Thursday, January 5, 2012

Bird and Bunting Quilt - With Pattern & Tips

I'm finally ready to share the details (and template) for the Bird and  Bunting Quilt I made for Sweet Pea for Christmas.  )

And details on the other quilts I made will be coming soon.

The inspiration for this quilt came from this Rainbow Bunting Baby Quilt that I saw over a year ago on A Pretty Cool Life.

I thought it would be fun to finish the edges with a satin stitch, add some bias tape for the bunting to hang from, and add a little bird for some added sweetness.

It was quick and easy to put together (for a quilt) since the back is all one piece and the bunting is appliqued on.
If you've been wanting to learn how to applique...this is a great quilt to try.

Sweet Pea loves it... well as the fleece fitted sheet that is tucked in under it.

Unfortunately, there's still more of this...
(Those front-facing book shelves by her bed are a tried-and-true can find the tutorial to make them here.)

...and this (those are mischievous eyes)...
...and this (Don't let her fool you...she's hiding...not asleep) at naptime...
...than we get of this...
But that's just because she's beginning to grow out of napping.

I thought I'd share a few details of how I put the quilt together as well as the template for the appliqued pieces.

Here's what you'll need...

  • Heat'n Bond Lite or a similar product.  You can buy this from the bolt at the fabric store or in packages in the craft section of other stores.
  • A little less than 2 yards of background fabric.  (I made mine 60 inches long, but you'll want to buy a little more than that to allow for shrinkage when you wash it.)
  • Lot of fabric scraps for the bunting triangles.  You can have them all different, or could even just stick to a couple of favorite fabrics.
  • About 4 yards of bias tape...although I made my own.  You can see Dana's tutorial on MADE for more details about how to do that.
  • All they typical supplies for sewing: pins, scissors, sewing machine...etc...
  • Printed copy of the Free Bird and Bunting Quilt Template.  Click Here to Print
Here's what I did...

I cut out a lot of triangles from my Heat'n Bond Lite.  (There are other products that will work too...this is just the one I'm used to.  I used 24 triangles for my quilt...but you'll want to cut out a few extra.  Once I went to lay it out, I realized that some fabrics didn't go well next to each other and it's nice to have a few extra for experimenting.  Iron the Heat'n Bond Lite onto the WRONG side (back) of your fabric, and cut out the fabric triangles.

Then peel off the paper backing and lay them out on your quilt top.  I always like something about my quilts to go beyond the borders a bit, so I liked the look of some of the flags on the edges going off the side, but that's personal taste.

I also layed them out so their corners would overlap just a bit.  This is because I planned on the top edge being covered up with the bias tap, and I wanted the flags to meet at the edge of the bias tape...not under the bias tape.

Once you're satisfied with where they are, iron them in place.  I didn't want them to move while I moved the quilt to the ironing board, so I did a quick ironing job right on my carpet, just to hold them on.  (Careful not to melt your carpet!)

Then I moved over to my ironing board, to iron them more thoroughly and make sure all the edges sealed.

You'll especially want to check the tips and corners to see if they're loose and if so, re-iron.

Trim off any overhanging flags.

Now you're ready to sew the edges.  I used a satin stitch...which is basically just a zigzag stitch set to a very short stitch length.

When selecting thread for applique, you want the thread to match your fabric as well as possible.  If I don't have the exact thread color to match, I generally prefer a slightly darker thread to a thread that's too light.  Also, it's not really practical to have bobbin thread for every single I match as close as I I used white.

I start by doing a few short regular stitches to secure the end of my thread.

Then I set the zigzag width and stitch length I wanted.  (Each machine will look different here and if you've never appliqued before you'll want to experiment with the stitch length and zigzag width on some scraps before doing your quilt.)

I just satin stitched the two longer sides of the triangles because the shorter side will be covered up by the bias tape.  Since the ends were going to be covered up, I did a small straight stitch to secure the end again.

Once all the bunting triangles are satin stitched, I pulled out my bias tape.  I made my own half-inch single fold bais tape using Dana's tutorial, but you can also buy it pre-made.
You'll want to pin it on well, so it fits the curve of your flags.
I laid it out, so that most of the bias tape overlapped the flags.

I sewed one side, close to the edge...
...and removed the pins as I went to make sure it laid perfectly smooth.
If you remove your pins like I did, you'll want to repin it before sewing the second side to make sure it stays smooth.
Now it's time to work on the bird applique...or you can leave it off if you want a simpler quilt.  Trace the pieces for the bird onto some Heat'n Bond Lite.  You'll notice the pieces in the pattern are reverse of the direction the bird is shown on my quilt.  That's because you always have to trace images onto Heat'n Bond in reverse.  I liked this bird because it's simple and it's tail hangs down onto the flags just a little.  There are lots of other bird appliques available out there if you prefer.
Iron the Heat'n Bond onto the WRONG SIDE (back) of your fabric, and cut out again.
Peel off the paper backing.

Arrange on your quilt.  Make sure the beak is tucked under the bird's head just a little.

