Updated: Feb 1
An easy quilt with a quote that says "World's Best [Blank]". Perfect for quilt gifting. Free pattern included!
I am still very new to the different types of quilts and their generic names. This one may have a proper name that I am not aware of, but I am calling it my “Quilt with a Quote”. It was going to be my brother’s birthday present, so the quote that I used is befittingly “World’s Best Brother” (that he is to me), and the colours are something he would feel comfortable having in his home.
If you are making this quilt for someone other than your brother, say, a best friend, then all you have to do is change the letters and choose his/her favourite colours. It doesn’t matter if “FRIEND” has one less letter than “BROTHER”. You could leave the first or last column blank, or add one character at the end like an exclamation mark or a star shape to fill up the last column (see illustrations below).
Colours and quote can be modified to suit any occasion.
This tutorial will result in a square quilt of around 72 cm x 72 cm. I made it into a large pillow cover to fit my homemade pillow insert (or you could buy standard inserts between 70 cm square to 75 cm square). This tutorial will not cover how I turned the quilt into a pillow cover, but it does include external links to some good tutorials.
You could also make other things out of it, like a wall hanging, a mat, or enlarge it and add wide borders to turn it into a throw.
The general steps of this tutorial are:
Cut fabric pieces
Piecing to make quilt top
Applique letters on quilt top
Baste and quilt with batting and backing
Trim and finish raw edges (This step differs depending on what you make out of the quilt).
Notes on Seam Allowance:
I have used 1 cm seam allowance throughout this project to simplify calculations, measurements and piecing. You can, of course, use the common quarter-inch seam allowance, but be sure to adjust the fabric cut sizes below, or expect a slightly larger quilt (should be about 10 cm longer on each side).
STEP 1: CHOOSE FABRIC
For the quilt top, you will need:
(For the irregular rectangles) ¾ meter cut of fabric
(For the borders between rectangles) ¼ meter cut of fabric
(For the letters) 25 cm x 50 cm piece of fabric
For the quilt backing, you will need a piece of fabric measured 75 cm x 75 cm.
If you are going to turn the quilt into a pillow cover like I did, then you will need fabrics (and notions for fastening) for the back of the pillow cover as well.
STEP 2: CUT FABRIC PIECES FOR QUILT TOP
STEP 2.1: From the ¾ meter cut fabric, cut out the irregular Rectangles (labelled A to I below), in the dimensions and quantities described in the table below.
STEP 2.2: From the ¼ meter cut fabric, cut out border Strips (coloured red, blue and green below) in the dimensions and quantities described in the table below.
Here are all my cut fabrics (same sized pieces are stacked together):
STEP 3: PIECING
Obviously, the fabric cuts can be pieced in various sequences. Described below is my choice of piecing sequence.
Notes on Pressing Seam Allowances: The steps below do not mention this, but after each step, I pressed all seam allowances towards the irregular rectangles such that the border strips lay flat. This is to prevent excessive bulk on the narrow strips.
STEP 3.1: Take all the Rectangles A and B, and four Blue Strips, and sew them into four blocks as follows:
Four "AB" Blocks
STEP 3.2: Take all the Rectangles D and F, and two Blue Strips, and sew them into two blocks as follows:
Two “DE" Blocks
STEP 3.3: Take all Rectangles G and H, and two Blue Strips, and sew them into two blocks as follows:
Two “FG" Blocks
STEP 3.4: Take Rectangles H and I, and one Blue Strip, and sew them into one block as follows:
One “HI" Block
STEP 3.5: Take the two AB Blocks, one DE Block, one FG Block, three Rectangle C, and six Red Strips, and sew them into one panel as follows:
STEP 3.6: Take the other two AB Blocks, one DE Block, one FG Block, three Rectangle C, and six Red Strips, and sew them into one panel as follows:
STEP 3.7: Take the HI Block and two Green Strips, and sew them into one panel as follows:
STEP 3.8: Take the Top, Middle, and Bottom Panels, and sew them together to form the complete quilt top as follows:
Here is my complete quilt top (without the quote):
Quilt top before appliqueing letters.
