Saturday, February 13, 2010

"Stitched with Love" Tutorial - Rail Fence Pattern

I have been meaning to put this tutorial together for a while. See my original post here. This is a tutorial to make tiny blankets 20" square (50cm square) to give to hospitals for those precious babies that die soon after birth. The idea is that the parents can wrap their baby in the blanket and have a cuddle, and then take the blanket home to keep with their baby's other things, or hang on the wall as a talking point. As I have been sewing them (my goal is one a month) I have felt a lot of love and concern for those anonymous parents who will be receiving these blankets (I couldn't imagine the grief and pain that those families must go through), and so I have called this project "Stitched with Love".

These are really simple for anyone to make, particularly for those new to sewing/quilting. I will be running a workshop for the women's organisation at my Church this week (Relief Society) and we will be donating the blankets to our local children's hospital. If you would like to get involved and donate a blanket, just contact your local hospital. I'm sure there is need for this kind of thing everywhere.

You will need 4 fabrics. From the border fabric cut 2, 3" strips (selvedge to selvedge). From the other 3 fabrics cut a 3" strip from each. Put aside the border strips. You will also need a 22" square piece of flannel or flannelette fabric for the back (a couple of inches wider than your quilt top).

Sew the 3 strips of fabric together along their lengths. Iron the seams to one side.

Then cross-cut this into 8" squares.

Arrange the squares like this.

Sew the top two squares together and then the bottom two squares together. Iron the seams to opposite sides (eg. iron the seams on the top squares to the right and the bottom squares seam to the left).
Sew the top and bottom parts together. Iron.

Sew your 3" border strip of fabric down the left side. Trim it so it is flush with the bottom of the blanket top.
Similarly sew a border strip down the left side. Trim.

Add border strips to the top and bottom trimming as you go. Iron well. You have now completed your blanket top.

I used soft flannel fabric for the back of my blanket (it doesn't have any wadding). You will need a piece about 2" wider than your quilt top (22" square). Iron your flannel backing fabric and put your blanket top on top right sides together. Pin around the edges to keep it in place.

Sew around the edge (approx 1/4 inch from the edge). Make sure you leave approx 4" gap along one of the sides so you can turn it inside out. Take out the pins and trim the corners.

Turn the quilt the right way out through the gap on the side. Wiggle the edges and corners so it sits flat and you can't see the flannel on top of the blanket. Iron the blanket flat and slip stitch the gap shut. Lay the quilt out flat on the table and put some safety pins in it to keep it from moving. Sew around the edge of the blanket about 1/4 inch inside the edge. Then quilt as desired.

Because the blanket is so small, you don't need much quilting. You can quilt by hand or machine. I machine stitched in the ditch (along the seam line) around the lady bug fabric.

I tried using just my normal sewing machine foot to quilt this instead of my quilting foot, as most people at the workshop this week wont have special quilting stuff. It worked okay, but it did pucker/pull a little bit. I would recommend just a little bit of quilting as you don't have much room to move.

Let me know if you have any questions. This is a very basic tutorial for beginners, but ofcourse the blankets can be as intricate or plain as you like. They can have applique or be made from a panel. The fabric does not need to be babyish, but the blankets should be made with care. I think around 20" to 24" square would be a good size. If you decide to join in, let me know. I would love to see your "Stitched with Love" blankets.


  1. This is such a great idea Kate. I have a bag full of baby stuff I have made - wraps and burpycloths for my local hospital auxilary shop but unfortunatley I have been slack and havent dropped them off yet. I think I need to get my but into gear and get them in there and then join you 'Stitched with Love' "campaign".

  2. Thanks for the tutorial Kate. I will definately be making some of these little quilts. I'm feeling a bit sad today thinking of how the Rice's are coping - and I can't really do a lot for them, but I can do something small for some anonymous parents out there.

  3. Yes, I've been heavy hearted as well. She was such an amazing woman. It hasn't really sunk in yet. She was so full of life. I really thought a miracle would happen. I wish there was something I could do for the family.

  4. I forget and then remember and think about all the things that are going to happen here in the next couple of months and it's so sad.

  5. Oh Kate, this such a nice idea and I applaud you for doing what you can for these parents. I would love to take part in this, and will see if there are any organizations in my area that do something similar. Thanks for the tutorial!

  6. As a grandparent whose first grandchild died three days after a full-term birth with no complications, I applaud you for doing this. Losing a child is such an awful experience and eventually you just learn to cope. This kindness will be much appreciated.

  7. Hi Cindy from live a colorful life. I'm sorry to hear about your grandchild. A friend of a friend at church has just lost their new baby and it is so sad. Also, a very good friend of mine just lost her battle with cancer yesterday, and so I have been thinking a lot about the preciousness of life and have been giving my children extra cuddles.

  8. You have inspired me! I have made 5 "stitched with love" quilt tops over the weekend. I'll send you some photos soon. Now I just need to quilt them and find a hospital that can use them.

  9. Wow wow wow! Good job Meelie. You are a woman on a mission! Can't wait to see them. Email me the photos and I'll put them on my blog. Maybe you'll inspire someone else. You've already inspired me to make a couple more.

  10. This idea really touches me because a dear friend and colleague just lost a baby (at about 7 months). It is just heartbreaking! I'm sure these little quilts are so appreciated!

    On another note -- I finished the top to my Fairy Hearts quilt, but I'm out of batteries for my camera. I just texted my husband, so hopefully he'll pick some up on his way home from dinner with a friend. I'm hoping to post on my blog later this evening.



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