Quilting an Overall Design on a Baby Quilt

Welcome to my very first blog post! I want to tell you about the baby quilt I finished just before Christmas.

It was exciting to learn last summer that my niece was expecting a baby boy in October. I had been looking for a reason to make this quilt, Nap Time, featured in issue #68 of Quiltmaker magazine after my friend received a quilt made from this pattern, and now I had one.


In early June, I drove to my favorite quilt shop and spent a couple hours selecting fabrics for the top.


Six days later the top was finished. With the piecing frenzy over, I needed a break, so into the closet it went. Still, I was happy because I’d had so much fun choosing fabrics and making it, plus there was still plenty of time to finish it.

Fast forward to September. Choosing a quilt motif for this design would be a challenge. Because the block is a rectangle and most block stencils are square, I decided to try an overall design.

The folks at Electric Quilt have digitized hundreds of quilt motifs from Quiltmaker magazine. The design I liked was in Volume 7.


EQ allows you to size a motif to your quilt layout.


Next, I printed it in sections, in this case, 12 sheets of 13″ x 19″ paper. All the sheets come with registration marks so you can tape them together like this:


While assembling the sheets, I noticed that some of the connections in the design were not as smooth and rounded as they should have been (maybe because the size of this motif was pushed to its limit?)  so I added a spacer sheet in between the rows and hand drew the connections so they would look better.


After taping everything, I reached for this product:


It’s lightweight water-soluble stabilizer, typically used for machine embroidery, but I use it to transfer quilt designs to avoid marking directly on the top. I purchase it online by the bolt from a big box retailer. You get 25 yards in a 19½” width.

The quilt top (minus the outer blue border) measured 38″ x 50″, so I cut three 42″ lengths and sewed them together on the machine using a ½” seam allowance and a long stitch length.

I taped the top portion of the printed design to the cutting table and then taped the sheet of sewn-together plastic on top. Using a black ultra fine point permanent marker, I began tracing the design onto the plastic.


Once the top portion was traced, I removed the tape holding the paper to the table and slid everything up to trace the middle section of the design and once more for the bottom section.


Once the design was all transferred, I pinned the plastic sheet to the layered quilt top in preparation for free motion quilting.



I quilted it with this thread: a 30-weight variegated cotton in three shades of blue.


I made only minor tension adjustments when using this heavier weight thread (top and bobbin). My first experience with it was positive; it behaved quite nicely and complemented the top well.


Next post will show how I did the border design. Thanks for reading!



Filed under Electric Quilt, fabric, machine quilting, thread

5 responses to “Quilting an Overall Design on a Baby Quilt

  1. Rhonda

    I love the idea of using Solvy for not only the all over quilting design but any quilting design. I cannot wait to try it. I cannot wait to see the border design. I am going to share your blog with all my quilting friends. Great job!

  2. hannah slater

    Love this Terri!! It looks great! I love the swirling pattern over everything!

  3. Pingback: The stabilizer saga |

  4. LMGaday

    Absolutely brilliant idea! When you quilted, did you start from the top and work downward (hence the outer pins in the borders) or did you still start from the middle and work your way out?

    How did you actually pin the quilt layers? or did you spray baste or thread baste them?

    Am going to try this method in the coming weeks! Absolutely brilliant!

  5. Thanks for your nice comments! The best way to answer your questions is to direct you to the very next blog post where I talk about what I did preceding the free motion design. I generally ditch quilt first to anchor the layers together, then move to the free motion quilting.

    In preparation for ditch quilting, I pin basted the layers as I’m not a fan of spray basting.

    For the free motion quilting, I pinned the Solvy onto the quilt top, going from the outside in to make sure that the plastic was exactly where I wanted it relative to the borders and then filled the middle in with basting pins (scroll to the last photo above and click on it to enlarge).

    For the free motion quilting, I started in the middle and worked out.

    Hope this works for you, too. Thanks for stopping by!

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