Making your first quilt can feel a little intimidating, but I've got an easy tutorial with a simple patchwork pattern that will leave you feeling pretty proud of yourself when you're finished! This simple throw quilt is the perfect size for lounging on the couch or wrapping up in first thing on a chilly morning. Also, if you're working on handmade gifts this holiday season, this one will solidify your standing as the most thoughtful ever.
– one cut of fabric measuring 31" x 43" for the front
– five cuts of various fabric prints measuring 8" x 43" (you can have two of the same)
– one cut of fabric measuring 43" x 66" for the backing
– cotton batting measuring 43" x 66" (get this cut from the bolt instead of buying a prepackaged piece)
– embroidery thread
– embroidery needle
– straight pins
– rotary cutter and healing mat (optional)
– iron and ironing board
– sewing machine and thread
Note: I suggest prewashing all fabrics in warm water and on a medium tumble dry to preshrink everything. Then I suggest ironing your fabrics for the most smooth cuts and even lines.
Step One: Cut five strips that measure 8" x 43" if you haven't already. I cut these five strips out of four different fabrics so I had two of the same. You'll also want to cut one large piece that is about 31" x 43". These will make up the top side of your quilt once sewn together.
The trick to having your patchwork quilt look great is choosing fabrics with prints and colors that work well together. I suggest choosing between 5-6 different prints that work well together, and then making sure that if you're using the same fabric twice, those two pieces don't touch each other. I had mine arranged a certain way, and then realized I didn't want the two prints that were the same overlapping each other, so I rearranged them again.
Lay your fabric down so that your big piece is in one corner and standing tall like a building. Then place two strips of fabric to the right of the big piece and the other three strips on top. This will be your pattern, but you can mess with the strips until you are happy with the order of the prints.
Step Two: Starting with the two vertical strips, place one on top of the other so that the right sides of the fabric are facing each other and match up your edges. Pin these two pieces together along the right edge as shown. I space my pins about 6"- 8" apart. Stitch along your pinned edge. Make sure to leave about 1/4" seam allowance from the edge to where your needle is stitching through. Remove pins.
Step Three: Unfold your two strips and lay them face down on your ironing board. Iron the back seam to one side. This helps flatten your fabric and makes for smoother matching up of strips down the road. Repeat this process of sewing your top three strips together as well.
Step Four: Once your top three strips are sewn together (and remember I later went back and ripped these three strips out and rearranged them because I got distracted during this process and didn't realize my two similar fabrics were touching. Not a big deal, but I didn't like how it changed the pattern), sew your two vertical strips to the long edge of your largest cut of fabric. Press flat with your iron.
As you can see, the three pieces of fabric on the bottom now equal the length of the vertical strips above. Sew the two pieces together and press flat with your iron.
Step Five: Place your cotton batting on the floor and smooth it out. Sometimes I tape the edges to the wood floor, but it's not necessary. Then place your backing fabric on top of the batting so that the edges match up and the right side of the fabric is facing you. Finally, place your quilt top on top of it all with the right side facing down away from you. Match up the edges and then pin them all together like a sandwich. I pin every 8" or so along the perimeter as well as every 10" in the middle of the quilt.
We are only hand tying this quilt, otherwise we'd be pinning much closer together.
Step Six: Before you start sewing, fold back a section of your quilt top that is roughly 12" long and pin. This will be your opening marker so that you can turn your quilt right side out. Then stitch along the perimeter of your quilt about 1/4" from the edge of the quilt top (except for the opening that you just pinned). You may have excess batting or your back side may be wider than your top. Just be sure you're stitching through all three layers all the way around.
Step Seven: Trim your edges for a cleaner fold and trim off the corners. Just be sure not to cut into the stitching. Turn your quilt right side out and flatten out. You can see where the opening is in the photo above. Hand stitch that closed and you're almost done!
Step Eight: Instead of machine quilting your quilt, you're going to hand-tie it together. Start your first knot 4" in from the bottom corner and then add another knot every 8" across and 8" up. Stitch through all three layers and tie a double knot. Trim your ends to about 2/3".
Give a girl a quilt, and she'll want a book to go with it. If you give her a book, she'll ask you for some coffee and a cozy chair. If you give her a coffee and a cozy chair, you can kiss the afternoon goodbye because she's going to be there awhile!
Enjoy your new skill and go make a few more for the special people in your life! xo. –Rachel
P.S. If you enjoyed this you'll be happy to know that Rachel (and Katie) are currently hard at work developing a sewing based e-course. We think you're gonna love it!