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Whimsy: Charm Pack Baby Quilt

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We've had quite a few requests for more quilts and have a number of them planned in the coming weeks. Today's uses Fig Tree's nostalgic Whimsy fabric collection by Joanna Figueroa for Moda in a handy pre-cut Charm Pack. Coordinating Whimsy yardage and Bella Solids make up the back, sashing and binding. Even if you've never quilted before, you'll find this to be a very simple design in a very manageable baby size. One tiny disclaimer: quilting is known to be addictive and an adorable baby quilt like this could easily be a 'gateway project.' We take no responsibility for turning you or a family member into a wild-eyed quilting maniac with boxes of scraps hidden all over the house.

Take a look at all the great designs and colorways within Joanna's Whimsy collection. And, check out our matching neckroll pillow. I'm not sure what I love most about this collection... the colors, the designs, that cute little chicken on its nest. It's an eclectic mix, yet it all blends together beautifully. To learn more about Joanna's signature style, read our interview.

A BIG thanks to our friends at Fat Quarter Shop for providing us with all the Whimsy collection fabrics for our tutorial trio. They have a wonderful selection in stock of all the designs. And, if you couldn't tell by their name, they always have one of the best selections of pre-cuts. Thanks, FQS!

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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Getting Started

  1. From the fabric for the sashing and borders (Bella Solids in Snow in our sample), cut the following:
    Four 2½" x width of fabric (WOF) strips. Recut these four strips into thirty 2½" x 5" pieces.
    Five 2½" x WOF strips.
    Four 3½" x WOF strips.
  2. Cut five 5" x WOF strips from the fabric for the binding (Bella Solids in Celery in our sample).
  3. You will work with the backing fabric as one piece; no additional cutting is necessary.
  4. Cut the batting down to approximately 40" x 40" - 45" x 45"; you will trim away the excess when finished with the quilting. 

A note about seam allowances and quilting

Paying special attention to seam allowances is important in every project, but is essential in quilting, because your seams need to match up perfectly (quilters call this ‘perfect points'). Therefore, you need to be very careful to make sure all allowances are consistent.

For ‘regular' quilts, you traditionally sew with a ¼" seam allowance. This small seam allowance reduces the bulk in the seams, and makes for a neater quilt top. For this project, we decided to use ½" seams. We did this for a couple of reasons. One, nearly all our S4H home décor projects use ½" seams, and we didn't want to confuse someone who is quilting for the first time (because this is the perfect beginner quilt!) Two, there aren't many seams in this quilt, so any added bulk will really not make a difference.

Making a guide for your machine

  1. Many quilters like to mark their machines to help them guide their fabric and keep a super accurate seam allowance. We learned a neat trick from Janome America Educator, Sam Fung for creating an edge to line your fabric against - Post-it® Notes! Here are the steps to follow if you wish to do this:
  2. With the needle in the 'down' position, use a tape measure or ruler to measure ½" to the right of the needle.
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  3. Use a pencil or marker to indicate this measurement.
  4. Mark the measurement with a piece of tape.
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  5. Sew on a fabric scrap, using the tape as a guide. We used a file folder label.
  6. Measure the size of the seam (from the edge of the fabric to the stitching) to ensure your seam allowance indicator is correct. Adjust as necessary.
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  7. When you are satisfied that your seam allowance is correct, mark it with a stack of 15-20 sticky notes.
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  8. When sewing, use this guide as a little 'wall' to feed your fabric against. Janome's higher-end models have a great accessory that does this called a Cloth Guide. This is a DIY option for your machine.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Piecing

  1. Match up thirty 5" x 5" charm squares with the thirty 2½" x 5" pieces. Pair them up right sides together along the 5" sides.
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  2. Using a 1/2" seam allowance, stitch all thirty pairs together. Press seams toward the charm squares.
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    NOTE: When quilters piece together small pieces like this, they do so in a chain to avoid cutting the threads after each part is sewn - this makes the sewing go much faster, and saves thread.
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  3. Layout your sewn and pressed pairs, to match our pattern or a design of your own, in six rows of five pairs.
  4. Find your six left over charm squares and put one at the end of each row, again - you can match our pattern or design your own.
    Image
  5. Sew the remaining seams to complete the rows. Each row will require five more seams to complete. As you did above, match right sides together, stitch and press seams toward the charm squares.

