Creating the Quilt Squares
for the Dec 98 Babies Quilt


This text summarizes what we need to do to create the squares. Assembling them into a quilt will come later. These instructions are divided up into these easy tasks, with plenty of detail on each task:

For our purposes here, we will presume that the finished quilt will be 26 squares.

If you aren't sure what quilting supplies you will need, check out the list of suggested quilting supplies.

Good luck!


You will want to design a square that is attractive and fun...
and that you can duplicate 26 times!

Here's a summary of designing your square. 

There should be some information about you and your baby - at least your baby's name, parents' name(s), place of birth, and birth date. Many of us are including our baby's handprint or footprint.

Any other information can be included, such as sibling names, sibling hand or footprints, country information. Feel free to add information depending on your design and the size of your baby's prints. Lots of ideas have been posted on the quilters' list.

Once put in the quilt, each square will be 7 in (17.5 cm) on a side. Therefore, you should make a design that is no larger than about 6 in (15 cm), so that nothing gets lost. Note that this design size is much smaller than the square you will actually be cutting and decorating, which will be 8 in (20 cm); the extra will be lost in trueing up and sewing.


This section is for buying your fabric. For the December 1998 quilt, everyone will need to make 26 squares. These buying instructions are in green. Note that the original buying instructions are for 70 squares. I've left them here in dark purple and moved them to the end of this section.

For the squares themselves, you will need to buy a piece of fabric with these characteristics:



36/38 in (90 cm)

2 yards (154cm)

44/45 in (112 cm)

1 1/2 yards (110cm)

58/60 in (145 cm)

1 1/4 yards (88cm)

108 in (270 cm)

3/4 yard (44cm)

These amounts already have some "oops allowance" in them, for shrinkage, mistakes, etc. But if you are really worried about goofing up, get another 1/4 yd (22 cm).

Note that you will need extra fabric if you are planning to make extra squares for family or use the same fabric as your backing ("wrong" side of the quilt). If so, then get another 3 yds or so. It's highly annoying to get halfway through a project and run out of fabric only to discover that the shop no longer carries it.

Possible places to get fabrics:

Just as a warning, many craft stores (Ben Franklin, MJ Design, etc.) do *not* sell fabric, although Michael's does.

For the handprint and writing, what you need will depend on what you designed: fabric, paint, transfers, rubberstamp and stamp pad, embroidery floss, pen, etc. Except for the fabric and transfers, these items should all be available at a craft store.

Note that you may need a few "notions" - the sewing term for the random other stuff you might need, depending on your design and what you already have in your sewing basket (if any :-): thread, pins, buttons, lace, etc.


There are two parts of preparing the fabric: prewashing and making it square. Please see the "Making the Fabric Colorfast" section, if you have any concerns about your fabric being colorfast or if you know your fabric will run, such as tie dyed fabric. We'd hate to have all of our finished quilts ruined, because one fabric wasn't colorfast.

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First, a few terms...

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Washing the fabric...

Your fabric should be washed, dried, and (preferably) ironed *before* you cut and decorate it. This removes any manufacturing chemicals and will reduce future shrinkage and color bleeding. I would rather is shrink and run on its own than when it is locked into a quilt. Remember to prewash batting, also.

Note: if you have a dark fabric and a light fabric, be sure to wash them separately!

  1. Shake out the fabric.
  2. If you want to minimize raveling on ravely fabric, prep the edges in one of these ways:
  1. Some people use hot water and detergent and soak it for about half an hour before washing it.
  2. Wash it in hot.
  3. Dry it on hot.
  4. If you are going to iron (highly suggested!), dry the fabric until it is just barely damp, then remove and iron the whole piece flat. This takes out all the washing wrinkles and completes the drying process.

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Squaring up the fabric...

Fold selvedge to selvedge (like it came off the bolt) making sure that the fold has no puckers, waves, wrinkles, etc. The cut ends may not match. This is perfectly normal. This straightens the grain of the fabric, which aids cutting and keeps the blocks from skewing when they are sewn. BTW, sometimes the cut ends are so far off you wonder how the silly thing was cut!

Iron this fold, keeping selvedges even and the fold flat. Go ahead and iron in a crease at the fold. Do the whole length. Now it should look mostly like it did when you got it from the store, except the grain should be straight.

