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
It's no secret that I love, love, LOVE wool batting! In fact, I just wrote a whole blog post on the wonders of wool batting, so read more here - Why Wool Batting Makes the Warmest Quilts.
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.
- Miss Matatabi Japanese Fabric - the best selection of Nani Iro double gauze
- Gauze Fabric Store
- Spoonflower - print any design on their soft organic Sweet Pea Gauze
Have you quilted with double gauze? Tell us your tips and where you like to buy it in the comments!
79 thoughts on “How to Make the Softest Baby Quilt in the World”
Hi I can almost feel this ll quilt!
Thanks for sharing neat ideas!
I have used the double gauze and wool combo and it is dreamy! I got my materials at our local Portland treasure Fabric Depot which has since closed. I just wanted to say yes to more natural batting and dont worry about baby allergies, it will be fine! Also whole cloth quilts in double gauze, especially a fun print, are super snuggly too!!
A wholecloth quilt is a great idea! Perfect for some pretty hand quilting too 🙂
This is exactly what I have always wanted but didn’t know even what to ask! A million thanks for sharing this!!
Love it! Do you use the standard 1/4” seam allowance, or go a smidge wider?
Great question! I went a smidge wider. I still cut my pieces the same, so the result was a slightly smaller quilt. If you are up for doing a bit of math, you could convert the seam allowance to 1/2″ instead of 1/4″. That would guaranty really safe seams.
Prayers for this little one and her family. 🙏🙏🙏
Wouldn’t this be fabulous as a bed quilt? Babies have all the luck!
It would be fabulous!! I think you should do it 🙂
I’m making myself a Cathedral Windows throw quilt with all double gauze—even for the binding! Go for it, Leslie!
WOW! Way to go, Megan!!
Thank you for sharing everything about the quilt. I am a newbie and just love to read and absorb all information from your blog. Unfortunately for us here in Malaysia, everything is expensive and all material especially batting and fabrics are imported from all over the world! 😣
I’d love to make one of these. I’m a little hesitant though after reading some of the comments about the wool bearding. I’m wondering why this would happen to one person but not the other. Is there an alternate batting that will make the quilt just as soft and drapey?
I’ve never had a problem with Quilters Dream wool batting bearding, but if you’d like to avoid it all together, bamboo batting is wonderfully soft and drapey, just a lot thinner. You can read more about that here – https://suzyquilts.com/why-bamboo-batting-makes-the-perfect-summer-quilt/
Another option to consider is Quilters Dream Puff. It is very similar to Dream Wool in loft, but because it is made of synthetic materials it doesn’t beard.
Quilters Dream had a bad run of wool a couple years back, but they were very cooperative with reimbursements and I have since used it without issues. Other than that bad run I have not heard that wool beards.
I love babies and kids, and most of the quilts that I have made have been made for “the little people”. I work with my local chapter of “Quilts For Kids”. BUT, I have read lots on double gauge in the past year and love everything I have heard about it. My point is, heck with the kids, unless of course they are sick and need something really soft and special. I’m planning to make a King size bed quilt for my husband and myself using Batiks on the top and Double Gauge for the backing. I do have one question for you. I have terrible neurology in my feet and legs which prevents me from sleeping under a heavy quilt. What type of batting would you suggest that would be both warm and lightweight? Thanks so much.
Honestly, the wool is lovely for a super warm quilt without a lot of weight. I think it would be the perfect option for you!
I sleep under a wool batting quilt in winter & summer. I think it’s the absolute best. Quilting stitches show up so well on wool. I am going to try double gauze for the next baby quilt I make! Thanks for the tips.
I love your name! I quiltslowlytoo!😀
Beautiful story and wonderful gift to a hurting mom and family. What impresses me most is the story behind how it came to be. However, it’s great to know how to make a supper soft blanket. I would have never tried that fabric. Thank you for the information. I am going to keep this in mind for the baby quilts I make to sell.
What I lovely quilt. I never would have thought of using double gauze.
You’re pretty awesome to come to this moms rescue, and to share the ins and outs of constructing such a special quilt.
I hope that the little one will do well in her treatments. Our prayers go out to her. I never thought of double gauge for quilting. I’m presently make a quilt for my grandson, who told he wanted it to soft. I think that I’ll try the double gauge for the backing. Thanks for the tips.
I just love this idea. Bless that sweet baby and her family ❤️. I saved all my gauze receiving blankets from all my babies for a memory quilt for myself someday. I will be using this post!
