Sparks Baby Quilt Pattern

A little while back, I mentioned that I’d be posting the pattern for  the Sparks Baby Quilt. Here it finally is!  I’ve learned that writing up patterns feels like real homework to me… no fun!  But I do want to start doing it more.  I feel like the more I do it, the easier it will get.

Let me preface by saying that I hope that this pattern works out for you.  It’s the first quilt pattern I’ve written up and I’m generally not someone who follows patterns. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s mistakes and/or confusions.  Please drop me a note or comment if you have thoughts or suggestions for changes.  Also, do let me know if you make the quilt!  I would love to see your results.

Ok – here’s the pattern!

Sparks Baby Quilt

Sparks Baby Quilt

The finished quilt measures 46.5″ x 60″

Needed Fabric:

Blocks – all of mine are different fabrics, but that’s up to you!
- 20 3.5″ square centers
- 20 frame sides,  3.5″ x 6″
- 20 frame tops and bottoms, 8.5″ x 6″

Sashing – I used off white Kona cotton:
- 15 strips of  2.5″ x 8.5″
- 4 strips of  2.5″ x 38.5“

Border – I used off white Kona cotton:
-2 strips of  4.5″ X 48.5” for side border
-2 strips of  6.5″ x 46.5” for top and bottom border

CUTTING:

Let’s do the easy part first.

Cut the sashing and border

Sashing & Borders cut out

Sashing:
15 strips of  2.5″ x 8.5″
4 strips of  2.5″ x 38.5“

Border:
2 strips of  4.5″ X 48.5” for side border
2 strips of  6.5″ x 46.5” for top and bottom border

Then, cut out the fabric for the blocks

Cut centers:
-20 centers,  3.5″ square.

For my centers I did lots of fussy cutting.   After measuring and cutting my first square, I like to then use it as a template for cutting out the rest of the centers.  Some people hate templates, but I find them helpful for fussy cutting.

Fussy Cutting

Using the template makes it easier for me to see which part of the fabric I want to cut out.  Make sure to use the same square as the template all along, and not to trim its edges as you go.  You don’t want the squares you are cutting to gradually change a bit in size.

Cut frames:
- 20 frame sides,  3.5″ x 6″
- 20 frame tops and bottoms, 8.5″ x 6″

Cut Fabric

Next, cut the fabric for the block frames in two.

I do it randomly, but first I lay them out and do some design planning before I decide which squares will be cut which way.  Here the fabric is stuck up on my (tri-colored, yes it’s just three pieces of felt!) design wall so that I see how it will all look.

Design decisions

There are a couple of things I consider before cutting the fabric for the frames in two.  I wouldn’t want to find down the road that all of my oranges have the center in the upper right.  Or all of the blocks that I want on the left edge of the quilt have centered centers. That’s wordy, but I hope you see what I mean.

Also, keep in mind that some of your blocks have a right side up (unless you didn’t fussy cut) – so you can’t flip them around later to change the position of the center.

If you aren’t comfortable cutting the frames randomly, I have broken it down like this:

Block options

8 blocks – off set top & bottom, off set sides
- Cut 8 of the 3.5″ x 6″ down to 3.5″ x 2.5″ & 3.5″ x  3.5″
- Cut 8 of 8.5″ x 6″ down to 8.5″ x 2.5″ & 8.5″ x 3.5″

When piecing these 8 blocks put:
- 2 centers in upper left
- 2 centers in lower left
- 2 centers in upper right
- 2 centers in lower right

4 blocks – off set top & bottom, centered sides:
Cut four  3.5″ x 6″ strips down to 3.5″ x 3″ and 3.5″ x 3″
Cut four  8.5″ x 6″ strips down to 8.5″ x 2.5″ and 8.5″ x 3.5″

When piecing these 4 blocks put:
2  centers higher in the block
2  centers lower in the block

4 Blocks – centered top & bottom, off set sides
Cut four of the 3″ x 6″ strips down to 3.5″ x 2.5″ and 3.5″ x 3.5″
Cut four of 8.5″ x 6″ down to 8.5″ x 3″ and 8.5″ x 3″

When piecing these four blocks put:
2 centers to the left
2 centers to the right

4 Blocks – centered top & bottom, centered sides
Cut four of the 3″ x 6″ down to 3.5″ x 3″ and 3.5″ x 3″
Cut 4 of 8.5″ x 6″ down to 8.5″ x 3″ and 8.5″ x 3″

All four of these blocks are pieced the same way.

