How to machine quilt a baby quilt
Wrapping up a loved one in a quilt is what makes the patchwork world go round. We all enjoy making a special love cover to celebrate life’s milestones. As we create the blocks a special wish is sewn into every seam so the end recipient is covered in our hopes and dreams for that person.
Making a baby quilt for a precious bundle of joy is the perfect way to celebrate a new life. Plus, it is a wonderful reason to shop for adorable fabrics. But after you’ve pieced the top together it can be hard to decide what to actually quilt on that top!
The first thing to do when determining what to quilt on a baby quilt is to decide how you’d like it to be used. Do you want it to be hung on the wall of the nursery and used more like art? If so, then complex, high end quilting motifs that take more time might be appropriate. Or, do you want the quilt to be used and abused so that when the child is 5 it is in tatters from being loved so fiercely? If so, then an all over, edge to edge quilting design might be a better choice.
Other considerations to be made when quilting a baby quilt include safety. For example, save the button embellishments for a different quilt. The baby shouldn’t be able to pull off easy to swallow items attached to the quilt. If you like to tie quilts, consider tacking the quilt instead as tied quilts can become hazardous if the baby can pick at those ties to pull them out or get them wrapped around their little fingers or toes. Also, consider the type of batting you’d like to use. There are special flame retardant battings made especially for children’s quilts.
Baby quilts are the perfect size to practice your free motion quilting skills. Over on our APQS YouTube channel we have a number of free motion tutorials that would look at home on a special baby quilt. When deciding what design motifs to quilt, take a cue from the fabrics in the top. Are there polka dot fabrics in the top? Perhaps a looped meander design would look at home. Are there fun monsters or quirky fabrics in the top? Perhaps our video tutorial showing the Circle Echo Meander would work! Is it a super modern quilt? Then the video tutorial showing the Peppermint Swirl Filler design would be a perfect fit!
Above all, though, don’t get too caught up in perfection. Remember that your baby quilt will likely get loved on and washed hundreds of times. You want it to be a special fuzzy source of comfort for that special baby. They won’t care if your quilting wasn’t perfection so give yourself permission to experiment and try something new!
Angela Huffman is an APQS dealer and the owner of Quilted Joy Studio in Louisville, Kentucky