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A Quilt for a Baby Boy

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I was confronted with a challenge recently when I found out my boyfriend's sister was expecting a baby boy. I knew I wanted to make him a quilt but I was stumped when it came to the palette. I'm not someone who thinks that genders should be assigned colors (I think boys look great in pink), but at the same time I wanted to make something that this baby, and his parents, would be comfortable with.

I have been thinking about this issue a lot because many customers come in to our shop looking for fabrics for little boys. I often wish that people were more free with the fabric they used for children. I don't personally think all floral prints should be considered girlie, and I wish that great bright colors like purple weren't rejected so frequently for seeming "unmasculine". However, with all the great prints out there these days, it's totally possible to make a project that's exciting and still "boyish" enough to please everyone.

Since I work at Purl Patchwork and am surrounded by fabric all week, I was able to take my time deciding on the fabrics for my project. I took down a bunch of bolts and made a big mess. Slowly I started to put some things together. Here are some ideas I had before I settled on my final fabrics (click the thumbnail of any fabric to see it on purlsoho.com):

An outdoorsy green and brown?

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Sunny yellow and blue?

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Reds with a vintage feel?

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In the end I went with a blue, turquoise, and orange palette, including the Alexander Henry Zoo print (a perennial favorite of everyone at Purl Patchwork), orange woodgrain by Joel Dewberry, and plenty of very saturated Kona Cotton.

I made up a simple zig zag pattern for the quilt and I am so happy with how it turned out that I want to make a big one for my bed! If you'd like to make one too (for a boy or a girl) you can find the pattern in my Zig Zag Quilt Project Journal.  --Molly

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PS- The finished size of this quilt is 32" X 44".

200

  • 1-3/4 yards of P&B Color Spectrum in White for the background.
  • Four assorted 1/4 yards of various orange prints and solids. I used Kona Cotton in Tangerine and School Bus, Katie Jumprope in Orange Diamonds, and Aviary in Orange Woodgrain.
  • Five assorted 1/4 yards in blue prints and solids. I used Kona Cotton in Pacific and Lagoon, Alexander Henry's Zoo in Pool, P and B's Dotty in Blue and White, and a sadly discontinued Robert Kaufman dot print. I think the Shot Cotton in Navy or the American Jane Look and Learn Blue Stripe would be great alternatives.

(Fat quarters would work great here too. You can use as many patterns as you like just make sure you have at least 1/2 a yard all together.  I just happened to pick 4 oranges and 5 blues.)

CUT FABRICS

You will need to cut:

  • Sixteen 4-7/8 inch squares from the assorted orange fabrics
  • Sixteen 4-7/8 inch squares from the assorted blue fabrics
  • Thirty-two 4-7/8 inch squares from the white fabric
  • Three 4-1/2 inch x 32-1/2 inch strips from the white fabric

NOTE: Make the cutting easy on yourself; using a rotary cutter cut a bunch of 4-7/8 inch strips and then cut the squares from the strips.

MAKE TRIANGLE SQUARES

This quilt is just a bunch of half square triangles and three white strips. Follow along with our Triangle Tutorial to get a more in depth and visual explaination of making the orange and blue half triangle squares.

  • Pin all of the white 4-7/8 inch squares to the blue and orange 4-7/8 inch squares right sides together.
  • Mark them diagonally, from corner to corner with your Hera Marker (you can use a pencil too).
  • Sew 1/4 inch seam from either side of this mark on all of the pinned squares.
  • Cut the squares down the middle along your Hera Marker line.
  • Iron the triangle squares with seams open.

You'll have 32 blue and white squares and 32 orange and white squares.

PIECE THE TOP

BOY

  • Pin and sew eight of the orange triangle squares like so. This is the top row of your first orange zig zag row.
  • Repeat for the second orange zig zag row and then  make two more of these rows using the blue triangle squares.

BOY-2

Here is longer view of how the whole row will come together.

Use the rest of the orange and blue triangles to piece the bottom of the four zig zag rows like so:

BOY4

See where we're getting here? Now you can pin and sew the two halves of the rows together, the first row on top of the second. A zig zag is born!

