September 6, 2009

How to make a doll quilt - a tutorial

I just finished making doll quilts for my friend's little girls and it was so fun, I thought I would post a tutorial on how to make them. This tutorial will focus on using fat quarters but you can make them out of any measurements of fabric that you have in your stash. This tutorial results in a doll quilt that measures about 20"x20".

The first thing you need to do, of course, is to pick out the fabrics you will use. I used 5 different fabrics but you can use as few as 2 fat quarters and end up with enough squares to make the doll quilt. I don't pre-wash, but I always iron my fabrics before I do anything else.

From each fat quarter, cut seven 2 1/2 inch strips. You should be able to get eight 2 1/2 inch squares out of each strip, resulting in 56 squares per fat quarter.

Cut 100 squares total out of a combination of as many fabrics as you'd like to use. I cut over 200 since I was making 2 quilts. Some of the fat quarters I used only yielded 48 squares because of the way they were cut, but I still ended up with more than enough squares.

A close-up view of all the squares I cut.

When you are finished cutting, arrange the squares in a way that is pleasing to your eye. If you use multiple fat quarters, it ends up looking like the picture below. Sew the rows together as you would for a large quilt. After sewing each row together, I alternated which direction I pressed the seams on each row so there wouldn't be as much bulk. I didn't press the seams open because I wanted them to be very sturdy and last a long time.

Choose your backing fabric and cut it so there are a couple inches of wiggle room on each side of your quilt. Make your "quilt sandwich" by layering the top with the batting and the backing. I always use quilter's 80/20 batting in my quilts. (80/20 means 80% cotton, 20% polyester) Baste the quilt sandwich together using safety pins every few inches. Make sure you use the small safety pins so the layers don't shift while you are quilting.

Quilt your layers together in any way you choose. I use the free-motion foot to quilt most of my quilts, so these doll quilts were no different. I used a meandering stitch with white cotton thread. Since the doll quilts are so small compared to regular quilts, this is a good time to try out some new kinds of quilting. Be creative and don't be afraid to try something new!

Next, cut two 2 1/2" strips out of regular sized fabric for the binding. I used a white polka dot fabric to show off the colors in the quilt.

Stitch the binding onto the front of the quilt with your sewing machine. Then, fold it over the back and hand stitch the back of the binding. I love to use the hair clips they sell at fabric stores as clips to hold my binding in place while I hand sew. I tend to get a lot of pin pricks if I don't use this method. :-)

This is a picture of my finished product- two cute doll quilts for two cute little girls!

I thought I should also show you the backing I picked. It was a pink fabric with a large floral pattern on it. If you'd like to enlarge the photo, just click on it and it will be easier to see. It would have also been fun to piece the backing since it was such a small quilt. Happy sewing!


Happy Cottage Quilter said...

So very cute. Love your fabric choices.

kwiltmakr said...

What lovely fabrics. I think two little girls will be very happy with those quilts! Nice job.

Unknown said...

This is by far the clearest, well-written tutorial I have read..since I make a lot of quilts and teach I know-how difficult it can be to write instructions. Good job!!
Dawn Burrus