ABC Menagerie baby quilt – a tutorial

Recently I was commissioned to make a baby quilt for a lovely newborn baby boy. As it happened, I had the perfect fabrics on hand to make him this gorgeous ABC quilt.


Front of ABC Menagerie baby quilt

This is a really simple quilt design so I thought I’d share a short tutorial for anyone who’d like to make something similar.

What I used for this quilt:

1 x ABC Menagerie alphabet panel (if you don’t have a panel, then substitute fussy cut 5.5 inch squares)

1 x ABC Menagerie layer cake

0.5 metres fabric for the binding – I used the ABC Menagerie blue spotted fabric

1.5 metres fabric for the backing – I used the ABC Menagerie red circles

1 x crib size wadding or batting

Making the quilt:

I cut out the ABC blocks from the panel, remembering to leave the 1/4 inch seam allowance around each square.  There were only 28 squares in the panel so I cut an additional two similar sized squares from the layer cakes to give 30 in total.  These extra squares are the multi-animal squares.

For the layout, I chose 30 layer cake squares and laid them out in a 5 x 6 pattern. Then I put the ABC squares on the layer cake squares and moved them around until I was happy with the arrangement.  Of course, I took a photo to help me remember what goes where.

Each of the 30 layer cake squares were into four 2.5 inch strips.

The layer cake strips were sewn to the sides of the relevant ABC square and seams pressed away from the ABC square.  The layer cake strips were then trimmed in line with the ABC square.

The remaining layer cake strips were sewn to the top and bottom of the ABC square.  Again, seams were pressed away from the ABC square.

Finished blocks were trimmed to 9.5 inches.

TOP TIP:  To avoid having to match seams when joining the blocks, I alternated whether I added the initial layer cake strips to the sides or top/bottom of the ABC square. You can see the alternating seams between blocks more clearly in the image below.

Detail of ABC Menagerie baby quilt

Detail of ABC Menagerie baby quilt

Blocks were sewn together into rows and then the rows sewn together to make the quilt top.

To ensure I had the required width for the backing, I created a panel made from some of the remaining layer cake squares cut into 5 inch,  4 inch, 3 inch or 2.5 inch widths and then sewn together to the required length.  Seams were pressed open on the panel to make it as flat as possible.  The backing fabric was cut vertically 15 inches from one selvedge and the panel inserted.  Again, these seams were pressed open.


Back of ABC Menagerie baby quilt

The quilt was pin-basted and I used a walking foot to quilt in free-hand wavy lines.  These wavy lines are very forgiving and a good choice for new quilters worried about keeping their lines straight. They also provide great texture to the quilt making it cosy and tactile.


Detail of back of ABC Menagerie baby quilt

This quilt is a lovely, bright and happy addition to the little boy’s nursery.

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Detail of ABC Menagerie baby quilt

I hope this tutorial has inspired you to make your own simple baby quilt to welcome a new addition to your family or a friend’s family.

Have fun!

Like what you see?  Remember you can follow me on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest to see more of my lovely makes.


Giant Granny Square Crocheted Baby Blanket

Over a year ago now, a friend announced that she was expecting a new nephew in April and she wanted to make a gift for him.  Foolishly I offered to show her how to make a giant granny square blanket.  I mean, everyone can crocket a granny square, right?  Well, teaching her was an epic fail as she could only manage to create a chain stitch!  Feeling responsible (she had already bought the yarn – from a charity shop, but still) I offered to make the blanket for her.

My friend made the first four chain which formed the centre ring, so she had some creative input into the blanket.  I started off well however it quickly transpired that my blanket wasn’t going as planned.  It had definitely developed a twist (argh!).

Giant crochet granny square fail

Giant crochet granny square fail

A quick look on Google and I found a couple of solutions.  That is the lovely thing about the internet.  It is so much easier to find someone who has come across the same problem, and more importantly, found a solution that they are happy to share with the world.

Turns out, the simple solution is to turn your work on each row.  Basically this means that you crochet clockwise on one row and then anti-clockwise on the next row.  Kerry Jayne Designs has a really clear tutorial on her blog that explains how to do this.  Thank you, Kerry Jayne.  You are a life saver!

Turning the blanket on each row does change the look of the stitches – but in a good way as there is now no wrong side since both sides look the same.

Giant crochet granny square blanket detail

Giant crochet granny square blanket detail

The blanket was finished in time for the baby’s arrival.

Giant granny square crochet baby blanket

Giant granny square crochet baby blanket

It finished at just over a metre square which is the perfect size for a baby or toddler.  The colours are lovely too and make a pleasingly understated palette that is not too babyish.

