A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: Zig-Zag Cut Quilt Tutorial for Beginning Quilters (I Sewed a QUILT!)

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03 September 2013

Zig-Zag Cut Quilt Tutorial for Beginning Quilters (I Sewed a QUILT!)

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Update:  She is HERE :)

I usually try not to brag about the projects I make (because typically half the people that see them love them and half will hate them, but so it goes in creative-land). This project though? It might not be expert sewing and it certainly is not the gold standard of quilting, but gosh darn it -- I am going to BRAG!

This took me longer than ANY project I've ever embarked upon and is certainly the most ambitious sewing project I've ever tried. (I consider myself an EXTREME amateur sewer and typically I "cheat-sew" not "real-sew"). In any case, the quilt is FINISHED, it is super duper soft, it is sweet and has a host of quirks thanks to my novice skills. Ready to learn how YOU can make your own (probably BETTER than I can?!?) Let's go!

DIY Zig Zag Quilt for Baby -- #DIY Projects and Craft Ideas from Amy Renea at A Nest for All Seasons





The idea for this quilt is to create frilly layers (chenille if you will) on one side while the other remains flat. You are using 4 (or more) flat pieces of fabric instead of piecing fabric as you would a typical quilt. The first few steps are tedious, but very important to getting a workable result.

There are several good tutorials online for these kinds of quilts, but the one I followed most closely was THIS ONE , but straight away, I knew I wanted to make a few changes.

A.  I didn't want to buy any fabric
B.  I wanted the fabric to be UBER soft
C.  I wanted to use a zigzag stitch instead of straight
D.  I wanted to use a wider margin between sewn lines

So first things first is the fabric!  As I said, I didn't want to purchase new, expensive fabric for this project, but I DID want the finished product to feel luxurious and soft.  My solution was a beautiful, well worn vintage sheet and a white flannel found at the thrift store.  The sheet was $1 and the flannel even less.  Thread was also thrifted, so in terms of materials, the quilt was rather cheap.

DIY Zig Zag Quilt for Baby -- #DIY Projects and Craft Ideas from Amy Renea at A Nest for All Seasons

Here are my layers.  The white flannel is the front side and the floral sheet is going to become the cut up backside of the quilt.  An extra layer of flannel in between two sheet layers gives the quilt bulk and warmth.  It is very important to get straight edges on all four layers and keep them together.

DIY Zig Zag Quilt for Baby -- #DIY Projects and Craft Ideas from Amy Renea at A Nest for All Seasons

It helps to have a friend help you lay the fabric out at this point :)

DIY Zig Zag Quilt for Baby -- #DIY Projects and Craft Ideas from Amy Renea at A Nest for All Seasons

Pin all the edges together so the quilt stays even and straight throughout the quilting process.  

Make a diagonal line from corner to corner (I used white charcoal and a wooden straight edge).

DIY Zig Zag Quilt for Baby -- #DIY Projects and Craft Ideas from Amy Renea at A Nest for All Seasons
This line is going to be your "cornerstone" of the quilt, 
so make sure it is exactly diagonal corner to corner and very, very straight.
DIY Zig Zag Quilt for Baby -- #DIY Projects and Craft Ideas from Amy Renea at A Nest for All Seasons

Now it is time to sew!  Start on your diagonal and simply sew along the line, merging the four large pieces of fabric.  Most tutorials have you sewing in a straight line, but I wanted a pattern of colored zig-zag stitching on white for the front while the printed side got the "cut" treatment.

DIY Zig Zag Quilt for Baby -- #DIY Projects and Craft Ideas from Amy Renea at A Nest for All Seasons

Once you have your first line down the center of the quilt, move on to the left and the right of the line, sewing parallel lines down the length of your quilt.  This part takes a LONG time and I would break it up into half hour segments so that I wouldn't get super sloppy with my sewing (note stitching above...)

You will end up with something like this:

DIY Zig Zag Quilt for Baby -- #DIY Projects and Craft Ideas from Amy Renea at A Nest for All Seasons

Note:  Remove pins as you go, but leave them in as long as possible to keep your layers straight!

Once you have completed sewing your diagonal lines over the entire quilt, you are ready to cut!  

This takes MORE time than the quilting itself and your thumb will HURT if you do it all at once, so split the work up over several days (or months in my case...)  You want to cut through the bottom THREE layers of quilt, but NOT the final, fourth "front layer".  Be very careful as it is easy to cut holes in your quilt at this point.  Slide your scissors under the bottom three layers and slowly snip the fabric in a straight line in the "furrows" between your sewn zig-zags.

DIY Zig Zag Quilt for Baby -- #DIY Projects and Craft Ideas from Amy Renea at A Nest for All Seasons

...and a closer look of what your quilt edges will look like at this point...