Such a smart idea!! They will make a lovely quilt.
I’m concerned about care of the blanket. How will the wool/gauze hold up in washing?
You will experience a bit of shrinkage and puckering with the first wash, even if you prewashed your fabric, but wool is incredibly durable and as long as you wash and dry them gently these quilts hold up great!
Gorgeous! Thank you for your kindness, as a nurse and volunteer to families of sick children any comfort given to both children and parents is so welcomed. Mum is probably getting as much comfort from your quilt as her little girl. Best wishes to this family xx
I’ve made a couple of whole cloth double gauze quilts but used a high quality Robert Kaufman flannel as the batting with the idea that they will be super lightweight and soft — good for “grab and go” in the stroller and for use in warmer weather.
Does the term double guaze go by any other name? Kona cotton looks a bit like those pictures but may it’s more tightly woven?
Robert Kaufman Kona cotton is different than double gauze. Kona is a lightweight quilting cotton, however the brand Robert Kaufman makes double gauze. That’s actually what I used to make these quilts. Sometimes double gauze is called just “gauze.”
Despite the demands of your life, you made these special quilts for two special babies. You are the best! 💕
Okay, two things. Nope, three things:
1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE these muted colors with the muted+neon backing with neon mariners cloth. It’s like the yummiest math.
2. Am I missing something about stitching in the ditch? Quilters seem to see it as the easy way to quilt, but I can never stay totally in the ditch and always stray up into my fabric.
3. I was hunting down some Nani Iro after reading this, and I found some pre-quilted double gauze. What fun can I have with that?!
Stitching in the ditch is a simple way to quilt, but in no way easy. Straying out of the ditch is almost inevitable, so don’t worry too much about it 😉 I’ve seen that pre-quilted gauze! How fun!
Love this, thank you Suzy. I am having trouble sourcing the double gauze at my local fabric outlets – is muslin the same as double gauze?
Muslin is very similar to light-weight quilting cotton. Double gauze has a much different feel. You know it’s double gauze if it is literally two pieces of gauze that you can pull apart.
What brand of wool batting do you use? I have used wool (and love it) but it does not wash up well. I have had it come through the fabric when washed in a traditional washer. I was told by distributor that washable wool can be washed but not adjetated in the washed, just dipped in water and gently washed…as a result I am scared to use wool in a utility (well used) quilt. Suggestions?
I LOVE Quilters Dream Wool batting – https://suzyquilts.com/why-wool-batting-makes-the-warmest-quilts/
I really love this! I tried wool batting once and when I took the quilt out of the washer batting was everywhere! Ruined the whole quilt. What kind do you use?
Oh no! I’ve heard of some brands bearding like that. I use Quilters Dream Wool and it’s never bearded on me. Here’s more info on that brand – https://suzyquilts.com/why-wool-batting-makes-the-warmest-quilts/
I have hand sewn multiple quilts, but am starting on a new one and thought I would do a double gauze quilt like this one. I usually use normal quilting thread when I hand quilt, but was thinking of doing the pearl cotton #8 like you have blogged about. Would this larger thread work okay with the double gauze. Wondered your thoughts for hand quilting on this soft baby double gauze quilt. Thank you. I have learned alot from you videos and blogs.
It sure will! The end result will be so soft too!
Hi Suzy!! I’ve been subscribed to your blog for a while and am absolutely in LOVE with all your quits. I know you said that larger pieced quilts would be best for double gauze, but one of my best friends is having a baby in July (first of our friend group) and I’m wondering how difficult/if you think it would be possible to make the Mod Mountains Quilt (she lives in Denver and this quilt is PERFECT for her nursery) out of double gauze. Thank you so much!
That’s a perfect pattern for your friend! Here’s what I suggest – get your double gauze and prewash it. Sew the baby quilt as usual except sew a slightly wider than 1/4″ seam allowance. A lot of quilters use a scant 1/4″ when sewing, but in this case, just go a smidge wider, may even up to 3/8″ if you want an exact measurement. I don’t think you will have issues with your seams unraveling since you will have prewashed, but this is just an added precaution since baby quilts get washed quite a bit.
I am a beginner of hand quilting, is it ok to use bamboo batting? I am leaning alot in your blog!!