Next, take the ironed, folded edge up to the selvedge edge, again making sure the grain is straight. (So you have a very skinny rectangle.) Iron that fold the way you did the last one.

You now have a piece of fabric folded and ironed into fourths, ready for cutting.


Here's the recipe for washing fabric and making it colorfast:

  1. Mix together first in hot water b4 adding fabric
  1. Add fabric and soak in hot water mixture for a half hour.
  2. If there is no color loss, then machine wash.
  3. For added safety, wash it with a piece of white cloth in the load. When the load is done compare the washed white cloth, with a piece of the same cloth unwashed. If they are the same color, your fabric is safe. If not, try washing it again.


The squares you cut, decorate, and mail will be 8 inches on a side. This includes a 1/4-in (.6 cm) seam allowance on each side plus 1/4 in (.6 cm) on each side to true it up (totally, absolutely square).

I suggest using square ruler at least 12 in (30 cm) for this. Its L-shape lets you measure a width and rule a straight cutting line at the same time.

  1. Take the ironed, fourthed fabric to your cutting area (table, counter, whatever) and put it down so the fabric is mostly to your right.

  2. NOTE: this is for right-handed cutters. Lefties, just reverse.

  3. Your first cut is to true up the edge.
  1. Now you are ready to cut the strips. You will cut a strip 8 in (20 cm) x the entire width of your fabric.
  1. Keep cutting strips all the way across the fabric.
  2. If you notice that you no longer have a square angle, re-true the edge before continuing.
  3. Once the strips are cut, you can then cut them further into blocks.

  4. Since we will likely not have an even number of squares per strip, unfold the strips.
  5. Cut off the selvedge as your first cut.
  6. Then cut your squares.
  7. If you are really comfortable, you can stack several strips together to cut multiple squares at once.
  8. Cut squares until you run out of that strip, then go to the next one.

You are now ready to decorate your squares. Note that you do not have to "finish" the edges in any way.


The best way to assemble the squares is probably like an assembly line.

However, you may want to start off by making one or two squares all the way through, to make sure that

If everything works out on the pilot square(s), you then have a piece of inspiration while you do the rest.

Note: you do not have to "finish" the edges in any way.


The information page is a piece of paper that will accompany each of your squares when it goes to the other people on the quilting list. You can then make a book out of the pages, so you and your kid(s) can flip through your cyberfriends.

Mount the pages in those plastic sheet protectors and clip them into a three-ring binder for another permanent momento.

The info for the pages is up to you. It should probably include biographical data (like parents' full names, baby's full name, rest of the family), maybe a picture, and other fun stuff.

You will need to printout or photocopy as many squares as you send to Kyle.


Kyle Myres has graciously volunteered to be the Quilt Exchange Queen.

To do the exchange, you will be sending the squares (including one for you), pages, and a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) to Kyle. You will get everyone else's squares and pages plus any of your extras back in your SASE.

So, to do the exchange:

  1. Get two large padded manila envelopes. Address one to yourself and one to Kyle (if you need her address, email Kyle).
  2. Get some kind of large plastic or bubble pouch to protect the squares in case the outside envelope gets wet (US participants can get Tyvek priority mail envelopes from the post office for free)
  3. Put all your squares and pages into the plastic pouch and then in the Kyle-envelope but *don't seal it yet!*
  4. Take the stuffed-Kyle-env and the empty-SASE to the post office.
  5. Here's where it's a little tricky.
  1. Return home and wait eagerly for your quilt pieces to arrive!

Note for our non-US quilters: we can still do this! You will not stamp the empty-SASE, and Kyle will mail it to you using US international stamps. You will just have to figure out exchange-in-kind. For example, if it cost Cdn$9 to mail the stuffed-Kyle-env (what the US quilters will be stamping the SASE with), you could send her something that is worth Cdn$9. You should probably email Kyle directly to arrange this.


Are you kidding? I'm just trying to survive making the squares :-)

Details on creating the quilt will be added later.

Last Updated: Monday, May 24, 1999

Comments or corrections to this page, contact Kyle.
Comments on this web site, contact Valerie.

Many thanks to Kris and Carole of the September 1998 Birth Group Quilt Project for their help with this summary.

Back to the main December List page.