An “Out to Sea” Baby Quilt

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A very dear friend of mine recently added a beautiful little girl to her family. She is quite the crafty woman, always knitting up something special. I knew that she would really appreciate a handmade gift, so I went around town, popping into different quilting stores to find just the right fabrics to make her baby girl a sweet quilt. I knew that her nursery was going to be made up in pinks, purples and greys, so I kept to her color scheme with the help of the Out to Sea collection, by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller Fabrics.


I found a bundle with the Deep Sea Jewel and Ahoy There color pallets combined, and found some lovely hearts, pearl bracelets, and polka dots in various quilting stores. I didn’t have a very large budget for this project, so luckily I had just enough white, cream and grey Kona cotton to get the job done. I pieced together batting that I had leftover from other various projects, and bound the quilt with a printed grey and white gingham I had in my stash.

I didn’t use or have a particular pattern in mind when I started to make this. I wanted to use the map print as the main feature of the quilt, because I though that a baby or toddler would enjoy looking at all of the colors and details in the fabric print. I didn’t want to cut up the boats either, but once I outlined them in grey Kona, I felt a little stuck. What was my actual creative vision for these fabrics? I wasn’t really sure.

After quite a bit of sketching, and enough math to make my head hurt, I decided to mimic the tiny flags on each ship. I randomly pieced together angled strips of printed and white cotton until I was satisfied with my “mini flags”. I ended up having to rip out quite a few of them, because I wasn’t happy with the haphazard angles I had chosen, but by the end of my last block, I had finally figured that out. Of course, right at the end. The back of the quilt was pieced with the remaining printed cottons, and strips of cream Konaย in between.


It took me a bit to decide how to quilt this piece. I doodled around and finally decided that I wanted something that looked like seaweed. All too often I stick to general meandering and looping. I wanted something new! Here is a little visual of how I made this pattern (click on the photo to see it enlarged):


When I baste my quilts, I usually do so in a gridded square pattern. I find it makes it much easier to plan for each section of the quilt, and to stitch each one of them as I go along. Randomly placed safety pins interrupt my thought process too much. For this quilting pattern, I placed the pins so that I could stitch every-other-row of quilting all the way from the bottom to the top of the quilt, uninterrupted. I could then remove all of the safety pins, and fill in the quilting between each of the rows. It worked out very nicely!


I’m a cheater when it comes to sewing on binding. I don’t loath hand sewing, but for some reason, I dread stitching on binding by hand. I simply make my binding a bit longer than you would if you were hand sewing it on, and use my #10 Bernina Edgestitch foot to stitch in the ditch on the front of the quilt. It’s fast and easy and makes me happy every time.


I was so excited with the way this quilt came out of the dryer. It had the perfect texture once it was washed and dried. The final quilt measurement was somewhere around 40″ x 35″.



It has me itching to get back to my Hexagon Illusions quilt. I kind of forgot how cathartic quilting can be. Do you find quilting to be relaxing?

  • Tiffany Jennings

    You’re amazing Amy Alan. Simply Amazing!

    • You’re too kind, Tiffany. Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jen

    Oh man, this quilt is SO GOOD!! Seriously, love love love!!

    • Thank you, Jen! That means a lot coming from you!

  • LOVE it!!! So pretty.

  • Ledys

    This quilt is amazing. Love it! You make me want to take up quilting ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks! You should take up a quilting! I find that it’s a nice way to sew without feeling like I’m “working”.

  • Sarah

    So you did the finish quilting with your regular machine? I have also finished the binding of quilts with a stitch in the ditch. Faster and more secure than my hand stitching.

    • Yes, I did the quilting on my Bernina 430. I’ve never had someone else quilt my quilts for me, although for larger ones I’m sure it’d be nice! I agree that stitching on the bindings in the ditch is more secure than hand stitching. I need something that will stay in place since I know this will likely have many many repeated washings.

  • Laurel Lee

    Love this quilt! And I’m sure the new owner will to!!

    • Thanks for your kind words, Laurel!

  • This quilt makes me love these fabrics even more! Great design.

    • Thank you so much, Lindsay! That’s really great to hear from a quilting fabric lover such as yourself. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I hope you’re loving Nashville!

  • Helen McFadyen

    This is beautiful and I love the boats. I actually almost love the back more though, as those strips look like waves on the sea, with a little boat on the horizon!

    I have never quilted and although would one day like to make a quilt for our bedroom, am very very daunted. Yours is inspirational though. I love that quilting pattern. Do you do that free hand?

    • Thank you, Helen! I made the back to mimic the sea- I’m glad you noticed! I’m kind of wishing that I had not outlined the boat with the grey, so it would look more like it was sailing, but oh well. I like it anyways!

      Don’t feel overwhelmed by the idea of quilting! It’s great fun, and you may even have a quilt guild in your area to help you learn more about quilting and cheer you on. You should look up the Modern Quilt Guild to find one in your area.

      Yes, the quilting pattern is something that I did freehand, using a free motion quilting foot. It was a really fun pattern to make. I’m pleased you like it so much!