Giant crochet granny square blanket

Giant crochet granny square blanket

Did the new mum like the blanket?  I’m happy to say that she loved it which is the best accolade.

There was quite a bit of the brown and cream yarn left over after making this blanket.  I’ll share what I made with it in a later post.

Like what you see?  Remember you can follow me on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest to see more of my lovely makes.

Baby boy Polaroid quilt

A new baby calls for a very special gift and what could be more special than a gorgeous  baby quilt.  

My latest obsession is definitely Polaroid blocks.  I love them and don’t they make a fabulous baby quilt?   Here I have fussy-cut my favourite fabrics to produce a quilt perfect for the new man in your life.  Each of the blocks has then been cut to make them slightly wonky, as though the Polaroids have been tipped from a box onto the quilt.  

There is so much to discover in this quilt.  You’ll find a boy riding a scooter, a fierce ninja, a tiny snail, a cute dachshund.  There is a crow peeking from the bushes, some ghoulish skeletons and my favourite, a scary tyrannosaurus (RAWWRR!).


Baby boy photo quilt

Baby boy Polaroid quilt

This little quilt, being approximately 27 by 32 inches, is the perfect size for a baby.  It is soft and supple and therefore great for cuddling baby.  It can also be a play mat, changing mat or pram blanket when the baby is little.  

Quilting detail on baby boy Polaroid quilt

Baby boy Polaroid quilt detail

Even better, it can be folded and rolled small enough to fit into a bag so the quilt can go wherever they go.  Once your baby boy gets a bit older, the Polaroids will make for fun games of i-spy or for story-telling.   Use it as a wall hanging, as a colourful addition at the end of their big bed or thrown over a chair.  

Backing on baby boy quilt

Baby boy quilt reverse

The backing in Kona cotton teal looks great against the binding – a sweet seedling print by Denyse Schmidt.  

Being made from 100% cotton makes this quilt so easy to care for.  Just give it a short, cold machine wash and dry it flat in the shade, or pop it in a dryer on a low setting.  It will come out as good as new.  

This quilt will make a wonderfully versatile and practical gift for any baby and will soon be available via my Folksy shop.  

Like what you see?  Remember you can follow me on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest to see more lovely makes.


Lined drawstring bags

Over the past week, I have been busy making cute little drawstring bags in preparation for my Bucks Open Studios event.  For those who don’t know, Bucks Open Studios is the largest visual arts event in Buckinghamshire.  It takes place in June each year and allows members of the public to visit local artists to learn more about their work and the artistic processes involved.  I will be exhibiting my work at St Nicholas Church in Kingsey along with seven other artists.  We’d love to see you if you fancy an interesting day out.

To whet your appetite, here are a couple of the bags that you’ll see on my display.  Each bag is approximately 10 inches high by 7 inches wide  and is made from Jeni Baker’s fabulous pattern available at  Jeni calls it the Everything bag and it really is suitable for everything.  Her little bag makes a great re-usable present wrapping, or a fabulous gift in its own right.

Lined drawstring bag in Dashwood fabric

Lined drawstring bag in Mori Girls fabric

I love the little houses and apples on this one.  Fill it with a pretty tea towel, specialty coffee and homemade biscuits to make a great housewarming gift for someone moving into a new home.

Lined drawstring bag in Dashwood fabric

Lined drawstring bag in Fablewood fabric

This is one of my favourites.  Just love those little leaping foxes.  Add a baby-gro, a copy of Peter Rabbit and some dribble bibs (Hot Chop Threads makes some fabulous ones) and you have a great gender-neutral baby gift.  The little bag will get so much use later as it is perfect for carrying toys or a change of clothes.

Lined drawstring bag in Briar Rose by Heather Ross

Lined drawstring bag in Heather Ross fabric

Don’t you just love those sweet little knitting bees?  Pop a couple of balls of yarn and some knitting needles in this bag to make a lovely gift for a crafty friend.

Like what you see?  Remember you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to see more lovely makes.

Double gauze swaddle blanket – a tutorial

Spring seems to be the season for new babies  – baby lambs, baby birds and lots of human babies too.  A lovely present for a new baby is a swaddle blanket.  One that has been handmade makes that gift extra special.

Swaddle blankets are easy to make and take very little time.  You could easily whip one up in an afternoon.  They make a beautiful and practical gift for a baby shower or new mum.  Not just for swaddling babies (although they are great for that), swaddling blankets also make fabulous nursing wraps and pram covers.

