Giving gifts to children is one of the most gratifying things that you can do as a parent, grandparent or friend! The beaming smile you get when the gift answers a long-held wish is priceless! That’s why I was really delighted to see the theme of this year’s BERNINA Advent Calendar.
My children are quite grown up now (23 and 19) and not so easily impressed by Christmas presents. Their wishes tend to be more pragmatic, which certainly makes them easier to buy for…
However, both of them were my expert witnesses for the Advent Calendar theme! I asked both of them independently what present they remembered best of all and which they had been especially delighted to get. My daughter immediately thought of a soft toy that she still has and my son couldn’t decide which Lego set had been the coolest. What was interesting was that both of them decided that their simple children’s quilts were the only present that they had used for longest and that still mean a lot to them today – so clearly I did something right there!
So I thought that I would show you a simple quilt that you can still make in time for Christmas!
This quilt is made of simple 20 x 20 cm squares and is just 130 x 165 cm big. Even if you have never done any patchwork before, you can easily make this quilt – assuming you can sew!
In order to calculate the appropriate, individual dimensions for your project, you simply need to deduct the seam allowance of your squares. In patchwork I always work with inch units, so my seam allowance is always just 1/4″ wide. For the individual squares that means that there is a total seam allowance of 1/2″ – roughly 1.5 cm. In other words, the finished square is approx. 18.5 cm. You can use that to calculate the finished size of your individual quilt. If you prefer to work with a seam allowance of 1 cm your finished squares will be 18 cm. Whether you calculate your seam allowance in centimetres or inches doesn’t make any difference to the quilt – only to its size!
And just a few more tips before you start:
- Only use high quality patchwork fabric! That way the quilt will last for many years, however much use it gets, and however often it is washed!
- Look for fabrics and colours that your children will still like as they get older.
- If you have never done any patchwork before, perhaps my tutorial page will help:
- Patchwork – How does it work? A short introduction for beginners Part 1
- Patchwork – How does it work? A short introduction for beginners Part 2
- Patchwork – How does it work? A short introduction for beginners Part 3
Material (for a size of approx. 130 x 165 cm)
- 63 pre-cut fabric squares 20 x 20 cm
- 175 cm volume fleece H277 (150 cm wide)
- 175 cm backing fabric (140 cm wide)
- Fabric for the binding
- Sewing thread
- Textile spray adhesive or quilting pins
- Matching quilting thread (I used a light grey)
- Patchwork inch foot No. 37
- Walking foot No. 50 + edge ruler
I always lay my squares out on the floor so that I get a good view from above and can decide which squares should go where. For this quilt I laid out 9 rows of 7 squares. I always take a photo of my layouts on my phone! That way, if anything gets muddled up I can find out where it all goes 😉
Pile up the squares in rows and place the piles on your work station.
Now the blocks are sewn together row by row. For this use the patchwork foot No. 37. If you run the cut edge of the squares along the foot edge you will have the precise seam allowance of 1/4″. I always iron the seam allowances out flat – but that’s not compulsory! Once you have completed the rows, you can sew the rows together. You’re welcome to put pins across your seams as you can sew over them. The best thing is to put the pins where the seams are meant to meet.
Once you’ve finished the top of the quilt, you need to lay this together with the volume fleece and the backing fabric to make a sort of quilt sandwich. I always use textile spray adhesive to fasten the three layers together before quilting. The advantage of this method is that the three layers don’t slide over each other during quilting and you don’t get any creases on the back. If you don’t choose to do that then tack the three layers together with tacking thread or use quilting safety pins.
Now you can start quilting. Here I used the so-called straight line quilting method. The walking foot No. 50 with the edge ruler makes it possible to create wonderfully straight lines! I quilted one line lengthwise and one line across at a distance of approx. 5 cm from the panel seams and then once again one foot width alongside these lines.
When quilting it’s not always about being hugely artistic. Ultimately it’s enough to quilt enough lines to ensure that the three layers will not shift in future, for example when washed. You can also use a technique called stitching in the ditch. The walking foot is good for this too!
I love it when the quilt lines make the quilt look so three-dimensional. And it can look charming when the quilting lines stand out clearly on the darker fabric.
When you have finished quilting, you need to straighten the edges of the quilt and add the binding. Dorthe Niemann has written a good tutorial on the subject of binding here in the blog.
And now your quilt is done!
A quilt may not be “the” present that will blow your children’s minds, but it will be a gift they can enjoy for many years.
I wish you a stress-free Advent, a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year 2017!