Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Crinkle Quilt

Today I'm sharing a tutorial that originally appeared on the Moda Bakeshop site a few months ago. It's a favorite around our house now and still looks just gorgeous after many, many washings. Don't forget to check out my ruffle series for help with ruffling-- or take a look at the mini version made almost entirely with a serger.

This quilt is full of color and crinkles that babies will love. At the same time, it's a forgiving pattern that comes together in a few hours and doesn't require any precision piecing.  

The finished quilt is is about 40 inches square-- my favorite size baby quilt as both a mother and quilter. The size is perfect for covering a newborn or as a play mat for an infant, and doesn't take much room in the wash. For a toddler it's a great size for strollers and car seats, and is still large enough to be a lap quilt for a child or adult. As a quilter, I love that I don't have to piece the backing and it's easy to fit in the small throat of my home sewing machine.

Quilt Top:
1  Simply Color Layer Cake
1 Yard Focus Print (I chose White Aquatic Blue)
1.5 Yard  (I chose White Sweet Tangerine Chevron)
1/2 Yard (I chose White Lime Aqua)


The Crinkle Quilt alternates 5 inch strips of smooth fabric with pieced  ruched strips.  The texture makes errors in piecing unnoticeable  making this an easy, quick quilt that's done without much fuss. 

The colored strips in the diagram below are pieced ruffled; while the white ones are plain. The twist is the ruffling! With the tips you'll learn in this tutorial, the ruffles will be a snap too. 

Cut List (for quilt top only): 

  • Cut your focus fabric into 5 5.5" by WOF and set aside
  • Next, pick 24 squares out of the layer cake and cut them in half to make 48 5" by 10" rectangles. 

Piecing The Strips

Divide the 48 rectangles into 4 groups of 12. Sew each group together end to end making 4 long strips as shown below. (Chain piecing makes this step go fast).

Next, place a pin in one end of each long strip. I know this seems like a small thing, but I promise it will help with the ruffling later. From this point onward, whenever we sew, we will always start with the pinned edge going into the machine first. This will keep the ruffles looking even and keep the seam allowances from flipping up. 

Move to the ironing board and press all the seam allowances to one side away from end with the pin. Once you've done all four strips, you'll be ready to ruffle!


We are going to use the tension method to ruffle. This method is ideal for ruffling long strips that might need slight adjustments at the end. If you are having trouble with this method, try using another ruffling method.

Change your sewing machine to have a long stitch length and high tension.

We'll still need to add even more tension to get the fabric to ruffle enough to be the same size as the focus fabric strips. To do that, I hold the thread down with one finger while sewing.

Here's a close up of what I'm doing. You can also lightly pinch the thread through your fingers if that's easier. Just be sure to do this between the thread spool and tension disks as shown in the picture below.

While ruffling, make sure to pull out a long tail of both bobbin and top thread at either end of each strip. I normally use 10-12 inches to be on the safe side.

Starting with the pinned end of the strip, sew along one edge using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.You'll see your strip ruffle up along one edge.

Then, starting with the pinned edge again, sew along the opposite edge. This will mean you'll have to flip the strip over to the wrong side.

Do this until you have 4 strips ruffled down each side. Don't forget to change your sewing machine settings to normal.

Now, compare each strip with the focus fabric strips that we set aside. Pull on the top sewing thread to adjust the strip to be the same length as the focus fabric strips. I also like make sure the pieced sections look like squares instead of trapezoids .

Now for the most important step: Press the ruffled strips well and top stitch down each side of the ruffled using a quarter inch seam allowance and normal stitch length. This will stabilize your ruffled strip and keep it from shifting while you sew.  Now you can remove those pins at the ends of your strips!

Using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, sew the strips together as normal, alternating a ruffled strip with a plain strip.

Your top is complete and ready to be quilted!

Finishing up 

Quilt your Crinkle Quilt with any pattern you like. I recommend not quilting the ruffled strips--  they poof up beautifully in the wash, and are so much fun for little fingers to play in. Trim, square and bind the quilt just as you would any other quilt.

You'll end up with a 40'' by 44'' quilt. Covers one sleepy child.

This was my first Bakeshop tutorial, and I was thrilled with the response. I've since been back to share the Cake Clutches, and I'm crossing my fingers that they will invite me back again someday! :)