I’m new to quilting, but I was recently asked to make something for a friend of my Mum-in-law, who is expecting a baby grandson quite soon. Since most of my baby creations have been very girly (think pinafore dresses and all things pink!), I turned to Pinterest for inspiration, and landed on the idea of a playmat.
Like so many projects, what seemed daunting at first was easily broken down into manageable stages, and with the help of a little imagination, and a few YouTube videos, here’s what I did …
1. Choose three to four cotton fabrics that work well together. Similar colour tones and/or patterns are good.
2. Prepare your patchwork pieces. I find it best to use a cutting board and rotary cutter, to ensure straight lines. You can choose any size and fabric combination you like, but here’s what I used:
- Fabric 1: 3 x squares (15 x 15 cm)
- Fabric 2: 3 x squares (15 x 15 cm) plus 1 x rectangle (15 x 7 cm)
- Fabric 3: 1 x square (15 x 15 cm) plus 2 x rectangles (30 x 7 cm)
- Fabric 4: 2 x large squares (30 x 30 cm)
3. I also wanted to add an applique letter and animal outline, so using fabrics 1 and 2 I traced round a stencil downloaded from google (just search for ‘applique animal template’) and cut out the H and elephant shapes.
Stitching the applique into place
4. Starting with the 2 large squares, I pinned the applique shapes in place. Depending on your machining confidence you might want to tack (baste) these in place next. I was feeling gung-ho and just went for it!
5. Using a zigzag stitch, sew around each shape, staying quite close to the cut edge. If following curves, keep your machine speed slow, and (keeping the needle in the fabric) raise and lower the foot as needed to maneuver your fabric.
Stitching the patchwork pieces together
6. Assemble each horizontal row of pieces by pinning (and tacking/basting if you want) and then sewing with a straight stitch. You don’t need a massive seam allowance (mine was 1 cm).
7. Sew the rows together, making sure you match the joins.
8. Now you’ll have most of your quilt top sewn together. If you have any overhanging edges, trim them so that your joined pieces become a clean rectangle. And now you’re nearly there!
Coming soon: part 2: adding a border, padding, and a back piece.