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Easy-to-Make Baby Travel Quilt

Today’s contributor is Jill from Snugglebug University All posts written by Jill for Make It and Love It can be found HERE.

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Hi, it’s Jill from Snugglebug University.  I’m not sure what’s in the water out here, but so many of my friends and family are having babies this Spring/Summer.  If you’re experiencing a similar “baby boom”  I’ve got the perfect baby travel quilt for you to make!

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Even if I purchase a gift for family expecting a new baby, I love to throw in a homemade gift, too.  Sometimes it’s a gift for the siblings (I’ve made superhero big sibling shirts…complete with a burp cloth cape!!), other times its a stuffie of some sort, or sometimes it’s as simple as a hair bow.  Do you do the same?  What are your go-to handmade gifts for baby & family-of-the-baby?

I hope that you’ll add this simple baby travel quilt to your list of favorites!  What I really love about this baby travel quilt is that it’s GREAT for the mom on the go.  Equipped with handles, mom can fold it up and bring it wherever she’s going to easily throw on the ground for baby to play.  So convenient, right?  It’s great for a first time mom, but it’s great for 2nd, 3rd, etc. babies too!  I’ve had a fold-up picnic blanket since my kids were little…and it’s gotten so much use!  I love that this quilt isn’t just portable though, it’s soft and cozy too.

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I love that you can make this baby travel quilt as simple or as detailed as you like.  I kept it pretty simple.  All I added was a single star applique, but the blanket would look great without one too!  Or you could add lots of appliques with different textures if you’re feeling a bit more ambitious.   You could also use a more water repellent type of fabric on the bottom for an outdoor blanket.

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This baby travel quilt is an absolute cinch to make.  There’s no complicated binding (although you totally could add one if you like!).  I’m not a quilter, but I think this method of no-binding is called the “pillowcase method.”  I actually really like it because it gives the blanket a bit of a more modern feel, and I think it makes the travel blanket look a little more like tote bag, perfect for a mom on the go!

It’s super simple to fold.  Just fold over each side:

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Then bring the handles together and mom is ready to go!

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Are you ready to make a baby travel quilt? Here’s what you’ll need:

Supplies:

  • 1 yard of both outer and inner fabric (You won’t need the whole yard, which is great if you’d like to add an applique or use one of these fabrics to make the fabric handles.)
  •  Two small pieces (3 x 9 inches) for the fabric handles
  • Batting-baby size.  The batting I bought was 45″x 60″.  With this size you’ll have enough to make two baby travel blankets.
  • Fusible interfacing (for any applique, optional)
  • lots of pins and safety pins

***As always, if you need a bit of help with the basic sewing skills used in this tutorial, don’t hesitate to check out the Sewing 101 post for more help.

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Begin by cutting out 3 rectangles sized 28 inches x 39 inches: 2 from each of your fabrics and one from the batting.
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Make a sandwich of your outer fabric and the batting.  (NOTE:  You’re not going to sew your other fabric side on here, like you might do with a regular self-binded quilt.  Instead you are only only going to attach the batting to the wrong side of ONE of your fabrics.)

Use pins to mark the CENTER of the horizontal side of your quilt.  Sew down the middle to help secure the quilt front to the batting.  From the center, work outwards, sewing a new line about every 4.5 inches.  (This should give you 5 lines sewn onto the quilt front.)

Tip: If your exterior fabric has horizontal lines of some sort (like mine), this makes the process so much easier as you can just sew along the design pattern!  Also, in order to help make sure that the batting doesn’t move while sewing (especially at the beginning) I add a few safety pins scattered throughout.  As I sew more lines I remove them one by one.  Pins work too.

I adjusted my seam length to be a bit larger, because I prefer the longer stitch look on quilts.  Here’s where I think a walking foot would be lovely, but I don’t have one, and it seemed to work just fine on this small quilt.

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Cut out two 3 x 9 inch handles.  Now you can really make these handles whatever size you’d like, but my main concern was that the handles should be small enough that they couldn’t fit over a baby’s head and pose a strangulation hazard.

