Both of my children have loved nurturing play. I remember my daughter, a baby herself, putting her baby doll in the cradle and tucking her in, then taking her out again, over and over for hours a day. Now her babies are carried in slings, dressed and loved, and tucked in beside her at bedtime.
My daughter is now of an age where she has a fondness for special treasures. Above all else, she loves anything that she can enjoy with her favorite doll, Baby Kelly. I created this little 9-patch quilt as a gift for her to share with Baby Kelly. This quilt could be adapted for any size doll simply by adjusting the size of the squares. You could even use the same basic technique to make a quilt for a child.
prewashed scrap fabric totaling ¼ yard or 9 charm squares
batting fabric – prewashed flannel
backing fabric – a fat quarter is plenty
hand needle or sewing machine
yarn or embroidery floss in a light color
assemble the quilt top
Press your prewashed scraps and cut to desired size. For this project I used charm squares, which are convenient precut squares measuring 5″x5″ each. To preshrink your charm squares, you may soak them in warm water and line or even machine dry.
Lay out your squares in the desired order. For this entire project, I used a 1/2″ seam allowance to make the quilt smaller (instead of the traditional quilting seam allowance of 1/4″). Just make certain that whatever seam allowance you choose, it remains consistent throughout the project. You may pin your squares together or not, depending on your comfort level.
With right sides together, sew your squares into three rows of three squares each.
Next you will press the seam allowances. It is important to press the seam allowances of the top and bottom rows in the opposite direction from the center row. That way when you join the rows, the seam allowances will alternate and reduce bulk. Below you can see how the seam allowance of the top row is pressed to the left, and the center row is pressed to the right.
Next we will join the three rows together to complete the quilt top. Pin the rows together, right sides facing, being sure to match seams. Stitch. Press your new seam allowances flat, whichever direction you choose. When you are finished, the back should look somewhat like the following photo.
assemble the layers
Now that you have your completed quilt top, you are ready to join it with the batting and backing. Since this is a small quilt, I used flannel as a batting material. If you are modifying your quilt for a child, you may choose to use something with a heavier weight for warmth. You will also need a coordinating fabric for the back. I chose a quilting cotton, but a flannel or velour would also be yummy.
You may use your completed top as a template for cutting the batting and backing. Once that is finished, make a sandwich with your three pieces. Remember that right sides should be facing, so your quilt top should face the right side of the backing, with the batting against either of the wrong sides. The following image shows the quilt top right side up, with the backing facing it, and the batting on top.
Once you have stacked the fabrics, pin in place, and stitch around all four sides, pivoting at each corner, and leaving a 4-inch gap for turning along one edge. Backstitch at both ends.
Trim each corner and trim down the batting to reduce bulk in the seams. Turn your quilt right sides out, gently pushing out the corners and seams with a turning tool. Press. Press your opening to match the rest of the seam, and use a ladder stitch to close the opening.
hand-tie the quilt
Begin by using pins to secure the top of the quilt to the batting and backing so it does not shift as you sew. Use a large needle threaded with neutral embroidery floss. To tie the quilt, simply begin with your needle on the front of the quilt, very near an intersection of the squares. Pull your needle and floss through to the back of the quilt, and back through again to the front a few millimeters away from your original stitch. Tie both ends together very securely, and trim down to the desired length. Repeat for each intersection.
The quilt is now complete and ready to comfort a favorite doll.
Bernadette Emerson is a mother, wife, writer, musician, haphazard gardener, erratic blogger, and occasionally rearranges her sewing studio to make it look like she has been productive. She lives in Boulder County, Colorado, where the mountains look pretty from the front yard. She is a founding co-editor of Rhythm of the Home.