What to Expect When You’re Making Baby Quilts – Free Baby Quilt Pattern

Our office is fairly bursting with babies. Two women are due this month, another is due in the summer, and last fall two coworkers became first-time grandmothers.

Designer Meg McElwee created this sweet play mat/ baby quilt pattern. Download it now for free.

This mini baby boom has everyone digging out their baby quilt patterns, eyeing fabric samples for colors and patterns that would make pretty baby quilts, and sharing ideas for other handmade baby gifts.

So far we’ve created flannel burp cloths, bibs, knitted jackets, and an assortment of crib quilts.

Here are some tips for creating quilts and accessories for the modern baby:

1. Baby quilts are mean to be used-and spit happens! Not only should your fabrics and trims all be washable, it makes sense to wash, dry, and press all fabrics before you start sewing. This will also ensure that you don’t get shrinkage later on that could distort the quilt. In addition, pre-washing the fabric reduces the baby’s exposure to dirt and chemicals from the cloth.

2. For comfort and durability, look for high-quality cotton fabrics and soft flannels.

3. Pastels and primaries are tried and true–but consider bright greens, oranges, and unusual color combinations like soft gray and ochre.

4. Intricately pieced patterns make impressive quilts, but if you’re looking for easy baby quilts to make, you might try a wholecloth quilt or mat decorated with appliqués and or simple stitching.

5. When making any item for babies and small children, leave off small items (like buttons) that can become choking hazards. Also, make sure strings or straps are too short to wrap around a baby or child’s neck.

This free play mat and baby quilt pattern designed by Meg McElwee would make a terrific sewing project for a new baby. You can download it instantly from our website.

You can also get Quilting Arts instantly–on an app, downloaded to your computer or e-reader, and so on. Check out all the digital subscription options we have for you.

P.S. What’s your go-to baby quilt pattern or other handmade baby gift? We could use some more ideas!

Other topics you may enjoy:


Baby Quilts, Easy Quilting, Quilt Patterns, Quilting Daily Blog

7 thoughts on “What to Expect When You’re Making Baby Quilts – Free Baby Quilt Pattern

  1. These are great tips! I now use bamboo batting for baby and kid quilts because it is naturally antibacterial, and I always quilt it heavily–especially around the edges. Kids will pull, yank, chew on, drag, and thoroughly LOVE their quilts, and giving it lots of quilting helps hold it together.

    Currently, my favorite pattern to put together for kids is a twin-size Turning Twenty. I couldn’t finish baby quilts in time (if at all), and then I figured a bed-size quilt would probably get more use!

  2. I have used the Pixie Sicks pattern from Scrap Quilts, Summer 2012 to make 2 baby quilts – fun and easy to make with strips of fabric and a 12 1/2 inch square ruler – you don’t need the muslin backing they suggest

  3. I love to make baby quilts in bright colors, I think babies are attracted to them. My favorite pieced baby quilt is the original Linus Project quilt, Warm Wishes, with cotton diaper flannel for the batting. My other favorite is a faux chenille with a pretty print for the back of the quilt and three layers of coordinating cotton flannel. Both hold up to many, many wash, dry, and use. And, if either wear out before kindergarten, it was well loved!

  4. Congrats on all the babies! I have a whole bunch of grandbabies, so I have made a ton of baby quilts, and I came up with a fast method…I can actually stitch up 5 baby quilts in a day (that’s piecing, quilting and binding – NOT shopping for fabric, LOL!) I wrote two books about it, but you can see a free demo on Youtube if you search How to Stitch a Quilt in 90 Minutes with Meryl Ann Butler – (it has lots of timesaving tips that you can apply to your normal method of quilting, too.) I’m not kidding, my personal best time is 83 minutes (well that is after some practice, and obviously I didn’t have to refer to the instructions!) So if my grands stain their quilts I just make ’em another – and I still have time left over to make art quilts!

  5. When a new baby is due in my life I make a quilt alternating snowball and 9 patch blocks. I make the blocks 5 inches and make the quilt 7×7 blocks, adding 3 borders from some of the quilt block fabrics. I use theme fabrics or a collection of pinks, blues or other pastels.

  6. Like laurapoole I make larger than baby-size quilts so they get more use. My standard is 48″ x 72″. This size will cover a toddler bed with some draping and still cover them when they are teen-agers.

    It is great for covering you and baby up when they don’t feel well while both of you are snuggled on the sofa or in a recliner. It is also, long enough that dad can help with snuggle duty in the middle of the night. ; >)

  7. I try to find out as much about the nursery décor as I can and design a quilt specific to that. I have made 6 baby quilts that way and they seem to have been a hit with the new mother. If possible, I do it so that the mom doesn’t know a quilt is coming by asking the “expectant grandmother” for help. If nothing else, I can ask what the colors are without her knowing exactly why. It’s fun to do it that way and challenging because the colors and designs are never ones that I prefer for my own quilts.