Baby quilts are everywhere. They’re popular—what better way to celebrate a birth (when you’re a quilter) than to make a baby quilt? Every quilt is special to the quiltmaker, but this quilt is especially near and dear to my heart.
Close friends of mine are due to have their baby this summer; they’ve given my husband and me so much over the years and this is just a portion of the thanks they deserve. With that in mind, the quilt I wanted to make for them and their new daughter had to be amazing. My search led me to the McCall’s Quilting June 2004 issue and the Cutie Patootie quilt pattern. Perfect!
Who doesn’t like sampler quilt patterns? I had to make this! This is definitely a scrap-busting quilt, but I love Art Gallery Fabrics—great quality, inspirational, and so many modern fabric collections, kits, and patterns to choose from—I left my scraps alone and went with the Signature collection by Sharon Holland. I mixed and matched with a few solids and prints from AGF—I knew I needed fabrics that worked for a baby girl and offered highly contrasting colors.
Once the fabrics arrived, it was time to figure out placement. There’s quite a bit going on in this quilt top, so it was important to devise a solid plan before cutting and sewing. Here’s a step-by-step account of how I did it—try it yourself when playing with color value:
- Print the original quilt pattern in black and white (use a photo editor or choose black and white in your printer settings). Tiffany Warble, Director of Online Content at The Quilting Company, has more on this in Baby Quilts in Black and White: Seeing Beyond Color.
- If working with a wide variety of prints or colors, labeling them helps keep things in order (especially if you’re using templates for appliqué).
- Take a black and white photo of your fabrics and, referring to this photo, rearrange fabrics in value order.
- Take a photo of the final value order and use as a guide for drawing out your fabric placement on graph paper or in a quilt design program (Nancy Mahoney recommends EQ8, which is what I used).
NOTE: the original design doesn’t offer exact yardage measurements for each cut of fabric; rather, each fabric style (i.e., assorted pastel prints & stripes) offers a range (i.e., 2 – 2½ yds. total). If you’re purchasing fabric for this project, but don’t want excess, follow the above steps prior to purchasing, and make sure to account for borders and binding and don’t forget your backing fabric.
Once I had the fabrics laid out, it was time for cutting. The original pattern suggests cutting the quilt border fabrics (inner and outer) first to ensure sufficient yardage. I recalculated the cutting instructions (fingers crossed!) for the outer border to accommodate three different green fabrics (C, D, E) of equal lengths.
Then, it was on to preparing appliqué templates and cutting out the blocks. You can use any appliqué method you prefer—I decided to try my hand at the starch and press technique, which is akin to needle-turn appliqué, but the appliqué shapes are prepared prior to stitching to the background fabric. It makes for sharp points and hassle-free stitching. I took the advice of appliqué expert, Erin Russek, by referencing her tips in her recent Appliqué Anyone? blog. Some great takeaways from Erin: use a heat-resistant template plastic, a fine-tip permanent marker for tracing, and label your templates! I also marked the number of pieces needed from each template and it’s a good idea to include the name of the quilt, as well.
I’ve hit a couple of learning curves while working on this appliqué method, so I’m still in the cutting phase. Next, piecing! I’ll be back soon to show you how that’s going.
Want to make the Cutie Patootie quilt or a version of your own? Download the free quilt pattern and make sure to share your thoughts in the comment section below!