BOY-5

The rest is simple. Lay it out and sew it like so:

  • Orange zig zag row
  • White strip
  • Blue zig zag row
  • White strip
  • Orange zig zag row
  • White strip
  • Blue zig zag row

That's it. Here is a rough sketch of it all put together.

ZIG-Quilt

QUILTING AND BINDING

Make your quilt sandwich (with the Zoo fabric on the back)

You'll be stitching in the ditch along the edges of the orange and blue zig zags and also in a zig zag pattern across the white strip section.

Mark the zig zag across the white strip with a hera marker or colored chalk and a ruler, mimicking the larger zig zags.

Zig-Zag-Quilt-Quilted

After it's quilted  trim and square off the whole sandwich and bind with the Tangerine Kona Cotton. (If you need a refresher course on double fold binding check out my Wool Blanket tutorial.)

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Click here to add a comment

41 Responses to A Quilt for a Baby Boy


  1. lucy.oh says:

    interesante proyecto …………pero por favor podran poner traductor ….(no entiendo el ingls)…..muchas gracias

  2. emily says:

    very wonderful! my favorite color combo is blue and orange! what a lucky boy!

  3. Michelle says:

    Lovely! It’s a shame that boys get looked over by fabric companies. I’m not sure what we need more of, but less of the over-the-top girl stuff would be nice.

  4. Lisa says:

    Being a huge fan of bright funky colors as well as simple clean design and not being a fan of overly baby-ish design, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this!!!!!

  5. Stephanie says:

    Too cute! My sister is expecting a boy and I think something like this is perfect! I do love the red selections you were thinking about too…but red is my fav. color..hehee.

    Great Job!

  6. emily says:

    very wonderful! my favorite color combo is blue and orange! what a lucky boy!

  7. Oh, wow, I loved the red and green&brown combos!! :p Just looking at them makes me all inspired to go make something myself with them,lol.

    The blue and orange is an excellent compromise, too. :D

  8. Allison says:

    I really love this quilt – I must remember to make it one day:)

  9. Amanda says:

    I love the colors and the design. It’s awesome. What a lucky little dude.

  10. kathie says:

    Love this quilt.
    Perfect solution for a boy. Acutally I love the vintage red set and would make that for a boy or a girl.
    Would love to see that with some blue ..red/white/blue
    for a boy would be great too.
    Kathie

  11. DianeM says:

    Wow! This is so versatile, I love the contemporary feel your version has but I’d be very interested to see someone make this in a romantic color palette too…or could you imagine it done with 30′s repro fabrics, or just all neutrals, no patterns…the possibilities of this pattern are just endless. Of course I love your quilt, it’s so clean & bright looking & will appeal to the little guy as he grows too :)

  12. Tia Curtis says:

    flying geese and triangle squares (I know there must be a real term for that piece, sorry) how simple! Brilliant. I will certainly give it a shot. Personally I adore bright colors for my boys, and they love them too. Happy New Year!
    xo
    tia

  13. cindy k says:

    i really love it and enjoyed reading about your color selection process. my husband’s favorite colors are the traditional blue and gray, but he does seem to pick out bright colors when i choose fabrics and purple.

  14. rosemary says:

    Great color combo and I loved seeing your other choices, too. I haven’t quilted in years but this really inspires me. Lucky lucky baby!

  15. Amy Hodge says:

    This is fabulous! Everyone I know seems to be having boys and I have been needing some ideas on how to put something together that doesn’t scream "I’m afraid of pink and flowers!" but still isn’t all pink and flowers. :) Thanks a bunch

  16. grumperina says:

    The simplicity of this quilt doesn’t take anything away from its beauty! What a wonderful combination of colors, and such balance in the design!

  17. Karin says:

    Oooh. I just love this quilt! It looks fairly simple. I might just be able to handle this. I see a project in my future!!

  18. Gaby says:

    As the mother of this EXTREMELY lucky dude, I couldn’t agree more with all these comments. It’s incredible and I can’t wait to see it. Now… can you also suggest a baby name?

  19. Marisa says:

    This is really a nice boy quilt. I’m always on the look out for good baby boy ideas…it seems all our babies have been boys in the friend circle lately!

