Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Accidental "T" Quilt

I very much enjoy making mini, doll, and baby quilts.  Not only do they make great gifts but with three girls in the house, these sizes get lots of use.  I also love how working on small quilts gives me the chance to try new things and experiment without a big commitment.

One of my favorite small quilts to make is what I'll refer to as my "improv, a little bit wonky, log cabin style, see where it takes you" mini/doll quilt.  It is a great way to use scraps and is a quick project (well, quick when you don't stop every few minutes to take photos!)  Here is how I do it:


I start by cutting a piece of batting in my desired size and shape.  For this quilt, I decided to go with a 24" square.  I chose the size because I used a batting scrap and that was the size with the least waste.   I haven't used many different types of batting - actually, I think I have only ever used Warm and Natural Cotton Batting.   I stock up when Joann's has it on sale online with a free shipping deal (I don't have a Joann's store near me.)  I don't know if all battings are like this but what is great about this brand/type is that the fabric kind of sticks to the batting when you smooth it down.

Second, choose two small scraps and place the first one wrong side down on the batting and the second piece right side down on top of the first piece.  Sew 1/4 from the right side edge.  Open and press.  You can iron as much or as little as you want throughout the project.  If you choose not to iron, just finger press the fabric onto the batting if you are using a batting to which the fabric (at least kind of) sticks.  Today, I was in the ironing mood so I ironed several times.  

Take another piece of fabric and place it right side down on the piece of fabric on the right.  Sew with a 1/4 inch seam.  Open and press.

I like to arrange the fabrics with the tiniest bit of the bottom fabric peeking out so that I make sure to catch both pieces when sewing.  This is because I use scraps and uneven pieces when making this type of quilt.

(Note - you might prefer to more securely attach each piece of fabric to the batting by sewing on the opposite side from the seam after you open and press.) 

Turn the batting and choose a scrap that is long enough to cover the bottom of all three pieces of fabric that are already attached to the batting.  Place it right side down perpendicular to those fabrics and sew a 1/4 inch seam.  Open and press (I'll stop writing open and press since you probably get that you do that after every piece of fabric is sewn.)

Rotate the batting clockwise and choose or cut a piece of fabric to cover the length of the fabrics already sewn to the batting.  (You can also sew a few scraps together to get the length you need.)  Attach and rotate the batting clockwise again.  Keep doing this until you have about 2 or 3 inches of "empty" batting left on each side.

I sew scraps right sides together to make strips in the needed lengths.

I measure the length I need by placing the new fabric on top of the already stitched pieces.

I even was able to include some of my favorite fabrics even though I only had tiny scraps left.

Again, just make sure you can see the bottom piece so that the stitching line is in the right place.

This method makes it easy to cover up mistakes like forgetting to cut off the selvedge. 


For the quilt I'm making for this post, I decided to add an off-white border around all four sides.  However, I've also made this quilt by completely covering the batting using the log cabin method with no sashing or border and I like that look as well.

Because I didn't want the seams to show from some of the darker color fabrics around the edge, I first attached a narrow piece of the border to all four edges and then attached the 3 inch strip on top of that. Another method would have been to leave a wider seam on the border by placing the border  right side down completely covering the bottom piece of fabric.  I don't know which method works better to cover the seams, the second would have been less waste but I didn't think about it in time.

If you can see the darker fabric under the border, use it to line up your needle.

I stitched too far over when I attached the wider piece of border so I just stitched again using the first line as a guide.

Much better the second time around.

The Quilt Sandwich:

For the backing, I just cut a piece of fabric about 1" wider on all four sides than the batting.  I put that piece of fabric wrong side up and placed the batting/fabric combo right side up on top of that.  Now, please don't cringe but I don't baste my layers when making this type of quilt.  Two of the layers are already attached and as I said, I feel that the fabric sticks well enough to this type of batting when I am making a small quilt.  That said, if you prefer, baste using your favorite method.


I don't have a hard and fast rule about where I like to start quilting - middle or edge.  I decided to do straight line quilting (well, I tried for straight but got wonky) and decided to start quilting from the middle out - after first attaching my walking foot.  For the side of the quilt that goes under the throat of the machine, I just rolled it up.

Tried for straight but got wonky!

Part 2 coming soon:
I only was able to get about 3/4 of it quilted before the baby woke up.  I'll hopefully get to finish it and complete the binding tomorrow so this is Part 1 of my how I did it.

The "T"?!?

Oh, and why am I calling this the accidental "T" quilt?  In the middle of making it, I realized that I inadvertently made what looked like the letter "T" in the middle of the quilt with the smaller scraps so I started using wider and longer pieces to highlight the "T" since there is a special little "T" in my life who would love this quilt (wow - that was sure a long sentence!)  I wish I knew how to draw on the picture to show you the "T" but hopefully it is obvious.

The "T"


  1. Don't worry I found your "T" ... and a nice tutrial and yes having to take thousands of pictures is what keeps me away from them, I already have too few time for sewing.
    and if you like to make small quilts - would you want to swap them? http://dollquilters.blogspot.com/

    1. Thanks and thanks for the link to the swap - I'll check it out.

  2. Looks great! I love the flip and sew method :)


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