Sewing / Embroidery

Giraffe and Friends Easy Baby Quilt from a Jelly Roll

As followers of the blog know, I am way more of a garment and craft sewist than I am a quilter. But as part of the Baby and Me Sew A Long, which I am co-hosting with Marie of Underground Crafter, I decided to put together a small quilt using a jelly roll to show that you don’t have to be a serious quilter to put together an adorable baby gift.

This is a perfect project for a first quilt! Is mine perfect? Nope, but it’s still adorable, has a minimum of cutting to do because it’s made from a precut jelly roll, and it’s still full of love which the recipient will appreciate!

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Finished Size: 31″ wide x 37″ tall

Materials:

1 Jelly Roll in a style of your choosing. Mine had 6 coordinating flannellete prints, 3 each, for a total of 18 strips. I used 15. If you are using yardage, cut your strips to 2 1/2″ wide.

1 1/4 yards solid fabric for the quilt backing. I chose and aqua flannelette to go with my prints

Polyfil Extra Loft Quilt Batting (Amazon affiliate link) It shows Medium/Large in the photo but a Medium would work fine – the larger one is the one I had on the shelf! I used two layers because I like a puffy look

Sewing machine and coordinating thread. I used white for almost everything but when I did the machine quilting I used a white top thread and an aqua bobbin.

Rotary cutter and mat, or sharp scissors and a good ruler.

Extra long straight pins, or curved quilter’s safety pins

Iron

Notes:

1/4″ seam allowance allowed. Now I know a lot of newer sewists are anxious about narrow seam allowances so honesty, you can aim for 3/8″ or even 1/2″ but your quilt will be smaller. Just be consistent, this is supposed to be fun.

Speaking of fun, while I can make any garment under the sun fit any person to within a quarter of an inch, I stink at quilting. You can always cut the bigger pieces (not the 6 1/2″ blocks though) a little bit bigger than called for to give yourself some wiggle room. It’s easy to cut things down, not so much to add fabric where it doesn’t exist 🙂 If you see a little extra fabric in my photos, it’s because I left myself some extra.

Quilt Top:

To begin, separate your strips into groups of 3. Since I had 18 strips in 6 patterns, and only needed 15 strips total, I made 3 trios in one set of prints (which I will now call Color A) and 2 in the other (Color B).

With right sides facing, sew your strip trios together lengthwise.

Press seam allowances open, now and after every operation from here on out! It’s so much neater to press as you go, and will make the seams lie flat and look professional, even if you aren’t!

With the A strips, cut one piece 34 1/2″ long, and 10 pieces 6 1/2″ long

With the B strips, cut one piece 24 1/2″ long and 10 pieces 6 1/2″ long

Lay them out on a table or bed (or the floor) as shown in photo. In my case the giraffe/polka dot trios are A, the birds/scallops are B. Note that the orientation of the seams is different between the two – A blocks have the seams running top to bottom, B blocks from side to side.

With right sides facing, sew each 4-block horizonal row together along the sides.

Remember to press your seams open, now and forever!

With right sides facing, working from the bottom up, sew each 4-block strip to the next 4-block strip, ending by sewing the long B piece across the top.

With right sides facing, sew the long A piece along the side of the top, as shown in photo (left side as you are looking at the photo)

Press the heck out of everything so it’s super flat.

Cut 2 pieces of batting 31″ x 37″. Stack one on top of the other – treat them as one from here on out.

Cut the backing fabric to 36″ x 42″.

Separately fold the batting, the backing, and the quilt top top to bottom, and side to side, so you can easily mark the center with a pin.

On a large flat surface, stack:

The backing – wrong side up.

The batting – both pieces held together.

The quilt top – right side up.

Line up your pins so the centers all line up and remove those pins.

Working from the center out, smoothing the layers as you go, pin baste all layers together.

The batting is going to extend about 1/2″ all the way around, the back, 2 1/2″ from the batting line. If you over cut (see note), once you are happy with the pin baste, now is the time to trim away any excess.

Optional: Change your bobbin out to a color that coordinates with the backing. While I never recommend this for garment sewing because you can often see a hint of the other color on the side you don’t want to see it, because of the high loft of this batting, color shadows are not an issue. ALSO because your blocks may not line up exactly perfect if you are a new quilter (two of mine didn’t!), having the thread color disappear on the back helps to not draw attention to any variations in your lines.

Machine quilt all layers together by “stitching in the ditch”. This means to sew over an existing seam line while placing a little side to side tension on the top. The quilting lines will disappear into the “ditch” in the seam opening.

Another note here – will you be perfect at this if you are a new sewist? No. Will anyone notice? Also no. You will get better with practice.

I quilted along the strip lines of both long pieces (top and one side), then did lines that wound up outlining the individual blocks. If you take a look at the back below you will see what I mean. You can always add more quilt lines if you like, or use fancier stitches, but I wanted to keep this project at a beginner level.

Trim all loose threads.

Self-Binding:

On each long side, fold the backing so the cut edge meets the batting line, then fold over one more time onto the quilt top and pin into place.

On the corners. I am going to try to find a video for this and embed it because it’s hard to write out in words BUT.

Fold the corner point towards the quilt top, so there is a diagonal fold across the fabric, the center of which is the point of the quilt batting corner.

Trim off the top 1/2″, on the diagonal. The piece you cut off will look like a triangle.

Fold under your newly cut edge, so the cut edge is back to the point of the batting.

Fold the two side pieces so they meet, tucking any excess fabric under the fold.

Hand sew each corner miter into place.

I hand sewed the rest of my binding because it was late and I was tired of sitting at the sewing machine, which is why you don’t see a seam line in the photos. I am going to top stitch it with the machine though, in the aqua color. New parents don’t have time to fuss with delicate edgings and I want the recipient of this to be able to toss it in the washing machine. If you want to try a fancy stitch on your sewing machine, this might be the place! Just try it out on some scrap fabrics first to make sure it works the way you want it to with the materials you are using – you don’t want to have to rip it out.

So there is my baby quilt! Check out Marie’s SAL post to see about how to win some cool prizes, and look for at least one post a month from Marie, or I, or some special guests!

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