Are you looking for an simple service project for kids that will really make a difference to a child in need? These super easy Christmas quilts are a great way to involve your children in a creative project that will help them learn to give to those in need.
Bonus: no machine sewing is necessary!
Christmas Quilts for Babies
This year, since we have a baby of our own, we’ve been thinking a lot about small children who might need a snug blankie. My oldest daughter learned to quilt recently, so she thought of doing a simple quilt that we could give to our local children’s shelter.
I was a little daunted at the prospect, but we managed to get it down to where I could handle it. I’m not big on sewing. (I have the basic skills but no real love for the process, sadly.)
If you’re like me, you’ll be glad to know that this is a tied Christmas quilt – there’s absolutely no machine quilting at all. There are some basic hand stitches to do at the end, though.
Other Service Project Possibilities
- 15 Service Project Ideas for Kids
- Handmade Holiday Gifts – 3 Months Before the Holidays!
- How to Decorate Candles with Kids this Holiday
How to Make Super Easy Christmas Quilts
Remember, these are baby quilts, so they’ll be small.
- 1 Yard of a quality, patterned flannel per Christmas quilt
- 1 Yard of a plain colored fleece for the back of each quilt
- About 1 Yard of cotton or polyester batting*
- Strong needle with a large eye
- Yarn in a color to match your fabrics
- Regular-sized embroidery/hand-sewing needle
- Thread in a color to match the fabrics
- Straight pins
*Batting is the fluffy stuff that goes in the center to make the quilt soft. There are different kinds of batting to choose from.
- The polyester batting is the fluffy stuff.
- The cotton batting is thinner but just as cozy.
You’ll need a piece of batting that’s just shy of a yard.
Lay Out the Pieces of the Christmas Quilt
Don’t overthink this quilt-making procedure – it really is VERY simply. (Otherwise, I couldn’t do it.)
- Cut the piece of batting about an inch shorter all around than your quilt fabric pieces.
- Place one piece of fleece on a clean and flat surface, pattern side down.
- Then, place the batting on top of your fleece so that it’s centered.
- Layer the other piece of flannel on top, with the pattern up, facing you. Be sure you double check that your layers are where they should be before you move on to the next step.
- Smooth all your layers. Begin from the center and smooth to the outer edges. Check the bottom layer of fabric for any wrinkles.
Pin the Fabric Layers Together
- Starting from the center of your fabric layers, use safety pins (or quilting pins*) to secure all three layers of fabric together.
- Pin the fabric about every six to eight inches, always moving from the center out to the edges. Be careful not to pin your carpet or anything else underneath your fabric. If little hands are helping with this, stay vigilant.
*Quilting pins are curved to make this pinning process much easier. All the same, be sure to help your kids with this part so you don’t have sad poking events. You wont want blood on your baby quilt.
Tie the Fabric Layers Together
Tying is the quilting word for putting all the layers of fabric together. This is the part where it really starts to look like a blanket!
- Thread the large-eye needle with the yarn*. Leave yourself a really long tail with which to stitch. How long is a matter of choice. How long before your child starts tying herself in knots? The space between stitches will be 6-8 inches. So, the longer your tail, the fewer times you have to thread that needle.
- Starting from the center again, make a stitch every 6-8″, about where your pins are placed.
- Stitch in a basic grid pattern.
If you’re the type that likes to, you can measure the distance between stitches with a ruler. Your grid will look awesome and perfect.
If you’re like me, the idea of measuring your stitch pattern makes you want to pull your lower lip over your head and swallow it. Don’t do that; just wing it. The baby won’t care either way.
*Salty Pearl Crochet can show you how to thread yarn through a needle easily.
Why Do You Have to Tie the Christmas Quilt?
The yarn stiches will secure the three layers of fabric together, but they also take the place of quilting/top stitching. Top stitching is what makes a quilt a quilt, and not a layered blanket. What we’re doing is a very simple version of that intricate top stitching you see in quilts.
If one of your children is in charge of making these stitches, it should be an older child with strong hands.
Remember not to freak if your child doesn’t do this perfectly. The baby who receives this quilt will barf on it, love it, and make it their own. They won’t mind a few misplaced stitches.
If a part need to be redone, redo it. But always be encouraging and be happy to be working together.
Cutting Away the Extra Yarn
- Use sharp scissors to cut the yarn in between your stitches. Make the cut at least two inches away from your stitch so that you have length enough to tie and square knot.
- Tie a square knots, until all your yarn pieces are tied together.
You just “top-stitched”, or tied your Christmas quilt. This kind of quilt is officially called a tied quilt. They’re my favorite because they’re easy.
Finishing the Edges – Binding
Now comes the only annoying part and that’s binding, or finishing off the edges so that they’re covered and smooth. I never like binding no mater what the project is.
Pattern Princess can teach you how to cut and prepare your own binding.
I don’t usually do that because it was too much sewing. Instead, I cheat and fold the fabric to make a smooth edge.
To Do That:
- Match the edges of the outer fleece and flannel pieces.
- Fold them about 1/4 inch in, towards the back fabric.
- Fold one more time, making a nice, clean edge.
- Pin that folded edge down to the back of the Christmas quilt.
- Whip-stitch* down the edge. I like the whip-stitch as a finishing stitch because it flows across the fabric, skipping down the grain. It gets stuff done quickly.
- Fold in the corners to make them neat. You can fold them diagonally or fold them straight across. Play around with what you think looks best because the flannel and the fleece will most likely be different widths.
The kids can do most of these steps themselves. They can pin down the binding, learn a whipstitch, and/or double check that everything is tied off before you launder the blanket. They can each have a job!
Mindy Makes can teach you more about how to do a simple whip stitch.
Christmas Quilts Made By Kids For Kids
These Christmas quilts for babies are poofy and sweet and we love to donate them.
The best part about this service project was that there was something all my kids could do from cutting to pinning to tying. Even the baby was able to crawl all over stuff and give it her drooling approval. Don’t worry, I wash the quilts before we donate them!
We like to think of sweet babies being wrapped up in the not-fancy-but-made-with-love blankets. For a few more ideas on various ways you can serve your community, even the world, please visit this link from Schneider Peeps.
For more seasonal project inspiration, be sure to check out my friend Kathie’s book below – the kids and I LOVE this one!
What about your family? Any service traditions you’d like to share? I’d love some inspiration for future projects…
To create more cozy family times that bring you closer together, join our newsletter and download your copy of our Homestead Hygge Workbook. Hygge is the Danish concept of turning our homes into sanctuaries of light, love, and peace through simple homespun activities like natural crafts, wholesome recipes, and simple pleasures.
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