How to Sew the Easiest Patchwork Baby Quilt Ever – free quilt pattern
Do you have 5 minutes to make a baby quilt? Okay, you’ll need more than 5 minutes, but this baby quilt can easily be sewn in an afternoon. How great is that when you need a baby shower gift for that same evening! Let me show you how to use soft and cozy Nantucket Patchwork Plaid fabric from Fabric Wholesale Direct and this will be your most wallet friendly quilt too.
By the way, if you don’t want to use pre-sewn patchwork fabric, here’s how to make the same patchwork quilt using 2 1/2” squares – it’s great for scraps!
This blog post has been converted to an optional PDF that’s optimized for printing. Find it here. The free quilt tutorial in the blog post below is totally free to read, print, and sew! Just hit CTRL +P on your computer to print. The Optimized for Printing PDF download for $2 is totally optional. The PDF file also contains cross hatch quilting instructions.
Everyone will think you worked so hard cutting and piecing together squares for the quilt. Shhh… don’t tell them the patchwork fabric came that way!
If you’ve never made a quilt before and are looking for an easy tutorial showing you each step – or if you want to whip up a darling quilt in no time at all – this is the tutorial for you!
To make this super easy 40’’ x 45’’ baby quilt, you will need:
1 1/2 yards Patchwork Plaid fabric (I picked the color Mallory)*
1 1/2 yards cotton flannel fabric (I picked the color fuchsia)*
1/2 yard cotton flannel fabric for the binding (I picked the color natural)*
a piece of quilt batting at least 45’’ x 50’’ (I used Hobbs Fusible Batting)
Size 90/14 needle for your sewing machine (I recommend Superior Topstitch Needles)
*Fabric Wholesale Direct only sells fabric cut by the yard (no half yards), but the prices are so great I don’t mind having a little extra.
Tip: Cotton flannel is known to shed quite a bit of fuzz the first time that you wash it. For that reason, I pre-washed all of these fabrics in warm water with regular laundry detergent. None of the colors bled or faded, and surprisingly, shrinkage was negligible. There was a lot of lint in my dryer’s lint trap afterwards, but I expected that.
After washing and drying, I pressed my fabrics using Best Press (I recommend pressing with that or your favorite laundry starch).
I also ordered a couple yards of the same Patchwork Plaid fabric in the color Sebastian because it looked so festive and Christmassy. I can imagine making super quick and easy patchwork Christmas stockings or an easy Christmas apron. So many possibilities!
This fabric is 100% cotton and yarn dyed, not printed. That means the colors are the same on both sides and it is super soft.
Both of these Nantucket Patchwork fabric color variations have 3’’ (approximate) squares sewn in a grid, but I noticed one interesting difference in the way that the seams are finished.
The pink and purple fabric (Mallory) is sewn with french seams so it’s reversible – no edges show on either side. On the other hand, the back of the red and green fabric (Sebastian) has seams that are exposed, but finished with a serger.
These differences on the back of the fabrics don’t matter at all for this project, but I thought you’d want to know.
Okay – let’s make a baby quilt!
1. To make this quilt look as even and finished as possible, trim away the extra patchwork fabric 1/2’’ past the first complete row of squares. That extra 1/2’’ will give you some leeway for trimming and squaring up your quilt after you are done quilting it, plus it is the edge that you will bind.
2. Count down 15 complete rows of patchwork squares and then cut the fabric 1/2’’ past that 15th row. Trim away the extra fabric 1/2’’ past the side edges too.
You should have a piece of patchwork fabric approximately 40’’ wide and 45’’ tall, with 13 squares across and 15 squares up and down, and an extra 1/2’’ of fabric all the way around.
3. Trim away the frayed edges on your flannel fabric (it would have frayed a bit because you washed it, right?). Do not cut the fabric selvages from the side edges yet.
4. Spread out the flannel backing on a large surface (or the floor like me!) and smooth out the patchwork piece on top with about 2’’-3’’ of backing fabric showing on three sides as shown.
Cut away the extra backing fabric 2’’ – 3’’ past the remaining side. Your backing piece should be approximately 45’’ wide and 50’’ tall.
5. Now spread out your fusible batting on your work space and smooth it out. Place your flannel backing piece against the batting wrong side down (if it is solid, there is probably not a right or wrong side). Smooth the backing fabric out on top of the batting until there are no wrinkles, and then cut the batting around the flannel backing piece so they are the same size.
Tip: Sometimes it helps to take your batting out of the package and unfold it the day before so the folds start to fade away and it fluffs up.
Baste the Quilt Together with your Iron
(If you choose to use a different non-fusible batting, sandwich and baste your quilt using pins, basting spray, or another favorite method.)
1. Lay the quilt backing and batting (still together) to your ironing board with the center of the quilt ready to press first.
