This summer we decided it was time for our little girl to move to a “big girl bed” … she is very picky about blankets and her sleeping situation so we tried to get her excited about a new place to sleep and a new special blanket to sleep with. Enter this Girls Herringbone Quilt Tutorial. Doing this with her as a part of the process was so much fun for the two of us, and really allowed her to get excited for this project. She’s had the quilt for a couple months now and still gets excited to get tucked into it at night. I’d call that a success!
I looked online through lots of quilt tutorials before deciding on the herringbone quilt. I couldn’t find one very detailed Herringbone Quilt Tutorial online so I thought I’d put one together here. I can sew okay but I’m definitely not a master seamstress so I needed something pretty simple and also something that would work with the fabrics I’d found. I loved the idea of a pattern on the entire back with the quilt squares pieced together on the front. I went with my daughter to pick out the fabric and get her input. She picked out the floral back and I picked a coordinating front color to match.
Herringbone Quilt Tutorial (twin quilt) // 10 inch squares // 7 squares wide by 9 squares long // 63 total squares
- 3 yards solid color fabric (in actuality you need about 2.5 yards but I got 3 to err on the side of caution)
- 3 yards solid white fabric (in actuality you need about 2.5 yards but I got 3 to err on the side of caution)
- 5-6 yards of patterned fabric for the backing (you will actually need about 5 but I had to stitch mine with a couple pieces to get the pattern to line up so you’ll need to consider this when you purchase your fabric. Also all fabric varies in width per yard so measure how wide it will be as well and calculate if you’ll need to double up)
- Quilt binding of your choice (I know a lot of people who make their own quilt binding – I do not! I purchase it by the notions and bias tape. The number of packs you need will depend on the size of the binding so double check before you purchase. I used 3 packs.)
- Twin Quilt batting: You can buy packs of twin quilt batting or you can do what I did – I found an old Twin quilt comforter, cut the edges off and used that as my batting. I’ve always bought loose batting for quilts but this was MUCH easier and the batting stayed together the whole time and was distributed evenly throughout the quilt. You know those cheap twin comforters at Target? Yep that’s what I used! As long as it’s a light color (mine was a light khaki) it won’t show through and it’s probably cheaper as well.
- LOTS of white thread 😉 (I used 4 spools)
- Lots of safety pins
- 10 inch square template, preferably made on cardstock or cardboard
Here we go!
- The first thing you’ll need to do is cut out your template. I made a 10 inch square but you could really use any size square you’d like. Use cardstock or cardboard or something thick.
- CUT SQUARES: Start cutting away. You can use a rolling quilting cutter or good old fabric scissors. You will have 63 total squares, so I cut 32 white and 32 mint green. I put a movie on and cut away. I’m not a perfectionist so not every square was precision to the millimeter, but you do have to keep the sizes pretty close to keep the quilt lined up. Once you cut one stack it in a pile and straighten the pile. As you go you’ll see if any don’t line up straight in the pile.
- HALVE SQUARES: Once your squares are cut fold them in half on the diagonal, and cut on the diagonal. You will get two triangles. My fabric wasn’t too thick so I could easily run my fingers through it. Stack the colored fabric triangles in one pile and the white fabric triangles in another pile.
- SEW SQUARES TOGETHER: Now take a white triangle and a colored triangle and line them up RIGHT SIDES IN. Then sew a line down the diagonal / longest edge of the triangle. I left about a 1/4 inch allowance between the stitch and the edge of the diagonal. Once you sew it you can open it up and see what your squares will look like! Keep sewing! You have lots of squares to make.
- Quality control on squares: Once you’ve sewn your squares, go through each one to make sure it looks square. Sometimes depending on the cut or your stitch it might not line up. If you can trim and edge to make it square, do that, but if not, you’ll need to remake the square. I had to remake a couple that weren’t lining up.
- LAY OUT QUILT TOP WITH SQUARES: Now comes the fun part, when you can see your quilt coming together! In a very wide open space, start laying out your herringbone pattern. You can also use these same squares to make a chevron quilt if you just change the colors around. My quilt was 7 squares wide by 9 long. If I was to make another twin quilt I might do 8×10 just to make it a little bigger. But 7×9 is also great as a smaller twin quilt.
