Made with Love: My Handmade Bed Quilt

After finishing my first quilt (see it here, My First Quilt from Start to Finish!) I knew I had to make one for my bed. It’s a logical place to put a quilt, and it feels worth the investment of time and materials since it will be used every day. I enjoyed quilting so much the first time, why not make an even bigger quilt for the second one!

Here it is! If you hate quilting, look away, because I’m about to show you way too many photos of this beauty. I’m really proud of this quilt.

folded bed quilt

When I told Mr. Sewaholic that I wanted to make us a bed quilt, his only request was ‘no flowers.’ There are no flowers in this quilt, not one! Instead there are flags, circles, arrows, wood-grain egg shapes, dots and plus-signs. There’s even a print that looks like sewing pins – the lightest blue one!

bed quilt fabric, close up

The quilt pattern is called Small Plates. It’s from a book, The Practical Guide to Patchwork, which tells you how much fabric to buy, how to make each block and how to put the quilt together. I like that it even tells you how to make the quilt back, and it’s an interesting-looking back too.

First, you make all the blocks. I actually increased the size of this quilt, making it 10 blocks by 10 blocks for a square quilt, instead of the 8 x 10 in the pattern. I figured that would make it a better size for a queen bed, square rather than rectangular. (The book tells you which quilt designs can be made larger by adding blocks, and which designs are better enlarged by adding wider borders. I like when a book anticipates my questions.)

quilt blocks

Then you sew them together. But, unlike my last one where every block looked the same, it matters where you place each block. Otherwise there might be too many orange blocks next to each other, and a predominantly blue section somewhere else.

lay out quilt blocks in a pleasing way

I also didn’t want the bordered print to be next to a white block with the same print. So it took a bit of playing around to get them laid out in a way I was happy with!

laying out quilt blocks on the floor

This would be so much easier if you have a big house…

all the quilt blocks!

Then it gets sewn into strips, then the strips are sewn to form the quilt top.

quilt block strips

This thing is BIG. Here it is draped over a full-size cutting table at Spool of Thread, where I went to pin-baste it. (Not only is it too wide for my office hallway, where I pin-basted my first quilt, but they’ve put a filing cabinet in my way, shrinking the hallway even more.)

pinning bed quilt at spool of thread

Doing the actual quilting – sewing through the backing, quilt top, and batting – was a challenge. I can’t even imagine how I’d do this if I were to try quilting a design. Sewing straight lines was challenging enough! Look at all that fabric to handle.

quilting in progress

I got smarter, and started rolling up the extra quilt into a tight roll. Much easier than a bunched-up wad of quilt!

quilting in progress

It took about six hours of solid sewing to quilt this thing. I tell you, that was a lot of sitting! I learned these stools are very uncomfortable if you sit on them for four hours straight.

this stool is not so comfortable

I came in on a Saturday to quilt and sewed straight lines from 8 to about 12.30, non-stop, and still didn’t finish! I used probably 10 bobbins, I lost track when the first five I wound ran out, and I started refilling them. I worked on it mainly on weekends. It was so much fun to work on it, would be too much of a distraction to work on during the week.

As an improvement on the first quilt I made, I ran the stitching lines off the quilt onto the batting. This way, the binding covers up the start of each stitch line.

run quilting stitch lines off the edge

Choosing fabrics for a quilt is different than clothing. I think I did OK, but once it’s all sewn up I can see things I would change for next time. I find the brown print too dark, and the orange a bit loud. I’d replace them with different blue or green tones if I were to make it again. I also preferred certain fabric combinations more than others – I loved everything with both grey prints, and I liked nearly every combination with light blue or medium blue.

bed quilt

I took photos of it outside, then brought it home to be washed before making up the bed.

bed quilt

What I like about this quilt is there’s so much to look at. There are I think ten or twelve different fabrics mixed in, in all kinds of combinations. Try and find duplicate blocks!

bed quilt

I see why people have someone hold up a quilt to photograph it! I laid it out on the grass and wondered how on earth I would fit it all in the photo.

bed quilt

Here’s the back of the quilt.

back of the bed quilt

I might even like the back better than the front, in fact. I think Mr. Sewaholic prefers the back. But all the hard work is on the front!

quilt back

I picked my two favourite prints for the main part of the backing. The strip down the middle uses all of the prints from the quilt top!

