Charm Packs are an easy way to make a simple baby quilt with a large variety of different but coordinated fabrics.
To make a 42″ x 42″ charm pack baby quilt you will need 64 5″ squares – usually 2 Charm Packs is perfect. (Moda Charm Packs have 42 squares in them, other companies vary. Check the back of the packaging for the exact number.)
Lay out the 64 squares in 8 rows of 8 squares each. There’s no right or wrong here, just play with the squares until it looks good.
Take the top square (square 1) and lay it face up. Pick-up the square 2 and lay it face down on top of square one. Pin the right side together.Bring the paired-up squares to the machine. Sew the squares together with a 1/4″ seam allowance. This usually means lining up the edge of the fabric with your presser-foot.
**A consistent seam-allowance is the KEY to good-looking piecing – just always keep the edge of your fabric lined-up with your presser foot. **
Now open up that pair and pin square 3 facing square 2. Sew a 1/4″ seam. Repeat for the next 5 squares and for rows 2-8.Pressing may seam tedious, but it really makes a difference in how your quilt turns out. Press your seams to one side (not open). Then turn over and press from the top to make sure the seams are nice and flat.
Alternate directions the seams are pressed for odd and even rows. This illustration shows rows 1 and 2 with seams pressed alternating directions. Continue to do that in the rows that follow.Place the two rows facing each other, matching up seams. The pressed seams should butt up against each other.
Now for the borders you will need four strips of fabric measuring 3 1/2″ x 42″ (or the width of the fabric.) This means you will need 14″ of yardage – or just over 3/8 of a yard (by 1/2″). If your fabric store is nice, they will measure that 3/8 yard generously and give you that extra 1/2″.
It’s a good idea to measure the length of the quilt sides before you sew, rather than just sewing a strip on and cutting-off the excess after. Your quilt will be more square, which will make it easier to quilt and to lie flat.
This is the easiest and fastest way I’ve found for measuring your border lengths. Before you measure your borders, carefully trim off the selvage edges. Then lay 2 of the border strips across the middle of your quilt, lining-up one end of the strips with the edge of the quilt. The other strip edges will hang over the side. (Below)
Then fold the border strip in half end to end to find the center. Pin the center of your strip to the center of your pieced quilt top and pin the ends of the strip to the ends of the quilt. Then space pins along the strip to secure the strip. (It is not bad if your strip is slightly smaller than the pieced part of the quilt, but this is why pinning at this point is important.)
Pin opposite side of quilt, sew borders on, and press them open looking at the front of the quilt.
Now you will repeat this process for the last two sides of the quilt. Lay the last border strips across the center of the quilt.
Mark length with a pin to trim off excess.When strips are trimmed to the right length repeat process above. Find center of the strip and pin to center of the side of the quilt. Pin ends and then space pins throughout before sewing strips to opposite sides.
Press open again from the front and voila!
Your top is finished and ready to quilt however you like. You will need 1 1/4 yards for the back. There is great tutorial here for quilting with your own machine. Or you might like to hand quilt it or tie it. Or you could take your charm pack baby quilt to someone who will professionally machine quilt it for you. 🙂
There is a follow-up tutorial for Binding or finishing a quilt here. You will need 3/8 of a yard (or 10″ of fabric) for binding.