How to finish a small quilt: tips from a “quirky” quilter (new video! 🎬)

Shoofly Sampler quiltYou’ve just finished a little quilt top—and it’s soooo darned cute!

Now maybe you’re wondering how to finish a small quilt with style. No worries—Quirky Little Quilts author Sheryl Johnson of Temecula Quilt Company has you covered from batting to binding.

We caught up with Sheryl at Fall Quilt Market so she could share her bounty of “little” tips with us, and with you! It all comes down to three simple steps:

  1. Baste the layers—Sheryl’s got a terrific idea for using an unusual batting so your small quilts stay soft and bendy (instead of stiff as a board).
  1. Quilt ’em together—learn Sheryl’s method for stress-free hand quilting—she makes it look so easy!
  1. Bind the edges—discover another awesome little tip for small-quilt binding in the video below. Take a look:


Reading this post in email? Click here to watch the video on Youtube.

Now that you’ve got a little how-to for finishing little quilts, why not make one with Sheryl? All you need is a few handfuls of your favorite scraps and your choice of Sheryl’s pretty patterns from Quirky Little Quilts:

Joyful Jumble quilt
Joyful Jumble

Patchwork Potpourri quilt
Patchwork Potpourri

T is for Temecula quilt
T is for Temecula

See more from Quirky Little Quilts >>>

How do you typically finish your small quilts?

  • Basting, hand quilting, and single-fold binding—just like Sheryl!
  • I usually machine quilt my small quilts.
  • No small quilts yet, but Sheryl’s are so sweet I may give one a try!

Share your methods in the comments—and be sure to follow Sheryl on Instagram (@temeculaquiltco) for more quirky fun!


63 Comments (leave a comment)

  • I usually machine quilt. I did one with the big stitch.

    —Janet Flugum on December 5, 2018
  • I have not made any small quilts yet but am hoping to soon.

    —Joanne on December 5, 2018
  • I love these small quilts! I haven’t made one yet, but seeing these makes me want to!

    —Kay D on December 5, 2018
  • I usually just hang them on a hanger in the quilt closet since I never know what to do with them. I have a lot of unfinished projects. I would love to have a quilt fairy that would come in and quilt all my little projects. 🙂

    —Barb Walsh on December 5, 2018
  • I machine quilt everything.

    —Nicole on December 5, 2018
  • I have made very few small quilts but this is certainly an inspiration. Have to put this book on my Christmas list.

    —Judy Piper on December 5, 2018
  • Depending on the quality of the fabric, I usually pin baste, machine quilt and double fold binding for most small quilts.

    —Donna Belisle on December 5, 2018
  • I usually machine quilt my small quilts

    —Kaye Walker on December 5, 2018
  • I usually machine quilt my small quilts

    —Joel Sellers on December 5, 2018
  • Most often I hand quilt small quilts.

    —Mary Kastner on December 5, 2018
  • I usually machine quilt my small quilts. I mostly make small quilts for my guilds miniature quilt auction.

    —Ann West on December 5, 2018
  • I’m getting ready to do one of Cheryl’s TQC mini projects so really appreciated seeing this — love her batting idea! I’ve finished little quilts both by hand and by machine and find that it depends on the project, what is my stitching plan and how much time I have that determines how I want to finish it.

    Vivian B. on December 5, 2018
  • Just like Sheryl. I baste, hand quilt and bind.

    —Deborah Gallett on December 5, 2018
  • I machine quilt my small quilts

    —MS Barb on December 5, 2018
  • One of my first quilts was a small one. There used to be magazines on the rack that supported little quilts. I did hand quilt it but used double fold bias. I did not realize I could use single fold. I still have it on my couch, it is a favorite, and reminds me how far I’ve come. Or not.

    —stephanie Woodward on December 5, 2018
  • Hand quilting and single fold bias finishing

    —Lois on December 5, 2018
  • I use double fold binding but cut the strips 2″.

    —Fran Claassens on December 5, 2018
  • I baste, hand quilt, and then do a single fold binding as well. I love little quilts. They are so easy to handle and get done quickly. I have only made a few ( one Jo Morton – one of the first quilts I ever made, It is my favorite).

    —Pamela Zajicek on December 5, 2018
  • I have never made a small quilt. They are usually queen size. I really should try one.

    —Marsha on December 5, 2018
  • I have two small quilts started, just not finished.

    —carol on December 5, 2018
  • I machine quilt my small quilts. My hands can no longer handle hand quilting.

    —Rilla Burnham on December 5, 2018
  • No small quilts at this point, but I may surrender eventually. Nice to have the tips in advance. So many quilt patterns; so little time.

    —SandyMay on December 5, 2018
  • I machine quilt small quilts (I’m not Rockefeller and don’t own a longarm). My small quilts get bound the same way a large quilt would…just because they’re small doesn’t mean they’re not worthy of the respect and treatment that their bigger siblings would get.

    —Teri N on December 5, 2018
  • no small quilts yet

    —Theresa J on December 5, 2018
  • I usually machine quilt my small quilt

    —Tatsiana on December 5, 2018
  • I would love to try out some of Sheryl’s tips and patterns for small quilts. So charming!

    —Connie Passaro on December 5, 2018
  • I have two small quilt tops and didn’t have a clue on how to finish…..thus they haven’t been finished. Thank you for your tips and video for finishing small quilts. Much needed!

