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.


Message to Charlie

This will be an unusual post.  Yesterday I received an email from a lady called Charlie.  She wanted to know the pattern/cutting instructions for my “jelly patchy roll” quilt.  When I replied to her, the message came back as undeliverable because the email address was not recognised.

I don’t want her to think that I am the sort of person who doesn’t reply to emails so I am writing my reply here in the hope that she might see it.

For my scrappy jelly roll quilt, I used this pattern by Erica Jackman on Moda Bake Shop.  This quilt requires two jelly rolls.

The off-set coin quilt used one jelly roll.  There isn’t a pattern as such.  I used a tutorial by  Kristy @107 quilts.

Hope this gets through to Charlie and good luck with your quilt.

Kaffe 2014 – The Colourful World of Kaffe Fassett

A visit to the American Museum in Britain was top of my list of things to do during a visit to Bath last week.  Kaffe Fassett, the world renowned knitwear and textile designer, has a wonderful exhibition there that showcases the importance that colour has had throughout his career.   I have been a fan of his for many years and in fact the first quilt that I made was a Kaffe Fassett design.
This mock up of his studio is a fabulous riot of colour and includes examples of Kaffe’s many skills, including painting, needlework, knitting and fabric design. 
Cabbages are everywhere is the display of some of his paintings, needlework and fabric designs in the green room.

The knitwear and needlework on display are beautiful however it was the quilts that really caught my attention.  They are often based on traditional block patterns, such as this mesmerising version of a log cabin design.  
Or this beautiful diamond quilt…
…with machine quilting used to highlight the flowers.
This fabulous hand quilted stripy quilt was one of my favourites. 
The designs may be based on traditional block patterns however there is nothing traditional about the colour combinations.  Kaffe’s designs are vibrant, bright and saturated with colour.  If in doubt, add another twenty colours” is my favourite Kaffe motto and one that he clearly lives by.  This exhibition is truly inspirational and is a wonderful example of how we can all add more colour to our lives.

To find out more about the exhibition there is an excellent short video and additional information on the museum website.  The exhibition runs until 2 November.

Look what I won…

Last week I received a wonderful surprise.  An email to say that I had won a fabulous Posie cushion kit from The Village Haberdashery!  

The kit was designed exclusively for them by Pat Bravo and features lovely fabrics from the Dreamin’ Vintage fabric range.   They have even cut the fabric into the correct sized strips so no need for rotary cutters or struggles with scissors.   Just the fun of sewing.

I am really looking forward to making up the cushion and have already picked out the perfect spot for it.  

Thanks so much to Annie, Caroline, Theresa and especially Harvey (what a star!) for picking my name out of the hat.  You really made my day.

Pat Bravo at The Village Haberdashery

The Village Haberdashery was the place to be on Saturday as Pat Bravo, founder and owner of Art Gallery Fabrics, was visiting to show case their upcoming fabric collections.

Pat showing some of the fabrics from the forthcoming Geometric Bliss collection.
Art Gallery Fabrics was born from a desire to provide modern fabric designs in quality fabrics.  Pat explained that their fabrics have a much higher thread count which is what makes them softer and drape so beautifully (so that’s their secret). 
I am fan of their squared elements range and it is my go-to fabric for binding.  It comes in such a fantastic range of colours and they co-ordinate so well with the other collections.   
Of the many new collections coming out soon, my favourite is Cherie.

It is a romantic collection of greys, pinks and pale turquoise that is just lovely.  This one is definitely on my shopping list.

In addition to the fabulous quilting fabrics, Art Gallery Fabrics also includes some knit fabrics and voiles in each collection.

The knit fabrics are a good weight and include a small amount of spandex to prevent bagging.  The designs are gorgeous too and would make fabulous t-shirts, children’s clothes and dresses.

Rather than being sheer, the voiles resemble a lawn fabric and combine a soft, silky feel with the easy care of cotton.  They are just prefect for summer dresses and pyjamas.

It was wonderful to have the opportunity to meet Pat and to see at first hand the lovely collections that are due later in the year.

Many thanks to Pat for an inspirational presentation and to Annie from The Village Haberdashery for organising the event.

Rags to riches

What do you do with your fabric scraps that are too small for quilting?

I am fortunate to know Sam Molloy, the lucky recipient of this latest batch of my scraps.  Sam makes the most amazing free motion embroidered works of art and can make use of some of the smallest fabric scraps.

Here is just one of her beautiful creations.  I just love the gold embroidery around the rim of this cup and saucer.   You can find more of her lovely pictures on her Folksy shop.  Her technique includes not only embroidery and appliqué but also painting to emphasise details that really make the pictures come to life.   They really are gorgeous!  

Those of you who attended the Sewcial last week will have seen Sam demonstrating her technique whilst creating a fabric cupcake.   Tasty and no calories!  Sam has a detailed tutorial if you weren’t able to make the Sewcial and would like to have a go making your own textile work of art.

The next Sewcial will be held on 1 July at St Anne’s Hall in Wendover.  It is a great opportunity to work on your own project whilst meeting and learning from other local crafters.  Contact Fabric HQ to book your place.

Wendover pop-up craft fair

A lovely sunny day on Saturday, just perfect for the mini pop-up craft fair at the Courtyard Gallery in Wendover.   I met some amazingly talented local crafters and it was a great opportunity to see the range of lovely things they had available.
Nicole from Hot Chop Threads was selling her practical and very desirable baby bibs.  

Here is one of my favourites, being modelled by Teddy, however they look even better on babies, or even small dogs!
Vicky from Teasel Bags had some covetable handmade bags.  Sadly, I don’t have any photos of these but, hey, she has lots on her website if you want to take a look.
There was an amazing range of soaps, bath salts and other goodies, all handmade from natural ingredients by Tanya from the Zesty Soap Company.  

I have been on fence-painting duty today and this Gardener’s Soap was fantastic at getting those last scraps of paint off my hands.  The soap smells gorgeous and left my skin feeling so soft.  It is the perfect everyday luxury.  
And I was there selling quilts (more on those later) and chocolate or vanilla cupcakes decorated with buttercream roses, hydrangeas, sunflowers or chrysanthemums.  
Cupcakes make a lovely gift for a special person and can be made in colours and designs to suit you.  Here are just some of the decorations available.   Perhaps a bit top-heavy on flowers in this photo but who doesn’t like flowers?   
Thanks to everyone who visited the craft fair.  I hope that you all had a great day and hope to see you at the next one.

5000 poppies

Rather than making ANZAC biscuits, my sister suggested that I should make some poppies for the 5000 poppies project.  Next ANZAC Day will be the 100 year anniversary since the ANZAC Gallipoli landing and there are a number of activities in Australia planned to commemorate this event.

The 5000 poppies community art project is a tribute of respect and remembrance for all Australian servicemen and women who have served over the past 100 years.   On ANZAC Day 2015 they plan to display a field of over 5000 poppies in Federation Square, Melbourne.  To date they have received over 10,000 poppies from crafters from different parts of the world and are now working toward 25,000 poppies for the display.  I have no doubt that they will make this target and the poppies will make a stunning and very moving tribute.

Here are the first poppies that I have made using a wet felt technique.  

Instructions for how to make them, as well as patterns for crocheted and knitted poppies, can be found on the 5000 poppies blog under the poppy patterns section.  Mine will be winging their way to Australia next week and will hopefully find a place in the display next year.