Search The Purl Bee
Sign up for our newsletter!

Idea Center
Follow The Purl Bee
« 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)

I am going to make this tonight I have made so many for babies but never thought to make one for an adult. My husband has been complaining that his lap blanket is the size and warmth of a tissue and can't wait for the quilt that I have spent the last two weeks trimming blocks for grrrr. At least this way he can get his puffy blanket without it ruining the look of the very modern quilt that I'm making him :) Thanks ladies for the idea.
June 7, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterlamb
I absolutely love this idea! However I don't have a walking foot...can I sew everything together without one? Is it essential?
July 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRachel
I am a beginner sewer & I have really been wanting to make this for my queen size bed & possible a little larger, how would I go about doing this?
July 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrittney
Hi Rachel. We find a walking foot to be essential for something this thick, but depending on your sewing machine you might be okay without it. Let us know how it goes! -Laura
July 25, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
So glad you like the project. Making this for a queen size bed will involve some piecing. Have you seen Molly's Snappy Duvet story? I think you might find it quite helpful:
Let us know if you have any more questions. Thanks. -Laura
July 25, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I am sooooo excited to make this over the weekend! Thanks for sharing these amazing projects!
November 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAdrianne
Hi! Thank you so much for sharing this project! I am actually in the process of finishing my first one up; however I've run into a frustrating snag!

I am on the last step trying to use a zig zag stitch with a walking foot to tack the batting in place and my stitches keep unraveling! I have tried increasing the number of times I go over the spot (which just makes the "invisible" tacks way more visible) and increasing the thread tension but nothing seems to work :(. Do you have any suggestions? Right now, I have my thread tension at 3.5 and my stitch length at 2.5.

I've looked at the hand tying option but I'm really not interested in that particularly look for this blanket.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts or suggestions! I really want to complete my first "quilting" project!
January 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
Hi Laura-

I'm so sorry you're having this issue! Are the stitches unraveling after they are sewn or is it not sewing through all of the layers at all?

If the stitches are unravelling after they are sewn I would make the stitches wider and make sure to sew forwards and backwards (as neatly as possible) a few times over the same little area.

If the machine isn't sewing through all 3 layers my only advice would be to change your needle, rethread the machine, and then go very very slowly.

If these ideas don't work I would either try it on a friend's machine or just do it by hand.

I hope this helps. Thanks for writing in!
January 10, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
In the directions, when it says "press the duvet", I assume we are to iron the duvet. Is this correct? It is my understanding that heat should not be used with wool batting.
March 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCristina
Hi Cristina-

Yes, "press" means to iron. And you can use an iron on wool batting no problem. You can even machine wash and dry it!

Thanks for your question!

March 4, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
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?
August 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPam
Hi Pam-

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


August 15, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Do I need to wash the fabric first?
September 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKate
Hi Kate-

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

Thank you for writing in!

September 13, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
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!
October 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGoda
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..
November 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJosie
Hi Josie-

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

Thanks for your question!

November 4, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I am new to Sewing and Quilting ....can you hand stitch it? If you use the do you use go from point to point without joining the stitches?

Any advice would be awesome :)

December 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMamma J
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!

December 27, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
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!
January 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRuth
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!

January 19, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee

PostPost a New Comment

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