Thursday, February 25, 2010

Baby Bento Box-ish Quilt Tutorial - Part 1

I've posted about this quilt before, but I'll do it again without apology because it is one of my FAVES!!  When I first received this bundle of fabrics, I was a little stumped about what kind of pattern to use.  It came to me while I was in the shower.  {I seriously need to find some waterproof paper and pens!  I have some of my most creative ideas and make crazy good plans while I'm in the shower.  I wonder if it's the stimulation of the spray (there have been studies ::nerd::), or if my mind just works things out while I'm asleep (again, studies  ::nerd::).  Then again ... I do have four kids.  Maybe the shower is just the only place where I can have a moment alone to think.}

Back to the plan.  Modern fabric = Modern quilt design.  Am I right?  I did a little research on Bento Box quilts, sketched a little sketch, pulled a few bright fabrics from my stash and created one of my most favorite quilts.  Oh, and did I mention that this one is one of my faves??  Yes??  Oh, sorry ...

I took lots of pics during the process, and this is my attempt to show you what I did and how you can do it, too!!  IF you're so inclined :)


For a baby quilt or smallish lap quilt that measures 36" x 48" you will need the following:
  • 12 different fat quarters - there will be some leftovers  
  • ~ 2/3 yards solid - I used Kona Bleach White
  • 1 1/2 yards backing fabric
  • 1/3 yard binding fabric
  • 1 1/4 yards batting 


Pair up your fabrics in a way that is pleasing to you.  I kept my fabrics together in their pairs (Fabric #1 inside square + Fabric #2 outside square, AND Fabric #2 inside square + Fabric #1 outside square) - not very imaginative, but it got the job done!  I'm currently working on a scrappy version that uses one fabric for the inside square and four different fabrics on the outside square.  I hope you feel the freedom to mix it up - or not.

From each of your 12 fat quarters, cut:
  • 1 - 6.5" x 6.5" square
  • 2 - 2.5" x 9.5" strips
  • 2 - 2.5" x 13.5" strips
From the solid fabric, cut 10 - 2" x width of fabric strips.  Cutting across the width of the fabric should give you a full 40" of usable fabric, minus the selvage. 
  • Using 4 of the 2" x 40" strips, cut 24 - 2" x 6.5" strips (each 40" strip will yield 6 - 6.5" strips).
  • Using 6 of the 2" x 40" strips, cut 24 - 2" x 9.5" strips (each 40" strip will yield 4 - 9.5" strips).


Each block will have:
  • 1 - 6.5" x 6.5" print square (for middle)
  • 2 - 2" x 6.5" solid strips (for top & bottom)
  • 2 - 2" x 9.5" solid strips (for left & right)
  • 2 - 2.5" x 9.5" print strips (for top & bottom)
  • 2 - 2.5" x 13.5" print strips (for left & right)
The general layout will look like this:


Begin by sewing 1 - 2" x 6.5" solid strip to the top of the middle square and 1 - 2" x 6.5" strip to the bottom of the middle square.  Press your seams open.  Trust me, it matters!

Now sew 1 - 2" x 9.5" solid strip to the left side and 1 2" x 9.5"solid strip to the right side.  Press the seams open.  Trust me, it matters!  When I pin these side strips, I like to pin the 'top' of the seam to make sure that as I sew the seam, the 'top' stays flat and open.


See that?  The 'top' of that open seam will go thru the machine first and has a tendency to flip over or scrunch up. Pinning at those particular spots really helps keep the seam open.

Next, sew 1 - 2.5" x 9.5" print strip to the top of the block and 1 - 2.5" x 9.5" print strip to the bottom. 


Then sew the sides, and you're done!  My finished block-pairs:


Ooooh!!  Just look at those perfectly-ish pressed open seams.  Trust me, it matters!!

I'll be back shortly with Part 2:  Assembling the quilt top.
I hope you enjoy making a Modified Baby Bento Quilt!  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!!  And I would love to see anything you might make using this tutorial, so please, do share :)

*** Updated to let you know that Part 2 is available now!  Enjoy! ***


julie said...

Thank-you for this tutorial. I have 2 baby quilts to make and this will be just the ideal pattern. Thanks again. I found you via give a kid a quilt.

Kennette Bryant said...

This is perfect for a bunch of lovely fat quarters I just purchased!! Thank you so much. Cannot wait to get started.

Anonymous said...

curious as to what seam allowance you used?

WendyLou said...

Oops!! I guess I didn't say!! I always use a 1/4" seam allowance when quilting. Thanks for asking!!

AmbreAB said...

Thank you for replying :) I'm fairly new to quilting so I thought I had better double check! Love the pattern by the way- I'm definitely going try making one :)