Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Making Scrappy Preemie Quilt with the Accuquilt Go!

Happy March Break everyone!  I haven't had much time to quilt for the past few days since my kids are off for March Break right now.  It's time to do fun stuff with the kids!  I have had a bit of time though to make a few preemie quilts for my local NICU (Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit).  A while ago I busted my scrap heap using my Accuquilt Go! cutter.  You can see my scrap busting post here.  I also used the Value Die to cut up all my kiddie prints into usable pieces.  Well I decided that this was a great time to dig into those pieces and start making some preemie quilts!  My local NICU likes the preemie quilts to be approximately 22" square to 24" square to fit into the incubators.  Check with your local NICU to see what they prefer before you make these though since I know other places like other sizes.
I usually try to make several preemie quilts each year.  If you'd like to see some of my past preemie quilts you can see them here and here.  There's some more ideas for other quilts there if you're interested ;-)
I used the Value Die to cut 4.5" squares in the novelty prints and 2.5" squares in novelty prints and in white fabrics.  I didn't cut any of the half-square triangle units for this project.  This was such a quick and easy way to cut up lots and lots of scraps into usable pieces!  Yey!  Of course if you don't have a Go! you can cut these pieces with a rotary cutter.
Next I divided the novelty prints into a girl pile and a boy pile.

Using the 2.5" squares I chained pieced them into 4-patches.  Then I joined a 4-patch to a 1-patch and pressed towards the 1-patch unit.
Arrange the blocks together in a pleasing manner.  a 4-patch, 1-patch arrangement always looks nice to my eyes ;-)  Add on a boarder of 4.5" cut.  You should only need two strips of fabric to do the 4 boarders.  You can of course add multiple boarders if you have smaller scrap strips.  In the first picture you can see the green preemie quilt had two boarders - that's a great way to use up thinner strips.  It's all up to you and what you have and what you like!
 Now on to laying the quilt sandwich!  I always like using the "inside-out" method for my preemie quilts so that I don't have to bind them.  To do this layer your batting, then backing right side up and then your quilt top wrong side up.  You can see that in the picture.  Place a few straight pins around the outside of the quilt sandwich to hold it together - you really don't need to do more than this since the quilt is so small.
Sew all the way around the quilt 1/4" in leaving a small opening to turn the quilt.  Back-stitch at each end of the opening - this will really help to keep the  opening nice when we turn it.
Trim off the excess batting and backing 1/4" away from the sewing line.
Using hemostats (you can get quilters hemostats at most quilt stores) turn the quilt right side out.  Just insert the hemostats into the opening and reach to the end of the quilt - your hand does not go into the quilt - just the hemostats.  This is how we can keep that opening so small.
 Pull the quilt all the way through and use the hemostats or a point turner to push the corners out.
 Turn the opening under 1/4" - sometimes this can be finicky and take a bit or work.
Press this with your iron to get a nice finish.
I like to use a little Lapel Stick to seal this opening closed until it can be sewn.  I used to use pins but Lapel stick is sew much easier!

Now quilt as desired.  I usually just do a big meander so that the quilts are not stiff for the babies.  To seal the opening closed I simply start my machine quilting along the edge with opening  then continue meandering and finish off the quilting by over-lapping the end of my quilting with where I started this.  You can also whip stitch the opening closed by hand.  Many people prefer to do this if they are not as comfortable with their free-motion quilting skills.  However, this is a great place to practice your quilting since the quilt is so small!  I used variegated cotton threads to quilt and it gives the quilts some extra colour!  Avoid using invisible or mono-filament threads to quilt preemie quilts since the preemie babies have such tiny toes and fingers and the invisible thread can cut them if they get their toes caught in them!
Here we are!  4 little quilts all in a row!  Easily cut from scraps and ready to be enjoyed by some little babies and their families!

I hope that you enjoyed this little tutorial - if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them here.

I also hope that you will consider making a few of these for your local NICU - just be sure to contact them to see what their requirements are since they might be different.  This is a such a rewarding way to quilt!

Happy Quilting all!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for you tutorial and pictures for making the premie quilt.
Robyn (Calif)

Cathy said...

I love this idea & think this would also be a great place to start our girl scouts on (piecing) quilting! Also good for me with FMQ. Thank you for this tutorial.

Lynn W. said...

Thank you for pointing out this tutorial. I "birth" all my preemie quilts, then topstitch on the edge to reinforce them and generally do a grid quilting. Haven't used borders yet. Ours are about 24" x 34-36".

Flossysmom said...

Heh, that is really cool. It is nice that hospitals have these premie quilts. I had twin premies (they are now 29) but all I had to wrap them in that I recall was flannel sheets. The quilts would be so much warmer. Bless you !

Unknown said...

I love this, good way to learn each step of quilt making. Thank you

Tina said...

This a great idea, we made 879 quilts for the preemie unit last year, and we do the same, no binding and soft quilting, great to practice on!!

voiceoreason said...

Hello. My daughter was a preemie; born @ 28 weeks - 2 lbs. 11 oz. She is now 33 and beautiful and healthy. I am almost ashamed that I haven't thought to do this before now.

Thank you for giving me this new ministry and way of paying back! God bless you.

Liz - Virginia

Unknown said...

Thank you for the tutorial. My daughter-in-law is in the hospital now on bed rest until she delivers. They're hope she can hold it until at least 34 weeks. She told me there were three other women in the hospital with her enduring the same bed rest. I thought I would make them all a baby quilt. Thanks again!

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