STEP 4: PREPARE LETTERS
STEP 4.1: Take the 25 cm x 50 cm piece of fabric and apply fusible interfacing to its wrong side. The thickness of the interfacing is not important, because the aim here is to stop the fraying of raw edges. I have used an intermediate woven interfacing for two reasons: (1) It keeps the letters fabric-like, and (2) It provides some thickness that eases the applique process.
Fabric for lettering, interfaced with woven fusible interfacing that maintains that fabric feel.
STEP 4.2: Download letter templates here (if you have Microsoft Words) or here (for PDF version). The Microsoft Words version is for you to type in your own quote, add characters, change the font type or adjust the size. If you don’t intend to modify anything, just download the PDF version.
Print and cut out your templates. I placed the paper templates onto the quilt top just to be sure that they are the right size.
Paper templates placed on the quilt top as mock up.
STEP 4.3: Trace MIRROR IMAGE of the letters onto the wrong side (the side with interfacing).
Mirror image of letters traced onto the interfaced side of the fabric.
STEP 4.4: Cut out the traced letters, along the traced outlines. There is no need to add “seam allowance” because there is no folding in of the edges during the applique process, since the edges will not fray as the fabric has been fused to interfacing.
Letter cut outs, ready to be appliqued.
STEP 5: APPLIQUE LETTERS
Applique the letters onto the quilt top. I drew lines on the quilt top using disappearing ink markers to guide placements. I used my machine’s blanket stitch with matching thread. Alternatively, you could do a straight top-stitch like what I did in my Mini Orange Peel Quilt tutorial, or hand-sewn blanket stitches.
TIPS: To keep the letters from shifting while appliqueing, apply spots of fabric glue or small pieces of fusible tape on the wrong side of the letters, and then paste or iron them onto the desired position, before sewing the applique stitches.
Machine blanket stitch to applique letters.
This photo was taken after the project was completed, which explains why the quilting is seen done here. In the actual process, there should be no quilting stitches at this point.
STEP 6: BASTE AND QUILT
Grab your choice of batting and the backing fabric. Baste the quilt top, batting and backing fabric together, in that order, from top to bottom with wrong sides facing. Then, quilt as desired. I chose to quilt within the border strips using a decorative stitch setting on my machine, and also all around the inside of each rectangle, very near the rectangles’ edges, using straight stitch. I used matching threads.
Note on Batting Choice: For a clean, crinkle-free look, I chose fusible batting (i.e. I iron-fused it to the wrong side of my quilt top before basting to the backing fabric). If you want crinkles, use non-fusible batting.
Decorative stitches to quilt along the narrow borders, and straight stitches to quilt near the rectangles' edges, using matching threads.
OPTIONAL: You may "embroider" messages along one of the border strips like I did below. I used the automatic letter setting on my machine for this.
Messages embroidered along one of the border strips.
STEP 7: TRIM AND FINISH RAW EDGES
Trim off excess batting and backing fabric, and straighten the edges. If you are not making anything out of this quilt, bind the edges as per normal quilts and you will be done. In my case, I wanted to turn it into a pillow cover, so the raw edges will be finished when I sew them to the back fabric of the pillow cover.
To learn how to make a pillow cover out of this quilt top (or any fabric), here are some good video tutorials:
Quilted Pocket Cushion Cover by Sew, Jahit (Extremely easy method, but is not suitable for a large pillows).
Zippered pillow cover video tutorial by Jann Newton. (Suitable for large pillows – this is what I made).
I had such little time to make this and to enjoy the finished work. I designed and made this in just over four days and had less than an afternoon to photograph it, before it had to be gifted to my brother. I tend to get overly attached to my own handmade projects, so it was a little hard to give it away so soon. Well, at least I know there will be a certain pillow I will be seeking every time I visit!