Easy Patchwork Quilt DIY

Learn to make an easy patchwork lap quilt on www.aBeautifulMess.com todayMaking 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. 

Easy Beginner's QuiltSuppliesSupplies:
-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 OneStep 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.

Lay Out FabricsThe 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.

Step2Step 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.

Step3Step 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. 

IMG_3275Step 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. 

IMG_3279This is what the back of your quilt top should look like.

IMG_3289Step 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. 

IMG_3290Step 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 6Step 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!

Hand TiedStep 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″.

Hand Tied QuiltYou did it! 

Let's Make A QuiltGet Cozy In Your First Handmade QuiltGive 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

Credits//Author: Rachel Denbow. Photography: Rachel and Brett Denbow. Photos edited using the ABM Signature Collection.

  • I am new to quilting, saw this pattern and thought this would be an easy first for me..I sure am having some problems. I have been thinking for days that I really messed up, and had to add some pieces onto my top strips to make it match the bottom half. Anyway when you add 31″ + 8″ + 8″ it equals 47″, not 43″. have I done something wrong? Help!!


  • Thank you so much for posting this project! I am an aspiring quilter and this is a great beginner project for me. I finished this over the weekend, used quilting flannel on the back. It was so fun – I think I might make another one! Look forward to the sewing ecourses and other sewing projects.

  • A quick hello from France! I made this quilt and it is a perfect project! It is
    my first try and I loved it! It is not too easy and not too hard and the result looks great! Thank you for this and your whole wonderful blog!

  • It looks wonderful! Such a helpful and lovely post, I’ve always wanted to make a monochrome-colored quilt, so thanks for sharing!http://www.housesheepskin.com/baby-sheepskin-rug

  • ahh, you make it look so easy! since it’s a little too late now, this would be such a cute gift for next christmas! http://www.housesheepskin.com/baby-sheepskin-rug

  • A quick hello from France, I made your project (you can see it on my blog)! It’s my first quilt and it was perfect ! Not too easy and not hard at all, it’s quick and the result is very satisfying. Thank you for that and for your whole wondeful blog!

    • Love this easy carefree look. You can make so many combinations out of it. Thanks for sharing it. Thanks for all the readers advice – we only stand to gain by learning from one another.

  • Thank you so much for this idea. I dove into all the scraps I have been saving. These quilts spread joy! I have made and given away two so far. I only did two things differently. I found 31″ to be too wide so I changed the big piece to 27″ X 43″

    And the other thing I did was machine quilt “in the ditch” after it was all pieced and the opening sewn shut. You just stitch from the front of your quilt, through all three layers right on your seams. It doesn’t show on the front because it is hidden in the ditch. Then I tied it. It will just give your quilt extra strength in the wash. 🙂

  • Weird question – is the black bench in the photos painted? Does anyone know the paint color, finish, and brand?

  • ecourse!! yay!! I got my first sewing machine for Christmas and I’m so excited to use it…. but very overwhelmed! Will it be beginner?

  • Love this tutorial Rachel! Thank you for sharing! I can’t wait to give this a go! 🙂

    (Just a small request, in the future could metric measurements be included in things like this? Would just make life so much easier for your international readers)

    Merry Christmas ABM team! xx

  • Hannah,
    I agree! However, I wanted to make this tutorial as simple as possible and that just seemed like another big step to teach that might make this a little too much of a project for anyone who hasn’t ever made a quilt before.

  • My big 2015 resolution is to really improve my sewing skills and work on a few bigger projects like this. This is a great one – thank you for sharing! And I am SO EXCITED for the sewing based e-course!

    Merry Christmas, ladies!
    xx Kathryn

  • Thank you Hannah. I would never have thought of that. Have you come up with how to make bias tape by any chance?

  • I love your simple quilt design and your tutorial is first rate. One can make this up in a couple of days. I love that and maybe I will make a bunch for next Christmas. Just have to figure what colour goes with each persons place. Tnank you for sharing your creative and simple efforts with us.

  • This is cute! Bias tape would really make the edge look nice and clean. it’s my favorite way of binding off.

    Also maybe a ‘how to make bias tape’ would be a cool blog post!

  • It looks wonderful! Such a helpful and lovely post, I’ve always wanted to make a monochrome-colored quilt, so thanks for sharing!
    Merry Christmas! <3

    Xoxo http://thoughtsintiffanyblue.blogspot.com/

  • lovely idea! looks very beautiful and so so cozy!! I definitely have to try this as I already did patchworked pillows and handwarmers (you can see a tutorial for those over on my blog http://creatingkatharina.blogspot.de/2014/12/last-minute-patchworked-christmas-gifts.html)

  • This is beautiful! I love how simple, yet pretty the design is! 🙂
    Keep up the great work!

  • My mom wanted to make a patchwork quilt out of all the old shirts I accumulated from various clubs throughout elementary, middle, and high school! 😀 -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  • ahh, you make it look so easy! since it’s a little too late now, this would be such a cute gift for next christmas! xoxo


  • I love patchwork quilts. They’re awesome for using larger pieces left over from finished projects.

  • Well being a good Mennonite girl, I appreciate a quilt of any kind!! This is so much simpler than setting up a quilt frame and stitching the whole thing – which is time consuming, yes, but an art form. My grandmothers would have one room in the house just for the quilt, and it was a social event. Actually this quilt would be what we call a comforter, because it’s knotted. Either way, this is such a great project to tackle. One person could do it, but you could always invite friends over to tie the knots! Great way to use up all of those scraps I’ve hoarded over the years!!

  • I have been quilting for a few years, but I have never done a hand-tied quilt! This looks beautiful, I’ll definitely be giving it a try 🙂

    • actual i think hand tie would be much easier than machine quilting it always gives me fits. lol

  • I definitely think quilts are intimidating, but this tutorial seems pretty straight foreword and a great project for the Christmas break!

  • Beautiful! I’ve been wanting to try making a quilt. I love this unique design, looks great!

  • The quilt looks great! However, the knotting should be much closer together, say 4 – 5 inches apart. Otherwise the batting will fall apart in the wash and be a lumpy mess inside the quilt.

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