They are fun and fast to make and a great way to show off a favorite large print fabric.
The one I'm working on today is a kit from Quilts for Kids.
Quilts for Kids is a nationwide non-profit that provides quilts for kids who are facing long term hospitalization, trauma, abuse situations and natural disasters. The quilts you make will most often stay in your local area.
The organization provides the "kit" with all the fabric (mostly cut and ready to sew), and the pattern you need to make the quilt. They even include the backing fabric complete with a label you can sign.
All fabric is donated. You provide only thread, and if you quilt the quilt, cotton batting. (see guidelines)Checking out a kit is similar to checking out a book from the library.
Once you have the quilt sewn you take it back to a drop-off location.
You can sew as much as you like. Anything from just the top piecing or finish the quilting and binding so it's ready to go. It's up to you.They come together very quickly so it never becomes just another quilt top to put in your "RTQ" (ready to quilt) bin.
It's just that easy to bless a child in your area!
If you want to get really involved, Quilts for Kids hold monthly workshops where you bring your own machine and just sew the day away making these cute and useful quilts.
Let's make one of these cute quilts.
Start by downloading the pattern. It's free at the Quilts for Kids website.
You may choose any one you like. I'm using the one called Checkmate.
Measurements are linear cuts, not Fat Quarters.
1/4 yd Fabric A for 4-patch strip
1/4 yd Fabric B for 4-patch strip
3/4 yd Fabric C for focal fabric (large print and high contrast)
1/4 yd Fabric D for sashing strips
1/2 yd Fabric E for border (can be the same as Fabric C)
1-1/2yd Fabric for backing
The quilt is self-binding so no additional fabric is needed.
Begin by cutting the strips using the information under "Take an inventory".
Start by making the 4-patch strip
If you've never strip-pieced 4-patches, it time you learn. It was a revelation when I learned to strip piece, especially 4-patches.
Sew 2 WoF (width of fabric) strips of the 4-patch fabrics together side by side. Make 2 sets.
Press to the darker fabric.
Stack the strips, right sides together so the seams nest. Fabric A will face Fabric B on both top and bottom strip.
Cut the selvages off, then cut the strips into slices of the indicated size. DON'T separate the pairs.
You want those seams to remain nested in place to meet perfectly in the center.
Pick up the pairs as they are and sew them together. Just feed the pairs under the presser foot, in one long chain, without breaking thread between.
When they are all sewn in pairs snip threads. Open them up and furl the seams by popping the stitches in the seam allowance and pressing them into a tiny 4-patch.
When they are all furled and pressed, sew the 4-patches into sets of 2, again nesting the seams, and press, again furling the seams.
Once again sew these sets into sets of two and furl and press. Each strip should now have 8 4-patches sewn together in 2 rows.
Press from the front to make your check strips lay flat. Do not stretch the rows as you press. Use steam if you need it.
Sashing and Focus
Measure both your checked strips and take an average of their lengths.
Cut the 4 sashing strips to the average length and sew 1 sashing to each side of the checked strips.
Press to the sashing.
Cut your 3 focal pieces to the same length you cut the sashing.
Sew a checked unit to the bottom of one of your focal pieces.
Sew a checked unit to the top of one of your focal pieces.
Sew the last focal piece between the two units you just made.
Press to the sashing strips.
Add the borders following the instructions on the pattern if you like.
This is the method I prefer:
- Measure the length of the quilt in 3 places, not at the edges.
- Average the measurements you just took.
- Cut the 2 side border pieces to that average measurement
- Sew the side borders to the quilt. Press to the borders.
- Measure the width of the quilt, with the added side borders, in three places, not at the edges.
- Figure the averages of the measurements you just took.
- Cut the top and bottom borders to the average measurement.
- Add the top and bottom borders to the quilt. I like to back stitch at the beginning and end of the final borders because they won't be anchored any other way.
- Press to the borders.
To make the quilt sandwich, lay your (pressed) backing fabric face down.
Place the batting and quilt top face up on the backing.
Make sure everything in centered and wrinkle free.
Baste the sandwich layers so there will be no shifting while you quilt. Pins or spray baste are both good methods.
Here's a great tutorial for spray basting from Laura at SewVeryEasy.
For donated quilts, follow the quilting guidelines printed on the pattern.
Remember if you are self binding the quilt to keep your quilting stitches away from the edge of the quilt.
I confess I've never bound a quilt this way before.
My brothers have a motto: I've never done it before, I must be good at it.The pattern has good instructions as well as a link to a really good tutorial from CluckCluckSew.
I'm still waiting for batting to arrive at my door. When that happens I'll do an update on how the binding went.
I know that's lame.... Sorry.
In the mean time, gather up some cute fabric and make a fast quilt. There's nothing like finishing a project in a day!
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See you next time!
PS. Wanna see where I hang out when I'm not at Seamless Piecing?
The Quilt Pattern Magazine is an online, monthly magazine where I publish some of my designs.
AND... it's not just a magazine. It's also a delightful, private, online community called Pattern Pastiche. Some of the best and nicest quilters around hang out there along with others, like me, who just want to rub shoulders with them.
It's a safe place to ask questions and get mentoring from those who know and care.
AND... If you go there from here you can use a special discount code just for Seamless Piecing readers. Here's the link. The code is: SP
The You Choose adventure is happening at Pattern Pastiche. It's a FREE event. You just have to stop by during Live Chat times to get your clues.
Come find out what your clue is. It probably won't be the same as mine.
I used my clue #1 to make this simple strippy quilt for Quilts for Kids. -----
If you think the one we did today is just like this one . . . . Nope!
Today's quilt would not meet requirements for my clue #1 but it does for my clue #2. In fact, they both meet my clue #2. How can that be?
Join us in the chat room at Pattern Pastiche during Live Chat times and find out.
New clues are revealed this week.