Note: the manufacturer of this batting (Hobbs) suggests that you can sandwich all three layers (quilt top, batting, and backing) together before pressing. I have found that it’s easier to achieve a smooth surface on both sides if I lightly press the batting to the backing first, and then add the top.
2. Using a hot iron and steam, press the backing and batting together section by section, starting at the center and first moving out to the sides. Then move your batting and backing to a different section and press the center and then the sides. Continue until the entire backing piece is fused to the batting, especially the side edges and corners.
When pressing the batting and backing together, you don’t want to fuse them to your ironing board, so only press for 3-4 seconds in each spot. If they start to stick to your board, peel them up and press for less time.
Fusible batting works best when you press with an up and down motion instead of ironing with a sliding motion.
3. Move the batting and backing to your work space and center the patchwork quilt top on the other side of the batting, right side up. Smooth it out completely until there are no wrinkles.
Move it to your ironing board.
4. Press to fuse the quilt top to the backing. This time, press with the iron for 5-10 seconds in each spot, using lots of steam until the quilt top is securely fused.
Turn the quilt over and press the back again, if it needs it. Sometimes I turn it over and press both sides a few times until my quilt is completely smooth and fused.
I also place pins at the corners just in case they start to come up with all the shifting around that will occur during quilting.
Now it’s time for quilting! You can quilt this adorable quilt using free motion, straight line quilting, or any combination of both. See how I quilted a cross hatch design here.
Sew on the Binding
1. When you are done quilting, trim away the extra batting and batting fabric, using a ruler to square up your quilt at the same time.
2. Cut 5 strips of fabric 2 1/2’’ wide by the width of your binding fabric.
Sew the binding strips together at an angle. Trim away the extra fabric 1/4’’ past the stitching and press the seams open.
3. Fold the binding in half lengthwise (wrong sides facing) and press. You should have about 200’’ of binding.
4. Lay one end of the binding strip against the right side of the quilt with the raw edges lined up. You can pin or clip this edge in place if you wish, to help hold it together as you move to the sewing machine.
5. Begin sewing about 6’’ away from the end of the binding. Sew the binding to the edge of the quilt with an accurate 1/4’’ seam allowance. I use my piecing foot to help me keep an accurate seam allowance (optional).
6. Mitering the corners will look so professional! This is how:
Sew on the binding until you are 1/4’’ away from the corner. Stop sewing and cut the threads.
Remove the quilt from your sewing machine.
Fold the free end of the binding over to your right and finger press the fold to make a nice 45 degree angle at the corner.
Then fold the binding back to the left and along the next side of the quilt.
Secure the binding with a clip or a pin while you move back to the sewing machine – this really helps!
7. Start sewing on the new side of the quilt, backstitching all the way to the back edge and then sewing forward with an accurate 1/4’’ seam allowance.
Continue sewing the binding to the quilt and miter all 4 corners.
8. When you are about 12’’ away from the place where you started sewing the binding on, stop sewing and take your quilt out of the machine.
Bring the ends of the binding together and fold them back where they meet. Cut away the extra binding 1/4’’ from the folds where they meet.
9. Place the ends of the binding right sides together and sew with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.
Finger press the seam open and re-fold the binding in half lengthwise. Finish sewing the binding to the quilt.
10. Wrap the binding around to the back of the quilt. You have 3 options for finishing your binding:
Hand sew the binding to the back of the quilt using stitches that don’t show on the front.
Machine sew the edge of the binding in place from the back of the quilt (easiest method).
Machine sew the binding in place from the front, making sure it is wrapped tightly enough that the edge is caught on the back (what I will show).
11. I like to wrap my binding very tightly around to the back of the quilt, and then stitch ‘in the ditch’ from the front, right next to the binding. If I am careful to wrap the binding tightly, it always catches on the back with no problem!
Tip: I use my ‘stitch in the ditch’ foot to help place my needle in the exact right spot. If you don’t have a stitch in the ditch foot, your regular sewing machine foot or walking foot will work great.
Fold the binding into a mitered corner and continue turning the binding tightly to the back as you approach each corner.
Pivot with your needle down in the corner next to the binding, and continue sewing.
Sewing the binding on this way takes a little practice, but I love how it looks on the front and the back!
If you decide to make a patchwork baby quilt using my tutorial and darling fabrics from Fabric Wholesale Direct, I’d love to see it! Please tag me on Instagram @sewcanshe or #sewcanshe so I can take a look.
Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂
How cute are these. They took me on a walk down memory lane. When I was a little girl my Grandmother Elsie crocheted little bags for us with a drawstring to use as purses.
yes the madras fabric also reminds me of the walking shorts of the 1970’s.Thanks for sharing this idea♥