Iron well, making sure all the edges are sealed.
Satin stitch around the edges of the bird.
Since the ends of the stitching are visible here, I don't do any stitching to secure the thread initially.  Instead, I pull the front threads through to the back, and hand-tie a knot with the back threads to secure it.

And that's it for the quilt top.  I'm not going to go into the details of how to quilt and bind the quilt here, because quite frankly, there are a lot of tutorials out there by people who know a lot more about it than I do, and you probably already have your own method.

I have started to use Basting Spray to prepare my quilts for machine quilting and I LOVE IT.  I don't think I'll ever go back to frame quilting or using pins.  Basically, I machine quilted around the flags, line, and bird.  I did all the stitching in the blue fabric with blue thread, and did a couple extra lines through really wide blue spaces.

If anyone is interested in more details about the machine quilting and binding process let me know, and maybe I'll do a tutorial for those next time I finish a quilt.


  1. I LOVE it!!! So clever and cute.

  2. I have been wanting to make something similar forEVer! I even have the fabric I want to use. I need to get started! Thanks for the tips! THis is beautiful!

  3. Your quits are so cute and you are so talented!

  4. Oh isn't that so VERY sweet.... I would of loved to have this when I was little... :) Thank you so much for stopping in and leaving a Sweet comment... I have been meaning to email you to thank you again for the SWEET books... My girls LOVE them and have already had Book Parties with their American girls... They also just yesterday made a Library Card for them.. :)

  5. Awesome bunting quilt Polly!!! Thanks for sharing!

  6. So so cute...I'm a sucker for banners :)

  7. Hi, my name is Heather! Please email me when you can, I have a question about your blog!


  8. very beautiful, Polly! I'm sure she loves it.

  9. What a fabulous fun quilt. Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing your quilt designs
    Kath in Uk

  10. This is adorable! I've bookmarked it for future reference :) Thanks for sharing!

  11. Very cute! I see we have alot in common... I am a sewer too and I love the name daughters name is Polly!

  12. What a great project! I love applique and this is adorable. Won't you consider sharing it with my readers at Thanks! Happy New Year!


  13. Great post and there is nothing better than a quilt !

  14. Thank you so much for this pattern!! I am going to make this one for my grandson. Bought everything last night. When I get it done, I will post a link on here. :-)

  15. oh my goodness - this is a wonderful project and tutorial - I'd totally LOVE to add this to my someday quilt list...would be tickled pink to have you come visit & link up one of your projects:

  16. That is such a cute quilt! I want to make one for my granddaughter. Thanks so much for sharing this tutorial!

  17. Super Cute, nice job on project and instructions!

  18. This is such a sweet little quilt! I will be Pinning the tutorial to make one for a special little one in my life. ~Kelly

    unDeniably Domestic

  19. I love this quilt - you did a beautiful job on it :)

    If you get a chance, love for you to share this at my Link Party:


  20. I think this is so cute, I pinned it on Pinterest. Blessings.

  21. Love it I'm making one for my 2nd grandchild due in Dec. Love your work great tutorials and Ideas. Peace and Blessings to you and your's.

  22. Thank you for the great idea I'm starting one tonight for my grandchild due in Dec. Love your blog. I'm terrible about posting on mine. haven't done so in months. Peace and Blessing Nancy

  23. Hi! Love your blog, LOVE your quilt! Thanks for the pattern! I want to make a twin sized quilt for my daughter. Can you tell me how much fabric I'll need for the background? Have you ever had problems using regular sheets for the fabric? If I used quilting fabric would I have to piece the front and/ or back to make it quilt size? HELP!


  24. Hi! Love your blog, LOVE this quilt! I have fabric for the flags, but now I have questions for the background... Have you ever had problems washing a quilt with regular sheet fabric and quilt fabric together? If I used quilt fabric for the background, how much fabric would I need for a twin size bed? Do I have to piece it? Help!


  25. Would it be possible to obtain your pattern for the family slide and A+ Teacher? Thanks so much!

  26. Have you ever had problems with the quilt top not ironing evenly after satin stitching on bunting. I have issues with my top no longer laying flat:-(.

    1. I didn't have any problems with that. My guess is that the tension might be a little off on your machine and that it is bunching the fabric up a bit as you sew. One option to avoid that is to put some kind of fabric stabilizer on the back. I use an iron on/peel off stabilizer when I'm doing more detailed satin stitching (like for Sunbonnet Sue blocks). I didn't find a need to use it for this project since the lines were straight. Hope that helps. If you have more questions you can email me directly at polly.helping.little.hands(at)gmail(dot)com.

  27. When you machine quilted the bunting at the end, does that mean you can see the bunting and line on the back of the quilt? Do you have a photo we could look at?

  28. When you say you machine quilted just the bunting does that mean you can see the bunting outline on the back? I am newer to quilting and would like to make this for a friend's baby shower. Do you have a photo of the back you could share?

  29. Yes, you do see the bunting outline on the back. If you send me an email, I can send you a picture of the back. For some reason you email didn't come through blogger.

  30. Such a cute quilt! I loved it so much I asked my mom to make me one =) I am blogging about it and a matching crib skirt I made. Thanks for the inspiration!
    Kelly @


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