One of the DIY projects I worked on for Christmas gifts included what I call a cheater quilt. I call it that because it takes a lot less time and fabric than a real, patchwork quilt. I have made several of the latter over the years so I know the difference.
Everything you Need for a Cheater Quilt
- a panel (precut piece with a cute pattern on it) of fabric. Choose the pattern wisely, based on how much quilting you want to do or have time for. (Busy/complicated patterns will take much longer than simple ones)
- a piece of complementary fabric for the backing, the same size as the panel. Most of these panels have a row of colored dots along the edge showing the colors used in the pattern. Use these dots to choose a coordinating or complementary fabric for the backing.
- a piece of batting, also same size as the panel
- some large safety pins
- a good pair of sewing scissors
- contrasting or complementary thread (I used white all over, but you can mix it up!)
- iron both the panel and backing
- lie the panel on the floor or a table, with the good side facing up
- place the piece of batting on top
- place the backing fabric on top of those two pieces, with good side facing down
- you now have a “sandwich” with three layers
- sew three edges (2 long and 1 short if quilt is rectangular) together, using 1/2 inch seam allowance
- snip corners of seam allowances so seams will lie flat.
- turn the quilt right side out, so both fabrics show their right side and batting is the middle layer.
- hand stitch last side.
- evenly distribute safety pins throughout quilt top, pinning all three layers together. This prevents the layers from shifting while you are quilting. I choose spots at the edge of the various design patterns in the fabric panel as those spots will be sewn over. (otherwise you may end up with holes in your fabric where no pattern in)
- sew around the design patterns in the fabric panel to achieve a quilted look. Try to stay on the lines for a tidy look. This is referred to as “stitch in the ditch.”
- ensure quilting is evenly spaced over the quilt to avoid bunching of batting when completed. In my panel I stitched around the large patterns, around the edging and around the floral pattern in the corners etc.
- remove the safety pins. If you have placed them on the edges of the pattern as suggested, remove them as you quilt.
The Finished Product
The finished project, a DIY cheater quilt, can be hung on the wall (add tabs to the top) or used as a baby blanket for the crib or stroller. These make great, personal gifts for the mother-to-be on your gift list. Choose fabrics to complement their nursery décor as I did here with a baby jungle and pink/green color scheme. You can see I forgot to iron my panel and backing before I started; oops. I hung the finished quilt in a steamy bathroom to remove the wrinkles instead. It is not advisable to iron a finished quilt as a hot iron will flatten the puffiness.