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Fold the handle fabric over, and sew a tube. I use a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

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Turn right side out, and top stitch on each side if desired.  Repeat with the other strap.

Note:  If you are having a hard time turning these narrow tubes right side out, you might want to check out the tips from this post.

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Then pin to the center of your quilt as shown below and baste on.

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If you’d like to add an appliqued shape to your quilt, now is the time. I free-handed a star shape, cut it from fabric and interfacing, ironed the interfacing to the fabric star, removed the paper backing, and ironed the fabric star to my quilt front.  (Don’t know much about fusible interfacing? Check out this post for more information.) 

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I used a zig zag to sew around the edges of my star.  This helps to give it a more finished look, and also helps to secure the applique to the quilt front.

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Now it’s time to sandwich your layers together, and sew all around leaving open one small area on one side for turning.  Make sure that you place right sides together and that the handles are facing inwards.

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See how the handles are tucked inside?  Surge or sew around all edges.  (Note, if you aren’t going to use a surging stitch–which is TOTALLY ok, I’d recommend finishing the edges of each of the layers of your sandwich before you sew them together.  This should help them hold up a bit better in the wash….and you know how babies are….a blanket like this will be washed many, many times!!

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Turn the blanket right side out.  Fold the edges of the opening in, and top stich close to the edge, all the way around the quilt.

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Then sew two additional seams vertically down the blanket (dividing the quilt into thirds).  This helps to attach the back to the front and also serves as a folding guide.   To fold correctly, you’ll fold over each edge to the center, and then bring the handles together.

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And with that you are done!!  Not too hard right?

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Thank you so much for having me here on Make It and Love It!

–Jill

You can follow Jill on her blog (snugglebuguniversity.com), on instagram, on pinterest, and on facebook.

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Adding in a homemade touch to a baby gift is a special way of saying “I care!”. Here are a few more handmade baby gift ideas that you are sure to love:

DIY Car Seat Toys…for baby!

DIY Pacifier Clips…no more dropped/lost pacifiers

20+ Handmade Baby Gift Ideas!

 
Thanks for checking out my Easy-to-Make Baby Travel Quilt post. Check out my full collection of DIY Sewing articles. Find even more sewing projects, patterns, and tips for beginners and advanced sewists by Liz Call, Mariah Leeson, Randi Dukes and Tauni Everett.
 
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Comments

  1. Karen says:

    I love this project. My neighbor is having her baby next week so this will be a great gift for her. I was wondering what your feeling is about using fleece fabric. I bought some really cute fleece that would be cute, if not i have plenty of flannel I can use. Thanks,

    Karen from Ct.

    1. Jill says:

      Hi Karen,

      Fleece should be fine! If you are going to use fleece for both layers, I would probably omit the batting (so that it isn’t as thick and will still fold up well). Flannel would work too. Hope that helps!

      Jill

  2. Christine says:

    2 questions… 1. Why do you make the five parallel lines before putting it all together and not after so that they go through all three layers and 2. When you say to finish the edges before sewing together to make it hold up better, what dos that mean? Zigzag? Pinking shears? Thanks! It is such a cute gift idea!

    1. Jill says:

      Hi Christine, 1. You can do it either way. The reason that I did the parallel lines before putting it all together is just my preference. It secures the batting better, preventing it from shifting when you go through all layers. You could sew it all together at once though–just pin like crazy so that it doesn’t shift. 2. Yes, zigzag or pinking shears. I did zigzag. I just figure that baby stuff gets washed A LOT, so if you have fabric that will fray, having an additional level of protection against fraying can help the blanket last longer.

      Hope that helps!! Let me know if you have further questions!

  3. Samantha says:

    SUCH a great idea! I love this! I can’t standing trying to shove my baby’s blanket in my bag because it’s either falling out or I can’t find anything in my bag. This makes it so much easier to transport. I may even add some velcro to the sides near the top to hold it together. Thanks for sharing, love that you are contributing with Ashley! Love your stuff here and on your site! I’m a fan!

    1. Jill says:

      Thank you so much for the kind words Samantha! Your comment just totally made my day! :-)

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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