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Making Miniature Quilts

Summary

Ever wanted to make a miniature quilt but wanted to know more first?  Read how to make them and get a free pattern to make yours today!

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Making Miniature Quilts

(and a Free Mini Quilt Pattern!)

"Making miniature quilts is for people who are nuts!" I overheard this phrase at a recent quilt retreat. I guess I'm nuts then! I think there are lots of us who are. Creating miniature quilts has become quite popular in the last couple of years. There are lots of books, patterns, rulers, and tools becoming available to make the sweet little quilts.

Making Miniature Quilts

 

What qualifies as a miniature quilt? Typically a finished quilt that is smaller than 24" vertically and horizontally will qualify in a quilt show in the Miniature Category. Miniature quilts are often made just like a full-sized quilt but extensively smaller! Often a finished quilt block measures 2" or 3" in size.

A few items you may want to have by your side when creating a miniature quilt are:

  1. An awl to help keep the small block pieces in line under the presser foot.
  2. A pair of small scissors. A 3½" size is nice.
  3. Several small rulers: 2½", 3½", and 4½" squares are great. Try to find these with the ⅛" markings.
  4. A turntable cutting mat.

 

Awl
scissors
Ruler
Cutting Mat

 

Accuracy is very crucial when sewing miniature quilts. I've been asked if it is necessary to sew with a "scant ¼ inch" seam rather than a typical ¼" seam. Personally, I don't find that this is necessary. I've made many miniature quilts and feel that if a quilter is consistent with a typical ¼" seam throughout the project that the miniature quilt will come out just fine. Sewing with a scant seam can be difficult.

A few hints from me to you when it comes to miniature quilts are:

  1. Create your half-square triangles a little larger than it states in the pattern. Making them bigger than needed and trimming them down to size afterwards work best!
  2. Use a starch type spray. I go through bottles of "Best Press" quite often! I like that it keeps my fabric firm enough to enjoy sewing with yet, at the same time, supple enough to leave the fabric feeling like it hasn't been starched. Spraying eliminates stretch in your little fabric pieces.
  3. Remember, the little blocks you are making are yours. This means that if you feel you need to press open some seams to eliminate bulk - go for it!
  4. Keep your binding to no wider than 2". Bind your mini quilts just as you do full-size quilts.
Civil War Minis

 

What I like the absolute best of making miniature quilts is that I get to quilt them myself! They're small! I can do lots of fun quilting designs. I often use variegated threads and invisible thread because I'm stitching in such a small area that I can buy lots of cool threads. I'm also a stencil hoarder. Lots of stencils are being created to use strictly for miniature quilts. You can find 1" border designs, 3" and 4" square designs, and larger over-all designs to be used on the whole mini quilt top to bottom, side to side.

Bright Minis

 

Please click on the page image to download and enjoy the free miniature quilt pattern shown below.

 

Gram's Mini Patch
Petite Block

 

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Glossary

Binding
Binding is used as both a noun and a verb. As a noun it is the fabric that's used to cover the raw edges of the quilt sandwich after it's quilted. This edging fabric is referred to as the Binding (noun). As a verb it is the process of putting on this fabric, and it referred to as Binding a Quilt.
Block
The basic unit of a quilt top, usually square but can be rectangular or other shapes. Blocks can be pieced, appliqued or plain.
Border
A strip of fabric or pieced strip of fabric joined to the edges of the inner quilt and used to frame it.
Cutting Mat
Surface used for cutting with a rotary cutter. The mat protects your tabletop and can serve as a measuring tool when you use the gridlines on the mat to line up your fabric. Many mats are self-healing which means that the blade of the rotary cutter will not create permanent grooves in the mat.
Invisible Thread
Nearly invisible thread.

Same As: Monofilament Thread
Miniature Quilts
A quilt made in miniature of a full sized quilt. Paper foundation piecing is often used to make the very small minis.
Press
Method of using an iron to press seams and blocks. This means simply pressing downwards on the seam with the iron from above and not moving the iron back and forth which can distort the block or seam.
Presser Foot
The removable sewing machine accessory surrounding the needle that holds the fabric in place.
Quilt Top
The top layer of a quilt Sandwich.
Author
Quilting Contessa
Quilting Contessa is a collection of various authors around the world that have submitted articles for the QuiltingHub 'How To' quilt wiki.  These are authors that do not write enough to have their own authorship, yet provide valuable content for the site.  If you wish to submit an article, contact us on QuiltingHub.
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