If you need a baby quilt for today or tomorrow, this project is for you!
This quilt took me six hours, from start to finish. Sometimes I sew really fast, but I think any confident quilter can sew it in one day, following this quick and easy charm square tutorial.
Why is this project so quick?
- You don’t waste time choosing your fabrics -you will use a few charm packs.
- You don’t waste time cutting your fabrics – you already have perfect squares!
- You save a lot of time because you know how to press the seams (this makes accurate piecing too!)
- You save a lot of time because you don’t bind your quilt!
- You sew the quickest and easiest quilting!
Let’s start sewing!
1. Here is what you need for a 40” x 50” quilt:
- 99 x 5” squares
I have two Benartex Fossil Fern charm packs (bought here); each pack has 100 squares; I selected the colors I wanted from both packs.
Many charm packs have 42 squares, so you need 3 packs ( the remaining squares could be used for a small cushion cover).
If you have only 2 packs (84 squares), you need 15 more squares (cut out from assorted fabrics).
- batting: 42” x 52” (I used cotton).
- backing: 1 1/4 yard (44” wide); I used flannel.
- assorted (or neutral) thread; I used a 50wt gray thread from Aurifil.
- walking foot and a topstitch needle.
Use your favorite batting; you could substitute the flannel with regular cotton or minky for backing.
2. Sew the top
- Arrange your squares into a 9 x 11 grid (9 horizontal rows with 11 squares on a row or vice-versa) and into a pleasant composition by color.
I did this on the floor (which was previously cleaned).
- Join the squares into rows; sew with 1/4” seam allowance. Sew all the rows.
- Press the seam allowances in opposite directions from row to row (press in one direction for rows #1,3,5… and in the other direction for rows #2,4,6…).
Check out this tutorial: Nesting Seams.
- Join the rows in pairs (1+2, 3+4 and so on); use pins for accurate piecing. Press the seam to one side.
- Sew the pairs together and continue until you finish the top.
- Once the top is finished, give it a final pressing.
3. Make the quilt sandwich
In order to illustrate these instructions, I made a small sample.
- Using masking tape, tape the batting to the floor; smooth out any wrinkles. Make sure you don’t stretch the batting.
- Then spread out the quilt top on top, right side up. Make sure you maintain the right corners and the seams between rows and columns remain straight.
- Pin through both layers near the outside edges.
- Trim the batting even with the quilt top.
- Sew around all the edges with 1/8” seam allowance.
- Tape the backing on the floor, right side up.
- Add the top+batting sandwich on top, with the batting side facing up.
- Pin near the outside edges to keep the layers together.
- Trim the excess backing.
- Sew around the outer edges, leaving a 8” gap. Sew with 1/4” seam allowance.
I like to double pin at both ends of the gap like this, to make sure I remember where I need to stop sewing.
Trim the corners. Turn the quilt right side out through the gap. Poke out all of the corners.
Take the quilt to your ironing board and press the outer seams neat.
As you iron, fold the two layers of the opening inward and line them up with the existing seam; this will ensure a pretty, straight edge of the quilt. Stitch the opening by hand, using an invisible stitch.
Then lay out the quilt sandwich on a table, smooth all the layers ( I even pressed the sandwich) and baste the quilt sandwich.
I put a pin in the center of each square, but it wasn’t the best idea! During quilting, if the layers shift, the straight seams of the top become distorted and that will show. I think it is better to pin through the seams (or close to the seam); see below the difference between the two ways of pinning.
4. The quilting
- Quilt straight lines to the right and to the left of each seam, at 3/8”.
Could you quilt at 1/4”? Yes, at any desired distance from the seam.
Could you stitch in the ditch? Yes!
- First I quilted along all the vertical seams and then I did the same for the horizontal seams.
- Start and stop each quilting line at the edge of the quilt. Backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam and trim off the thread.
I did not stitch along the outside edge of the quilt, I like more this look of the edge.
Don’t forget, check out the Nesting Seams tutorial.
I don’t buy precuts often, but I must say that now I see them with new eyes!
Do you need more inspiration for quilts?