A nine-patch quilt is the easiest type of quilt to sew, although I might be biased since as a child I first learned how to sew by back-stitching, under my grandmother’s supervision, nine-patch quilt blocks of my very own.
A nine-patch quilt block is made from nine pieces in two different fabrics. The pieces are all square and are sewn together in alternating fabrics in three rows of three. This pattern works well with both a dedicated color scheme and layout or a seemingly random mishmash of color and contrast, which is another reason why it’s such a favorite with sewers of all ages and levels–and their recipients!
Just as the nine-patch quilt is the easiest type of quilt to sew, I find a doll quilt to be the easiest size of quilt to make. There’s nothing like a tiny quilt to give one instant gratification! An American Girl doll quilt, in particular, is a great size to start with–at just 12″ x 18″, you can make the whole thing in a single afternoon.
Here’s what you’ll need!
- Fabric and cutting supplies
- Sewing machine and matching thread
- Double-fold bias tape
- 12″ x 18″ fleece piece
1. Measure and cut the fabric pieces
The most important thing that you can do to make a beautiful quilt is to cut the pieces completely accurately. Each piece in this quilt is a perfect square, 2.5″ x 2.5″. Each nine-patch quilt block uses two different fabrics and a total of nine pieces–four of one fabric and five of the other. You will need six total nine-patch quilt blocks for this quilt.
The nine-patch quilt lends itself to an easy hack if you’d like to make two at a time–for two children, say, or two dolls. All you have to do is cut nine of each fabric piece, and then you’ll easily have two complementary, but NOT identical, nine-patch quilt blocks in the making:
2. Piece each nine-patch quilt block
Have your iron at hand, because you always want to iron every seam flat. To sew a complete nine-patch quilt block, first sew the three separate rows of three pieces–
–ironing each seam flat as you go, and then sew the three rows together to complete the block:
Repeat for each additional nine-patch quilt block until you have six completed blocks.
3. Piece the quilt
Arrange and rearrange all of the nine-patch quilt blocks until you’re happy with the look of the quilt as a whole.
Use exactly the same method to piece the full quilt as you did to piece the individual blocks. First piece the quilt blocks together into rows, then piece the rows together until the quilt is complete.
4. Back the quilt with fleece
Because this is a doll quilt you get to skip some of the more fiddly steps involved in making a full-sized quilt. You don’t have to sandwich batting between the front and back of your quilt, unless you really, really, really want to, and you won’t actually have to quilt or tie this quilt–unless you really, really, really want to!
A neat trick to give a doll quilt a thicker, fluffier feel without bothering with batting is to back it with fleece, instead. If you simply must have three layers to your quilt, you can always use a double layer of fleece, but I promise that the quilt top plus one layer of fleece gives this doll quilt an authentic heft and feel.
5. Bind the quilt
Binding a full-sized quilt can also be time-consuming, so you’re lucking out again with this doll-sized quilt. I use a lot of different methods to bind quilts (one of my all-time favorites is back-to-front blanket binding), but my go-to method for a quick-and-easy doll quilt is to use double-fold bias tape. Bias tape can be store-bought (although you should look for bias tape made from natural fabrics, not polyester–blech!) or handmade nearly as easily, and 10mm double-fold bias tape is absolutely perfect for this project.
Your completed nine-patch quilt is the perfect size and scale for an American Girl doll to snuggle up under. Size up the quilt blocks to 4.5″ to make a matching quilt for that doll’s favorite person, or size the blocks down to 1.5″ to make a Barbie doll-sized quilt.
P.S. Inspired to make even more quilts? Check out my other quilt tutorials!