How to Make a Super Simple Lightweight Blankie

Preprinted panel backed with flannel.
Using a preprinted panel is a great way to make a super simple quilt. And if you want just a lightweight cover, you don’t even need to add batting! With a little help, even very young children can make this easy blankie. All you need is a preprinted panel and a piece of flannel that is a little bigger than your panel.
  1. Prewash and machine dry the panel and the flannel. You want to make sure that neither shrinks later.
  2. Iron the panel. If your panel looks out-of-square, grab opposite corners that need to be brought into position and give a gentle stretch. Once you have the panel pulled square, trim the edges, if needed.
  3. Iron the flannel and then lay it right side up and smooth it from the center to the edges.
  4. Lay the panel right side down on the flannel and smooth it from the center to the edges. The flannel will ‘grab’ the panel and help hold it in place.
  5. Pin along the edges of the panel to secure it to the flannel.
  6. Sew around the perimeter of the panel ½-inch from the edge, leaving a 6-inch opening on one side. Trim the flannel even with the edges of the panel and cut across the corners diagonally close to the stitching to reduce bulk when you turn your blankie.
  7. Turn the blankie right side out through the opening. Reach inside and poke the corners out nice and square with your finger or the tip of your scissors and then iron a crease on all four sides. Be sure that the edges of the opening are folded neatly to the inside.
    Close-up of opening sewn closed.
  8. Stitch around the perimeter of the blankie ¼-inch from the edge and your blankie is done!

Top 2 Kid-Friendly Ways to Quilt a Quilt

While piecing is usually fun for kids as they get to watch the quilt take shape, finishing a quilt is often a challenge, especially for a young child with a short attention span. In fact, finishing is often a challenge for adults, too - that's why we have so many UFOs (unfinished objects) that need attention. Face it - sandwiching, quilting and binding can be tedious. So what to do?

The Martingale blog has a great post on How to Quilt a Quilt that lists six quick ideas, including:
  1. Tying by hand
  2. Tying or tacking by machine
  3. Hand quilting without a hoop
  4. Hand quilting with big stitches
  5. Free-motion quilting with simple repeat patterns
  6. Allover free-motion quilting
For kid-friendly quilting, I recommend tying by hand or hand quilting with big stitches. Either of these methods will produce quick results and your child's quilt will be done in no time - but for the fastest, easiest quilt finish, you can't beat simple ties.

How to Tie Your Quilt

  1. Lay your sandwiched quilt out flat and smooth. If using a bed (my personal favorite!) or carpeted floor, slip a large piece of cardboard under the part of the quilt you're working on so the needle doesn't catch on the bedding or carpet.
  2. Thread a yarn needle with crochet cotton or yarn that coordinates with your quilt.
  3. Stitch through the layers every 4-6 inches. It's best to start in the middle and smooth the quilt layers as you work toward the edges. For extra durability, you can form a double stitch by putting the needle back through the layers and then bringing it out again in about the same spot.
  4. Tie each pair of yarn tails into a snug square knot and then trim the tails to about an inch or so.

How to Make Simple Potholders from Old Clothes

Simple potholder madefrom old clothes.
Potholders are the perfect sewing-with-kids project. They’re super-fast and super-easy, and you can even make them with all recycled materials so they’re super-free, as well. To top it off, they make great gifts!  As you know, potholders are a must in every kitchen and who doesn’t need new ones? Anyone out there?
Here at Quilting and Sewing with Kids, we’ve talked about potholders before. The handprint potholders are really nice, especially for moms and grannies, but making them takes time, materials and some skill. To make potholders that require almost none of these three things, try making simple potholders from recycled cotton clothing.

Here’s all you need:

  • Old clothes made of cotton (jeans, sweatshirts and flannel shirts are perfect!)
  • Basic sewing stuff (scissors, pins, sewing machine with zigzag stitch)
  • Thread (use up stuff you want to get rid of anyway)
  • Round dinner plate (this will be the finished sized of your potholder)
  • Permanent marker

How to make your potholder:

  1. Cut apart the jeans and shirts at the seams so that you can lay the pieces flat.
  2. Layer your fabric circles.
  3. Lay the dinner plate on the fabrics and draw around it with the permanent marker. Cut out the circles.  For each potholder, you’ll need a circle of denim, a circle of sweatshirt and a circle of flannel.
  4. Layer your circles with the sweatshirt between the denim and flannel and the pretty side of your denim and flannel facing out. If you don’t think this is thick enough for a potholder, you can add another layer of one or more fabric. Just be sure you don’t get it too thick to sew through! You can also make potholders with denim on both sides for added thickness.
  5. Sew your circles together. You can sew around the circle a few inches in from the edge or sew across from one edge to the other or whatever you want. Just so the layers are sewn together.
  6. Zigzag and trim the edge.
  7. Zigzag around the circle as close to the outside edge as possible. Go around a two or three times to finish the edge. Trim close to the stitching, if necessary, and sew on a hanging loop, if desired.
You’re done!

Commit to Quilt 20 Minutes Each Day!

Online Quilting Class
You know what they say about practice makes perfect…

Well, I’ve joined the Drop and Give Me 20 Challenge over at the Eva Paige Quilt Designs blog and for the month of February, I commit to quilt for 20 minutes each day. Now, by the rules of the challenge, any quilt-related activities count, not just actual quilting.
For my 20 minutes, I will practice free motion. I’m taking two free motion quilting classes on Craftsy right now so the timing of the challenge is perfect! And if I’m away from home during the month and can’t sit at my machine, I’ll spend my daily 20 minutes doodling new quilting designs to try out once I get home.

Quilt and sew with your child in 20 minute chunks...

You can accomplish a lot in just a few minutes, especially if you’re consistent over time. This is particularly important to remember when quilting and sewing with kids. Often, a child’s attention span won’t hold up for much more than 15-20 minutes. Set your kid up for success by breaking projects into doable chunks based on your child’s skill and focus levels.

Also, remember that not all 'quilting' has to involve sewing! What about having your child work on blocks for a crayon quilt?

And if you're looking for more ideas for projects to use with your child, check out Craftsy. There are plenty of patterns, projects and classes, and many are free! Why not enjoy a class together?

Learn to Sew and Quilt Online

Craftsy offers a variety of online sewing and quilting classes that you can watch at your leisure. In addition, there are tons of patterns and member projects posted on the site. Membership at Craftsy is free and so is a lot of the content, including many patterns and some of the online classes.
Online Quilting Class
Join me in Leah Day's free motion class!
I just joined a few weeks ago and have signed up for several classes, both free and paid, and my favorite to-date is Free Motion Quilting a Sampler.  The instructor, Leah Day, is excellent and so is the course content and video quality. Although I’ve been sewing for nearly 50 years and quilting seriously for over a decade, I’m still learning lots! In fact, I’m heading into the sewing room shortly to try free motion stitch-in-the-ditch. Leah Day makes it look easy and if I can master it, I’ll save a ton of time!
One of the especially nice Craftsy features is that access to your classes never ends. That’s right – your classes are forever. I’ve done other online classes that are time-limited and it just doesn’t work for me. In addition, Craftsy members can post questions and their projects so you get to interact with your fellow students and see what others are doing.
Although I don’t have specific examples for this post, I’m sure that you can easily find more ideas for quilting and sewing with kids than you’ll ever have the time to use. Much of what is posted there is appropriate for beginners, so head on over and take a look!
Online Quilting Class
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