project // bitty beluga embroidered whole cloth quilt
When I started working on the Bitty Beluga pattern and really, all of the beluga things so far this month, I kept thinking about making something for a baby. Once the pattern was done, I knew that it needed to go on a blankie, and somehow that ended up becoming a little quilt. The great thing about this is that as far as quilts go, this one goes pretty quickly!
There's no piecing involved with this project, so that's the biggest time-saver. You leave the fabric whole, which is why it's called a whole cloth quilt. I've been wanting to make one for a while, and have some other fabrics picked out for not one, but two (!) more similar projects. Now that this one is under my belt, I think I might need to get the others going again.
The added detail of embroidery is completely optional with a quilt like this, but I do like how it creates a focal point. Of course, you could use any embroidery you want as you make yours!
Here's what you need:
Front and backing fabric - 1 1/2 yards each
Batting - at least 45" square
Binding fabric - 1/2 yard
Walking foot (highly recommended!)
Rotary cutter, ruler and mat (optional)
Cut your front fabric into a square, using the width of the fabric as your guide. Embroider the Bitty Beluga motif onto the front square.
You can place it wherever you want. Mine is centered towards the bottom.
Make a quilt sandwich with your backing fabric, batting, and the front.
Typically, it's recommended that the backing fabric and batting be several inches larger than the front. Mine ended up being only about 1 inch larger, but I didn't notice much shift or shrinkage when I quilted.
Use safety pins to hold the layers together.
Now it's time to quilt! This was honestly the most relaxing part of this project for me, and I had the quilting done in just over 30 minutes! The thread I'm using is a deep teal that contrasts with both the front and the back. And since this is a beluga in the deep blue sea, I thought that waves would be appropriate.
With the walking foot in place on the sewing machine, quilt gently waving horizontal lines across the quilt. Start at the center and work your way to the top and bottom. You can space them very evenly, or vary them.
You may find it helpful to mark the fabric with masking tape so that you don't get too far off from horizontal (you want waves...but not on the diagonal!). I had the benefit of fabric that has lines, which kept me on track.
In the section where your embroidery is, avoid quilting too close.
Cut the batting and backing to match the front of the quilt, squaring it up if you need to. A rotary cutter makes this very easy, and the edges very neat.
Let's bind it! For this, you'll need to cut five 2 1/2-inch strips, join them and prepare the binding. I won't go into detailed instructions, because there are plenty of good tutorials you can reference if needed. I highly recommend the binding videos from Wendi Gratz and Missouri Star Quilt Co.
But, I do usually sew my binding slightly different than most folks, resulting in visible stitches that add a cute detail to the edge.
First, I attach it to the back of the quilt, instead of the front. That means that the folded edge wraps around to the front.
Instead of using thread that will blend in and stay hidden, I use perle cotton, and usually I choose a color that will have a nice contrast to it. So that I can use slightly longer cuts of the thread, I treat them with Thread Heaven.
To hold the binding in place, I use running stitch. The stitches are very close to the folded edge of the binding that wraps to the front. Because these stitches are highly visible, I do take my time with this, and work to ensure that they are even and tidy on the back.
To keep the back tidy, I pretty much flip back and forth with each stitch. The back side has the stitches on the back of the quilt part, just inside the binding. In this case, they blend with the backing, though sometimes I choose colors that stand out on both sides.
After some stitching with Netflix, you'll have a very sweet little blankie!
I don't have a baby in mind to gift this to, which is probably good because I feel like folks around here are going to fight over it. It's a great size for a baby, but it's kind of like a small lap quilt too. We've had such a cool August (up until this week anyway) that we've been pulling out the little blankets in the evening. I love it!