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« May Mini Quilt of the Month: Yo-Yo Coverlet | Main | Laura's Loop: Felt Ball Necklaces »

Molly's Sketchbook: 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!


The Materials

To make one roughly 58-inch by 42-inch blanket:


Materials for the Flannel Version

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!

To make one 58 X 42-inch blanket:


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

Reader Comments (71)

This is a really pretty project! How do you care for it though? I assume at some point it will need to be cleaned. Is it washable or does it need to be dry cleaned?
May 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAngelina
HI Angelina-

This project can be washed in the machine because the batting is made from Superwash wool. Thanks for your question!-
May 25, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Ooooh, thanks for letting me know! I have GOT to make one of these now.
May 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAngelina
I'm going to make this in a smaller size for my massage therapist's soon to be baby girl - I know she'll love it. Perfect for our Florida weather.
May 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBellen
I love this. But when I make one (and I will) I'll probably spread it out on the floor and hand tie it to be sure I don't jumble up the batting inside.
Don't know why I never thought of the smaller size. Perfect for naps on the couch when I can smush my feet under Beau, my beagle. Cait Sith, my cat, will snuggle in by my tummy and I can pull this perfect throw over my shoulders.
Great idea!
May 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJan
Beautiful duvet! Question: Should you wash the fabric before sewing?
May 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristin
Thank you for sharing this project. I have been thinking about how to make something like this, now I can't wait to start!
May 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnna
I LOVE the duvet! And Nani Iro fabrics are gorgeous (each colour has a cute name in Japanese, by the way)! The project will be the perfect first quilt for a first timer like me :) Thank you so much for the great tutorial!
May 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEmi
Hi Kristin-

If you don't wash the fabrics before hand your fabric will pucker up a bit and shrink just a little bit. I think it will add to the tufted quality of the quilt. But if you want it to stay 100% the same as when you sewed it then yes, you should wash the fabrics first (do not wash the batting)

Thanks for your question- Molly
May 26, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I've been collecting quilt ideas ( and Nani Iro project inspirations ( for quite some time now, but have not quite gathered the courage to begin a project. I agree with Emi - this one is perfect for a beginner. Great timing too - I'm throwing a baby shower for my best friend next month & I've been wanting my first quilt to be for her baby boy! Thank you so much!
May 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterania
Will this method work for larger duvets? It looks so cozy and wonderful. I'd love to have one on my bed!
June 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKatie Campbell
Hi Katie-

It would work for a larger duvet, in fact a lot of us have been talking about making them for ourselves!

Thanks for the nice question!- Molly
June 1, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Again, so beautiful and simple. I finally collected all my materials for this -- I didn't act quite fast enough, so I missed the boat on both fabrics from Purl Soho, but I was able to find the same beautiful choices through Etsy -- and my wool batting arrived from Purl today. Huzzah!
June 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEmily in Mill Valley
do you have any idea if the colorful dot pattern and the blue/gray stripes will be available again??? they are just perfect for what i need to make, but unfortunately no longer on the site???? i absolutely LOVE the combo!!!! thanks for any info!
June 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjoye
Hi Joye-

The fabric should be back in stock at the beginning of August (it takes a while to get here from Japan!) If you'd like to be notified when it comes in please email us at

Thank you!
June 23, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
A) All the fabric is soooooo lovely. Can't wait to find/order some.
B) This is so cute and easy and perfect for those of us who love blankets year round!
June 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKate
I made this duvet using different fabrics from your store and it came out great. thanks for the wonderful article! i'm currently making another one for my 2nd child, but this time i bought cotton batting by mistake. i read that cotton shrinks/bunches when washed, so i'm afraid the 7" quilting tacks won't be enough to secure the batting. do you have any suggestions? thanks again!
July 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermm03
I made this as a baby quilt for my new niece and it was so beautiful. I made french knots instead of tying, as I thought that would be safer for a baby quilt. I used a different naomi fabric and a contrasting fabric on the backside with the wool batting. It was so incredibly soft that I'm secretly hoping it becomes her favorite blanket. You can see pictures of it here
August 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCrafty Farm Girl
I love these couch duvets and can't wait to make one for autumn evenings.
August 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersue fogwell
You all are just great there!! I visit every time I'm in NY.
August 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElaine
Hi Crafty Farm Girl-

Thank you so much for sharing! The duvet and your niece are both beautiful!

- Molly
August 25, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I love this pattern as well, but want to make something to fit a queen size bed. I know you said in a previous response that the pattern would work for a larger size, but I have some questions. I'm not particularly versed in quilting. If the fabric is only 54" wide, I'll still need to seam at least two pieces together on the top and bottom for it to be big enough, right? Or am I way off? What dimensions would you use for a queen size duvet?
August 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEllen M
Hi Ellen-

A queen sized duvet is usually about 88-inches by 92-inches, although there is no real standard so you can just measure your favorite quilt or duvet and make it the same size.

