Sew a Simple Play-mat Quilt and Two Enviable Burp Cloths


So… here’s a tutorial for when someone is having a baby and you have to pull together a gift more substantial than patchwork baby kimono tops or a gift card to the baby store. With just two yards of fabric and a few other items you may have in your bag of tricks we will create a sophisticated quilted play-mat without binding and two matching patchwork burp cloths in only two or three hours.

  • Estimate cost: $40 (fabric plus misc. supplies)
  • Estimated Time Allowance: 2-3 hours (with time for a snack and a chat with a friend)
  • Advance Preparation: pre-wash your fabric if you like
  • Skills Mastered: basic fabric piecing, simple quilting and sewing in a straight line
  • Alternate Fabric Combinations at the end of the post

A Simple Quilted Play-mat

*Please note these toys are not suitable for infants. Particularly the naked barbies. Babies just don’t need to see that.


  • 1 Yard fabric for top (faux patchwork or grid pattern for easy quilting)
  • 1 Yard fabric for quilt bottom (solid or coordinating pattern)
  • misc. supplies: thread, rotary cutter, ruler, cutting mat
  • quilting supplies: quilt batting, bent quilting safety pins, masking tape
  • quilting foot attachment, heavy duty needles (I used a #16); if you have neither I suggest a lot of patience and maybe some good wine or vodka.


  1. Trim the rough selvedges from each piece of fabric.
  2. Cut two one yard prints to 36″ x 36″.
  3. On clean floor or cutting mat surface make an inside out “quilt sandwich,” the bottom layer is batting, middle layer is the top fabric (“A”) right side up, top layer is the bottom fabric “B” right side down – if you’re keeping score that means the two exterior fabrics are touching right sides together.
  4. Smooth the layers out and pin around the edges; trim excess batting (see upper right corner of photo above? you’ll want to cut that away).
  5. Begin sewing along one of the edges (mid-way is good) about 1/2 an inch from the rough edges of the quilt sandwich.
  6. Continue around all sides of the quilt stopping short about 5-6 inches from where you began. Backstitch here to prevent distortion when you turn the quilt right side out.
  7. Trim/square up your quilt sandwich. I went a little crazy because I skipped lunch and serged my edges. It was so fun, if you do this – please do not serge the 5-6 inch opening.
  8. Admire your work during it’s ugly phase.
  9. Turn the quilt inside out through the 5-6 inch opening. Gently push the corners out.
  10. With hot iron, press along the edges. Take care to align the “opening’s” edges.
  11. With straight pins, pin this area closed.
  12. Begin safety pinning the quilt sandwich in place (every 6-8 inches or so to keep things from shifting).
  13. Sew along the perimeter of the quilt, I suggest about 3/8 – 1/2 an inch from the edges and taking your time to keep the fabrics from shifting. Be sure to start near where the opening is, and make sure that you sew the opening closed. If you don’t you can always hand sew it shut. But that’s extra work!
  14. Starting precisely at the border of stitching along your quilt’s edge to minimize unsightly extra thread, sew along the patchwork guides of your fabric. If you are using a printed fabric, you may prefer to quilt with six to eight inches between your quilting lines (refer to the manufacturer’s packaging). I used opted to use every third box of my fabric as a guide. Note, many quilter prefer to quilt on the bias, or diagonally. If you are not using a grid fabric you might do that. It is said that quilting on the diagonal lasts longer because the stitching stretches with, not against the fabric as it will on the grid.
  15. Once you are finished quilting vertically, go horizontally.
  16. Trim all of the loose threads.

Two Easy but Enviable Burp Cloths:


  • You should have two long strips of fabric remaining. They will roughly measure 36 inches long by about 6.5 inches wide if you did a merciless job cutting those selvedges off as I did.
  • You will also need scrap fabric for the other side. Perhaps it’s linen, or maybe it’s flannel. You’ll need two pieces about 11 x 18 inches (or a generous half yard of flannel).


  • Fabric A (main, front fabric): Trim to about 6-6.5 inches wide, cut the length in half, to create two 6 x 18 inch pieces
  • Fabric B (the back of the quilt): Trim pieces in half to create two 3 inch wide and 36 inch long panels. Further cut the length in half to create two 18 inch long pieces.

  1. With fabrics facing, sew the fabric B to fabric A along the 18″ length. Repeat to the other side.
  2. On the wrong side of the fabric, press seams to one side.
  3. Flip the piece over and sew the seam side down – with a kind of edge stitching to keep things unified.
  4. Then you’ll want to trim the patchwork pieces square (square up). Mine became 10.5 x 17.75 inches. Kudos to you if yours are larger.
  5. Cut two pieces of flannel to the same size, 10.5 x 17.75″.
  6. Place the fabric and flannel Right Sides together. What, you can’t tell which is the right side of the flannel? Me neither. Just choose the softer, fluffier side.
  7. Sew all around the rectangle about 3/8 an inch from the edge and leave an opening about 3 inches wide along one side to turn the piece inside out.
  8. Clip corners.
  9. Turn the piece inside out. Use a poke-y tool to gently press the corners out.
  10. Iron, carefully squaring up the opening’s edges. Hopefully this will be the last time you iron a burp cloth.
  11. Edge stitch around the entire burp cloth securing the opening shut.
  12. Repeat on burp cloth #2.

If they’re not perfect or they shrink up weird because you didn’t prewash them, who cares. Someone’s just going to wipe up gross stuff with it anyway.

Alternate Fabric Combinations:

There are many fabrics that will work for this type of project. Echino even has some other prints you might like.

Echino Fabric (from left):

Echino Ni-co Car Box Brown, dot dot dot Chocolate with Aqua,  Ni-co Car box Purple, & Violet and Aqua Dots

Alternate fabric suggestions (from top left to bottom right):

Echino dot dot dot Aqua with Chocolate, Multi Story, Bonbon Oxblood, Chocolate Brown Solid, Red Patchwork, & dot dot dot Rust with Celadon

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 27th, 2011 at 7:27 am and is filed under Tutorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.