How To Make A Lap Quilt By Hand

Who would’ve thought that hand-quilting would be as popular today as modern-day quilting that involves a sewing machine?

And if you think it’s time to invest your effort and time in lap quilting by hand, here’s your simplest guide. Learn the best method to craft a beautiful design by joining different fabric pieces by hand.

Even though a sewing machine simplifies the job of quilting, it can never replace the incredible experience of hand-quilting.

There’s something magical about those small intricacies of bits & pieces of quilting fabrics that influence a crazy hand-quilter to try out newer designs by hand.

Whether it’s for your best friend’s baby shower gift or just a small table cloth, lap-quilting is overall an ineffably intriguing experience.

How To Make Lap Quilting By Hand?

For a beginner, speculating lap quilting to be somewhat different from hand-quilting is certainly a misconception. To provide clarity in your conception, it’s the size that differentiates one from another. The fact that lap quilt designs measure 2x a baby quilt (considerably smaller than a bed sheet) is what makes it different.

If that makes you more excited to learn the simple method to hand-quilting a smaller version of cloth, let’s not delay reading the steps below.

Steps To Make Lap Quilting By Hand

Someone who usually makes quilts by hand would often get asked about the best stitching practices. As the sewing machine isn’t that affordable, most beginners opt for hand-sewing. But before delving into the steps, your first consideration is to find whether you like hand sewing or not.

Once you are positive and confident about the practice, hand stitching a quilt becomes faster and more seamless. What’s more important is whether you have a knack for it or not. The rest gets assured as you perform the steps. Also, do be double sure that you have these materials with you:

  • Fabric scraps
  • Cutting mat
  • A ruler
  • A rotary cutter (or a sharp pair of scissors will do the job)
  • Quilt thread
  • Needle
  • Quilt batting (1 yard of ‘by the yard’); you can even use a smaller package of pre-cut batting
  • 1 yard of any suitable backing fabric
  • Straight pins
  • Safety pins

If you want to achieve a finished size measuring 36 inches by 36 inches, the given measurements (in the steps) are to be taken into consideration. Let’s keep reading on and understand the fundamentals performed in these steps below:

Step 1: Cut The Fabrics Into Pieces

Use your rotary cutter and cut fabrics into pieces such that they are 1.5 inches bigger than your finished quilt piece. You can use 144 three-and-half-inch squares for 12 rows of 12 squares. Alternatively, you may try your hands on 81 four-and-half-inch squares for 9 rows of 9 squares.

Maintain an average thickness of the fabric and ensure it’s not too heavy or too lightweight. After you cut the fabrics, it’s recommended to store them in a zip-lock bag.  Using these tweaks would help you accomplish a better result without wasting time.

Step 2: Thread Your Needed with The Quilting Thread

The most critical part of this step is to select a standard size of thread so that sewing doesn’t become intimidating. One quick note here is to avoid using bigger threads. Thread the needle with the quilting thread (usually stronger and thicker than the usual threads).

What’s best is to double up your quilt thread to ensure durability. An 18 inches thread will be an ideal size for quilting. It’ll ensure your thread doesn’t get tangled up.

Step 3: Start Off With Sewing

It’s time that you start sewing a straight 1/4 inch line from the piece’s edge. For this, you can draw a line with a marker. As you’re going to sew two fabric layers, mark the line on just half the piece. Don’t forget to align two fabric pieces with sides showing the pattern.

Once your quilting gets done, this is going to be your top side. Now coming to a complex part: tying the knot! Insert the needle around 1/4 inch from the fabric’s edge. Make a running stitch (as small as possible) along the marking portion.

One Quick Note: After pulling the needle, you can make a backstitch to ensure tightness.

Step 4: Start Off With Complex Sewing

After getting the first seam, the pieces should be ironed. Now, take two pieces and hold them side by side. For convenience, you can insert a pin and get the seams aligned. Start stitching one-quarter inch from a corner and end one-quarter inch from the piece’s end.

Continue the process of pinning those pieces together and sew the seams. When you finish stitch everything together, give it one last ironing. Remember, this is your last checking whether it’s perfect.

Step 5: Layer the Quilt

The fact that a quilt comprises three layers should be considered here. Once you finish off including all three layers (top fabric, insulating material or batting, and backing), ensure that nothing needs to get moved again. Now, with the help of a safety pin, start pinning through all three layers.

Don’t forget to keep the pins 4-5 inches apart. Right when you reach the top’s edge, put some more extra pins in. The corner will be your last part quilted.

Step 6: Start with The Actual Quilting

Sewing through all three quilt layers is called quilting done in a running stitch. So, to stitch straight across your quilt, cut the threat around 4 to 5 inches longer than the quilt’s width. Each row starts and ends at the corner. Thus, easy and simple for beginners!

Always remember to tie a knot at the thread’s end. Remove just necessary pins and smooth out the surface only to re-pin. Try your hands on a running stitch through the layers. Make back stitches at the opposite corner.

Step 7: Binding; Cutting Extra Batting & Backing

You can join extra binding strips if and when necessary. Lay an end of it over the next strip’s end. You can sew them at around 45 degree angle to eliminate unnecessary bulks. Before trimming corners, ensure that the strip is running straight.

After you get to the edges, stop at 1/4 inch from it. Fold bindings at 45 degree angle to your right. Again, fold bindings to the right and sew till the edge.

As you could finish off your lap-quilting design by hand in such a simple manner, wouldn’t you like to try out more impressive designs? On this note, you can try out sizes like 3 1/2 inch squares, 2 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch rectangles, 4 1/2 inch squares, and 2 1/2 inch squares!

How Hand Quilting Started?

When it was discovered, quilting didn’t involve a sewing machine or other modernized methods. The first quilter in the world used his hands and crafted a beautiful design. So, that’s how the process of quilting became popularized. But if you’re here to understand the nitty-gritties of quilting, read on.

What Are The Best Patterns for Lap Quilting?

For beginners, it’s always important to make things more seamless on the first go. Thus, quilt patterns that involve rectangle or square pieces are more recommendable here. One can also venture into triangles too!

What’s The Best Fabric for Lap Quilting?

Now, the answer is 100% cotton. However, one can venture out from the world of cotton! With that said, there are multiple fabrics you can go for, including muslin, polyester, velvet, etc.

How is Lap Quilting Different from Usual Hand-Quilting Methods?

The only difference between the usual hand quilting methods and lap quilting lies in its size. The lap quilt designs are around 2x a baby quilt (that’s even smaller than the size of a bedsheet).


Hello, I am Jessica Flores, and you are welcome to my website. I am a professional fashion designer and a seamstress. I always carried a passion for craftwork. My love for craft grew along with time. I have spent years researching and practicing in this field to gather colossal experience.

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