Friday, March 6, 2015

Biscuit Quilt or Puff Coverlet Instructions for Easy Sewing, No Quilting Required

Blue and White Alternating Squares with Colorful Backing Binding
Completed Biscuit Squares with Colorful Trim
Making a biscuit quilt or puff coverlet is one of the easiest craft quilting projects, requiring only simple sewing and the ability to sew a reasonably straight seam. Use leftover fabrics, randomly placed, or create a design with the squares.

The general concept of the puff quilt is that two squares are sewn together, one larger than the other one, and the sewn squares are joined together to form a coverlet. You can choose any size you want for the squares and for the quilt, and squares aren’t required. I’ve seen a Simplicity pattern that uses 7 1/2 by 9 inch rectangles to make a reversible puff coverlet, but you have to watch the direction of the rectangles.
Blue and white alternating puffs or biscuits assembled for pillow or doll quilt
A Nine-Patch Square is a Practice Piece

I prefer top squares that are about 6 inches to start, with the bottom square 5 inches. This makes completed squares about 4 inches. I also prefer light colors for the bottom squares, although they don’t show if you use a backing fabric for the quilt. Lighter colors on the bottom will let you choose a light color for the backing fabric; otherwise, you’ll have to use a dark color or a heavy fabric to prevent the backs of the squares from showing through.

Wash and dry all the fabrics before you start. Iron if necessary.

Cut as many 6-inch top squares as you want to try your luck with, and an equal number of 5-inch squares. Once you’ve tried this, you may want to try even smaller squares. Make your top square an inch larger than the bottom square unless you’re making top squares less than 4 inches. With a 4-inch (or less) top square, use 1/2 inch smaller squares for the bottom. A 4-inch top square matches best with a 3-1/2 inch bottom square.

Match each 6-inch square with 5-inch square, right sides together and wrong sides showing. Line up the top left corner, then pin all corners to make the stitching easier. Make a pleat in the center on three sides. If you have a zipper foot with your sewing machine, it works well for all of the stitching in this quilt. Use about 1/8-inch seam allowance. Starting about an inch from the corner, stitch around the three sides and an inch into the fourth side, leaving an opening for turning the square. Press around the edges of the squares once they’re turned. Make as many as you need for your project.
Sewing about one-eighth inch from the edge and making pleat about center of seam
Stitch around the square with a 1/8 inch seam allowance and a pleat in the center

Design your quilt by laying the squares on a flat surface with open edges at the top and moving them around until you like the combinations and the size. You can make a baby quilt with 7 squares by 9 squares in the 6-inch size, or 63 squares, but you can make a large pillow with 16 squares (4 by 4) or a 12 inch pillow with 9 squares.

Starting with the left square of the top row in your layout, take the first two squares and match the edges with the fronts together. Stitch together with a 1/8 to 1/4 inch seam. Sew each square to the next one until you have a row of stitched squares. Do the same for the other horizontal rows. You may see patterns calling for stitching biscuits so they are overlapped. I tried that and it works, but not as well as stitching them with front sides together. It's more difficult to keep them straight, and it's easy to miss the back edge.
Right sides facing to stitch turned and pressed biscuits together
Stitch Biscuits Together After Turning and Pressing

Cut pieces of batting of your choice about an inch smaller than your back squares. You’ll probably want two pieces for each square. Don’t make it too thick or it will be difficult to sew between the squares. I used Mountain Mist batting for the sample here and it has 4 thin layers together that worked well for my project.

Shows alternating colors of three squares in three horizontal rows for nine-patch design
Lay Out Design with Open Tops in Same Direction
Starting with the top row, stuff each square with an equal amount of batting and pin it closed with a vertical pin. Once you have the batting in place, stitch along the open edge, removing pins as you stitch. Here’s where a zipper foot really works, since the batting makes the quilt bulky. Complete each row of squares.

Sewing the horizontal rows closed after adding batting
Insert Batting and Close Openings With One Seam

Stitch each row of squares to the next one from the backside with front sides together until you have one solid piece for the quilt. Cut a backing piece from a complementary fabric, adding 6 inches all around. Add an extra inch for each seam you have to make in the backing.

White backing of biscuit quilt stitching completed from backside
Back of Nine-Patch Biscuit or Puff Squares with No Raw Edges
Center the quilt onto the backing fabric and pin into place. You should have 3 inches of backing all the way around that extends beyond the quilt. Press the edges toward the quilt, so they’re doubled, and extending about 1 1/2 inches all around. Fold that edge again catching the edge of the quilt, and pin with straight pins. Shape the corners so they look alike, either with a straight seam or by folding a triangle at the top to create a mitered look.

Center the Squares on the Backing Fabric and Fold Edge Twice to Meet Biscuits
Machine stitch all the way around the quilt with a straight stitch, just catching the edge of both the backing and the quilt. Remove the pins. You can add knots to the quilt by hand if you choose to hold the back to the front, but it isn’t necessary to keep the batting in place. The biscuit square confines the batting, so it won’t move much with washing.

My sample would be good for a pillow, but I'll probably give it to my granddaughter for a doll quilt. She'll put it to the best use.

See you again soon!



1 comment:

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