You will definitely need to piece the fabric together to get it wide enough. This particular fabric is 44-inches wide so you would need at least two 2 1/2 yard pieces per side to make something queen sized. Thanks for your question!
- Molly
August 29, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hello, the duvet looks fantastic! I would like to make it and use some fabrics from Nani Iro that you used it , but I see that most of them are sold out , would you have more?
Congratulations from spain
September 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMònica
Hi Monica-

These fabrics are on order if you'd like to be notified when it comes back in stock please drop us a line at

Thank you for your nice comment.
September 1, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
This is such an awesome project, and I've gotten to the quilting bit, but I don't get it. How do I do a zigzag stitch at just those points, every seven inches? If I cut the threads in between stitches (as in a tied quilt), the stitches will just unravel. If I DON'T cut the threads between stitches, I have these ridiculously ugly 7-inch-long strings.
This may be a really dumb question, but I've never quilted anything before! I think I'm just missing something.
September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarita Li
Hi Sarita-

This is not a dumb question at all! To use the zig zag stitch on your machine simply go back and forth with the zig zag stitch at the marked point. You can go forwards a 1/4-inch and then backwards many times. When you cut the thread your quilting stitches will not unravel.

Hope this clarifies things. Please let us know if you have any more questions.

Thank you for your question!
- Molly
September 8, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Thanks Molly!

That seemed the obvious thing to do, but for some reason I was thinking it was meant to be a decorative stitch and that going back and forth would mess it up.


Thank you for clarifying.
September 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarita Li
Hi Sarita-

So glad this helped. The stitch is meant to be kind of invisible since you use matching thread and it's so small. Good luck!

- Molly
September 9, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Tacking the layers together with a zigzag stitch is easier if you drop the feed dog before stitching. I learned this when I made balloon shades recently!
September 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

I'm ordering this same fabric and batting to begin the project. I intend to use the finished product as a baby gift, but when reading more about the Nani Iro double gauze fabric, someone said that it shouldn't be machine dried.

You mention that it can be machine washed, but is it okay to put it in the dryer? I want to make sure this is an easy baby blanket to care for and will choose another fabric if not.

I hope it will work - I've been gushing over this project for months and am finally pulling the trigger. Thanks!

January 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMaika
PS - is the "orange fuwari" fabric used in this project the same as the "orange bouquet" currently for sale on purl soho? It appears the same, but with the name slightly different, I want to double check. Thanks!
January 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMaika
Hi Maika-

You can wash and dry these fabric. Sometimes the labels on the fabrics are a bit cautious.

Also, the Orange Bouquet and the Orange Fuwari are indeed the same thing.

Thanks for your questions!

January 23, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I made myself one using two yards each side. Most throws are so short you have to pull up your knees to cover yourself so I used two yards. It turned out so amazing and my daughter and hubby were so jealous that I could stretch out in my chair and they had to tuck their feet under with their blankets I ended up making one for them too! Now we each have our own and love them! This was the best idea EVER!
February 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy
I don't have a sewing machine. Can I make this project by handsewing?
February 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPatricia
eeeeeeeek!!! love this!!!
March 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertifanie
My mother made this for me and my new born baby. It is the perfect thing to keep us warm in the nursing chair, especially in the wee hours of the night. It is light weight but wonderfully warm and cozy. She added a beautiful cross stitched patch to the corner with our names on it.
March 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie Taylor
Hi Patricia-

It doesn't seem impossible to do this without a machine but sewing the sides together through the back, front, and backing does seem a little unwieldy. But if you are a confident hand sewer I don't see why you couldn't give it a try.

Thanks for your question-

March 1, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
hello thank you for the tutorial may i ask do you need to use the walking foot when doing the zig zag quilting? thank you!
March 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlice
Hi Alice-

Yes you do! Thank you for pointing that out! I'll amend the pattern to explain that now.

Thanks for writing in.

March 2, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
hi molly, thank you so much for your reply. is that possible to do the quilting w/o a walking foot? unfortunately i'm located in a region where it's difficult to source one for my sewing machine. thanks again!
March 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlice
Is there another recommended option to the wool batting? My friend is allergic and I'm going to make her a couple of these for her new refinished living room?
March 7, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdmarie
Hi Dmarie-

You can use cotton batting, it just won't be as fluffy, but it will still be beautiful and work just the same. Here's a link to our highest loft cotton batting:

Thanks for your question!

March 7, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Any chance you have a similar pattern for a twin sized blanket like this?
March 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKendra
Hi Kendra-

We don't but you could easily adjust it yourself if you just use larger pieces of fabric and a larger piece of batting. Just make sure you quilt it at least every 8-inches so the batting doesn't fall apart in the wash.

Thank you!

March 13, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Simple and charming duvets! Thanks for the tutorial. :+)
March 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulie
The instructions that came with my walking foot say that I can't go backwards. So do I need to find some other way to tack the three layers together?
May 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterUrban Cholita
Hi Urban Cholita-

I might give it a try anyway. Unless you have some kind of super high tech machine that I don't know about the worst thing you'll do is break a needle and that is easy to replace. If it really won't go backwards you can probably use your regular presser foot. Or you could tie the duvet by hand. Instructions on tying can be found here:

Thank you for your question and good luck!

May 3, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I'm still confused on the tacking part - do you cut the threads after each tacking stitch or do you just leave the long thread in between and cut them all at the end? Hope that makes sense.
June 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie
Hi Laurie-

It won't make a difference in the end if you cut as you go or wait until the end to cut them, so it's just a personal preference.
Thanks for your question!

June 5, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee

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