Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Monkey Quilt

One of the gifts I made for my sister-in-law is a quilt made with a nursery panel I found at Joann Fabrics. As with most of my projects, I was at Joann's looking for something entirely different when I stumbled upon this pane. It was love at first sight.  I loved the little monkey and it was a raised image to satisfy a baby with sensory tendencies.

So, I purchased it and pieced together a quilt using a few other fabric swatches I had on-hand. I haven't made a quilt in years and I was a little out of practice...add in the complexity of forming a quilt around a pre-made panel and it took a little longer than it probably should have, but I love how it turned out. As everyone quilts differently, and I am far from an expert, this isn't a full-fledged tutorial, but more of a documentation of my progress in pictures to inspire others to venture into their first quilt.

This project has inspired me to make my own applique panel quilt for my other sister-in-law's baby girl that is due in June. That project will be featured in May, hopefully- if all goes as planned. I think I've decided on an owl theme since they're relatively easy to piece together and it will be my first time doing it.

Here is my adorable monkey quilt...

What you'll need:
cutting mat
rotary cutter
quilters square
straight pins
flat sheet in a coordinating color
5 packages double fold quilters bias tape in coordinating color
quilters safety pins
sewing machine

First... using a rotary cutter, cutting mat and 6" quilters square, I cut my fabric squares. I used 2 years of the solid fabric and about a half yard of each of the patterned fabrics. I did have a dozen squares left over after I pieced them together.

I laid the squares out and pieced them together in the sequence I wanted. As I'm very OCD with some things, I wanted each pattern and solid square to form a pattern around the monkey panel. 

Then, I gathered each row and sewed a 1/4 inch seam between each square.

Once I had the rows sewn, I pined the rows together, making sure that the corners matched on the rows so that it was all straight and sewed them together. I attached the top two and bottom two horizontal rows together and the two vertical rows on the sides of the monkey panels together, so I had 4 long pieced of quilt. I then pressed all the seams flat.


Notice how all the corners are perpendicular. If  you're piecing the rows together and they aren't quite perfect, just stretch the square to fit, pin and sew.

Then I laid the four pieces outside the panel. I determined that it was important to match where I wanted the vertical pieces to hit first and pinned them to the panel. Then, I pinned the top rows to the top of the panel making sure that the squares all lined up. This left about an inch seam all around the back of the panel, which I think was perfect. 

Now, this is the step that threw me off. I couldn't figure out what the best way to affix the rows to the panels was. I finally decided to sew the top and bottom rows to the panel first.  

I pinned the vertical rows to the top row to make one long seam. I folded the edge of the top vertical square under a quarter inch and pinned it to the panel.

After the top and bottom rows were attached to the panel, I pinned the side rows to the panel by folding the edges over a quarter inch.

I then top stitched the length of the vertical row to the panel.

 Now that the top of the blanket is complete, I attached the 3 layers. I purchased a $5 flat twin sheet from Walmart as my bottom layer of the quilt...this is the best way to get a quilt backing cheap with no seams. Then I purchased batting for the center.

I laid out the flat sheet on my floor and took a straight pin and pinned it to the carpet. This held it taut so that i could lay the batting on top.

Once I had the batting lined up, I took the pin out of the sheet and pushed it through the two layers.

I repeated this with the top of the quilt.

Then I cut all the layers to fit the top of the quilt.

And pinned them together with quilting safety pins.

Here is where my pictures end...so sorry! But this part is easy... I pinned double fold quilting bias tape all around the edges and stitched it to the quilt. Then I stitched decorative stitches all around the quilt squares to attach all three layers. 

I loved how this turned out and hopefully, my little nephew will enjoy his quilt for years to come!

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