One of the most-appreciated gifts for a baby shower is a handmade quilt. Personalised homemade quilts quite often become the child's favourite blanket, dragged around the house and eventually loved to death. Make a handmade quilt for a special baby-to-be, and you could be creating an heirloom or years of memories.
Choosing your design
Baby quilts are designed to appeal more to the mother than the baby, if they are for a newborn. Find out how the mother is decorating the nursery or her favourite colours and plan your colour choice accordingly. Patchwork quilts feature pieces of fabric sewn together in a design, so the options are nearly endless. Choose a pattern with simple shapes and large pieces for easy work putting it together.
Baby quilts need to be soft and cosy more than other quilts. They also need to be sturdy, as they will get hard use and suffer repeated washing. Choose 100-percent cotton fabrics in a good quality to ensure your quilt will withstand the years of abuse it faces. Polyester batting is fine, as it will stand up to repeated washing and tumble drying, and cotton thread will last longer with a cotton quilt.
Sewing the quilt top
Cut your patches with generous seam allowances. Skimping on the seam allowance may encourage the seams to unravel after just a few times in the washing machine. Carefully match seams and corners to make the quilt top rows even. Press seams to one side for additional strength, as pressing them open can weaken the seam.
Finishing the quilt
Lay backing fabric on a table or other clean surface, right side down. Smooth the quilt batting over the backing, then finish with the quilt top, right side up. Use a large needle to baste the quilt sandwich so that it is held together during the quilting process. Baby quilts are an ideal candidate for machine quilting, even if you don't have a quilting machine. Simply sew straight seams in a grid pattern all across the quilt sandwich, or meander the stitching in random loops and swirls. This is the place for whimsy, not perfection. When the quilting is finished, bind the quilt with a wide cotton binding, and add a label to the back of the quilt detailing the baby's name, your name, the date and any other important information about the quilt.