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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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