How to Personalize a Baby Quilt

23 Apr 2012

I'm past the stage where I am making baby quilts for my children. This picture shows the first baby quilt I ever made-for my baby Sam (now 13 years old). I love that this quilt is worn and stained. I love that it is well-used and cherished, and that it carries my special message to my baby boy written on the label.

how to make a baby quilt
Sam's baby quilt with a personal note attached. (Photo by Vivika DeNegre)
I remember making this quilt while I was expecting and not knowing whether I was having a girl or a boy. I appliquéd the border while on a business trip to Hawaii and finished hand-quilting it right before Sam was born. Somehow I knew the blue gingham border would be appropriate.

Now the baby quilts that I make are brighter and bolder, incorporating wild batiks with black-and-white fabrics or modern brights with bold solids.

Malka Dubrawsky shows how to make a baby quilt that is bold, bright, and modern in her book Fresh Quilting: Fearless Color, Design, and Inspiration. Her designs are perfectly suited to the contemporary nursery.

One of my favorite baby quilt patterns from that book is not for a coverlet, per se, but a pattern for making quilt blocks with letters of the alphabet. You can sew them together to make a banner with the baby's name, a fabric book, or use the alphabet motifs to personalize a crib quilt, spelling out baby's name.

Here is Malka's tutorial for making the letters.

baby quilt blocks
Baby quilt block letters from Fresh Quilting
by Malka Dubrawsky.
Baby Quilt Block Letters
by Malka Dubrawsky

All letters are cut freehand using pinking sheers or a rotary cutter fitted with a pinking blade. My letters measure about 4" x 4". Some letters were cut directly from fabric; others were constructed from cut strips and fused to the background.

You will need backing fabric, fabric scraps for the letters, fusible web, an air-erasable pen, pinking sheers or a rotary cutter fitted with a pinking blade, and basic sewing supplies.

1. Following the manufacturer's directions, apply fusible web to the back of 1 print scrap. Using an air-erasable fabric marker, draw the shape of a letter on the fabric right side. It may be helpful to sketch a 4" x 4" square on the fabric before starting to better visualize the finished letter size. Letters placed on rectangular patches can be a bit wider.

2. Using pinking sheers or a rotary cutter with a pinking blade, cut out the letter shape. Peel away the paper backing.

3. Fuse the letter to a square or rectangle of fabric.

Composing a baby quilt letter
with fabric strips.
4. For letters composed of straight lines, freehand cut strips 1" to 1¾" wide with the pinking sheers or blade, if desired. Arrange the strips on a background patch, trimming their length as necessary, and fuse in place.

5. Repeat the 2 methods until all letters are cut and fused in place.

6. Topstitch the letters about 1/8" inside the pinked edges.

7. After adding backing and batting to your baby quilt or block, free-motion stitch around the outline of each letter following the curvy pinked edges.

Whether you sew a handmade baby quilt in bold colors or pastels, for your own child or someone else's, these baby quilts have the same purpose in mind: to make sure that the baby swaddled with them will feel the love and hope that is put into each stitch.

To learn how to make a baby quilt or get contemporary baby quilt patterns (as well as improvisational piecing and other modern quilting techniques) you can't do better than Fresh Quilting.



P.S. What's your favorite way to personalize a baby quilt? Share in the comments section below.


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Comments

on 24 Apr 2012 11:44 AM

Great idea!  I even have a pinking blade for my rotary cutter.  I love putting some type of appliqué on baby quilts.  

on 24 Apr 2012 4:42 PM

I make quilts for the new babies born at our church.  Since I don't know who will receive them, I put a very special label on the back.  "This quilt is one of a kind - just like you.

leona louden wrote
on 29 Apr 2012 5:07 PM

I was looking for something different to use for a baby blanket, thank-you!

nancyrn wrote
on 5 May 2012 8:24 AM

I ask the mother to be to purchase  a few fat quarters  at the local quilt shop, and then I select the other fabrics to complete the quilt. this way  I know she will like some of the fabrics, and gives me an idea of her tastes. THis  works well when my family out of state is expecting and we cannot shop together.