DIY Zig Zag Quilt for Baby -- #DIY Projects and Craft Ideas from Amy Renea at A Nest for All Seasons


The TWO most tedious steps are COMPLETE!  You are on the home stretch!

You need to make sure your edges are straight (cut if you need to!) and add a binding or border around the edges.  
You can buy bias tape and attach it or simply use your leftover fabric to make a similar version yourself.  Can you guess what I did?

DIY Zig Zag Quilt for Baby -- #DIY Projects and Craft Ideas from Amy Renea at A Nest for All Seasons

That is right!  I simply used leftover flannel and folded it over twice to create my edging or binding.

Basically, you want to cut a strip 4 times wider than you need and as long as possible.
Then fold the outer edges in towards the center like this:

DIY Zig Zag Quilt for Baby -- #DIY Projects and Craft Ideas from Amy Renea at A Nest for All Seasons

Then simply fold the two sides together and you will slip the finished quilt inside and sew them all together.


I fold as I go on the sewing machine, making sure the binding fits snuggly around all the corners.


Here are the different layers of the quilt now that the binding is complete:

DIY Zig Zag Quilt for Baby -- #DIY Projects and Craft Ideas from Amy Renea at A Nest for All Seasons

 WHEW.  DONE.
You have NO idea how good that feels to say!

Now go toss the whole shebang into the washer on a gentle cycle and then dry (all by itself for this first washing please!) and the back side will really "fluff up" for you.  It is so pretty!  The tighter your lines are together the tighter the "chenille".  Remember my lines are further apart because they are zig zags, so my chenille is looser.

DIY Zig Zag Quilt for Baby -- #DIY Projects and Craft Ideas from Amy Renea at A Nest for All SeasonsDIY Zig Zag Quilt for Baby -- #DIY Projects and Craft Ideas from Amy Renea at A Nest for All Seasons

One more note: If you DO happen to cut through your quilt when cutting the loose "chenille", all is not lost!  I actually really love the quirky patches I ended up making for the little "accidents".  Once the quilt is complete and the binding is done, I simply went back over the couple holes with a contrasting thread (see yellow in above photo) and one larger hole actually ended up right in the center and I was able to cover it with a "patch" made from a cutout from my scrap sheet fabric (see second photo below).

DIY Zig Zag Quilt for Baby -- #DIY Projects and Craft Ideas from Amy Renea at A Nest for All Seasons


That photo on the right shows the little "patch" over an accidental hole.

...and now...

DIY Zig Zag Quilt for Baby -- #DIY Projects and Craft Ideas from Amy Renea at A Nest for All Seasons

Let's welcome baby.
17 hours and counting...


Update:  She is HERE :)

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 If you liked this tutorial, then you might enjoy the BOOK!

Make your own coconut oil.
Gather your own sea salt.
Grow your own grapevines for wreaths.
Give gifts naturally grown and crafted from your backyard garden.

Each chapter focuses on a plant or groups of plants and how to grow them in your home garden.  Then, gather up those natural ingredients and get crafting! From lavender wreaths and hypertufa planters to lambsear angels and pickled tomatoes, there are projects for beginners on up!

Crafting with Nature is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a MillionPOWELL's! (!!!!)  Booktopia (Australia!), IndieBoundAlibrisGlose.comThe Book Depository and Walmart.com.  Books are also rolling out to retailers and libraries, so check for them there. 
 If your library does NOT have it yet, this is why you should talk to your librarian!

6 COMMENTS:

Jeanie Hevener Tuesday, September 03, 2013  

Amy! This is so pretty! I love that you made it with a vintage sheet - what a great idea! Pinning this for future reference. I have a grandbaby coming in February! Best wishes to you and your family!

{darlene} @ fieldstonehill Thursday, September 05, 2013  

GORGEOUS!!!!!!!! dying for the news!! PRAYING FOR YOU TODAY!!!!!!!!!

Sally Shepard Thursday, February 13, 2014  

This baby quilt is so amazingly sweet!! I love your technique to create that soft chenille look. One question...is your quilt square? What are the measurements of it?
Thanks and congrats on your new bundle of joy!

Amy Renea Friday, February 14, 2014  

Thank you all :) Sally, It is square, and though I don't know exactly the measurements, I would say it is about 3 foot by 3 foot. Hope that helps!! (I think any square would do it :)

A Taylored World Thursday, February 25, 2016  

This is the most precious quilt for a baby girl!!! I love the technique!!! I'm going to have to make one now!!!

Amy Renea Thursday, February 25, 2016  

OH - I hope you do!! Come back and share the finished blankie, would you?

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