Design Wall: Baby Quilts – Patterns for a Friend

Fabric ready to cut for Katie to make a baby quilt.

Katie ChicarelloName: Katie Chicarello
Title: Assistant Editor
I live in: the greater Boston area
I started quilting: I learned to sew in 1993; I started quilting on my own in 2016.
My home life includes: my husband and our two fur babies, Seamus and Finnegan.


What I’ve made

One of my wonderful coworkers was kind enough to decide to start her family. I say kind enough because not only do I love babies, I also love baby quilts. Patterns abound for baby quilts, patterns that are cutesy to the muted and sophisticated. How to choose just one? We offer over 200 baby quilt patterns on The Quilting Company.

After long perusal, and much thought about my coworker’s sense of style, aesthetic, and color palette, I decided to explore outside the world of baby quilt patterns, and modify a modern quilt to fit this baby. I chose to modify Natalie Santini’s quilt, “Playful Triangles” to fit my needs. I’ve had my eye on this quilt ever since it appeared in the September/October 2017 Modern Patchwork Magazine. Now, I know all you moms out there are thinking, ‘Not a white quilt!’ Never fear, I’ve had my run-ins with baby fluids and opted for a medium grey background fabric, to hide all of those baby mishaps.

Fabric squares cut and ready to sew into a baby quilt

Everything cut and ready for sewing.

Choosing Fabrics

I wandered into my local quilt shop and the kind proprietor (not to mention my husband) patiently waited as I lay bolt after bolt of fabric on the counter to decide just the right hue combinations. One of the major things I modified from Natalie’s pattern is the number of colors. Natalie uses nine unique triangle colors, but I simplified my colors down to five. After much consideration, I landed on three tones of aqua, a peach for sass, and a warm yellow print for a focal point. I also chose a darling print by Christian Robinson for Cotton + Steel as my backing fabric.

I love beautiful stacks of finished blocks

I love beautiful stacks of finished blocks

Uncharacteristically, I got right to work. I actually brought all of my tools and fabric up to my in-laws’ vacation home and got to work on a rainy day in the basement. After cutting and piecing all of my half-square triangles (one of the beauties of this pattern is it is all HSTs, and the pattern emerges from their arrangement) I needed to trim them down to size.

I ended up trimming all of my HSTs to 6″ square, smaller than Natalie calls for. Not only did this save me from some piecing variation trouble I ran into (whoops!) but actually made the quilt more baby appropriate in size. The finished quilt will end up about 60″ square.

Seamus and Finnegan consulting my diagram and making suggestions.

Seamus and Finnegan consulting my diagram and making suggestions.

The Baby Quilt Design

I had drawn a detailed diagram for color placement, but I had some helpers who kept rearranging my pattern. I had three rules for the overall design, based on my observations of Natalie’s color placement.

  1. All of the colored triangles except the yellow should point towards the upper right,
  2. None of the yellow triangles should point towards the upper right, and
  3. Triangles of the same color could be next to each other but not on top of one another.
A detail of the finished quilt top

A detail of the finished quilt top

And now I am the proud maker of a lovely quilt top in perfect color sync with this baby’s nursery. I’m getting ready to send this quilt off to a longarmer friend, what do you think a good quilting pattern would be?

I love making baby quilts. Patterns are a-plenty so don’t be shy, choose a pattern and start making! Not sure where to start? Try one of these quick patterns from the Big Blocks Baby Quilts eBook.

Don’t have a baby coming soon in your life? Many charities accept baby quilt donations for children in need.

Happy quilting!

Start making your next baby quilt!

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