Search The Purl Bee
Sign up for our newsletter!

Idea Center
Follow The Purl Bee
« Molly's Sketchbook: Cozy Hooded Baby Towel | Main | Molly's Sketchbook: The Un-Paper Bag »
Friday
Dec282007

Molly's Sketchbook: A Quilt for a Baby Boy

 zigzagwhole425.jpg

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?

1798_thumbnail.jpg1762_thumbnail.jpg1011_thumbnail.jpg2492_thumbnail.jpg1858_thumbnail.jpg1669_thumbnail.jpg2019_thumbnail.jpg

Sunny yellow and blue? 

1494_thumbnail.jpg1641_thumbnail.jpg2496_thumbnail.jpg817_thumbnail.jpg3199_thumbnail.jpg158_thumbnail.jpg676_thumbnail.jpg

Reds with a vintage feel?

1332_thumbnail.jpg1493_thumbnail.jpg156_thumbnail.jpg979_thumbnail.jpg182_thumbnail.jpg1485_thumbnail.jpg2068_thumbnail.jpg

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

zigzagquiltbeauty.jpg

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.)

zigzagquiltbeauty.jpg 

Reader Comments (38)

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.
December 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle
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!!!!!
December 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
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!
December 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie
very wonderful! my favorite color combo is blue and orange! what a lucky boy!
December 28, 2007 | Unregistered Commenteremily
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
December 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMuralimanohar
I really love this quilt - I must remember to make it one day:)
December 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAllison
I love the colors and the design. It's awesome. What a lucky little dude.
December 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda
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
December 29, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterkathie
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 :)
December 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDianeM
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
December 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterTia Curtis
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.
December 29, 2007 | Unregistered Commentercindy k
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!

December 29, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterrosemary
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
December 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAmy Hodge
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!
December 29, 2007 | Unregistered Commentergrumperina
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!!
December 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKarin
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?
December 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterGaby
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!
December 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMarisa
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
December 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterElena
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!
December 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterTere
Beautiful project...just what I needed to see at this time of year - something fresh, bright and joyful....Happy New Year!
December 30, 2007 | Unregistered Commentersusy
This is a great baby quilt! The saturation of the colors are what do it for me.
December 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBrandy
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?)


December 30, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterpeanut
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! :)
December 30, 2007 | Unregistered Commentermeg
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
December 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMeredith
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.
December 31, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterniki
this is stunning. really gorgeous. i love all the palettes you considered. well done.
December 31, 2007 | Unregistered Commentererin
I love how it turned out. Great Job.
January 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAmy
This is absolutely perfect. I have a boy and a lot of my friends are expecting boys...thank you for sharing this pattern!
January 2, 2008 | Unregistered Commenternova
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.
January 2, 2008 | Unregistered Commenternancy
Lovely! I'm inspired.
January 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSarahStarr
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.
January 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBetty
LOVE this. It's so "charlie brown," don't you think?
January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCara
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!
January 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBetty
I love the use of negative space in this quilt. It makes the carefully chosen fabrics that much more important! LOVE IT!!
January 9, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterandrea
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 ...
January 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJody
interesante proyecto ............pero por favor podrían poner traductor ....(no entiendo el inglés).....muchas gracias
May 31, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterlucy.oh
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!!
July 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLynn
Thanks for being my inspiration! :)
May 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKelley

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.