Baby Clothes Quilt ~ Start to Finish - Teadoddles (2024)

The past few weeks I’ve been working on a special order baby clothes quilt. It’s made from the first year of clothing of a special little girl. Let me just say, I didn’t think I would ever be finished with this! There were so many clothes – two large plastic bins full! Plus it didn’t help that I put it off until the last possible minute because I didn’t really realize how many clothes were in those bins. Nevertheless, it’s finally finished & I’m going to walk you through the process of cutting & assembling. There’s also 3 YouTube videos to go along with this & I’ll link them below.

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Here are the links to the YouTube videos that accompany this post:

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A Mountain of Clothes

The first thing I did before cutting up all the clothes was divide them into groups. The tallest stack in the back is knits, which is what you find the most when dealing with baby clothes. There are smaller stacks of cotton clothes, leggings & bloomers, and miscellaneous things like bibs & blankets.

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I have to say this little girl was a fashion diva in her first year!

To help keep things straight, I set up some bins for scraps & pieces to keep. The “pieces to keep” would be like bows, buttons, special trims, etc.

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I also used one of the bins the clothes came it to hold large pieces to cut later.

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In my initial run through with the clothes, I just cut off things I knew I wouldn’t use in the quilt. I find doing things this way makes the whole process more streamlined & keeps things from getting confusing.

Cutting up the Clothes

These are some before and after photos of how I cut up different clothing items. You can see me cutting some of these things out in the first two videos listed above.

There were tons of these onesies in the stack of knits. It’s a pretty typical clothing piece for babies! First, I cut off the sleeves & neckline just past the seams. If you follow the seams, you can usually do this in one pass. I cut the whole bottom off with my rotary cutter & kept the little bow on the back for later.

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For zippered or snap style sleepers, I cut right along the zipper to take it out. The I cut off any hems or footies on the bottom. Finally I’ll take out the sleeves & neckline. These really give lots of fabric to work with if you cut them up right!

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Dresses usually have the most usable fabric in the skirt. You can see that I cut out the elasticized bit between the bodice & the skirt. This helps relax the skirt fabric, so you can cut it into more uniform shapes.

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This is a sack sleeper, which also has lots of useful fabric. I cut out the snaps, sleeves, neckline, & elastic at the bottom. Since I knew I would be cutting this down the length, I also cut out the side seams.

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This strappy onesie offers more fabric in the lower portion. You can see how the fabric lays out more evenly once you cut away the snaps & bodice. Those straps made it onto the quilt & so did the bodice. You can see that in the last video!

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This dress had some cute pockets on the skirt. Initially, I cut off the bodice because I wanted to have the pockets in the quilt. I did wind up cutting off the waist seam to relax the top & make it easier to sew into the quilt.

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This Christmas dress has so much going on! I cut the whole skirt off & had to remove some of the lining at the bottom of the skirt. Although the lace didn’t make it into the quilt, the skirt fabric & bow did!

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Sometimes, you wind up cutting off things just to make it fit! I had to cut off Minnie’s feet so I could get most of her into a rectangular shape. I did the same with the Batman onesie & even kept some of the tutu bottom. : )

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As I went through all the clothes, I tried to keep as many fun details as possible…

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A button placket here, a ruffled bottom there, & of course all the “my 1st” labels.

Leggings, Bloomers, & Strips

So, I decided to cut fabric with no special pictures into 2 1/2″ strips. This would allow me to use as much of the material as possible & get a little of everything into the quilt. Sometimes the strips had ruffles or buttons on them…

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For some garments, I cut most of it into 2 1/2″ strips & used my hexi template for small patches.

There were some things that I cut right across a seam, like this watermelon fabric.

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If you’re cutting across the seam of a skirt, when you unfold it, it will be at angles, like the picture. Just cut out the seam & you still have two 2 1/2″ strips. Not much stackable cutting for a quilt like this, so I’ll take what I can get!

In my video, I mentioned that I wasn’t squaring up the ends of my strips. I waited until I was sewing two pieces together to do this. I could align the straight edges & see exactly where I needed to cut.

