How to Make a Set of Soft Baby Blocks

Hi Sewfie,
I want to make a set of soft baby blocks that has a letter of alphabet on each block. How much material should I order to do this? (I may want extra, once I know the baby’s name, so that there can be duplicate letter blocks made).
-Lois

Dear Lois,
The “Baby Geniuses Grow Up!” fabric panel that I used in the original How to Make Perfect Fabric Baby Blocks post is apparently out of print and getting harder and harder to find. BUT YOU DON’T ACTUALLY NEED IT!

You can make the 4″ covered fabric blocks from any fabric following these easy steps:

  1. Cut your fabric WOF (Width of Fabric) into 4 1/2″ strips.
  2. Then, cut these strips into 4 1/2″ squares.
  3. Applique your letters on enough of these squares to spell out the Baby’s name, one letter per square.
  4. After that, just follow my tutorial for assembling the blocks.
You can make 3 complete soft blocks with 1/4 yard of fabric

How much fabric do I need?

The average 44/45″ wide quilting cotton will fit 9 squares per 4 1/2″ strip. So, with 2 strips (i.e. a quarter yard of fabric), you can make 3 completed blocks. Here’s a handy chart:

Number of Blocks Yards of Fabric
3 1/4
6 1/2
9 3/4
12 1
24 2
26 2 1/4

To make the entire alphabet (that is one letter per block), you will need 2 1/4 yards. For any extra letters for duplicates, add yardage according to the chart, depending on the length of the Baby’s name. For little Seraphinia or little Montgomery, you are going to do a bit of extra sewing. Although some baby names can be pretty long, it turns out the average name length is only 6 letters.

Warm Stitches,


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How to Make Table Scraps Coasters

Dear Sewfie,

I can’t bring myself to throw any any scrap of fabric, no matter how small. I’ve even gone through the trash after my kids clean up from a sewing project (shocking but true… they sometimes do clean up), re-claiming even the tiniest swatch that may be “still good for something”. As a result, every work surface in my sewing room is drowning in a sea of scraps… my sewing machine table, my cutting table, the book cases, even my knick-knack shelves… all covered in piles of scraps. What can I do with all of this without throwing them away?

Scrappy

Dear Scrappy,

This easy, fun project will justify your obsessive frugality AND will make a whole stack of fun little gifts and craft fair fodder!

Table Scraps Coasters

Make these cute coasters out of scraps lying round your cutting table

Materials & Supplies

  • Random fabric scraps from your cutting table, totaling about 12″ square
  • 12″ square fabric for backing (or 4 different 6″ squares)
  • 9″ square of heavy weight interfacing such as Timtex or Pelon Peltex
  • Masking tape
  • Yield: makes 4 coasters

Collect your scraps

Pick different colors and prints. Don’t be afraid of combinations you may think “don’t go together”.

Trim scraps

Using rotary cutter, trim the edges of your scraps. You don’t have to make perfect squares: try uneven strips for that “scrappy” look.

Sew Together

Stitch scraps together until you have an assembly at least 4.25″ x 4.25″ or larger. Press.

Line up template

Make a 4.25″ x 4.25″ template by marking your quilting ruler with masking tape.

Cut to size

Using your taped “window” as a guide, position your template over your fabric. Experiment with different angles. Cut your fabric to a 4.25″ x 4.25″ block by cutting one side, then rotating template 90 degrees. Repeat to cut all four sides. This is your coaster top.

Stitch to interfacing

Cut the heavy weight interfacing into four 4.25″ x 4.25″ blocks. Using a long basting stitch, machine sew coaster top to one square of interfacing using a scant 1/4″ seam.

Self-binding

Cut backing fabric into 5.75″ x 5.75″ squares. Place backing fabric right side down. Position coaster top right side up in the center of one backing square. Pin. Finish by self-binding with mitered corners. Click here for complete illustrated instructions on Self-Binding and How to Make Mitered Corners.

Enjoy!

This Table Scrap Coaster is working hard at a U.S. Army Nanotechnology lab, keeping its owner’s desk dry and looking stylish to boot!

You could totally make a dozen of these
Warm Stitches,


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Whole Cloth Quilt Quickie

Dear Sewfie,
My daughter-in-law is having a baby any day now. Even though I had the best intentions of being the Most Awesome Grammy Ever and making a beautiful heirloom quilt for her, I’ve managed to procrastinate to the point of embarrassment. How can I make a baby quilt really quick and save face?
– Granny in a Pickle

Dear Pickles,
I have two words for you “whole cloth”. OK, maybe three: “Whole Cloth Quilt”. You can totally get away with last minute quilt-making by using a large print or (better yet) a kid’s themed panel. My sister-in-law made a toddler quilt from only one yard of Alexander Henry’s Juicy Jungle – Stripe, which I had gifted to her from my stash.

This Alexander Henry Juicy Jungle fabric looks like 3 or 4 complimentary fabrics sewn together, but it’s just a panel… EASY!

She sandwiched it with a layer of batting and a cute, colorful zebra (or maybe it’s a horse?) print background fabric. A few quick ties with embroidery floss (approximately 6 inches apart in either direction) and a bright pink polka dot binding later – she was in business! The entire process took her just a few hours. You could complete this project in a single evening while catching up on your Downton Abbey episodes!

Hard to believe it’s all one piece!
Warm Stitches,


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