Assembling rows to create the quilt center

  1. Find your five 2½" x WOF strips. These go between the pieced rows to create the quilt center.
  2. Working from the top of the quilt to the bottom, lay the first strip, right sides together, along the bottom of the first pieced row, matching the raw edges. Pin in place. Don't worry about the excess side to side; that will be trimmed off later.
  3. Stitch, using a ½" seam allowance. Press seam towards the pieced row.
  4. Align the bottom raw edge of the strip you just stitched with the top raw edge of the next pieced row in your sequence, right sides together. Pin and stitch in place.
  5. Continue in this manner until all five strips are stitched in place between the rows. The very top and the very bottom are still raw edges.
  6. Trim the quilt center so both sides are flush.
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Adding top, bottom and side borders

  1. Find the four 3½" x WOF border strips.
  2. Sew a 3½" x WOF border strip to the top and bottom of the quilt center.
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  3. Press seams towards the quilt center. Trim any excess from either end.
  4. Sew a 3½" x WOF border strip to each remaining side of the quilt center. Press seam towards the quilt center and trim flush.

Layering to make quilt sandwich

  1. Place the backing fabric face down. Layer the batting on top of the back fabric. Layer the quilt top on top of the batting face up.
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  2. Baste the layers together.
    NOTE: You baste the quilt layers together so they stay stable as you quilt the top. There are a few ways to baste, but the easiest is to use big safety pins. You can buy these in the quilting section of your local fabric or crafts store.
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Quilting

  1. Place cotton quilting thread in the machine, and wind a bobbin to match the backing fabric.
    NOTE: There are some incredible threads available for quilting. For our project, we chose Coats and Clark Multi-color Machine Quilting Thread in Spring Green. It's a blendable thread that changes color from light to dark.
  2. If you have a walking or even feed foot for your sewing machine, this is a good time to use it. The walking foot will help to feed the layered fabrics evenly, so they don't slip.
  3. To quilt the fabric and batting layers together, start from one corner, and stitch a line that runs diagonally through each charm square.
  4. Continue quilting diagonally through the quilt so each charm square has a diagonal line quilted through it.
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  5. Rotate the quilt top and stitch a diagonal line from the opposite direction to create an 'X' in each charm square.
  6. Trim the quilt layers so that they are even all around.

Binding

  1. Create and attach the quilt binding, using your favorite edge binding technique or one of ours:
    Bias Binding: How To Make It & Attach It
    How To Make Faux Mitered Corners
Contributors
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Editing: Alison Newman

Other machines suitable for this project include the Baby Lock Maria and the Pfaff hobby 1132.

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Comments (26)

Pamela B from MO said:
Pamela B from MO's picture

I could not find the finished size to the quilt? I so love it! I want to make up a kit for a present. I want to tell her the size. This is beautifully written & illustrated, I believe anyone should be able to make this easily, begaining to end. You trully have the gift of instructing how to quilt! I highly parise your skills!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Pamela - the size is hiding in the supplies list. It should finish at approximately 38-1/2" square.

Jkett said:
Jkett's picture

I tried this quilt and love the look, but it isn't perfectly square from the angles of each square within the quilt, though the quilt measures square.  I think my only option is to quilt it some other way that doesn't require that the squares within the quilt are perfectly lined up.  I'm new at this and thought I was doing so well, until I went to mark the stitching line and it won't line up from tip to tip of the squares. Any pointers? Anyone else have this problem and maybe suggest what I did wrong?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ JKett - it's hard to troubleshoot from a distance, but chances are one or more of your seam allowances got off along the way. As we mentioned above, quilting depends on a lot of precision. One option would be to skip the diagonal quilting lines and instead do all quilting "in the ditch" -- along each of the piecing seams. If you are new to quilting, there are lots and lots of sites devoted to nothing but! We don't do as much as others, but we do have a nice, 5-part quilting basics series, which starts here:

http://www.sew4home.com/tips-resources/sewing-tips-tricks/quilt-basics-t...

Janine Ward said:
Janine Ward's picture

What a great pattern. I have three baby quilts to make urgently and this pattern is perfect. Off to my sewing to cut some 5" squares from fabrics I already have. These little quilts will be whipped up in no time thanks to you.

