Ellen Luckett Baker is author of The Long Thread, where she writes about her adventures with sewing, crafting, and kids. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, two daughters, and a growing number of pets! Her book 1, 2, 3 Sew was recently published by Chronicle Books and Quilt Blocks, her debut fabric collection from Moda, will be available in the shop next week. We shared a free Insulated Lunch Sack project from 1, 2, 3 Sew last summer, and we regularly stop by The Long Thread (as we have for years and years!) for Ellen’s great projects, ideas and round-ups. Enjoy Ellen’s Quilt Blocks Baby Quilt Tutorial! We’ll be sure to remind you about the project when Quilt Blocks is available in the shop next week.
The Quilt Blocks fabric collection is inspired by the timeless quilt designs that have been passed down through generations of quilters, but here these classics are re-interpreted with a modern twist in three contemporary color palettes. Each design was hand-drawn digitally to give the collection an artistic, handmade quality differentiating the designs from others on the market.
This simple baby quilt uses half-square triangles with some of the vibrant prints in my new collection, Quilt Blocks, from Moda.
This quilt is a great starter project for a beginner, or a quick gift idea for more experienced quilters. Like many of you, I love seeing triangles everywhere these days. Though I never thought I’d enjoy an ’80s trend resurgence (after wearing bright yellow Converse sneakers in junior high), I am enjoying the lively colors and geometric shapes.
Here I’ve used 10 fat quarters, but you could also use 5″ square charm packs to save cutting time. I used shot cotton for the solid pieces, as I like the added softness and texture that it gives to a quilt. Choose Moda Bella solids or Kona cottons for a flatter look. All of the fabrics shown here are from the Spectrum colorway. If you’d like to make a blue and green quilt for a boy, try the Marine colorway, or for a more subdued version, use the grays in the Shade colorway.
The instructions below will guide you to make the quilt top. Though I have given you the fabric needs for backing and binding, if you are new to quilting you will need to consult your favorite quilting book or online tutorials for instructions to put it all together. I used straight stitch quilting 1/4″ from the seams in all directions, but you could create your own look with different options such as zig-zags, diagonal channel quilting, or a simple grid.
Finished Size: 40″ x 48″
Seam Allowance: 1/4″
- Seven fat quarters (18″ x 22″), Quilt Blocks prints
- Three fat quarters (18″ x 22″), each in a different solid
- 1 1/2 yards backing fabric, Quilt Blocks Flower Garden print
- 1/2 yard binding fabric, Quilt Blocks Hexagon Dots print
- 45″ x 60″ crib-sized quilt batting
Step 1: Cut Fabric
Cut each of the ten fat quarters into twelve 5″ squares, for a total of 120 squares. For 1/2″ binding, cut the binding fabric on the crossgrain into five 3 1/2″ strips. Leave the backing fabric and batting intact to trim later.
Step 2: Mark and Stitch
With each of the fabrics stacked in a pile, make pairings in random order. Beginning with one stacked pair, use a fabric marker or chalk with a ruler to draw a line from one tip diagonally to the other. Sew a line of stitching 1/4″ on either side of the marked line. Repeat with all 60 of the paired fabric stacks.
Step 3: Cut and Open
Using a rotary cutter and ruler, cut along the marked line, creating two folded triangles of joined fabrics. Open the triangles and finger press along the front of the fabric, making sure the seam is folded towards the darker fabric. I never iron half-square triangles at this point since the seam is on the bias and you are likely to distort the fabric.
Step 4: Trim and Square
Trim off the tips that extend past the square. Now is also a good time to “square up” each block to make sure that they are all exactly 4 1/2″ square.
Step 5: Sew Together
Once you have all of the half-square triangles trimmed and ready to sew, begin piecing them with right sides together. Start with rows of 10. You can plan out each row or choose fabrics randomly. Once you have sewn all 12 rows of 10 squares, you are ready to sew the rows together to complete the quilt top. Lay out your rows to make sure that you like the order. I like to use the nesting seams technique to align seams, but you may prefer to press your seams open rather than to the side. To nest the seams together, press all seams on the first row to one side, then press the seams on the next row to the opposite side, so that they will “nest” together as shown in the image. Pin and sew the two rows together, then continue sewing rows until the quilt top is finished.
Happy Sewing! –Ellen