Simple baby quilt or blanket tutorial {and a story}

Read to the bottom of this post for instructions on how to make your own simple baby quilt or blanket. 

Every time I look at this little guy I thank God for blue eyes, dimpled fingers, and happy accidents. Good thing he likes my kisses, ’cause I give them every chance I get.

Before Stryder was born I went into a fit of sewing things in preparation. It was my sanity as the weeks dragged by and the belly got bigger. In hot Southern California, it’s no small thing to have a baby in October. For some of you, the weather has probably cooled down by then. Not so for us Californians in the desert. No way.

One of the things I made for Stryder was a baby blanket with squares of cotton pieced together for the top and minky for the backing. It was adorable and cuddly and perfect. His first pictures were taken in that blanket, in the hospital and shortly after he was born.

Photo by Alicia Emerson, October 2011

The blanket became his most loved possession. He never went anywhere without it, never stopped hugging it or pulling it around behind him, thumb in his mouth the whole time. Truly, it was the most beautiful relationship between boy and blankie. Did I feel fantastic about this? Definitely.

But a few months ago, the almost-inevitable happened and we lost the blanket somewhere along the road. This could have been a total and complete disaster, if not for my room full of fabric!


I had just enough fabric time that day to whip together a new blanket for him before bed time, which is when my story gets really good.

I was sewing the flannel backing on Stryder’s blanket when he suddenly climbed up on my sewing chair and knocked my sewing machine end over end onto the floor. My precious Janome! It was one of those awful moments that I remember with perfect clarity in slow motion. When my machine hit the laundry pile (thank goodness I never fold the laundry immediately), Stryder tumbled down after it and landed on the towels in a fit of frightened tears.

Right when things were really starting to get out of hand, Abby decided that, for some reason, it was all her fault and Stryder was dead and the machine was broken and it was all her fault. Devastations galore.

I must admit to you: I paused right there in the middle of the chaos and thought, why do I even try to do this crazy thing called sewing and blogging? Why do I try to do anything extracurricular when our whole world constantly teeters on the edge of insanity?

But everything came together in the end. My machine was miraculously unharmed, Stryder was only momentarily frightened, and Abby was put to bed happily aware that none of it was her fault and Stryder was not dead. My final moments that day were spent topstitching and then tucking my baby into bed with his comfy new blanket.

Over the next few days, Stryder was a little perplexed by this new blanket that looked kind of like his old blanket, but wasn’t. The new version is backed in flannel and is larger than the original. Over time, he’s grown to love it just as much as the original.

In general, I look back on the day we lost his blanket and I made a new one as both a success and a failure. But that’s life I guess. Many of my days are filled with both those things, and it’s the victories in spite of failures that keep us all pushing forward. Plus, looking at that little face below, how could I not make him a new blanket?

Enjoy a few more pictures before I delve into instructions on how to make your own. Honestly, this blanket was pieced together quickly as possible before bedtime, so if the pattern looks random, it is.

  • Lizzy house pearl bracelets in Verbena and Persimmon
  • Some from Lotta Jansdotter’s Bella collection
  • Happy Campers in Ivory by Ronnie Walter for Robert Kaufman (discontinued, boohoo)
  • A few Monaluna prints, such as the Double Dot in Teal
  • Heather Bailey’s Dream Dot in Splash
  • Monaluna’s Organic Tree Meadow from the Circa 60 line (sooo soft!)
  • A turtle print I bought at a quilt show and never found again. 

All seam allowances should be 1/4″ 

  • Cut 20 squares of cotton fabric measuring 7″ x 7″ 
  • Lay the squares out on a table or the floor and arrange the perfect placement. 
  • Sew each row together. When one row is complete, press the seam allowances all one direction. When the second row is complete, press the seam allowances in the opposite direction. And so on, until all the rows are completed and pressed. 
  • Now sew the rows together. Place the second row on top of the first with right sides facing and the raw edges aligned. Pin if desired and sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Press the seam allowance and continue on to the next row. Continue until the blanket is complete.
  • Now lay your finished piece on top of the flannel backing, right sides facing. Cut around the blanket top so that your flannel piece is the exact same size as the top. If you use flannel for the backing, they should stick together and make it easy to cut. 
  • Pin the backing to the blanket top and stitch around with a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a 4″ opening so you can turn the blanket right side out.
  • Pull the blanket through the opening, use a point turner to push the corners out, and press the seams. 
  • Now pin around the perimeter of the blanket, securing the opening closed. (Make sure the seam allowance on the opening is pressed under). Topstitch all the way around the blanket, 1/8″ of an inch from the edge, and then again 1/4″ from the edge. This adds a nice touch to the blanket, especially if you use contrasting thread.
  • Optional: use a few stitches at the corner of each square to secure the bottom and top of the blanket together. 
I know these are really simple instructions, but it’s a really simple blanket. It’s a great afternoon project that yields a great sense of accomplishment. Plus, your baby will love it:

Thanks for reading, friends! Do you have any lost-blanket stories? If so, I’d love to hear them in the comment section below!
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  1. says

    Go you! I have been there, wondering why I try to do all this, but like you said, it those victories and feeling of accomplishment that keeps me going. And OMG Stryder just keeps getting cuter and cuter 🙂

  2. says

    Oh Caila, I love that you could just whip him up another baby blanket! Now, that’s a superpower. I think one of my favorite parts of this story is that the unfolded laundry saved the day! Now every time I look at my mounds of unfolded, wrinkly laundry, I’ll just tell myself that it’s technically extra child-proofing!

  3. says

    Monica, you’re too funny!!! Caila, loved the story & thank you SO much for the tute but I have just one question. How in the WORLD did you make 3 absolutely adorable children of different ages that LOOK like triplets? I mean, “OMG”! These three are JUST as cute as the first, second, well, you get what I’m sayin here!!! W.O.W!
    PS: LOVE your Superpower!!! PPS: I JUST ordered a Janome!! Maybe I could get some tips from you on how to use this thing!!! I have had the SAME Singer for 19 years!!!