally 42-44 inches in width.
Now we are ready to cut 6 inch strips for the top of the quilt. Using your rotary cutter, cut the minky fabric down to 43 in x 54 in. Minky fabric comes in different sizes on the bolt so you will have to do your own calculations on yardage. Be sure it will be wide enough.
So after you have your pieces cut out, line them up in a pattern you like.
Now we are ready to start. I did not use cotton batting in this quilt as the baby is a spring baby. I use batting in older children’s quilts as they are able to kick it off if they are too hot and you don’t have to worry about them smothering themselves while they sleep. If you do choose to add batting. Cut it to the same size as your minky fabric.
Before you start pinning and sewing, make sure you can lay your material flat on a hardwood floor, table, or chest freezer. The minky fabric has a tendency to bunch as you sew so it is best to keep it as flat possible. One of the tricks to moving the quilt to your sewing machine from the flat surface is to:
1. Use pins.
2. Roll the fabric from both directions, leaving only the small section you are sewing open. This keeps that minky fabric from moving around as you sew.
Okay, now that we have that out of the way, lay your minky fabric face down. (Soft side down). Line your batting up on top of it. Choose one 43 inch side as your beginning point.
Lay the first stripe down right side up. Pin in place. Roll the bottom up as you would a poster or cinnamon rolls. Sew across the top of the quilt. Don’t worry about the seam. It will be covered up later with binding.
Iron everything flat. Then place the next strip face down on top of the strip you have just sewn. Be sure your pattern should also be upside down as well. Pin all pieces together along the bottom side that has not been sewn. Sew where you have pinned the first and second rows together.
Once you have sewn a straight seam flip the second strip over, facing right side up. Iron flat. If you have sewn the seam correctly, the first row will be anchored to the back mink and the second row securely attached to the first row in a straight line. Now you are ready to grab the next strip from your pile. Lay it face down on the second strip and pin it to the bottom of the second strip and the backing. Roll up the backing and sew the seam. Flip the strip over. Iron. Repeat until you are on the last row.
At the last row, you will have extra mink and batting if you used it. They both will stretch as you have quilted. Not to worry we will trim everything. On the bottom of the last row, simply sew a straight seam as you did at the top. Trim the extra batting and mink from the bottom.
You will also need to clean up the sides with your rotary blade. Use your mat and straight edge to make sure your edges are straight. I find it easier to line the sides up together to keep everything even and straight.
We are ready for binding. Simple quilt binding tutorial up soon.