Have you ever wanted to make a quilt, but didn’t know where to start?
Today I am sharing two very easy quilt patterns for beginners. When you are making your first quilt it is nice to use pre-cuts since they are already cut and colour coordinated. I am including tips for fabric selection and cutting for the Baby 4-Patch Tutorial. These tips can be used for any quilt pattern.
2 Quilt Patterns for Beginners
The first one is a tutorial for Baby 4-Patch quilt. It is baby size and is made up of 4-patch blocks and fabric squares. You can get the FREE pattern here or by clicking the image below.
The second one is the Menagerie Quilt and you can find the pattern and instructions here at ShannonFabrics.com. In my version of this quilt, I chose to use a light background fabric instead of the dark fabric. Both of these quilts are easy with big pieces using squares or rectangles.
Baby 4-Patch Tutorial
To start off, the basic tools for any quilting project include: a sewing machine, rotary cutter and mat, a quilting ruler, scissors, fabric and thread.
Fabric you will need for a finished quilt measuring 40″ x 48 1/2″.
F = Focus Print – 3/4 yard
Fabrics 1 – 11 – one fat quarter each or 1/4 yard
Fabrics A – C one fat quarter for all, these could be the same
Border A – light fabric 1/2 yard
Border B – dark fabric 1/2 yard
Backing fabric – 2 yards (45″ wide)
Batting 2 yards (45″ wide)
Step 1 Choosing Your Fabrics
I chose a focus print and then chose my other fabrics that were colours from the print and looked nice together. It makes colour coordinating very easy. Another option is to use pre-cuts, since they usually come packaged and colour coordinated.
Step 2 Cut Your Pieces
I personally prewash all my fabric before cutting. This is not necessary but my choice. Cut strips across the width of fabric measuring 6 1/2″ wide and then cut into your squares.
Cut the following pieces:
Focus Print – 8 squares measuring 6 1/2″ x 6 1/2″
Fabrics 1 – 11 – cut 2 strips measuring 3 1/2″ x width of fabric
Fabrics A – C – cut 1 strip measuring 3 1/2″ x width of fabric
Coordinating Fabric – use leftovers from fabrics 1 – 11 cut 4 squares measuring 6 1/2″ x 6 1/2″.
For Border A – cut 4 strips measuring 2″ x wof (width of fabric).
Border B – cut 4 strips measuring 3″ x wof.
Pieced border – cut 2 1/2″ squares to measure 36″ when sewn together. You will need 18 squares measuring 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″.
You now have all of your pieces cut!
Step 3 Make the 4-Patches
For all your strips from fabrics 1 – 11 and cut them in half so you have strips measuring 3 1/2″ x 20″.
We are going to make strip sets. Take 2 strips from fabric 1 and sew them the long way to two different fabrics. In my diagram fabric 4 and fabric 2 are what I used. The odd numbered fabrics form the diagonal pattern in the finished quilt. If you want a more scrappy look you can use a variety of scraps for the even fabrics or a solid colour.
Use the following fabric combinations to piece your 4-patches.
2 strips from fabric 5 and one each from fabrics 4 and 6.
2 strips from fabric 7 and one each from fabrics B and 8.
2 strips from fabric 9 and one each from fabrics 8 and 10.
2 strips from fabric 11 and one each from fabrics 10 and C.
Once all of your strip sets are sewn together, press them, pressing the seams towards the darker fabrics.
To complete the 4-patch, we will need to cut our strip sets crosswise measuring 3 1/2″. Then we can sew them together to form the 4-patches. Sewing the first one with fabric 1 you will want to make sure that fabric 1 is in opposite corners diagonally. When all the 4-patches are done, press all the seams toward the darker fabrics. You should have the following amounts of 4-patches.
From fabrics 1, A, 2 – 5 blocks. Fabrics 3,2, 4 – 4 blocks. Fabrics 5,4, 6 – 3 blocks. From fabrics 7, B, 8 -5 blocks. Fabrics 9,8,10 – 4 blocks. Fabrics 11, 10, C – 3 blocks.
