Raise your hand if you’re a quilt lover but not a quilt maker. Is that you out there? Waiting to try a project but not sure where to start? This is an easy quilt, people. The perfect easy quilt project to tackle if your a newbie (hey, that was me last year!) or need a fun, simple, and easy quilt to make as a gift.
It is very similar to this purple quilt I made this past spring as a gift for my best friend’s sweet baby Ella, but it leaves off one of the trickiest parts of quilting- binding! Yup, this quilt has no binding. Saves you a ton of time but still turns out so sweet and comfy looking. The other thing this quilt leaves out? The actual quilting! Haha… hope that doesn’t make you mad or sad, but honestly, not quilting this quilt has me hooked. Hand “tying” was the perfect method for finishing off this baby and is a fun way to throw back to traditional methods on a fairly modern blanket.
For starters, the inspiration behind this project comes from one of my favorite “maker” blogs- The Purl Bee. They share a ton of patterns and beautiful inspiration for all things fiber- knit, crochet, felt, weaving, and sewing. I’m constantly blown away by what they create- always simple, elegant, whimsical and easy to read.
My quilt was born after seeing this pattern kit. Isn’t it gorgeous?! But I’m definitely not a beginner sewer and didn’t need the pattern to figure out the general idea. I used their image as a starting point and grew my project from there. Feel free to improvise in the same way if you’d rather bind your quilt or add hand or machine quilting. You really could go anywhere with this blanket- the color combos are endless!
First things first.
(I am addicted to buying Kona Cotton Solids online. Best prices, best selection. Almost 50% CHEAPER than the exact same fabric at Joann’s. Yeah. I learned the hard way. Even with coupons coming out your wazoo, chances are you’ll still do better online, so try to be patient- unlike me – and order off the good ol’ intranet). Here are a few places to start:
- six ¼ yards of Kona Cotton Solids (I used all different colors but you could alternate for a striped look or create an ombre blanket…totally up to you)
- one 1 ½-yard piece of Kona Cotton for the backing (again, do your own thing. If natural is boring to you, find a fun print you love or go bold with a color)
- Warm and Natural batting – 1 1/2 yards if cutting from the bolt
- White thread
- Purl Cotton available online or locally at JoAnn’s (used often in hand quilting, it’s a thicker thread great for tying- you could also use yarn or any other strong thread like material)
- A hand sewing needle
- Basting pins
- quilt ruler
- rotary cutter
- self healing cutting mat
- sewing machine (duh!)
- a walking foot if you have one (we’re not doing much “quilting” on this project so if you don’t have a walking foot yet and don’t want to invest – yet – you can get by with your regular foot)
- painters tape or other, not super sticky masking type tape
1. Procure fabrics. Iron, and trim 1/4 yard pieces so your edges are clean and even. I didn’t care to measure each piece to be exactly 1/4 yard- if one piece was slightly over or slightly under it really didn’t matter as long as the edges were squared up.
2. Sew your 1/4 yard pieces together starting with the left most piece and adding one color strip at a time. No need to back stitch at the beginning or end of a row. Just stitch a nice straight line to join each piece, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance or following the edge of your presser foot. Five seams later and your quilt top is already finished!
3. Iron your quilt top so 1 of 2 things happen: Either 1) you press all the seams toward your darker fabrics if you have them or 2) iron your seams open (what I did).
4. Create an inside out quilt sandwich. Here’s the part that might be most confusing (don’t worry – it’s still really easy!). You are going to create this sandwich differently than traditional quilts as it will be turned inside out to finish at the end. First lay your quilt backing right side up on a clean surface. Laid mine on the carpet. Smooth it out as best you can and use painters tape to secure it to the floor taking care to keep it nice and flat and taught. Second, smooth your quilt top right side facing DOWN onto the backing (so these two pieces are facing right sides together). Smooth it out as well and secure again with tape. Finally, lay your batting down on TOP of the quilt top and smooth out one more time (I usually find it unnecessary to tape this last layer in this type blanket). Use basting pins at each corner, in the middle of each side of the quilt, a spread out in the middle of the quilt just to hold your layers in place. No need to go crazy pinning here. You just need the layers to stay together nicely. Gently remove tape and bring your nice little sandwich over to your cutting surface.
5. Trim up the edges of your quilt so they are even and square. I do this by folding the quilt in half and in half again and squaring the edges by cutting through all the layers at once. I use the rulers on my cutting mat and the clear quilt ruler to make sure I’m all lined up. Your sewing will follow these edges so try and make sure they are as nice as possible.
6. Starting on the edge that will show hand sewing the LEAST (for me this was the first 1/4 of white fabric), back stitch and start sewing a 1/2 inch seam allowance about 15 inches from the corner of the quilt. Sew around the entire quilt edge on all four sides, leaving needle down in the corners and gently pivoting the quilt, until you get to the side you started on. This will be one continuous, non-stop sewing line. STOP SEWING and back stitch leaving enough of a gap to turn your whole quilt right side out. I left about 9 inches and it was plenty of room to turn.
7. Trim any threads hanging around and turn your whole quilt right side out. Use a knitting needle, closed pen cap or chop stick to gently push out the corners if you need to. Smooth your quilt out and iron the edges so they line up neatly. Pay close attention to ironing the fabric seam that was left open for turning. You will hand stitch this closed at the very end.
Easy Quilt – Try Hand Tying!
8. Lay your quilt out again flat on the floor. Use a ruler and some simple math to mark where you want to put your ties. I recommend having a tie every 5-10 inches but don’t go farther than 10 inches apart or your batting might rumple. I spaced mine 5 inches apart, in a staggered pattern and absolutely love how it turned out. Again, this is an opportunity to play so do it your own way!
9. Keep pulling through one, long, continuous piece of purl cotton for your ties. A great tutorial on tying a quilt can be found here.
1o. Knot off your ties.
11. Hand stitch the turning opening of your quilt using a whip stitch, knotting your thread nicely at the beginning and end and burring your threads inside the quilt.
12. WASH and enjoy! That’s not so hard, right?! If you do have further questions or anything was unclear in my less than mediocre tutorializing (it’s a word), please just leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you asap.
*I did not wash or pre treat my fabrics in any way. If you are worried about colors bleeding, I’d wash everything carefully, iron, and start from there- just to be safe.
** I don’t have the color names that I used in my blanket from the receipt. My kid ate it. Or something like that. But they are all available in store and online.
***Quilt ends up being a few inches under 44″ (width of your colored solids) x 1 1/2 yards after all the trimming. Yours may vary slightly.
Happy sewing. 🙂
Just for fun: some color ideas floating around in my head. Maybe I’ll have a stack of these someday 😉
I could put colors together all day! Ok, really. End of post. xo