Lap Duvet

Even in the mild Spring weather I still find myself reaching for a blanket if I am reading or watching a movie on the couch at night. This is a problem because, until now,  I didn't have any throw sized blankets, only gigantic bed sized quilts which aren't very convenient when you have to fold them back up at the end of the night.

At a recent Purl Bee meeting Page mentioned that she was having the same issue and the idea for this project was born! We decided to make a very quick, very simply quilted lap blanket using a technique that Joelle used in the "Super Quick + Easy Baby Quilt" project from her book, Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts.

We also decided to use some of our favorite new fabric from designer Naomi Ito's Nani Iro line. These prints are beyond gorgeous. They have a unique painterly quality and come in the most beautiful colors. The fabric itself is a soft double gauze perfect for a Spring project. The wool batting I used made this piece feel so lofty that it in the end it seemed more like a fluffy duvet than a regular blanket.

This is my absolute favorite kind of sewing project: useful, beautiful, and quick. I actually timed it and it turns out that the entire project takes less than 2 and a half hours from start to finish. It would make a great housewarming gift and best of all you could whip it up on the afternoon of the housewarming party!


To make one blanket:

  • Two 1 3/4-yards  pieces of Nani Iro Fabric. I used Rainbow Pocho for Fabric A and Grey Saaa Saa for Fabric B the example duvet. (The purple duvet is made from Purple Fuwari and  Lavendar Pocho. The orange and pink duvet is made from Orange Fuwari and White Fuwari) This particular fabric is no longer available, but please check out all of our current Japanese fabrics for some great alternatives!
  • A crib sized Wool Batting
  • A spool 100% cotton thread to match each fabric

Other Ideas: Lap Duvet in Flannel!

In March 2012 I made a new Flannel version of these duvets! Sophisticated and elegant they use a mix of subtle Japanese Linen Blend Solids and ultra soft Ecrulet Flannel Stripes. The combination of fabrics is so plush and inviting that when I was all done, I felt like I had five puffy clouds on my desk. Everyone who walked by wanted to sink right into them!

  • 1 3/4-yards Ecrulet Flannel Stripes in Grey. (This particular fabric is no longer available, but please check out all of our current flannel fabrics for some great alternatives!)
  • 1 3/4-yards of a Kiyohara Linen Blend Solid. I used, from top to bottom in the materials pic above: Violet Grey, Lavender, Denim, Light Beige, and Brown.
  • A crib sized Wool Batting
  • 100% cotton thread in color 3170. For this version of this project I used the same thread in the top and the bobbin.

Even More Ideas!


Approximately 58-inches by 42-inches


Cutting and Sewing Together

Cut each of the fabrics to be 60-inches long. Do not cut the selvages.

Press both of them flat.

Lay Fabric A  down, right side up and smooth it so there are no wrinkles. Do this along a clean surface large enough for the entire piece of fabric (I used my just-vacuumed living room floor.)

Then lay Fabric B  fabric on top of Fabric A, wrong side up. In this case the striped fabric is slightly narrower than the dot fabric (it will be different for each fabric.) Center the striped fabric so that selvages of the wider fabric are poking out about 1/2-inch on either side.

Cut along the sides of the wider fabric to match it up with the more narrow fabric. If the pieces aren't exactly the same length trim them to match.

Lay the batting on top of the fabrics. Cut it to match the fabrics in the same manner as you did for fabrics.

Pin these three layers together along all four sides.

Using your machine's walking foot and the lighter of the threads sew around all four pinned sides with a 6/8-inch seam allowance leaving an 8-inch gap in the middle of one of the short sides.

Clip off the corners.

Turn the blanket right sides out through the gap. The right sides of both fabric will be facing out, the batting will be on the inside, and the seams will be hidden. Poke the corners out so they are nice and pointy.

Pin the gap closed with the raw edges on the inside of the blanket and handstitch it closed with a blindstitch.


Press the duvet on both sides and smooth it down on the flat surface again. Make sure that there are no major wrinkles.

Pin a safety pin through all three layers of the duvet every 7-inches along the entire area. Measure as shown above starting with a pin that is 7-inches from the top and 7-inches from the side. The next pin will be placed 7-inches to the right of this one, the next one 7-inches below the first, etc.

Repeat this until the entire duvet is pinned every 7-inches

Using the thread to match Fabric B in the bobbin and the Thread to match Fabric A in the top insert the duvet into the machine with the Fabric A side facing up. Using the machine's walking foot, quilt the duvet together at the pinned points using a bar tacking stitch, or a very short and wide zig zag. Remove the safety pins as you come to them.

The small quilting stitches will be almost invisible but will create a cozy tufted duvet.

Stitch in this manner at each pinned point, trim any excess threads, press one more time, and you're all done!  Enjoy! --Molly

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64 Responses to Lap Duvet

  1. Pam says:

    Is there a reason to use to throw size batting when then crib size one seems exactly the right size to make this lap blanket with?

  2. purl bee says:

    Hi Pam-

    You're right! I've changed the materials list. Thank you so much for pointing this out!



  3. Kate says:

    Do I need to wash the fabric first?

  4. purl bee says:

    Hi Kate-

    Yes, we do recommend that you wash the fabrics first.

    Thank you for writing in!


  5. Goda says:

    Hi Molly!
    Thanks for this post! Its amazing. I was scouting around for some gift ideas when I found this. Firstly I have to confess I have never done any kind of sewing before but I really want to try making this duvet. I dont have a machine but in response to one of the previous comments you mentioned that these can be hand sewed as well. Do you have any recommendations on how I can do that? I'd really appreciate your help!
    Thank you!

  6. Josie says:

    Do you think it would be possible to hand sew this?

    I know it would take longer, but I have no idea how to use a sewing machine..

  7. purl bee says:

    Hi Josie-

    Sure! This would be fine to hand sew, but you're right that it would take longer!

    Thanks for your question!


  8. Mamma J says:

    I am new to Sewing and Quilting ….can you hand stitch it? If you use the Machine…how do you use go from point to point without joining the stitches?

    Any advice would be awesome :)

    P.S. I LOVE IT!

  9. purl bee says:

    Hi Mama J-

    Sure you can stitch the layers together by hand. Or if you do it my machine simply lift the foot and cut the threads when you are done with each pinned point.

    Thanks for writing in!


  10. Ruth says:

    A commenter asked about the care of this and the answer is that it is machine washable. What about drying? Can it go in the dryer at all on a low setting? Or is it strictly air dried? Thank you!

  11. purl bee says:

    Hi Ruth-

    It can be machine washed and dried. Just make sure to prewash and dry the fabrics before you sew with them.

    Thanks for your question!


  12. ky_hiker says:

    Personally, I prefer NOT to prewash and dry my fabrics. I like when my quilts shrink a little for extra texture and loft!

  13. Michelle says:

    Thank you for this tutorial. I am a beginner sewer but have managed to make the duvet. I tried to use a trim (some broderie anglais) around the edge, by sewing it to the right side of the bottom sheet. However, when it came to sewing up and turning the duvet the right way round, the trim was hidden on the inside! Please could you let me know where I should have sewn the trim in order for it to have been along the outside of the duvet? Thank you.

    • Molly from the Purl Bee says:

      Hi Michelle-

      If you’d like trim around the edge you need to do it at the very end, after the duvet has been turned right sides out.

      Thanks for your question!


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