Yes, definitely! https://suzyquilts.com/why-bamboo-batting-makes-the-perfect-summer-quilt/
I’m thinking of making a quilt for my very elderly grandparents who live in a very hot climate. One has extremely sensitive, delicate skin at this point. I remembered reading this and was wondering if a double gauze (pieced top and backing both) quilt with 100% bamboo batting (super hot climate) and.. I don’t know, cotton or silk thread maybe? I’m a hand sewer unfortunately, so the stitching isn’t going to disappear as fully as it could with a machine.
I know this was for a baby, but perhaps the same set of requirements can be adjusted for the sensitive skin of the very elderly as well.
I’m pretty new, though, so I’d love to hear if I’m missing anything glaring here before I start planning.
Thank you! I love reading your posts and you create such beautiful designs.
Before telling you to quilt full speed ahead (even though I think that’s a great idea), you may want to ask your grandparents if they have a sensitivity to cotton. It’s not common, but I know people who have that. The double gauze you buy will most likely be 100% cotton. I also think you should pre-wash the fabric in sensitive-skin detergent and then wash it again before gifting it. The hand quilting will only add to the softness!
Thank you so much! I’ve checked with their son (my dad), who hopefully would know, and he said no sensitivity to cotton or any other fiber. My grandmother’s skin is very sensitive and delicate in general at this point, just frail, hence the focus on gentle and soft fabrics. And I’ll absolute take your advice and pre-wash in a sensitive-skin detergent and then wash again (if you have a favorite and/or an affiliate link, I’d love the advice and would absolute use said link; you’ve been so kind and helpful).
And I had no idea hand quilting could add to the softness– exciting! I’m planning to make it for their anniversary next summer (slow, slow hand sewer), especially if it’s still not safe to travel and give them a hug in person by then; I figure a quilt is basically a hug when gifted between people who care about each other.
Thank you again!!! Your blog has been so wonderful for a beginner like me.
Just wanted to say thank you so much! You answered my questions here and on the double gauze post in your fabric adventures series. I finished the quilt yesterday while visiting my grandparents and was able to give it to them, about two full years after starting to plan apparently. It was gentle and easy on their skin and soft and light enough that I already have pictures of my grandma snuggling under it. I used Birch Fabrics and Nani Iro, bound with Northcott Toscana cotton (binding with gauze was beyond my abilities!), and a bamboo blend batting from Quilter’s Dream that was nice to work with, hand pieced and hand quilted with 100% cotton (Mettler, very soft feel & had the colors I liked best). Washed it just like you suggested and it was perfect.
I can’t thank you enough for all of your help, truly. I wouldn’t have known where to start or things like using half inch seams instead of quarter, or that tiny pieces are a pain with double gauze (perfect, as my grandpa’s sight is too far gone for anything but very big, very clear designs). Never would have thought of using it.
They absolutely love it and I’m so grateful for all your help. There’s a pair of nonagenarians out there who are very happy as a result <3.
Trying to think of potential alternatives for batting (maybe flannel as was suggested above, maybe a couple of layers of double gauze). I live in a warm climate and would like the blanket to be used year round by my baby. but I still want the puffy softness of something that has wool batting. I’m just concerned that wool batting will get too hot, but maybe i am mistaken. I have never worked with wool batting honestly!
Wool batting is a wonderful insulator, but I don’t think it will be too warm. I cuddle under a quilt with wool batting every night and most nights I wish I had a couple of them layered on top of each other. 😉 If you want a cooler batting, you could try a bamboo blend. That is really breathable and soft.
Do you have any pics of it after it’s washed? Curious about the crinkle factor and how it looks post wash.
I don’t have pics of this quilt since I already gifted it, but I’m working on a few right now and will post pics of those. I can tell you after I washed this quilt is became even softer and puffier!
I would love to try out your sugar pop quilt and wanted to know if you recommend it as a good design to try with double gauze? Also, I stumbled upon Blackbird Fabrics that has a sand washed cotton and was wondering if you have ever worked with that type of fabric and if it is similar to double gauze?
Sugar Pop would be a great quilt pattern for double gauze! The base triangles have bias edges, so they could stretch if you aren’t careful. I’m not familiar with sand washed cotton, but it sounds scrumptious!
Sorry about this late question, but I just found this wonderful baby blanket tutorial! I’m planning on making swaddle blankets for our Postal Carrier whose having a baby in August and just discovered your softest baby blanket in the world using double gauze. My question is that you suggest prewashing first but how do you prevent the gauze from unraveling horribly in the wash? Does it unravel more than cotton even on the gentle cycle? Is it better, perhaps to wash by hand, instead of the washer?
