Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Neapolitan Dream Baby Quilt Easy Tutorial

Who says a baby quilt has to be cutesy-cutesy?  The fabrics I selected for this baby quilt are sophisticated, yet the size and color combination are perfect for my baby girl Veronica. It is the perfect project for a first quilt.  The sweet trio of colors is inspired by the Neapolitan ice cream flavors of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.  I suggest choosing three distinct prints.  I chose one large scale (paisley in wine by Amy Butler), one viney print (Sanae by Moda Chrysalis) and one smaller scale print (Quatrefoils by Michael Miller).  You could also choose 3 small scale prints.
This project took about 2 ½ hours from start to finish.  It would be an easy-breezy last minute baby gift.  The finished size is 36” by 40”.
·      ½ yard each of pink, brown, and cream fabric
·      1 ½ yards of small scale backing fabric (you will make faux binding with this fabric, so pick something small scale and not stripes)
·      36” x 40” of batting (I used Warm and Natural, but you should use Warm and White if your “vanilla” fabric is white and not cream.)
·      coordinating thread (I used cream on the top and light brown on the back)

1.     Press each of your 3 fabrics.  Taking one of the pieces, line up the selvages and smooth out.  Straighten the edge by cutting off the excess.  Then cut three 5-inch strips.  Trim each of the strips to 5” x 36”.   Just line up the fold at the 18 inch mark and cut off the extra.

2.     Lay out your strips on the floor in order:  chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and repeat twice.  Make sure if any of your fabrics have direction (like the paisley in my quilt) you have them all facing the same way.
3.     Pick up the second strip and lay face down (right sides together) on top of the first strip.  Sew together using a ¼ inch seam allowance.  Press seam open.
4.     Continue sewing the strips together in order.  When finished, check your quilt top to see if it’s square.  I did this by folding it in half in the direction of the strips and then using my ruler to cut off on the sides a tiny bit to make it perfectly square.

5.     Get the quilt top ready to make a quilt sandwich.  I press mine really well to make sure all the seams are extremely flat.  I think it’s very important NOT TO USE STEAM in this step.  You could pull on the fabric and make your seams look really wavy.  Just press.
6.     Press the backing fabric.  Then lay it down right side down and use painter’s tape to secure it to your floor.  I tape pretty much every where around the circumference.  Some people don’t.  It’s up to you.  Use your hands to smooth out the fabric as your taping it down so there are no wrinkles. 

7.     Lay your batting on top of the backing.  Again, work out all the wrinkles in the batting with both your hands.  Then place your quilt top right side up on the batting.  Smooth it out perfectly.

8.     Start pinning in the center of the quilt and work your way out.  I pin every 6-8 inches and along the edges and corners.  I think it’s important to not have all your pins oriented in the same direction.  Having them inserted in the fabric at different angles will keep your fabric from sliding around inside the pins.  In addition, never jam a safety or quilter’s pin into your quilt sandwich.  Sometimes the fabric can get wound around the coil at the bottom of the pin and the pin can’t be removed without creating a hole in the fabric.  Just gently insert them through the fabric.
9.     Remove the painter’s tape and, if desired, trim the excess backing fabric, but make sure to leave about 2 inches of extra backing on all four sides of the quilt.

10.   Quilt as desired.  I quilted lazy eights on each strip (found here at A Few Scraps) and some wavy lines on each seam, which turned out really pretty on the back of the quilt as well.  I used cream thread on the top and light brown on the back.

11.   Here’s the trickiest part—trim off the excess batting but DO NOT cut off the extra backing.  You will need this fabric if you want to create a quick faux binding.  I fold the backing fabric under the quilt top and then cut, but be extremely careful to make sure the backing fabric is completely out of the way of your shears.
12.   Take your quilt to your cutting table and cut the backing leaving a 1 inch perimeter around the entire quilt.  Fold the 1 inch backing fabric in half all the way around the quilt.  I used steam for this part, but I made sure not to manipulate or pull the fabric at all (or you might get folds in your binding), just lay the iron on top and steam the crease into the fold.  Then, pin the backing to the front.  Voila!  Use a walking foot to sew around the edge and your quilt is bound.

My daughter loves her quilt! Any questions, feel free to contact me at thebusybeequiltshop@hotmail.com.


1 comment:

  1. Nicely done, Jamie Lee! Good selection of fabrics and good directions!



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