This railing works pretty well as a quilt-holder.

handmade bed quilt - small plates

Here it is, at home!

bed quilt

I tried it on the bed to see how big it was, before washing the quilt and all the bedding.

bed quilt, on bed!

Looking back it would probably be smart to try the quilt top on the bed when it’s just a single layer of pieced fabric. Then you could add more blocks or strips to the side if you wanted it bigger.

bed quilt, at home on bed

After washing it gets crinkly and textured. It’s so neat! It was dark and the photo is a bit yellow, but you can see the difference in the texture. Now it’s like an heirloom quilt, passed down for generations, except I just finished making it.

quilt after washing

A bed quilt, finished! My quilting goal is complete.

bed quilt finished!

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54 Responses to Made with Love: My Handmade Bed Quilt

  1. Dana February 19, 2014 at 6:31 am #

    Looks amazing!! I love the color combinations too. I have been wanting to try quilting and I think you may have just inspired me. Headed to Amazon to buy that book now. :)

    • Tasia February 19, 2014 at 10:12 am #

      It’s a great book. It covers everything you need to know as a beginner, with plenty of nice-looking patterns to make your first quilt.

  2. Sasha February 19, 2014 at 6:32 am #

    It is a very very nice quilt … I especially like the color palette and the fact that you worked the backside too !!! :)

    • Tasia February 19, 2014 at 10:13 am #

      Thank you! The fact that this book included patterns for the back of the quilt too was what sold me on it. When you’re learning it’s nice to have everything planned out for you. :)

  3. Carolyn February 19, 2014 at 6:34 am #

    Just beautiful! I love the pops of bright orange, and the colors and fabrics are definitely man-appropriate. : ) Great job Tasia! Hopefully you’ll be using this quilt for years to come.

    • Tasia February 19, 2014 at 10:13 am #

      Thank you! I’m sure I will be using it for years, I think quilts last a long time? We’ll find out!

  4. Emmely February 19, 2014 at 6:38 am #

    I like it! You used such fun fabrics. I have absolutely no problem believing it took you that long to quilt. The weight and all that fabric that gets in the way always slows me down and I’ve never even attempted to quilt anything this large.

    • Tasia February 19, 2014 at 10:14 am #

      Oh yeah, the weight! It’s great if it’s cold weather, all that heavy quilt on your lap keeps you warm. But it’s a pain to move around and manage the bulk.

  5. Maggie February 19, 2014 at 6:48 am #

    You did a great job! There’s no feeling like using a quilt you have made yourself. My house is small too, and sometimes I lay out my blocks on my bed to arrange them. Also sometimes I quilt my quilts in pieces and then sew them together, but that makes it hard to do anything pieced on the back.

    • Tasia February 19, 2014 at 10:15 am #

      Interesting – you quilt pieces of a quilt, and then join the sections together? What happens in between each section?

      • margaret February 19, 2014 at 5:01 pm #

        There are several ways to do quilt as you go. Leah day,, has information on how she does it by adding a sashing. This site,, used the method with her skill builder quilt last year. I have not done it yet, but I am hoping for more consistent sleep from my 15 month old and tackle it this year.

  6. Michelle @ needle and nest February 19, 2014 at 6:49 am #

    It’s gorgeous! Thanks for sharing! I love looking at other people’s quilts. It’s good for inspiration and just fun to enjoy the fruits of other quilters’ labors. xoxo

  7. sherri February 19, 2014 at 7:08 am #

    Very pretty. I like the colors you choose. Could you fit the quilt in your own washing machine or did you need an extra large washing machine. What did you use for the inside batting.

    • Tasia February 19, 2014 at 10:16 am #

      I fit it in my regular washing machine in the apartment. I washed it all by itself though to give it plenty of room. For the inside batting I used this: cotton batting.

      • sherri February 19, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

        Thank you. I have some of this batting. I’ve used it in placemats.