Step 4 Sewing the Patches Together
Now comes my favourite part! following the diagram lay out the quilt top. I am always amazed at how it looks, because I can’t visually see the finished quilt top in my head. It is always a bit of a surprise. You can rearrange it if you wish at this point. When you are happy with how it looks, take a picture of it on your phone. This way you will have a reference point to look back at if needed. Then stack the blocks one row at a time in order and pin them together labelling row 1. Repeat this process for all the other five rows.
Then you will sew all the blocks in each row together and press all the seams the same direction. And then sew the rows together in their order. You should now have a pieced quilt top! You can get the PDF pattern and cheatsheet here or by clicking the image below!
Step 5 Adding the Borders
For the pieced border at the bottom cut 18 squares measuring 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ using the leftover fabrics. then stitch them altogether into a long strip. Press the seams toward the dark fabrics. Then add a 2″ border A strip on top and bottom of the pieced strip. Sew that section to the bottom of the quilt. Add a 2″ border A strip on the top, and both sides. Press seams towards the dark fabrics.
Using border B strips sew one strip to the top and bottom and then the sides. Press seams. So far your top should measure 40″ x 48 1/2″.
Wow! Your quilt top should be pieced and ready to make the quilt sandwich and finish it off!
Step 6 Making the Quilt Sandwich
To finish this quilt off, we have to add a backing and the batting. You will need a large surface and the floor works great for me. Your backing fabric should be about 1 -2″ wider on all sides than your finished top. I tape the backing fabric, wrong side up to the floor using masking tape. then I lay the batting on top of that and then the pieced quilt top.
I mark the backing and pieced top in the centres of each side with a pin, so that when you lay them on top of each other in the sandwich you can line up the centres. After you have the sandwich made you have to hold it all together. You can use large safety pins and pin approximately every six inches. Also spray basting is a popular choice. Use your favourite method! When it is all pinned, remove the tape and it is ready for quilting.
Step 7 Quilting and Binding
On small quilts, crib size or smaller you can tie the quilt or I like to machine quilt them. Because I use my domestic machine for quilting, a smaller size is easy to navigate through the machine. I usually use a straight stitch a little larger than the normal size used for piecing. On this quilt, I used machine quilting.
After the quilting is done, you will want to trim the backing and batting layers even with the pieced top. Then I stitch all the layers together really close to the edge. This just helps keep everything on the edge together when you finish with binding.
For the binding, I used strip pieced bias binding and you can find a tutorial for it here. You can also use crosswise cut binding in a coordinating fabric. I cut strips for binding 3″ wide. Then press them in half lengthwise.
To add the binding, pin your binding to the wrong side of the quilt. Either way you want to pin your binding to the back, starting in the middle of one side. At the corner, take the binding right to the edge, pin it at 1/4″ and then turn it and place it even with the next edge and continuing pinning. Repeat this for all the corners. After it is all pinned, you want to stitch it down using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Start sewing leaving a 2″ space of binding, that is not stitched down. When you come to the first corner, stop 1/4″ before the edge of the fabric, lift up your presser foot and turn the fabric to go the next direction, then put the presser foot down and backstitch to the edge of the fabric. Then flatten out the bulge of fabric at the corner over the side you just stitched so it lines up with the side you are going to stitch down and continue stitching till the next corner. Repeat the same thing for all the corners. Coming up to where you began stitching the seam leave a 2″ tail unstitched. You will want to trim the long tail of binding 1″ longer than just meeting the other end. Unfold the binding where it is unstitched and stitch 1/2″ seam right sides together and join the two ends of your binding. Press that seam open and then refold it. It should fit and you can pin it down and stitch it in place overlapping your stitching on both ends.
I like to use the iron and press my binding flat against the seam and then turn to the front, enclosing the seam and pin down. Once it is pinned down I use a small zigzag on the right side to stitch it down.
You can hand stitch it down or use a decorative stitch. Your choice and preference! Enjoy!
Easy Quilt Patterns for Beginners
The Baby 4-Patch should be a completed baby quilt! This is one of two easy quilt patterns for beginners. You can get a printable guide sheet for this easy quilt here. And don’t forget you can also get the Menagerie Quilt Pattern here.