Zelmagomez said:
Zelmagomez's picture

I always come back to this quilt when I need a baby shower gift! It gets oooos and ahhhhs every time.

marvel said:
marvel's picture

I think you may want to add one item to the instructions.  When you give the list of strips to cut at the beginning of the tutorial, be sure to instruct that the binding be cut "on the bias" and not just straight strips the width of the fabric.  It will lay much nicer when attached to the quilt if it is actually bias tape and not just strips.  I cut mine like the other strips and it won't be quite as nice finished as if i had known from the start (and not when i went to the link explaining making and attaching the binding) to cut it that way.  Otherwise, I LOVE this little quilt - thanks for a great tutorial.

Jennifer Schifano Thomas said:
Jennifer Schifano Thomas's picture

Nice beginning quilting tutorial.  I love Moda charm packs.  They are so much fun!  They made your baby quilt resplendent with color.  Have a super day!

Kerrie M said:
Kerrie M's picture

Working on a quilt made from my husbands favorite shirts. He passed away and just couldn't get rid of his collection of plaid shirts he loved so much. I am making two one for me and one his mom. Can't wait until they are finished!

Sharon K said:
Sharon K's picture
This would make a great charity quilt for kids also. Thanks for sharing this with us.
Shirley M. said:
Shirley M.'s picture
smilies/cool.gifClearly clever for a first quilt or a later one!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
@ Mary Kathryn -- you could certainly make this larger. I always suggest sketching it out on a piece of paper first to determine how many squares you'll need. First draw the square or rectangle in the finished size you'd like. I use graph paper. Then, sketch in the squares. If you don't like it - adjust the final shape until you get something you do... love drawing in pencil! Remember to account for all your seam allowances and your binding. We also have a similar queen size quilt:

https://sew4home.com/projects/bed-linens/950-queen-quilt-fat-quarter-cut-up
Mary Kathryn said:
Mary Kathryn's picture
I have never quilted before but I love the look of this quilt. Although, I was wanting a bit bigger size. Could I double this it would that be too difficult?
alicia.thommas said:
alicia.thommas's picture
Julie B, just went to look at your quilt. It's really REALLY cute! Love it!! Thanks for sharing.
Becky S said:
Becky S's picture
Adorable quilt! A trick I use to make straight lines when machine quilting is to put down blue painters tape as guidelines. You'll get a perfect grid of stitches, even in the borders, where its hard to keep the lines straight. Afterward, the tape comes off really easily!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
hi Sue and addi -- thanks for the great comments. And big THANKS for passing us along to your friends smilies/grin.gif
addi said:
addi's picture
I love all your fun ideas. The Janome 6600P does have a cloth guide to use for this project, as do a number of the lower end models. (I need to use it all the time as I am totally challenged with sewing straight lines). The post it note is a great idea for a cloth guide on machines that do not come with the guides. Thank you
Sue Nelson said:
Sue Nelson's picture
Great website. Just forwarded a few friends that are just starting to quilt the pattern for baby quilt, easy and charming. Keep up the good ideas.
Cumberlandislandquiltchick said:
Cumberlandislandquiltchick's picture
This is so adorable! So glad that Blue Bobbin showcased you... XO
Liz Johnson, Editor, Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson, Editor, Sew4Home's picture
Thanks ajp ... how cool that you are teaching yourself to sew - glad we can help. A+ for passing the inspiration along to your friends!
ajp said:
ajp's picture
I love your blog - thanks for all the helpful tips and great step-by-step pictures. I've been teaching myself to sew and have been encouraging friends to stop by sew4home - they're getting inspired as well!
Liz Johnson, Editor, Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson, Editor, Sew4Home's picture
The DIY guide is ultra cool ... and Melie S's suggested to use sticky back foam is another good idea! Our Sew4Home visitors always have such good comments and suggestions smilies/grin.gif
Melie S said:
Melie S's picture
Long time reader, first time poster: I love the sticky note guide, but I discovered through a friend that a sheet of foam with a sticky back is even better. I can cut as long a strip as I need and place it on my machine just as you've done. But, because the adhesive is only on the bottom rather than through a stack of notes, my guide doesn't get as 'gunky'. Love, love, love your blog!
Chrissy L said:
Chrissy L's picture
This is super cute! I appreciate the tips on making a seam allowance guide for the machine!

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