Quilts for kids (not babies, kids!)

Posted by on May 27, 2013, in quilting & sewing,

Zippy Quilt from Polka-Dot Kids' Quilts

While it’s possible for a fabric stash to shrink, the same cannot be said for babies. They get bigger. And when Baby outgrows her tummy-time quilt, what’s a quilter to do? Make another quilt, of course. And although finding adorable patterns for baby quilts is easy, locating just the right quilt for older kids can be more of a challenge. So today’s focus is on patterns for the older set. Quilts for girls and boys, from toddlers to tweens. Best of all? There’s no shortage of terrific patterns out there.

What’s the difference between a baby quilt and a kid’s quilt, anyway? Baby quilts are typically small, and unless it’s going to hang exclusively on a wall, the quilt needs to be washable and free of any embellishments a small child could pull off and swallow. When you’re making quilts for older kids, your options expand, just as the world is expanding for your ever-more-mobile and independent little one. For bigger kids, you can make place mats, decorative wall hangings, small nap quilts, or bigger bed quilts. You can pick a pattern that easily transitions from baby to toddler, or you can customize quilts to reflect the interests of an older child. As you’ll see below, when you quilt for kids, pattern options are playful and varied.

Embroidered Alphabet from Snuggle-and-Learn Quilts for Kids

Quilts for Boys, Quilts for Girls

Of her book Jack and Jill Quilts, Retta Warehime says, "I challenged myself to make the same quilt pattern look different by creating boy and girl versions of each quilt. Once again I proved the saying, ‘All quilts are different and yet the same.'"

Choose a kid-favorite motif: Jazz up a simple strip-pieced quilt with your choice of charming airplane or butterfly appliqués.

Quilts for Boys, Quilts for Girls 1

Hand down a family legacy: For both versions of this quilt, Retta used fabrics from her grandmother’s collection. What a wonderful way to hand down a family fabric stash and give kids a visual, touchable link with their forebears.

Quilts for Boys, Quilts for Girls 2

Make something new for them—and for you: Retta says, "Made with three simple blocks, this quilt is much easier to construct than it looks." Angled corners provide a fun finish—and maybe something new for you to try?

Quilts for Boys, Quilts for Girls 3

Quilts for Learning

Educating kids can be downright cuddly! In Snuggle-and-Learn Quilts for Kids, Chris Lynn Kirsch shows us how.

A Coloring Spell from Snuggle-and-Learn Quilts for Kids

Turn your fabric stash into a teaching tool:
Chris says, "The bright quilt shown at right is a wonderful way to teach a child about colors. The checkerboard of black-and-white background blocks provides an exciting field for the colorful words. You can substitute other colors of your choosing, but avoid color names with more than six letters (such as turquoise), because it’s difficult to fit them in the blocks."

Sew a portable chalkboard: Chris says, "How unique: a carry-along toy to keep kids entertained that doesn’t require batteries! This portable roll-up chalkboard is fun to make and can be personalized to fit your little learner’s special interests. My nephew, Kade, loves trucks and construction equipment, so I searched for the perfect theme fabric and chose other fabrics to match. I found the chalkboard fabric at my local quilt shop. If you can’t find it in your area, you can order it from retailers online. For extra whimsy, I added a felt eraser to each end of the ribbon tie."

Portable chalkboard quilt


Making a Roll-Up Fabric Chalkboard

From Snuggle-and-Learn Quilts for Kids by Chris Lynn Kirsch chalkboard fabric

3 Tips for Using Chalkboard Fabric
Read and follow the instructions for your chalkboard fabric carefully. Special directives might include:

  • Avoid touching the fabric surface with a hot iron.
  • Cure the surface by rubbing it with chalk. Wash off the chalk and repeat.
  • If the fabric feeds poorly through your machine, stitch with paper over the surface. Remove the paper after stitching.

Appliquéing Over a Busy Background—Bump Up the Contrast: Letter applique over a busy backgroundI used orange fabric to appliqué a name on the back of this chalkboard. The orange print was bright, but the backing fabric was so busy the letters didn’t stand out as much as I would have liked. To make them easier to read, I satin stitched in black thread down the center of each letter to emphasize the child’s name. An alternative would have been to first appliqué an orange rectangle in place and then appliqué black letters onto this rectangle.


Help your little helper set the table: Chris says, "All children feel important when they have possessions that are uniquely their own. Not only will this place mat make your child feel special, but it will help him or her learn to set the table correctly and spell the names of the items as they are put in place!"

Child's place mat from Snuggle-and-Learn Quilts for Kids

Quilts Full of Wonder

Ready to look at the world through a child’s eyes? In Let’s Pretend, Cynthia Tomaszewski reminds us that, for kids, "everything is new! Everything is an adventure!" Bring that spirit to your quilts with some of Cynthia’s whimsical appliqué designs. If stomping through mud puddles is a favorite activity, if watching fish in an aquarium prompts giggles, if singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" is a nightly joy, then Cynthia Tomaszewski has just the quilts for you and the child in your life. Quilts from Let's Pretend

Quilts That Transition from Baby to Beyond

With Jean Van Bockel’s lively patterns, you can make a quilt that will suit Baby (or Baby’s older sibling) for years to come.

Commemorate a zoo trip: Is the zoo a favorite place? Quilt an adorable menagerie and have fun naming all the animals with your favorite youngster.

Animal quilts from Polka-Dot Kids' Quilts

Make a quilt for Dolly (or a place mat for the table): Quick and easy, this versatile 15½" x 19″ pattern can be a doll quilt, a place mat, or a wall hanging. Or even, as Jean suggests, "a superfast gift for a friend’s sewing room."

Little Dottie quilts from Polka-Dot Kids' Quilts

Pair it with a pillow: Is your little one ready for a big-kid bed? If you’ve made a wall quilt or a naptime quilt, why not stitch up some cuddly throw pillows or a cute pillowcase to match?

Quilts and pillows from Polka-Dot Kids' Quilts

Have you quilted something for a kid? What’s the most memorable kid reaction you’ve received to a quilted gift? Tell us about it in the comments!


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