Not too long before Christmas I got a message through from my friend Sally asking whether I could make a patchwork quilt that she’d be able to give as a gift to her Nan for Christmas as a kind of family heirloom. It’s not something I’d ever done before as my forte has been clothing in the past, but wanting to get my creative juices flowing, I told her I’d love to give it a try.
Now I know this isn’t my usual kind of post, but I’m hoping it’ll help people that want to get on the patchwork quilting hype, or hit me up to make one for them 😉. So without further ado, here are the materials and steps I took to create a patchwork quilt;
- Different coloured/patterned fabrics (or you can use the same colour/pattern all over if you’d like) to create a big enough quilt – I was making a single bed sized quilt
- Thread to sew everything together
- Backing fabric for underneath – I used a pink cotton
- Sewing machine
- Ironing board
Cut out your squares of fabric
First step is to work out what sized patches you’d like to have. Sally had printed photos on some of the patches already that were around 10 inches x 10 inches, so I went to work chopping away at the other fabrics she’d provided into the same size and made enough to create a quilt that would cover a single size bed (53 inches x 78 inches). Remember, you need to have a seam allowance which is normally around 1cm – this gives you room to stitch the pieces together and iron down to lay flat against your other layers.
After loads of cutting, hand cramp from holding the scissors and back ache from leaning over, I finally cut enough to move onto the next step.
Lay out your squares and pin
I had 7 photos to implement into the design, so worked out how I could incorporate them first, then laid out the other fabrics that would compliment each other. For example, I’d put a forest green colour next to a floral print with green in, then a pink next to a white and pink heart print. I re-jigged everything until I was happy with how it looked overall.
You might not necessarily have this many colours or designs, so feel free to be as creative as you want, you could be a bit more uniform and have every other square in the same fabric, have completely different ones all over – it’s totally up to you!
After this I pinned together the squares on each row, side by side so I could work a bit easier later on.
Sew your rows and trim up your edges
Once each row had been sewn together, I then had the mammoth task of making everything come together into one big quilt. I pinned all of the rows together and trimmed off the excess, making sure to line up the patches in each row as best as I could. As some of the photos were cut into different sizes, I wasn’t as precise as I’d like to be, so the excess was a result of that.
A big tip for sewing in general is to IRON AS YOU GO ALONG! By pressing each seam you make the fabric easier to work with later on, so once you’ve finished a seam, head to your ironing board and press, press, press! Spread the seams flat against the board and iron away to your hearts content.
Once you’ve finished the above steps, your quilt should look a little bit like this…
Lay your patchwork over your backing fabric
I did this so I could get a precise measurement of the patchwork I’d just sewn together. Once you’ve laid it flat on the floor/table, cut around the outside to exactly the same size as your patchwork. You’ll need to keep this for later on.
Lay your patchwork over your wadding
Your wadding is the cushiony part of your quilt that gives it the bulk and warmth you need in a cosy quilt, it normally comes in a roll when ordered online (I got mine from Amazon), so roll it out and again, lay your patchwork over it and follow the above step.
Sew your three layers together with your wadding facing the backside of your patchwork and the backing fabric facing the front
You need to do it this way so you’re able to contain the wadding on the inside of each layer. I pinned and sewed the top and two sides together, leaving the bottom open – you need to leave this section open so you can turn it inside out in the correct way.
Turn the quilt the right side out and sew the bottom together
In the same way as you’d turn your duvet cover the right way out after it gets tangled in the washing machine (and if you’ve got short arms like me, flail around a bit trying to make it work), put your hand between the quilted layer and the back layer, up to one of the top corners, grab the inside corner to pull it all the right way round.
Once you’ve got something that looks like an actual patchwork quilt, lay it down on the floor/table and flatten everything to make it sit straight – as you haven’t yet sewn together the wadding and back layer, it might be a bit squiff, which is why it’s important to do this before pinning and sewing the bottom together.
Once you’re happy it’s all aligned, turn in the quilted and back layer 1cm, then pin together making sure your wadding is safely inside. Press it down to make sewing a bit easier and run it through the sewing machine.
Stitch over your edges and quilt seam lines
To make everything look a bit more “quilty” I stitched over the seam lines for the rows (I decided against doing the columns as not all of the squares matched up perfectly and I didn’t want it to look shit on the back – I can be very pernickety about my sewing!) – this meant I went through all three layers to give it the quilt look. I then decided to do the same around the edges as I’d done an outside stitch for the bottom and didn’t want it looking off.
Press everything and VOILA!
I absolutely LOVED creating this for Sally and was over the moon that she and her mum loved it as much as I did.
I hope you enjoyed this post and please let me know if you have any questions or requests for more sewing tutorial type posts as I really enjoy writing them! Are you a keen sewing bee?