  20. Elena says:

    Molly’s search for a combination of colors and shapes beyond the gender-traditional is truly innovative! The result is a fabulous quilt that will no doubt become a heirloom. A lucky dude, indeed… Elena

  21. Tere says:

    This is a beautiful quilt, and thank you so much for generously sharing the pattern. I have been looking for something like this as my next challenge!

    I very much appreciate what you’re saying about gender-specific colours and how we tend to limit ourselves to these traditional schemes. Because of this, I have to say I was hoping you would have chosen not to use blue. I know you would have done a wonderful job with a combination like the greens or reds, for example, and this would have really shown people that you don’t need to use blue for a boy…having said that though, I do want to reiterate that I do love what you’ve come up with.
    Just my two cents :-)
    Thanks!

  22. susy says:

    Beautiful project…just what I needed to see at this time of year – something fresh, bright and joyful….Happy New Year!

  23. Brandy says:

    This is a great baby quilt! The saturation of the colors are what do it for me.

  24. peanut says:

    That’s beautiful. It’s so bright and sunny. I’d love to see a grown up version or this one with the little guy snuggled underneath :)

    (I always figured that the gender/colour thing was just to help strangers when they wanted to ask you about your baby without offending you. ie. How old is he?)

  25. meg says:

    First of all, I love this! That zoo print is one of my all-time favorites. Secondly, thanks to your lovely instructions, I think I may have the confidence to conquer triangles. Woohoo! A new quilt block! What a great way to start off the new year! :)

  26. Meredith says:

    What a beautiful quilt! I LOVE the colors you’ve chosen. I was actually searching for some inspiration for a baby’s quilt, so this is great!! Thanks for sharing the pattern.

    Meredith@BittyCakes
    http://bittycakes.wordpress.com

  27. niki says:

    Great color combination. Blue and orange is one of my all time favorites. I can always count on you to come up with interesting quilt patterns. I am in the process of making your "color wheel" and am enjoying the heck out of it. Keep the patterns coming.

  28. erin says:

    this is stunning. really gorgeous. i love all the palettes you considered. well done.

  29. Amy says:

    I love how it turned out. Great Job.

  30. nova says:

    This is absolutely perfect. I have a boy and a lot of my friends are expecting boys…thank you for sharing this pattern!

  31. SarahStarr says:

    Lovely! I’m inspired.

  32. nancy says:

    that is so fantastic! i have a little collection of turquoise and orange fabrics all ready to be a quilt, i love that color combo, and your zig zag design is just PERFECT.

  33. SarahStarr says:

    Lovely! I’m inspired.

  34. Betty says:

    Great pattern and thanks for writing about boys and unexpected colors. I was having the same issues working on a quilt for my friend’s baby. I just didn’t want to do the typical colors, but was also concerned she might not appreciate a quilt that has any sort of flower pattern in it. That really narrowed down the selection in my stash! I went with a yellow and brown combo that I hope to post on my blog soon.

  35. Cara says:

    LOVE this. It’s so "charlie brown," don’t you think?

  36. Betty says:

    I liked this post so much that I had to comment again. I created a small baby blanket with different boy fabrics on my blog http://bettyninja.blogspot.com I also talked about how great this post was for a reference. Thanks!

  37. andrea says:

    I love the use of negative space in this quilt. It makes the carefully chosen fabrics that much more important! LOVE IT!!

  38. Jody says:

    Beautiful! Love the colors and the simplicity of the design … so tranquil.

    The whole boy fabric thing is tough. For my boys floral would be fine, but I’d be very very hesitant to use it anyone else’s baby. Sigh …

  39. Jody says:

    Beautiful! Love the colors and the simplicity of the design … so tranquil.

    The whole boy fabric thing is tough. For my boys floral would be fine, but I’d be very very hesitant to use it anyone else’s baby. Sigh …

  40. Lynn says:

    Hi, I'm trying to read the triangle tutorial you have linked in the instructions, but it is no longer available using the link. Do you still have it somewhere? I am working on my first quilt and would love to read it. Thanks! Love your blog!!

  41. Kelley says:

    Thanks for being my inspiration! :)

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