If you’re interested in making the softest baby quilt in the world, you have come to the right place. Think of this post as a recipe, full of the best ingredients and tips; however, instead of always finishing with the same dish, you can apply these rules to any quilt!
In my example I used the Fishing Net quilt pattern. I’ve always thought that this pattern looked like a present tied with a beautiful ribbon. I knew this design would be perfect when I got a very special request from a mother in need.
A few weeks ago I received an email from a mom with twin 18-month old girls. One of the girls was very sick and needed to spend a lot of time in the hospital. The mother desperately wanted a quilt that was soft and cozy for her little one to snuggle. She didn't request specific colors or a certain pattern. For her, the top priority was cuddle-ability.
I knew that to make the softest baby quilt in the world I would need to source the dreamiest materials, pick the perfect quilt pattern, and finish it using specific sewing techniques. Oh! And there was one more catch – since the little girl receiving this quilt was going in and out of the hospital, this quilt would get washed – A LOT. That means it needed to be able to hold up under repeated washing and drying.
Was I up for the challenge? Can I make the softest baby quilt in the world? You bet!
The Recipe for the Softest Baby Quit in the World
#1: The Softest Fabric
To make a creamy, dreamy, silky smooth quilt, we first must pick the right materials. Even though lightweight quilting cotton is the most common fabric used when making a baby quilt, I knew that I could find something softer.
Through writing about many different kinds of fabric in our Quilty Adventure, I discovered the sweet, delicate wonders of double gauze. Read more about the origins and special features of double gauze here – How to Sew with Double Gauze.
Even though double gauze is very different than the quilting cotton you've probably been using, the same basic sewing rules still apply.
- Prewash. Air fluff or tumble dry on low heat until the fabric is mostly dry.
- Before it’s fully dry, spray starch all over the double gauze and iron using the cotton setting.
- Use a new needle (your standard piecing needle will work just fine). I suggest using a new needle because a dull one risks the chance of snagging the double gauze. You’ll discover after working with this stuff that it snags and frays much more easily than regular quilting cotton.
- Bump your stitch length up. I typically piece with a stitch length of 2.5. When piecing double gauze I take that up to 3. Anything between 3-4 would be ideal.
- Use 50 wt. thread. A lighter thread works best with this semi-delicate fabric.
My Fishing Net Fabric
#2: The Right Quilt Pattern
This point is a bit vague, but when working with double gauze not every quilt pattern will work well. Find a quilt pattern than doesn't use lots of tiny blocks. Larger strips and pieces work great. The more you cut and handle double gauze, the more chance it has to fray.
Some great SQ patterns to make in double gauze include:
#3: The Fluffiest Batting
Not only does wool batting give the impression of a fluffy puff marshmallow, it's also deliciously warm. Check out this post for a full tutorial on How to Baste a Quilt!
After pin basting, I use my scissors to trim the batting and backing down so they are about 2" larger than the top. Having a lot of excess stuff going through my sewing machine makes quilting harder, but I also want to give myself enough wiggle room for the layers to shift, should that happen.
#4: Loose Quilting
We've got the dream team of ingredients – double gauze and wool batting, let's allow them to shine. To keep that wonderful puff and to minimize the feeling of thread over soft fabric, I kept it simple and quilted in the ditch.
The term "stitch in the ditch" refers to quilting in or close to the pieced seams of the quilt. This loose quilting was just the finishing touch to maintain its self-proclaimed title of softest baby quilt in the world!
As you can see in the photos, wool batting is thicker and puffier than a lot of other battings. Because of this, I cut my binding strips extra wide so I would be sure to neatly cover the edges. Rather than my typical 2 ¼" strips, I cut these 2 ⅝".
The mariner cloth I used is a bit thick and also has a tendency to fray. With a different fabric, 2 ½" strips probably would have been fine, but I wanted to be on the safe side.
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The more I fall in love with double gauze, the more I realize many quilt shops don't carry it. I bought all of the fabric used in my baby quilt at fabric.com, but there are some other great options on the web too.
Have you quilted with double gauze? Tell us your tips and where you like to buy it in the comments!