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There were tons of leggings & bloomers in this stack of clothes. For the bloomers, I cut off the elastic in the waist & legs, then gave it a good pressing with the iron. Mostly I only got a couple of strips out of each, but every little be counts!

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I cut out all the seams & elastic waists for the leggings which gave me two fairly wide pieces of fabric. Here’s the stack of leggings & bloomers after I cut them up…

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I decided to cut the leggings into 5″ wide strips & use them for the binding, which worked out just about perfectly!

Making Blocks

Here are some tips for sewing up blocks with different types of fabric ~>

  • When sewing a non-stretchy item to a stretchy item, make sure the non-stretchy item is on the bottom. This will keep the feed dogs from pulling on the stretchy fabric.
  • I used a straight stitch set to 3.5 stitch length & a knit foot to sew the whole top together. A knit foot is not as bulky & doesn’t compress the fabric as much as a walking foot.
  • I used a heavy duty ballpoint needle {100/16} for this whole quilt. Most of it was knit & it had some bulky seams, so this worked great to get through everything with no needle breaks.
  • Use lightweight interfacingdesigned for knits if things aren’t fitting together well. I didn’t use any for this quilt, but there are some areas, in hind sight, that would have worked out better with it.

I had a vague idea of how I wanted to lay out this quilt & originally I was going to make the long blocks 12″ high. After I laid out this first block, it wound up being about 17″ high. This was a shirt & short set that I knew just had to stay together!

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Sometimes the image on the shirt went way past the seam for the sleeves. I added little pieces to the corners to square it back up so I wouldn’t have to cut off part of the design.

After the first block was set, I started laying out strips. When I came across things with fun trims, I just sandwiched them between two strips. I did sew down the loose end with a zigzag stitch.

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To help reduce bulk from all the different kinds of fabric coming together, I cut the corners in the seams. I hardly ever see anyone doing this on quilts, but I do it all the time with clothing. I don’t see why it’s any different!

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These panels will be the width of the quilt when finished. I just added a little section at a time, then squared it up. This helped keep it from getting too wonky. Maybe I know this because I had to take out some wonky seams… : D

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The overall bib is stitched into the seam & the straps are stitched onto the strips with zigzag stitches. You can still unbutton the straps, which I think will be fun for the recipient!

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Basically, I kept adding things in a kind of random fashion until the panel was long enough. Then I would start on the next panel. I did pull together some themes, like Christmas, Fall, Halloween, & Easter. There are 5 panels altogether in this queen sized quilt!

Time to Quilt

The little girl’s favorite color is orange, so I connected all the panels with Kona cotton in Tiger Lily. I bought a half sized jelly roll of it, which has 20 strips. It took all but 4 strips to connect & border everything.

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This quilt made me really wish I had a long arm quilting machine! I’ve quilted larger quilts on my Brother before, but this was nearly impossible to maneuver through the machine! All the extra things made the rolled up end almost too big to get through the neck of my machine.

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I had to use a 5.0 stitch length & just straight stitch across it in random intervals. I would skip anything I didn’t want a quilted line across, which I talk about more in the last video. The finished quilt has about a 4″ +/- drop on the sides & a 12″ drop at the foot end.

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All in all, I think it turned out to be a really cute quilt with lots of fun details! I used one of the blankets with here name on it in the center top on the back. The plain orange fabric came from my stash & the polka dot is by Riley Blake from the Fat Quarter Shop.

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I’m sorry if these pictures seem a little dark! It was storming when I took these & my bedroom is already darker. The leggings worked great to add a scrappy border plus binding to the quilt. I had one 5″ strip left over!

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Whew! Even talking about this quilt makes me tired! I’m glad it’s finally done & I can’t wait for the owner to see it. I hope y’all enjoyed reading about my sewing adventure & I hope y’all will check out the videos that go along with it. Please let me know if there’s something I missed! Have a great week!

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Baby Clothes Quilt ~ Start to Finish - Teadoddles (2024)
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