    You are very welcome, Marsha, so glad Sheryl could help! –Jenny

    —Marsha on December 5, 2018
  • I hand baste my little quilts, hand quilt and then bind with a single thickness!

    —Eleanor Kay Hunzinger on December 5, 2018
  • I have machine quilted my small projects thus far.

    —Pamela J Jones on December 5, 2018
  • I usually machine quilt my small quilts but am interested in learning to hand quilt them.

    —Judy Clark on December 5, 2018
  • I usually machine quilt small quilts because they are too hard to put in my hoop to handquilt. THis looks like such a lovely biook.

    —Janet on December 5, 2018
  • I have not made a small quilt but the book looks very interesting and would be fun to try.

    —BONITA M HARMS on December 6, 2018
  • I don’t usually make them really small, but I do hand quilt them. It only takes an afternoon.

    —Kay on December 6, 2018
  • Have not made a little quilt yet but would like to do some hand quilting. I use to make a lot of my own clothes and haden’t even blind hemed for some time but back in the swing of things.

    Mary on December 6, 2018
  • Machine quilted, machine binding on the front, hand binding on the back.

    —JANE LARKE on December 6, 2018
  • Big stitch quilting and double binding. But I am definitely going to try the single-fold. Thanks!

    —Mary Lindberg on December 7, 2018
  • Generally machine quilt…but every now and then will hand quilt!

    —Sheila on December 7, 2018
  • I like to bigstitch my little quilts but I have also machine quilted some that have lots of seams.

    I do my little quilts a lot like Sheryl. Love her little sewalongs at Temecula blog.

    —Susan Gray on December 7, 2018
  • I make mine just the way Sheryl does, because her shop is where I learned to love and make little quilts. That shop was my LQS when I lived in SoCal, and I sure do miss it!

    —Jay on December 7, 2018
  • I machine quilt in a ditch and hand quilt the centers. I just learned about using single fold binding this past year and used it with excellent results.

    —Cheri Bergeron on December 7, 2018
  • Love them, but haven’t made any. Have wall space in my hall where I want to display some.

    —Nancy on December 7, 2018
  • I do both hand and machine quilting on my little quilts. I love her hand quilting method and plan to do more her way. I like mine to be bendy, too.

    —Sue in Oregon on December 7, 2018
  • I usually machine quilt, but occasionally I will enjoy the hand quilting process.

    —Lillian K on December 7, 2018
  • I machine quilt all my quilts. I just finished a little quilt top and need to quilt it. Thanks for showing the single fold binding for little quilts. I’ve never done that befor on previously finished small quilts.

    —Jaxine Andersen on December 7, 2018
  • I usually finish by machine maybe with a binding.

    —Donna F on December 7, 2018
  • Machine quilt – and use narrow double fold binding.

    —Tawney Mazek on December 7, 2018
  • I finish small quilts the same as full size: baste, quilt, and bind. But I like the idea of using flannel for its softness… good suggestion that I’ll try next time.

    —Susan Lewis on December 7, 2018
  • Imade the Temecular Tiy Quilts and machine quilted a few. I wanted to do the others by hand, but was having trouble quilting. I have three sandwiched withcotton batting but will takethem apart and put flannel beteen.Ithink that will solve the pro lem. Thanks.

    —Tara on December 7, 2018
  • I usually machine quilt. I just may give Sheryl’s techniques a try!

    —karen on December 7, 2018
  • I usually machine quilt my little quilts. I am so impatient to get to the next one.

    —Karen McMahon on December 7, 2018
  • My 81 year old mother loves to hand quilt, so she has finished all of my quilts, large and small. Love the book!

    —debby on December 7, 2018
  • I hand quilt my small quilts, it’s so relaxing and rewarding.

    —Rachel Pappas on December 7, 2018
  • I finish my quilts by hand.I love that’s

    —Rommy Van Houten on December 7, 2018
  • I love to do them by hand.

    —Linda Christianson on December 7, 2018
  • I have machine quilted the few, small quilts that I have made. This hand quilting looks fun and something manageable, as far as time and finishing the project. Thank you –

    —Linda Klungle on December 7, 2018
  • I usually baste and machine quilt my small quilts. I have used both double and single fold binding, depending on the size of the quilt.

    —Patricia Ludwiczak on December 7, 2018
  • I love hand quilting and always finish my little quilts by hand. I have made many of Cheryl’s designs and lots of my own, always following her small quilt binding tips.

    —Kyra Franz on December 8, 2018
  • Love Sheryl’s new book and line of fabric! I love doing handwork
    and finish my small quilts that way.

    usairdoll (at) gmail (dot) com

    —usairdoll on December 9, 2018
  • No small quilts yet, they look fun.

    —Vin M on December 10, 2018
  • I use both methods machine and hand it is according what the project is thaks

    —irene indelicato on December 10, 2018
  • Basting hand stitching and binding for me!

    —Leisa Arnold on December 13, 2018
  • I don’t to often hand quilt anything. Machine quilted/regular binding.

    —Linda Lee Ahn on December 15, 2018
  • Hi I love the tips for finishing small quilts! Especially using flannel for the batting to give the quilts a more supple look. I would love to know where to get a thimble like the one Sheryl uses in the demo video!!

    —Karen Cadden on November 16, 2019

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