  8. Samina February 19, 2014 at 7:11 am #

    That’s just gorgeous! It really inspires me to get going on my quilts in process. I’ve got a couple of smaller ones going, but I’d love to make a bed-sized one. Also, Elizabeth Hartman’s book is great isn’t it? Do you follow her blog? It’s & it’s serious eye candy. I love her style. No affiliation, of course – I’m just a groupie!

    • Tasia February 19, 2014 at 10:17 am #

      I read a lot of her blog when I started getting into quilting! I love the star-shape quilt she made, with the tutorials. I think I went backward through her archives for a long time, so many gorgeous quilts and ideas!

  9. knottygnome February 19, 2014 at 7:26 am #

    it’s beautiful! great job.

  10. Jenny February 19, 2014 at 7:43 am #

    Congrats, what an achievement!

  11. autumn February 19, 2014 at 8:44 am #

    oh, nice job, lady!!! how exciting! i keep telling myself to hop on a quilt, but we’ll see when that happens!!

  12. Linda February 19, 2014 at 9:48 am #

    It’s gorgeous!

  13. Velma February 19, 2014 at 10:14 am #

    Careful, you will get hooked! It may be too late.

    • Tasia February 19, 2014 at 10:21 am #

      It is too late for sure! I’m already thinking of what to make for my third quilt :)

  14. Linda February 19, 2014 at 10:25 am #

    Awesome job! It looks really nice on the bed – airy but warm. Ready for the next one? I think quilting might be just a tad bit adicting.

    • Tasia February 19, 2014 at 10:41 am #

      Totally ready for the next one! Thinking the next one will be a scrap quilt to use up some of the scraps I’ve collected over the years. Absolutely addicting.. then again I do have that type of personality :)

  15. Nicki February 19, 2014 at 10:56 am #

    I love it, looks so fresh and modern. You did a great job. I still really want to make a quilt but I’m still scared to start! That book sounds good, I’m going to
    Look it up.

    • Tasia February 19, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

      It’s not that scary, really, check out my first quilt project. I show pretty much all of the steps you go through, none of which are exceptionally difficult to do. Good luck!

  16. Sandra February 19, 2014 at 11:27 am #

    Great job Tasia, very impressive! Love the colors and the combinations you made.

  17. catherine February 19, 2014 at 11:34 am #

    It’s a beauty Tasia. Congratulations, you are clever.

  18. Lara February 19, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    Such a lovely quilt and such a special thing to make. I have 2 handmade quilts, from my Mum and Grandma respectively, but never tried my hand at one myself. My mum’s given me loads of my childhood dresses though and I’d love to use them somehow one day. Here’s to finding the time for that! x

    • Tasia February 19, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

      That would be an amazing quilt project, sewing it out of your childhood dresses! How wonderfully sentimental in the best way. :) I hope you have time for that one day, when the time is right, and I would love to see if it you do!

  19. Georgette February 19, 2014 at 11:42 am #

    I love the quilt and the colors. You did a wonderful job with it. I can’t wait to make one for my first grand baby.

  20. Youanna February 19, 2014 at 1:46 pm #

    Don’t make me drop my sewing To Do list, please! Your quilt is so great, I want to do some quilting now, and drop everything else aside. I have a wedding to attend in March, and I have to work on the dress I plan to wear. This doesn’t give much time to pick up a quilting project, but your steps here and tips are awesome!

    • Tasia February 19, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

      Sorry! :) I love quilting, you’re right it’s a major distraction when you have sewing on a deadline to do! Use the quilting project as a reward – once the dress is done, or if it has to hang as a final step before hemming, then you get start your quilt project!

  21. Heather February 19, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

    It’s beautiful! I love the color combinations and pattern you used. Great job on the making the back interesting and attractive, as well. I have to confess that by the time I’m done with the front, I just want to forget the back! Nice job!

    • Tasia February 19, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

      I did the back first! :) No reason really except that it was faster to sew up the back than the front. Which is probably a good method to test the size too, sew the back because it’s faster, check the size, and make sure the plan for the front works.
      And thank you!

  22. Tiffany February 19, 2014 at 2:13 pm #

    Looks beautiful! I’m just curious, is a quilt ‘handmade’ even when it’s sewn by machine?