PIECING:

Piece all the blocks, randomly or as indicated above.

Ready to peiceStep 1Step 2

Here are all of my pieced blocks:

Finished Blocks

Next, piece the sashing.

First attach the blocks to one another with the fifteen strips of  2.5″ x 8.5″ until they are put together in 5 rows.

Connecting blocks with sashingRows with sashing

Then continue by attaching all the rows to each other with the four strips of  2.5″ x 38.5“.

Sashing 2Sashing 3

Finally, piece the border.

Borders

First sew on the sides, the 2 strips of  4.5″ X 48.5”.

Borders 2

Then sew on the top and bottom, the 2 strips of  6.5″ x 46.5”.

Congratulations! You have a finished quilt top!

Finished Quilt top

From here, if you need to, check out this post for links on how to baste, quilt and bind!  Hope that you enjoyed the pattern!

65 Responses to “Sparks Baby Quilt Pattern”

  1. Kristine October 2, 2010 at 12:13 pm #

    Alissa, I love this quilt!!! I can’t wait to try it. Your directions are thorough and easy to understand. I’m going to make a baby quilt for a good friend using your pattern. Starting it this weekend! Wish me luck!

  2. Melody January 20, 2011 at 10:44 am #

    I LOVE this quilt!! I am going to make one. Thanks so much for the tutorial, it looks great! I do have one question. I want to make a Dr. Seuss version, I think it would work well because there are so many different fabrics in the collection. But, how much fabric should I buy for the blocks? I was thinking to do about two block centers and two block borders out of each print. Would a fat quarter of 10 fabrics be enough for the blocks? Would a “normal” quarter be better than a fat one?
    Thanks again!! :)
    ~Melody

  3. ania.the.map.cutter July 14, 2011 at 7:22 am #

    Alissa – thank you so much for sharing this tutorial! I made a little baby quilt with its help last weekend… so so grateful for this resource. Thanks so much! http://papercuthearts.wordpress.com/2011/07/14/what-im-up-to-my-first-quilt/

  4. Jess October 7, 2011 at 6:20 am #

    Thanks so much for this tutorial – it was so much fun to do :). My interpretation is here: http://theelvengarden.blogspot.com/2011/10/magenta-bird-tree-quilt.html – great pattern, love your work!

  5. Corey Milligan January 6, 2012 at 9:10 pm #

    I have two questions for this pattern – can I use fat quarters for the blocks? What would your measurements call for, if I want to make a full size? Gorgeous pattern!

  6. Lauren January 7, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

    Alissa, thank you so much for this great pattern and inspiration. I made my first quilt using this tutorial and it turned out great. Here are the pics of the finished quilt – the mom-to-be loved it!
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/73830995@N03/6656806617/in/photostream
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/73830995@N03/6656806851/in/photostream

  7. Rhea September 1, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    Hi Alissa, I’m in the process of cutting the pieces to make this quilt and am wondering if there is an error in the pattern or if I’m doing something wrong with the center section of the block. The side pieces plus the center add up to 9.5″ instead of 8.5″. It’s looking like I need to trim a full inch off somewhere, either the center piece or the side frame, but this is not addressed in the pattern. Any advice is appreciated.

    Thank you!

    • Alissa September 4, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

      That inch is eaten up in sew allowances when you sew the pieces together. Can’t wait to see your finished quilt!

  8. Rhea September 1, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    Oops! I think I just figured it out. Can you tell I’m a first timer? I’ll send pics when it’s completed. I’ve got some really cool fabrics here. Thank you!

    • Alissa September 4, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

      Great! Sorry for the delayed reply to your first comment…

  9. heather November 24, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    The directions are great! I am a visual learner and seeing your great photos was 75% of the help that i needed. Lately, I am on a trend of oddball patchwork blocks (blocks that are a bit left of center ;)MUCH more creative than perfect centering etc. i love the crazy quilt notion that nothing is the exactly the same from block to block.
    Also, when you fussy cut the centers and chose the animals, the blocks really framed in the animals and this was the eye catcher.

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