Some fraying along the edges does occur, but it’s not as bad as you might think. It is a little worse than regular quilting cotton, so you may want to get an extra 1/4 yd. if following a pattern. If you’re worried about losing too much fabric to fraying, sew a basting stitch around the perimeter of the fabric before washing it.
What size safety pins do you use for a delicate fabric like this? I have some huge pins I’ve used for the few quilts I’ve not sent to a quilter (now I’m realizing they’re probably too big even for those), which I know will destroy the gauze. I don’t want to get something too small, though, if I can avoid it. Sanity and knee preservation are also important. Thanks!
Double gauze specifically has a really wide weave, so your large pins will work just fine. For the most part, safety pins and sewing straight pins find their way through the weave of the fabric and do not pierce the threads. So even if they leave wide-looking holes, those will go away once the threads shift back into place. You can scratch at them with your fingernail or wash the quilt. Any safety pin that’s labeled “for quilting” will work and shouldn’t harm the fabric.
My one caveat is lawn. I do think getting the tiny safety pins is better for something delicate like lawn.
Hobby Lobby sells double gauze. And will have new designs in a couple of weeks. I work there and we just reset that area to accomodate the new double gauze coming in! I am definitely going to try using these tips
Live in the GTA. (Ontario)..can anyone tell me where l can buy double gauze in pastel colors…thanks,
You mention a stitch length of 3 for piecing the double gauze. what stitch length do you use to quilt it? I’m not a quilter (more of a garment sewer) and would like to make a quilted jacket. I’m planning on quilting the fabric first and then piecing the quilted pieces together to make the jacket. Your posts on using double gauze have been super helpful so far in my planning. Thank you!
I suggest using anything between 3 and 4 for quilting. The difference between the two is purely aesthetic, so test out both and see which one you like better 🙂
Thank you for sharing! Are there any types of batting you shouldn’t use in baby quilts? Also, if you wanted to make super soft adult quilts, would you use the same materials? The quilters cotton I got at the store seemed really stiff.
Honestly, I don’t think any batting is off limits unless you are opposed to synthetic materials (poly or poly/cotton blends). The cotton batting that feels stiff now will soften up after you wash it. Cuddle with it for a few months and it will be crinkly soft 😉
Did you machine quilt it or quilt by hand? What do you recommend for a stitch length of machine quilting? Are there any negatives go using poly/cotton blend of batting for this? Also, would you include a cotton layer under the double gauze? Thank you
How well does double gauze hold up long term, though? If it catches and frays so easily is the longevity not their? Will it thin out and get holes with constant use?
As long as your seams are securely sewn, it shouldn’t fray enough to create holes. At least, it’s not more likely than linen or flannel to fray around the seams. The weave is also tight enough that it shouldn’t catch and snag either.
Love your topic and detailed instructions!! I’d like to make a dbl gauze quilt for a Florida baby. Will wool batting be too warm?
Hi Jan! If you are interested in a cooler batting, you could look into bamboo. Here’s a blog post that can help you choose! https://suzyquilts.com/how-to-choose-the-right-quilt-batting/
I have read this information 2 times and I can’t find the name of this quilt pattern. I will be glad to purchase, but I must have over looked the name. Sorry to ask, but I have a new great grandchild coming at the end January and this looks like something I could make.
Hi Linda! There’s a link to the pattern in the second paragraph, it’s called Fishing Net. Here’s the link so you can get to it quickly and start your quilt for your new great-grandchild! How sweet! Fishing Net is a great pattern and comes together super quickly. I just made a version of this quilt myself! https://suzyquilts.com/shop/fishing-net-quilt-pattern-download/
Our Church is beginning to make baby blankets….never heard of the double gauze, but if I can find it, this will be my first donation!
Thank you!! I just made my first double gauze quilt. Since reading this article, I’ve become obsessed with gauze…and wanted to post some U.S. based stores where you can get good quality kokka, Nani Iro and other soft double gauzes: Beehandmade.com and stonemountainfabric.com. Also jonesandvandermeer.com.
Could you use muslin cotton the same way? I have lots of swaddles from baby stage that I don’t use anymore, some look like double gauze but others say they are Muslim cotton. Could I use both?
I know what you’re talking about and I think so.