    • Tiffany February 19, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

      I googled it and I think I found the answer to my own question. It looks like all quilts are handmade, but quilts can be ‘handsewn’ and/or ‘hand quilted’ as opposed to machine sewn and quilted or some combination. Is that right?

      • Tasia February 19, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

        Yes, you can do the quilting by hand or by machine. I called it ‘handmade’ because I made it rather than bought it. :) Sure, I sewed the quilting lines by machine, but I still used my hands to do all the cutting and sewing! If I made it, whatever it is, I call it handmade. (And I did hand-stitch all of the binding, took forever!) But you’re right, you can quilt by hand which makes it even more handmade.

        • Tiffany February 20, 2014 at 9:45 am #

          Thanks! I don’t know much about quilting and it’s nice to learn new things.

  23. Nessa February 19, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

    Well done for persevering with the quilting part! So glad you are proud of your work and sharing so many photos of it – make a quilt is a mammoth task of love and devotion, and such a great learning experience!
    I hope you inspire many more sewists to try their creative hands at a quilt.

  24. Lucy February 19, 2014 at 2:41 pm #

    Pretty! I like the way quilts look on a bed, but ‘fraid I still can’t muster up any desire to try it myself. I don’t think I’d have the patience for making all those squares, then figuring out a pretty layout for them, then actually doing all that straight stitching. At least clothing UFOs don’t take up as much space!

    Not to mention that it would get covered in cat hair as soon as I even thought about putting it on the bed…

  25. Sewbussted February 19, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

    Such a lovely piece. Your own heirloom!

  26. Pamela @ Johnny Mango Seed February 19, 2014 at 8:24 pm #

    Holy cow that’s a lot of work. I’m glad you like it!

  27. Karrie Smith February 20, 2014 at 1:42 am #

    You did an awesome job! When you rolled up your quilt, they actually sell these plastic circle things to hold it together, so you a pretty smart lady to think that up on your own! A lot of people send out their quilts to be quilted when they are that big. I’m working my way up to bigger quilts! I love the colors too! Awesome job :)


    • Sunny February 20, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

      You can also use bicycle clips, Actually, I think the bicycle clips existed first, and some clever quilter figured out a good use for them.

      I only mention it since Tasia already bikes, and may have some.

  28. Rachelle February 20, 2014 at 4:48 am #

    Congratulations on the completion of such an ambitious and beautiful project Tasia! I really want to try my hand at a quilt now too!

  29. Jane February 20, 2014 at 5:17 am #

    That quilt is amazing! Congratulations on your finish. I am impressed that you machine the whole thing in marathon sessions, too! It must feel awesome to have it done and on your bed.

  30. Christine February 20, 2014 at 7:39 am #

    Wow! That looks great! I’ve been thinking about doing a quilt for our bed (rather then a lap or throw quilt) but the size is daunting. But yours turned out fantastic. I may just need to bite the bullet.

  31. Christine February 20, 2014 at 9:01 am #

    Great job! Love the fabric! I’m making a quilt for my son out of the same fabric. You finishing your quilt has inspired me to finish mine. I’m always so excited to make the top of the quilt, the actual quilting part, not so much.

  32. Jennifer, Workroom Social February 20, 2014 at 11:16 am #

    Really pretty! I love quilting. Don’t you just love accomplishing your goals? Hooray for the quilt!

  33. Sunny February 20, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

    I like the brown in there. I read/heard somewhere that dark colors can serve as a design anchor. It really makes sense. Even in an all-white room, there are usually some dark colors. A sea of too-pale colors might wash everything out, maybe even be disorienting in a whole room.

    Also, since it’s on the warm side of the color scale, it makes the pops of orange work even better. Sort of balances them out. Good job!

    Of course, that’s just my opinion.

  34. Jennifer February 23, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

    Wow, Tasia this quilt is surely inspirational. It is a work of beauty. Glad to hear that Mr. Sewaholic is enjoying the fruits of your labours.

  35. kelly February 27, 2014 at 6:36 am #

    Your quilt is so pretty and I love the orange and brown! They warm the overall look up a bit. You have encouraged me to start my own quilt soon!