Saturday, May 7, 2011

How to Make a Patchwork Baby Quilt: Part Two

Last week I wrote half a how-to on making a patchwork baby quilt. Today I am going to write the rest, so you can finish off your creation, stand back, admire it, and wait for all the compliments.
We left off last week after cutting out all our squares, working out colour placement, and having all our measurements (with seam allowances!) correct and ready to go. Now it's time to sew them all together.
Do one row at a time, pinning square to square with the right sides together, until you have a long line of squares. Repeat for all your other rows. Press open the seams as you go. The aim is to get these squares sitting as flat as possible.

When you have done all your rows, move on to the columns. Pin the rows together at the join in the seam, making sure you keep the seam allowances opened out flat, like this:

Once you have pinned all the way down the column, stitch it together carefully, again being aware of the open seam allowances and keeping them flat.

Repeat for the remaining columns. When you have done them all, press the seam allowances open and flat again, and then press the whole thing so everything is lying the right way.

Cut your border fabric pieces. I decided to have the top and bottom horizontal pieces go right to the edge, and the verticals to meet the top and bottom border. Make sure you are quite careful with measurements here. Allow seam allowance for one side only, as the other edge will be bound with bias tape.

Stitch your border pieces on, and again press the seams open and flat.
Now we are going to mount the backing fabric onto the batting. Make sure they are of the same measurement, and Lay your batting out completely flat. Lay the backing fabric on top, and then loosely hand stitch a tacking stitch through both layers in wide diagonal lines. This will assist you when it comes to sewing the patchworked layer on: if you don't do it, you will find that the backing fabric will move around, bunch up, and look generally ugly.

Now, turn your backing and batting piece over so the batting is up. Lay your patchworked piece on top, right side up. It will look too small. Be assured that it is NOT, it just needs a bit of cajoling. Stitching together so many squares has made the fabric tighter, and we need to give it a bit of a stretch out. This is good, though: if it were loose, the fabric would bunch up when you sew it, and that is a nightmare you don't want to have.

This is where you will need a LOT of pins. You need to pin every side of every square. Start with the edge, where the bias tape will go, gently pulling and manipulating the patchworking so the fabric gives a little and meets the edge. It's ok if it is a few mm off. You can trim when you are finished.
Work your way in from the edge, pinning each square. Make sure your lines stay straight and don't get warped by your fabric manipulation.

This is what you want it to look like all pinned.

Ok - now you are ready to sew all the layers together. Starting from the middle, ditch stitch along all rows and columns. This is stitching in the seam, so your work will be almost invisible.

Sew around the very edge of the quilt. This stitching line will be hidden by bias tape. Trim any excess batting or backing fabric, so you have a neat straight edge.
Pin your bias tape evenly, half underneath and half on top. If you are worried about the underneath slipping whilst stitching, you could hand tack this part; but I was in a bit of a rush and so just pinned it quite heavily.

Stitch 1mm out from the inside edge of the bias tape, enclosing the three layers in a bias tape sandwich. You can mitre the corners if you like, as I did, or you can fold them another way.

Give the quilt a really good press, especially the bias tape edge.

You are finished! What do you think? I gave mine to my friend last weekend for her baby shower and she loved it. Nothing like a handmade gift!


Sarah said...

So very pretty, Emma! I'm certain the baby who gets that blanket will love it for many, many years.

briggsy81 said...

Just saw this entry, Roo. Looks like it took you a fair bit of time and effort. I know that it was loved by the mother, and I'm sure the little lady will love it as well!

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