If you like this tutorial for making a photo quilt, you may also enjoy this free hexagon quilt sewing pattern.
I have been trying to make quilts for my nieces (and nephews when they get old enough) when they graduate from High School and head off to college. I liked the idea of a quilt with photos of their family back home on it, to keep them warm if they get homesick while away.
After making the previous quilt, I decided I should simplify the pattern a bit. This one is very simple, made up of all 9″ squares of fabric.
I picked the fabrics based on the colors of my niece’s dorm room bedding and a few that I thought would be meaningful (like the horses since she is a Kentucky girl).
How to Make a Photo Quilt:
The quilt is simple 8 rows of 6 blocks. I thought I’d share a bit about how I incorporated the photos into the quilt, along with some things that I totally did wrong.
I also don’t have a “great” photo of the whole quilt finished, because as much I was excited for my kids to go back to school as soon as they left I realized I had no one to hold quilts for me while I took a photo! The quilt is a simple patchwork quilt. You can use this technique with any quilt pattern as long as your photo blocks are the correct size.
Here’s what you need to make a photo quilt:
48, 9″ squares of various fabrics – this INCLUDES the photo blocks- subtract the number of photo blocks from the total to figure out how many you need all together.
Printable Fusible Fabric
2 yards 60″ wide fabric for backing (I used a soft fabric (like Snuggles, or Minke)
Binding, batting, thread
To make the photo blocks:
Note: The blocks on this quilt are 9×9 before finishing. Printable fabric does not come 9″ wide so we need to print the photo on the fabric and attach it to another piece of fabric to get it to fit in the quilt.
You can ALSO use 8×8 pieces of fabric instead, then cut the squares of your other fabric to 8×8 instead. If you do this, I recommend that you buy non-fusible printable fabric.
How to Print Photos on Fabric:
Print your photos black and white onto your printable fabric (you can get it at craft stores). You want your photos print size to be 8″x8″, you’ll need a simple photo editing software to do this (like photoshop elements or iPhoto).
Trim your photo down to 8×8 (it prints on an 8.5″ x 11″ size of fabric).
Iron your photo onto your white fabric. Press well to heat set the ink- trim this piece down to 9″x9″.
TIP: Follow the directions on the package of printable fabric for how to set the ink on the fabric. Each manufacturer is different. If you don’t set the ink it may bleed when you wash the quilt.
The ink although set will bleed a bit when you wash it- I found this out too late and thus we have the “vintage” looking photos on my quilt- My 11 yr old daughter said it looked “cool” and there wasn’t much else I could do by that point, so I went with it. The other problem is some of the black ink bled onto the quilt top (augh!!). I wish I had pre-washed the blocks before I stitched them into the quilt.
So, at this point, if I were you… I would throw each of the blocks with the photos sewn onto them, in into the wash. Run them on a gentle cycle. Lay them flat to dry (don’t throw them in the dryer or they will shrink and not fit the quilt).
Finishing the Quilt:
After you’ve completed all of your photo blocks- you simply need to sew your 9″ squares together.
Stitch 6 blocks together for row 1, repeat for rows 2-8. When you’re finished stitch the rows together.
Quilt as desired (if you want more information about making a lap quilt, you can view my previous posts about it here).
When you’re done, you can wash and dry the quilt as you normally would. However, I would recommend a gentle detergent (like Woolite) to help preserve the photos.
If you’ve caught the quilting bug then you may want to check out this post with 45+ Beginner Quilt Patterns & Tutorials