quilt tutorial (the cheater’s version)

(i just had to throw in this picture of gracie’s outfit choice when we went out to dinner last night. she had it all laid out nicely on her bed like she was making sure it all went together!)

as requested from my friend shalimar, i needed to give a little tutorial on how i do my quilts, or blankets, whatever you want to call them. first, let me give this disclaimer: i am not a quilter. i have never taken a quilting class and do not do “quilting” in the traditional way. i would say that i cheat. you may have seen the start of my baby’s quilt. i basically cut 3 1/2 inch wide strips and lay them out somewhat randomly, end to end, then made multiple rows like that. today i took the next step.

as you can maybe see from the picture above, my nice straight rows turned out to be a bit more rainbow shaped. they have quite an arch to them, so making a blanket with 90 degree corners has been a bit difficult, thus my procrastination on moving forward. after a bunch of measuring and chopping i finally made the overall blanket a fairly even rectangle. don’t look too close – so many of the fabrics look like they were cut on an angle – oh well!

ever heard of “warm & natural”? its the white stuff in the picture above. basically its a thin batting that i put in between the layers of this quilt. its really soft and i think easier to work with than the loftier polyester batting. i layed the quilt top on top of the warm & natural, smoothed it all out so there were no wrinkles, then pinned the 2 layers together all over, like every 4 inches or so. then i “stitched in the ditch” as you can see in the picture above and the close-up below. basically, that means to stitch directly on top of a seam already done. i’m not so good at the “directly” part, so i just try to get close.

i used a contrasting thread (turquoise) because, since i knew my stitches wouldn’t really be hidden in the seam, i would make them be more of a focal point rather than an error if i had tried to do it perfectly (note the title of my blog!).

next step is to make the backside of the quilt. the easiest way to do this would be to get a piece of fabric that is the same size as your quilt top, then go from there. i didn’t go the easy route. a girlfriend got the fabric for me, a super soft lightweight corduroy, and she was only able to get 2 pieces, not 1 whole one. so i had to piece them together to make them cover the size i needed. i’m pretty happy with how the back came out. i did a large rectangle in the middle with an 11 inch border around the edges.

i could’ve left it at that, but i thought it looked a little blah, so i added more contrast stitching in the ditches.

i used a turquoise and an orange thread, and a zigzag stitch and made 4 lines. pretty simple for adding a bit of color.

next step is to lay the top of the quilt onto the back. i had my husband help with this. i made the back slightly (like 1/2 inch) larger than the front so i had a little wiggle room. but we basically had to lay it on top as exact as possible.

i’m not a big fan of pinning. i usually think it can be a waste of time, but in this case i decided it was worth it. so i pinned again about every 4 inches around the edges. i sewed the 2 pieces together leaving an opening on one end about a foot wide.

before i turned it all right-side-out, i snipped the corners. this helps the corners on the outside to be a little more square, rather than roounded.

at the 1 foot opening i carefully pulled the quilt right-side-out, making sure to push my finger in the corners to make them square.

its hard to tell in this fuzzy picture, but the next step is to close the opening i left in order to turn out the quilt. first i needed to iron all the edges flat, especially where the opening was. then i used thread that would blend into to opening fabrics, white on top, brown on bottom. if you can tell in the picture, i stitched as close to the edge as possible so the seam wouldn’t be too noticeable.

next i needed to attach the back side to the front so it wasn’t loose like a bag or a pillowcase without the pillow. i decided to use embroidery floss/thread to make little “x’s” on the back and tied knots on the front.

i finished all the x’s on the outside edges, but quit after the first of 12 needed for the center section. i’ll try to finish tomorrow and show you the final product.

i hope that this has been helpful to some of you, and not too boring for the rest of you!

goodnight, my feet are fat!



  1. 1
    Lisa Leonard says:

    you sure sound like a quilter to me!!! it is sooo cute.

  2. 2

    I’ll just call you talented. It was great to hear your voice after so long. Thanks for the info, I can’t wait to give it a shot…just as soon as I own a sewing machine. :-)

  3. 3
    Jeannett Gibson says:

    Love the baby quilt…and you just may have it completed before baby boy gets here! I am very impressed!

  4. 4
    Brianna Heldt says:

    adorable quilt! and great tutorial, maybe someday I will attempt something like this…

  5. 5
    Andromache says:

    I just wanted to say that I think this is a perfect way to non-quilt a quilt! Those hard core quilters are doing it way too complicated…

  6. 6
    Debilou~Mississippi Mama says:

    i have ALWAYS wanted to make a quilt,, but doing it the right way always kinda kept me from doing it.. i think I could do it this way.. thanks for sharing.

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