Double gauze with its light, airy feel is the perfect fabric to use for a swaddle blanket.  Sarah Jane has just released a new double gauze as part of her Sommer range for Michael Miller.  Made from 100% cotton, it is deliciously soft, light as a feather and comes in a range of beautiful fresh colours.   At 52 inches wide it is more than enough for a decent sized swaddle blanket.  And because it is cotton, it is breathable and ideal for warmer weather.

So how do you make one?  I searched the internet so you don’t have to and found this great tutorial by Molly from Purl Soho.   This is my slightly modified version.

For a 44 inch square swaddle blanket you will need:

  • 1.25 metres of Sommer double gauze (I used Mini Painted Gingham in Mist)
  • 100% cotton thread (I used Aurifil 50wt in off-white)
  • 70/10 needles (not essential however I found it helpful to use a finer needle)
Double gauze swaddling blanket materials

Double gauze swaddle blanket materials

The gauze I used is helpfully marked with a grid of one inch squares (you can see them in the photo above as a line of slightly looser weave which is where the gauze layers are joined together).  These grid lines are much easier to see when the wrong side of the fabric is uppermost.  Using these lines as a guide, cut the piece of double gauze to 46 inches long.  I found it easier to use scissors and a single layer of fabric.  Don’t be tempted to cut a double layer of fabric.  That double gauze can be slippery.  And don’t follow the printed lines of the gingham when cutting as these won’t be on the fabric grain.  Leave the selvedges as they are for now.

On each of the cut edges, fold over a 1/2 inch hem and then fold over another 1/2 inch to give a double hem.  Use your iron to press at each step when folding your hem (takes a little longer however the finish will be much better).  Pin the hem from the right side of the fabric and sew the hem with the right side of the fabric uppermost.  I used a 3/8 inch seam and a walking foot to make it easier to control the layers.  I also increased my stitch length to 3.  Sewing the hem from the front makes it much easier to maintain the correct seam allowance and it gives a nice neat edge on the hem.

Double gauze swaddling blanket hem

Double gauze swaddle blanket hem

Lay your blanket (hemmed top and bottom) on a table and, following one of the grid lines, cut off the selvedge on one  side.  Measure 46 inches from this cut edge across your blanket and cut your blanket to 46 inches wide, thus removing the other selvedge at the same time.  Fold and sew a 1/2 inch double hem along each side.  There is no need to mitre the corners.  Just fold them over as shown in the photo above.

Ta-dah!  Your swaddle blanket is now finished.  See, even Ted loves it.

Double gauze swaddling blanket

Double gauze swaddle blanket

I found the Sommer double gauze lovely to work with.  It didn’t fray and the sizing added to the fabric gave it enough body to make it easy to handle.  I hand washed my swaddle blanket in cool water to remove the sizing and gave it a quick spin in the washing machine to get rid of most of the water.  Shinkage was minimal – about 1% – and the fabric did become amazingly soft.

The mist colour way, a pretty light turquoise, is the perfect choice for a gender neutral gift or if the sex of the baby is unknown.  Other colours available include pink, blue and grey.  Fabric HQ, which is where I bought mine, has a good range of both the single and double gauze.

Happy sewing!

Drawstring bags

This Christmas I resolved to make as many presents as possible.   As well as making the presents, I also took the opportunity to gift some of them in a re-usable wrapping.  Enter the lined drawstring bag.

Shabby chic drawstring bag

Striped drawstring bag

This size (about 10 inches high) is perfect for holding smaller presents, such as socks, underwear, books or chocolates, however the bags can be made in any size that you like.  I used this fabulous tutorial by Jeni Baker.   I did change it slightly in that I cut out a square at the base of the bags to create the box, rather than struggle with lining up seams on the corners.  On Jeni’s blog, you’ll find other tutorials showing how to modify the basic bag pattern, such as this one that I used to make the striped bag above.

It is easy to customise these drawstring bags by choosing colours and fabrics to make a truly individual gift.  Here is one of my favourites, a suitably christmassy bag incorporating a polaroid block.

Lined drawstring bag with bear polaroid

Polaroid block drawstring bag

As well as a re-usable option for present wrapping, I had read on the Daily Stitch recently that drawstring bags are the perfect gift for new mums. Who knew?  This one was made following Jeni’s basic tutorial although I omitted the contrast top and added pom pom trim instead.  It is so cute even the bear likes it.

Drawstring bag

Lined drawstring bag with pom pom trim

These little drawstring bags are remarkably versatile, easy to make and suitable for people of all ages.  Great for holding toys, a nappy, pyjamas, sewing supplies, underwear for a holiday…  The list goes on.  It is a wonder how we all managed so long without them.