Posted in Patterns, Tutorials

Free Beginner Quilt Pattern, ‘Playtime’

Learn to make this ‘Playtime’ Quilt with a Free Tutorial

I’m excited to share this free ‘Playtime’ Beginner Quilt Pattern + Tutorial.  The ‘Playtime’ quilt is a beautiful and simple modern quilt that you’ll love.

Free beginner quilt tutorial for Playtime Quilt

Needed Fabric to make Playtime Quilt

The overall finished quilt size is 37″ x 53″.  Here are the fabrics you’ll need to make your own beginner Quilt:

  1. (1) Jelly Roll, or (30) 2 ½” x 42″ strips of fabric.  I used a jelly roll because it is already cut and ready to go.  Talk about convenient!
  2. (29) 1 ¾” x 42″ strips of fabric in various colors.  These will make the colorful strips you see in the quilt.
  3. Backing – (1) 60″ x 42″ piece of fabric for the backing.
  4. Batting – at least 60″ x 42″ batting.  I used Dream Puff Batting, because I like how puffy and soft it makes the finished quilt.  But you can use whatever kind you prefer.
  5. Binding – (5) 2 ½” x 42″ strips of fabric for binding.

How to Make Your Free Beginner Quilt

This free beginner quilt pattern is SUPER fun and easy to put together.  If there’s one area you can save time, it’s in making your colorful strips of fabric.  You can find some pre-made strips and save a LOT of time HERE.

Making Colorful Strips

  • Take (1) 1 ¾” x 42″ strip.  Lay it out on a flat surface and starting at one end, fold in half.  As you fold in half, place your iron on your strip to set your crease.

Making Quilt Binding for Playtime Quilt

Fabrics used for a pre-made binding kit

The fabrics Bessie Pearl is using for pre-made strips to make your ‘Playtime’ Quilt

Sewing Strips Together

Now that you have your binding strips, you are ready to sew your fabrics together.

  • Take (1) jelly roll piece, or 2 ½” x 42″ strip of fabric.  Lay it out on a flat surface.  Iron it to make sure its totally flat.
  • Place one of your binding strips, raw edge to raw edge, along that top of your jelly roll strip.
  • Place a second jelly roll strip on top, to make a sandwich.  Be sure that all raw edges line up.  I place pins as layer the top jelly roll strip.  Note in the photo below how I place my pins.  This placement makes it easy to take the pins out as I sew.

Free Modern Quilt Pattern and Tutorial

  • Double check both front and back of your pieced sandwich.  Make sure all the edges are evenly lined and pinned together.
  • Sew your fabric strips together, pulling out pins as you go.
  • Keep adding one binding strip at a time following the steps above.
  • You can press seams as you go, or wait until the end and press them all at once.

Your quilt will look like this from the back as you add rows and press your seams: (You can see where I sprayed water in this photo if you look closely.  I found that spraying water helped the seams lay flat).

Free Modern Quilt Tutorial Strip Assembly

Quilting Your Playtime Quilt

Ideas for quilting:

  • Hand quilt a straight line on each of the jelly rolls, either with one color of thread or changing up the colors of thread.
  • Quilt right along the seam of the color strips of fabric and the jelly roll to hide the quilting. (What I did).
  • Do a fun wave or design on the jelly roll with a machine.

I’ll share with you how I quilted my quilt top, but there are so many fun ways you could quilt this.

How I Quilted my Playtime Quilt

I wanted all the seams on one side of my quilt to go one direction, and the seams on the opposite side of my quilt to go the other direction.  I love that this quilt is a 3D quilt, and I wanted to strips of fabric to really pop.

I also wanted the place where the seams change direction to be in a certain place, to give the affect of a ripple or wave.

A free modern quilt pattern for Playtime Quilt

To make sure that the seam direction stayed in the place where I wanted it, I placed a pin on each strip of binding / color fabric where the seam changed direction.

How to prepare your quilt for quilting

I sewed along the seam in a straight line.

How to quilt on your domestic machine

When the seam changed direction, I stopped sewing, then started sewing on the other side of the color strip / binding piece.

Free Modern Quilt Pattern and Tutorial

Finishing Your Quilt

When the quilting was done, it was easy to trim the backing and batting and add binding as normal.  I wondered how thick the quilt would be with so many layers of fabric.  I wondered if sewing the binding on might be difficult, but my needle had NO problem going through the layers of fabric and adding my binding as normal.

The End Product

Here is a look at the quilt all finished.  I will admit that the cool affect of the wave was lost a little after washing the quilt.  But the colorful fabric binding pieces looked beautiful and like ruffly ribbon after washing and drying the quilt.  I am a MAJOR fan of this quilt design, and fully plan to make a larger size for myself.

Free modern quilt pattern and tutorial

Playtime Quilt, a free modern quilt pattern and tutorialHere is the Quilt Top after washing and drying it.  You can see how the fabric becomes more ribbon / lace-like.

Other Tutorials

If you enjoyed this Free Beginner Quilt Pattern, you will love these others that I share:





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Posted in Tutorials

3 Ways to Finish a Quilt by Hand

Amanda from Broadcloth Studio shares 3 Ways To Finish Your Quilt by Hand (besides a running stitch)

Hi, folks, Amanda of @broadclothstudio here. Before we go any further, I’ve got a confession to make: I don’t like machine quilting.  *GASP* I know.

Now, before you turn your back on me, let me be clear: I like when other people machine quilt things, but I just don’t enjoy it.  To be fair, this may be because I grew up hand sewing and only got a machine a couple years ago. Or maybe it’s because my mother instilled the fear of [insert your personal direst of consequences here] if I ever played around with her favorite sewing machine. But, I think it’s because when you hand quilt and finish a project you have a very different tactile experience: as you work your way around the quilt, it’s like giving hundreds of little hugs to the quilt. The batting gets softer and squishier as you go. And because it takes so long to do (let’s call a spade a spade here), there is a lot of quality time spent with the quilt, making for a memorable experience.

