Making Doll Quilts for Spread the Love


This year one of my goals is to use up scraps & leftover projects.  I also wanted to start making more things for charity.  There are many different charities out there for all kinds of purposes that need handmade donations.  When I read a recent post from Needle & Foot, I knew I had found the one I wanted to make for!  Bernie is organizing a “Spread the Love” event this month to help out Amy Jandrisevits from “A Doll Like Me“.  You can click the links for more information, but basically she makes dolls to look like children with missing limbs, braces, birthmarks, scars, etc.  This post is about the doll quilts I’m making and how it helped give purpose to some orphaned blocks.  I hope y’all will consider joining in!

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Using Orphan Blocks

When deciding what kind of doll quilts to make, I remembered these orphaned blocks from a QAL I started in 2016.  This was a Pat Sloan QAL, My Secret Garden, & I only made 6 of the 12 blocks.  I’d used a 10″ stack of Sakura by Great Lynn for Benartex.  Of course this was not enough to make all of the 16″ squares!  It’s also out of print now & I’ve only found bits & pieces here & here.

Either way, this has been sitting in a basket of “things to finish” for almost 2 years.  I thought the bright cheery prints would be perfect for doll quilts!  At one point, I was going to make pillow covers out of them & use this greenish jersey material for backing….

I decided to nix this for the doll quilts & chose some heavier weight jersey in a brighter teal & pink.  Jersey is such a soft, cozy fabric – perfect for kids!  These blocks need to be a little bigger, so I picked some mottled pink fabric to add some borders.

When I started cutting the pink fabric, I realized I didn’t want just 6″ border all around the block.  I decided to add in a 2″ strip of this cream floral print as well.

I like to think about where a fabric came from when I’m using scraps & realized the cream floral one had some extra special meaning for me.  This fabric is left over from a slip cover I made for my friend & co-worker that passed away at the end of November 2017.  That was so long ago & I’ve never really thought much about this fabric until now.  I think using it in these doll quilts is a perfect way to remember her!

Sewing it Up

So, I decided after sewing 4″ strips to each end, that these would be plenty big enough at about 28″ x 20″.  Plus, there would have only been enough fabric for 3 doll quilts if I had added a 4″ strip down the sides.

Once all the borders were added, it was time to make a quilt sandwich & quilt it up!  Several of these have center squares with a butterfly motif.  I wanted to highlight the butterflies with quilting & use a more linear pattern for the rest of the quilt.

This is a photo of the quilt when I was almost finished quilting the first border.  I used a free motion foot in the center & just outlined the butterflies, stitching in the ditch when I hit the edge of the square.

Then I changed to a walking foot & finished outlining the center square.  After that, I did some corner to corner in the inner border, traced inside the pink triangles at each corner, then more corner to corner out to the first border.

The pink borders got a wavy stitch to add some more curves to all the lines.  You can see the pattern better on the back.  You can also see more of my mistakes & how the center puckered during the FMQ!  ; )

I’ve trimmed the edges & this one is ready for binding.  I’m thinking polka dots!  What do y’all think?

I have 3 more basted & ready to quilt & two flimsies that will have the teal backing.  I used spray basting for all of these because they are smaller.  The spray basting really helped hold the jersey knit backing in place better while quilting.

This will give me 6 doll quilts to send off when I finish them.  I’m thinking about making a few whole cloth quilts as well.  I really hope y’all will consider making a quilt or 2 to send in to Amy.  I think these will be some well loved little quilts!  : )

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  1. Bernie says:

    Kristi, These are all so sweet. Love the pink borders and the scalloped quilt stitch. It all looks wonderful. Thank you for making so many. This is a huge help to Amy!! Be sure to link up this post at the end of the month. I will keep you up to date on the linky plan.

  2. Skye says:

    I really loved this post Kristie, your blocks (I followed the end of that quilt along but didn’t plan on joining in), your fabrics, your quilting, your experience with the jersey, seeing the quilting from the back (it helps to see the pattern/design you’ve quilted better), your thoughts as you use scraps, and your sentiments with helping out charities. My son and I made 2 laundry bags (big drawstring bags) for 2 specific deployed military people before Christmas. I also posted a bunch of excellent quality secondhand baby clothes across the country to a remote aboriginal community women’s centre. Oh and I also joined in the 70273 project and made a couple of blocks – google Rochester cathedral and this project, it’s amazing how it’s come together. These made me feel good, humbled 😊 I’d like to search for more charities and spread out a little, not stick to just one, and find those that don’t have a large following, they need more help.

    • Kristie Cook says:

      I like seeing the backs of quilts too! Some people put just as much into planning the back as the front & usually it’s easier to see the quilted pattern on the back. I have seen the 70273 project on Instagram & hope to send a few squares that way. I find people are more likely to participate in a charity event of any kind if they feel a connection. This Spread the Love event touched me because I know kids & adults that would benefit from from receiving a doll made like them. Adding a quilt just helps send extra love with the doll! 🙂

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