I don’t know about you, but I love to make quilts for kids. One reason is that they’re just fun; I get to use cute or silly prints and wild color combinations that adults might find odd. While I’m serious about quilting, sometimes I want to make a quilt that’s not so serious, one that just brings a smile to my face (and hopefully others’ faces too!). Kids won’t care that the points don’t match, or that there are prints with robots and dinosaurs on the same quilt, but they’d probably like the fact that somebody made a soft, cuddly quilt just for them.
Another reason I like quilts meant for kids is they’re usually fast to make, since they’re smaller and tend to contain simpler blocks, meaning I can get more accomplished in a short amount of time. If this rings true to you, too, you may be interested in some of the many resources available from McCalls Quilting, Quick Quilts and Quiltmaker for making little quilts that will be loved a whole lot by children of all ages.
One popular trend in sewing for kids these days is using that super soft pile fabric, called Minky, or Cuddle fabric (there may be some other terms for it that I don’t know). Have you ever worked with this stuff? I put it on the back of a recent baby quilt, and I loved the end result, but for me there were some small challenges working with it along the way, possibly because it was my first time using it and I just jumped right in without much research. Here’s what I learned so you can avoid my mistakes:
- The small fibers can get everywhere when you’re cutting the fabric. A few of the fibers even embedded into my cutting mat when I used a rotary cutter. In the future, I will probably mark my shapes to cut on the back, then carefully cut out my patches with scissors, over a piece of butcher paper or something to collect all the fibers and help with clean up.
- With the soft fabric on the back of the quilt, I was quilting from the front, and it the quilt sandwich didn’t move around on my sewing table as freely as with a regular cotton backing. I expect the direction of the pile has something to do with this. In the future I would either quilt with the soft fabric facing up, or tape some paper to my sewing table to make a slicker surface.
But you don’t just have to take my word for it. Here’s a preview for a whole video about this very topic; the full episode is available to watch on QNNTV.
If you’re not into the Minky or Cuddle, then flannel is the way to go. Working with flannel is really similar to working with quilting cotton, with just a few exceptions. Flannel can shrink more than quilting cotton, so prewashing can be a good idea. If you don’t like prewashing, try to use flannels that are all from the same collection or same manufacturers, so when the quilt is washed, all the fabrics will shrink the same amount. Flannel can also be a bit more stretchy and shifty while sewing, so pinning seams before stitching can help with that.
The Ragtime Baby Quilting Quickly video tutorial for making a flannel rag quilt is free to watch with a subscription.
Another great option for a flannel quilt for kids is this adorable Cozy Castle Quilt kit, designed by Wendy Sheppard. Everything you need to make the quilt top in one convenient package! I love the different blocks, the layout and bright colors.
Another great, easy, fast, fun, cool and interesting way to make kids’ quilts is to use those printed fabric panels. I just love them and I appreciate how there are more styles and themes available every season. It’s so satisfying to cut out the panel, add some borders in coordinating fabrics, and then you’re done! The trickiest part is deciding upon a panel print when there are so many great choices. Here’s one that I really like—On the Road Again Quilt by Christine Stainbrook—fortunately, it’s also available as a kit from Quilt & Sew Shop.
Kits are great but patterns are great too. Yet one more reason that making quilts for kids is so fulfilling is that pretty much any pattern can be adapted into a kid’s quilt, by reducing the number of blocks or reducing the size of the blocks. But there are plenty of dedicated baby quilt and kids quilt patterns available as well. For example, Chalkboard, designed by me, is available as a digital pattern.
I have two more very important words to say about kids quilts: PATCH PALS. Have you seen this series of quilts, designed by Quiltmaker‘s art director Denise Starck? They are so, so wonderful (plus there are kits available for many of the patterns). Each Patch Pals quilt features an image of a different animal, and they’re all made with simple squares and triangle-squares. There are quite a few to choose from so I can’t show them all here, but I’ll share just a few of my favorites. If you like these, check out the two different Patch Pals collection e-books here and here, to get a bunch of the patterns for a good deal.
Gosh, now I just want to go home and work on a fun kids quilt! I have one basted and ready to quilt, so I think I’ll finish that and get started on piecing another quilt top! Join me? Happy quilting!