- TRIPLE CHECK YOUR PATTERN: After I laid my squares out I noticed a couple were facing the wrong direction. Go through to make sure everything is facing the right direction.
- SEW ONE ROW AT A TIME: I pulled the squares from one row at a time and sewed the edge of each square together, one at a time, again leaving a 1/4 inch allowance. You’ll want to make sure your allowance on the entire quilt is very similar on all squares so your squares are about the same size! After you sew one row together, go lay it down back in its place on the floor with the rest of the quilt.
- SEW ENTIRE QUILT FRONT SQUARES TOGETHER: Once your rows are sewn together, you are ready to sew each together. Grab the first two rows, sew them together. Then add the third and so forth. Once you’re done you have your top done! TRIPLE CHECK YOUR PATTERN!! 😉
- MEASURE YOUR BACKING: Now lay your backing fabric on the floor, and then lay your quilt top over it. Measure the backing to fit the exact size as the front. I had to cut mine in a couple pieces to make it wide enough and to attempt to get the pattern to line up. Pin it together and then cut to size.
- SAFETY PINS: As a note I only use safety pins for pinning when I’m quilting. Regular pins just come out most of the time for me.
- SEW BACKING TOGETHER: If you’re lucky enough to have one huge piece of fabric that fits the whole back, you can skip this step, but if not, sew your backing together, keeping the seams turned in so they won’t be visible.
- QUILT SANDWICH: Now lay your backing on the floor, then your batting, and then your quilt top. Line up everything as close as you can. DON’T trim anything yet. Even if the edges don’t seem to line up you won’t know until you pin it all and sew it. I like to start pinning in the middle and work my way out (I started doing it on the edges and it just wasn’t lining up). Working form the center out takes a while to get right. Put a safety pin in the very center, and then go to the outsides and pull everything tight, and then do it again working your way out to the corners. After you’ve pinned it all flip it over to make sure you don’t have any creases or folds.
- ROUGH STITCH: I honestly don’t even know if this is the right way to quilt – I just made it up as I went along so I hope this works for you! The main purpose of the rough stitch, in my opinion, is to just get the layers held together. I sewed one long stitch down the entire middle of the quilt to get it held together. (Of course make all your stitches on the lines of the squares.)
- REVIEW AGAIN: Once you get a rough stitch together lay it down again and tug at the edges to make sure it lines up. If it does then start sewing your rows together. If not you may need to rip out some seams to get it right.
- STITCH SQUARES ON ENTIRE QUILT One row at a time. Once those are done you’ll need to sew the columns. Let me tell you this was TOUGH with my little basic sewing machine. You have to tightly ROLL your edges in to even get this through a standard machine. If you have a large machine or quilting machine this should be pretty easy. I even found my machine sometimes tuggi ng at my stitches because it was so thick. It took some muscle to pull it through!
- STITCH DESIGN ON SQUARES: Once you’ve quilted around each square, you’re ready to decide what pattern you’d like on each square. I did two diagonals across the mint fabric and three across the white. If you have a quilter you can do some cool things here too! This took me a while so in the evenings my husband and I would put a movie on and I’d sew as many squares as I could. I did this whenever I could take up a whole evening to sew. I think it took about 5 total nights spread out over a couple weeks.
- TRIM: Now you can trim all the edges to make them squared up and you also need to go through and trim all the thread ends. I tried to do this as I went, but there were still so many at the end!
- BINDING: I iron my pre-made binding first to get the creases out. Then I just line it up on the edges, pull it tight onto the edges and try to sew it as straight as I can, while making sure to include all layers of the quilt inside. I had to redo part of the binding on a quilt I made a couple years ago because some of the backing was missed on my stitching, so now I’m paranoid about getting this right. I double stitched the binding on to make sure it was sturdy. You’ll also have to sew the seams together if you use several packs of quilt binding. Wherever one starts and one begins, just layer them over each other and stitch together.
- Final trim of everything. And now you can actually appreciate all this work! It was much more than I thought I’d be going into it! Just take it one step at a time and follow this Herringbone Quilt Tutorial, and you’ll be so glad you did!