Thursday, April 15, 2010

1st Quilt Ever -- FABRICS!!

Okay -- Let's talk fabrics, and what you'll need!

Your quilt will end up about 45"x60". This is considered "crib size," although I find it to be the perfect size for a lap quilt, or for snuggling under on the couch. This is a great size to start with, as it will be manageable for you to quilt, you can purchase a prepackaged batting in this size, and it is possible to avoid piecing fabric together for the backing.

I suggest using 9 to 10 fabrics in your quilt to make your layout easier later on in the process. (This way you are more likely NOT to end up with the same fabrics touching each other in your layout. If that doesn't make sense, ignore me until later!)

This is the test quilt I made to check my math and yardage requirements.
(I wish you could see it in person -- the colors are so much more vibrant and fun than the photos show!) I used a total of 10 fabrics. It has a 2" border.

I just LOVE those happy colors -- and those hedgehogs!!

I also incorporated a pieced binding. How I love a pieced binding!

Since my quilt is pretty much exactly 45" wide, I pieced together a strip on the back. (45" wide fabric isn't actually 45" of usable space -- you can safely plan on only 42"!) My measurements include everything you need to make this quilt.

**I will give different measurements for a slightly easier quilt -- with no borders, no pieced strip on the back, and no pieced binding -- later in this post, SO if you're scared of any of that -- stay with me!**

What You Need:
Eight 1/4 yard cuts and two 1/3 yard cuts of fabric for the blocks, binding, and pieced strip for the back. (Your two 1/3 yard cuts will yield more blocks on the front, so pick your two favorites here!)
3/8 yard cut of fabric for the border (I duplicated one of the fabrics for my blocks here)
1 3/4 yards for the backing
You will end up with very few scraps. That's it!

I anticipate a question already!!

What is the difference between a 1/4 yard cut of fabric and a Fat Quarter of fabric? Are they the same? Can I just get Fat Quarters instead of quarter yards?

A quarter yard of fabric is 9"x45(ish)". A Fat Quarter has the same amount of fabric, but it is 18"x22". Even though they have the same amont of fabric, they are not interchangeable in most patterns. Besides, Fat Quarters are generally more expensive than 1/4 yard cuts.

Choosing fabrics: Pick 10 fabrics that coordinate together nicely. You really can't go wrong here -- just pick fabrics you love! If you are nervous about selecting fabrics, the easiest route is to pick from a fabric collection you like -- they are already pre-coordinated for you!

A suggestion:
Avoid stripes and plaids for your first quilt. Why? If your cuts aren't perfectly on-line with the pattern of the fabric, it could be distracting, and you may be disappointed. By choosing all-over prints, you will avoid any of that trouble. Just a suggestion; ignore me if you like! :o)

One more suggestion: If you are nervous about picking out a border and backing already, or have trouble committing to a border and back before you've gotten your blocks together, just get the fabric for the blocks. This is the way I normally operate when making quilts -- I have to see the blocks together before I can decide what I want the border to be!

**Okay, I promised measurements for a simpler design -- here they are!**
If you want to make a quilt with no borders, no pieced binding, and no pieced back, here is what you need:
Nine Fat Quarters that coordinate nicely for the front
3/8 yard cut of fabric for the binding
1 2/3 yards fabric for the back
(Note that by omitting the borders, your quilt will end up a few inches shorter on each side.)

Tomorrow we'll talk about CUTTING!!!


Maureen Cracknell Handmade said...

Oh I love it!!! The hedgehogs - especially!!! I am so glad I found your site. I have never made a quilt before and your information is so, so helpful. Thank you, thank you!

Megan said...

I'm off to buy fabrics. Actually I'm not "off to buy" because I will be buying online. I've already got the fabric picked out. Ready to get started!!!

Unknown said...

I'm nominated you for a beautiful blogger award - because I love your blog to this post so full of great information - thanks!

Liliana said...

How exciting! This is going to be my first quilt and I am absolutely ready to burst with happiness. Thank you for doing this!

Lynette @ My Craft Discovery said...

sooo cute! Love the scrappy look of it. I like the tip about stripes/plaids. Good point, and I need all the help I can get!

Cole's Corner said...

Oh man!!! I can't wait. I have all my fabrics together... even though I did pick a couple of stripes... I'm so excited!!!

Heather said...

I want to make a quilt in the worst way but I want it for my guest room which has a queen size bed. I have a nice coverlet on it already, so I really just want something that will cover the foot of the bed. How large do you think I should make it?

Carri said...

What a cute quilt! LOVE your Blog - found it (I think) from One Pretty Thing during Tent Week. Just posted on my blog that I'm making a TeePee Tent this weekend. Thanks for the inspiration! Once I get done with my list of 'other' projects I might just try my hand at quilting :-)

Liz said...

Is this basically a Yellow Brick Road pattern? That's the general idea I got looking at the sample you showed, which I love the colors in! Beautiful!

rhinsey said...

I am following along sewing my first quilt ever! Thanks for the tutes!! :D I have also linked your series on my blog. (

Stephanie said...

Love, love, love that you are doing this! I've only been quilting a short time but I think your instructions are great, to see if I'm missing something! Keep up the fabulous work!!!

Heather said...

I thought I had my fabrics picked out and that they looked fine together, and since I do photo stuff, I thought I'd put a rough sample together. Seeing it all together I don't think I like it- I love your pink/blue/brown sample quilt (and I love the edges!) and thought this would be kind of similar, but this is too bright I think? I know I'd be benefited by adding 2 or 3 more fabrics- maybe one with some white in the design? Do I get rid of the green? or another color? Oh, I am the worst at making decisions! What does anyone think? Start over!!!??

The fabrics (maybe minus a color or 2 and need 2-3 more)

This is the photoshopped quilt.. too bright??

Care said...


I love your fabrics! I think you should dive right in and go for it!! The only thing I would maybe do when you go to add your other fabrics is to add another large-scale print, or maybe two, to balance out your FABULOUS floral print.

I definitely think you are on the right track!


Kandra said...

Can you tell me what fabric you got for the yellow/gray? I love yellow and gray!

Also that hedgehog fabric you used - where did you get it?!?!

Care said...

Hi Kandra,

Here's the info from the selvage:

"Eclipse" designed for Exclusively Quilters, Visit

The hedgehog fabric is by Michael Miller -- I found it at a local quilt shop, but you can find it online too!

Laurie Ann said...

I am quite sure this is an idiot question but I am ordering my fabric online for the quantity I'm not sure how to order 1/4 yard cuts. do I have to put any special instructions or anything? I also have never ordered online before if I order .25 yard would that be the right way to order??

Care said...

You are right, .25 is the way to go... although I am aware that some online quilt shops will not let you order less than half a yard...

Good luck! And be sure to share pictures in the flickr group!! :o)

Meg said...

Would you mind detailing the fabrics used in the hedgehog quilt? Are they all Michael Miller fabrics from his Hedgehog collection? My sister in law is in love and wants me to recreate. Thanks!

Care said...

Hi Meg!

I am pretty sure that they all are Michael Miller, with the possible exception of the light pink polka dots on the hot pink background.

I'd love to see your finished quilt!! I LOVE that fabric collection! :o)


~Melinda said...

Beautiful!! You did a wonderful job! This looks very similar to my first quilt (also "baby" sized).

Unknown said...

Kids Wear
Buy Baby Clothes
Girls and Boys
dresses for girls
kids wear dresses for boys
kids clothing
kid’s clothes online
kid’s clothes online
Kids Wear