But to be honest, sometimes I don’t have the time (or the energy or the patience or the interest) to hand quilt an entire quilt.  And since I really don’t like machine quilting, I’m always looking for other options. Enter my current top three “alternative” quilting methods.

#1 Hand Tying

Finish a Quilt By Hand, Hand Tying

Hand tying is such a fun way to add texture to a quilt. I especially love it when used with a fluffy batting (like wool) because of the tufting effect. You can use floss, perle cotton, yarn, ribbon, or whatever floats your boat (though I’d suggest something on the heavier end of the thread spectrum to play up that textural element).

Thread your needle and make a regular running stitch through all the quilt layers where you want the knot to be, leaving a three inch tail. Make a backstitch through the original hole and back up through the layers of the quilt ending through the second hole. Tim the thread with a three inch tail and repeat the ties across the quilt as desired. Square knot all the stitches and trim the tails to your desired length.

Note: if you’re a little impatient like me, you can square knot each stitch as you go and then cut your thread (just leave a long enough tail so you can trim all your knot tails to a uniform size at the end) before moving onto the next stitch. It might not be the “correct” way to do it, but 1) who cares and 2) who will ever know?

#2 Cross Stich-ish

How to finish a quilt by hand

Hand Quilting, Bury a knot, 3 Ways to Finish a Quilt by Hand

I love the look of cross-stitch, but ugh, I hate the fact the back doesn’t mirror the front. Fortunately for us, thanks to the layers of a quilt, making the front and back mirror each other is easy.

Grab your needle and thread (I like to use a heavier floss). Make your knot and bury your thread as you normally would for hand quilting, coming up with the needle at one of the ends of the X (mark an X on your fabric with your favorite fabric marker/pen/pencil if that helps!). Make your first stitch along one of the lines of the X.  On the back, enter directly below the original hole, but instead of coming straight up to the front, “travel” through the batting and bring the needle to the front at the tip of the second line of the X.  Make your stitch along the second line of the X. On the back, complete the X and bury your knot (or travel through the batting to get to the next X). And voila! X marks the spot.

#3 Satin Stitch

Finish a Quilt By Hand, Satin Stitch


3 Ways to Finish a Quilt by Hand

Another borrowed-from-embroidery stitch (#quiltbroidery)! The satin stitch is super easy, and best of all, it looks the pretty much the same on the front and the back without any fancy traveling-through-the-batting stitch work. I like to use 12wt thread for this, but it’s also fun to play around with different thread weights for different texture.

Satin stitches are incredibly versatile as you’re basically coloring in a shape with thread. For demonstration’s sake, let’s start with a little circle.  Grab your fabric marker/pen/pencil of choice and draw a circle on your fabric. Grab your needle and thread, make your knot, and bury your thread as you normally would while hand quilting, coming up with your needle somewhere along the circumference of the circle.

Make a stitch directly across from where your needle came up, going perpendicularly through all the quilt layers. From the back, bring your needle back to the front side with a stitch that comes up right next to the original needle hole. Make a stitch parallel to your first stitch, entering right next to the first stitch but staying on the circumference. Continue stitching until half of the circle is complete then take your needle and weave it through the batting to come up on the other side of the original stitch. Repeat until the entire circle is filled in. Knot and bury your knot as usual.

Pretty easy-peasy. And just think of the options: you could satin stitch little squares, teardrops, leaves, or get fancy with negative space and leave a hole in the middle of a square.


So here’s my challenge to you: when you’re short on time or if you’re looking to add a little extra special twist of texture, try one of the above. Or riff on these ideas: the sky’s the limit with what shapes you can make!

Looking for some project ideas? How about:

  • A whole cloth pillow hand tied with five different shades of yarn to make an ombré effect
  • A baby blanket covered in tiny hand stitched hearts (or mix your cross-stitch and satin stitch to make an X’s + O’s blanket)
  • A wall hanging with a constellation or connect-the-dots pattern (maybe add in some hand quilting to connect the dots)

P.S. a note on supplies

Quilting Supplies, Hand Quilting Supplies

There are so many different ways to tackle any of the above stitches.  But in case it is helpful, here’s what’s in my hand-sewing kit these days (which is really just an old cookie tin):

  • Needles: When it comes to needles, I’m currently loving an assorted set of Sashiko needles I picked up years ago.
  • Thread: I love working with 12 wt cotton thread (pictured are Aurifil Cotton 12wt #2245, #2140 (this one is serious magic: it goes with everything), #5007) or floss (Aurifloss 1125 and 5015 are pictured above, but I’m also currently obsessed with #1104).
  • Scissors: Gingher Stork Embroidery Scissors always and forever
  • Marking Tools: I like Clover’s Chacopen Soluble Eraser Pen for light colored fabrics and General’s Pastel Chalk in White for my darks.
  • Thread Gloss: I highly recommend using thread gloss as it just makes life so much more easier (my go-to is Sew Fine Thread Gloss in Lemon Peel).
  • Hoop: When I’m hand quilting, I generally like to use a quilting hoop: for the cross-stitch-ish and satin stitch, I particularly like to use my smaller 12” one. Both of mine are probably considered “vintage” at this point and I can’t find them online, but just look for a sturdy wood hoop and you’ll be good to go!


If you’re looking for more “quiltbroidery” stitches, I’m collecting different ones over on as part of an ongoing project, so make sure to check them out (and if you’ve got any ideas of stitches to tackle next, questions on the above, or just want to say hi, send me an email at

If you like this tutorial, you’ll love the tutorial I have on Quilt Binding.  CLICK HERE to read that.

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