Polar Bear Baby Quilt

Categories: Gifts, Kid Friendly, Quilts, Holiday, Winter

This Polar Bear Baby Quilt uses simple patchwork and is easy to make because it’s just 6 inch squares, but adding some puffy soft polar bears in Shannon Fabrics Cuddle® turns it into something really special.  The Cuddle® Fabric boarder and backing make this especially warm and cozy.  You can go with anything from a thinner cotton batting.  This quilt is going to a new baby in northern Alaska, so we thought some wool batting was in order and we love how the combination of wool batting and the Cuddle® backing combined to really show off the quilting.

Cuddle fabrics used include Luxe Cuddle® Chenille Snow White in the borders, Luxe Cuddle® Velvet Snow White for the bears, and Embossed Heart Cuddle® Snow White for the backing.

The quilt was designed using EQ7.

What you need to make this project

Materials
38 - 6" Squares in a variety of wintery blue colors (or 5+ fat quarters)
26 - 6" Squares in a variety of low-volume white fabrics (or 3+ fat quarters)
1/4 yard Luxe Cuddle® Velvet in Snow White for bears
1/3 yard Luxe Cuddle® Chenille in Snow White for borders
1 1/4 Yards wintery blue fabric for outer border and binding
1 2/3 yards Embossed Heart Cuddle® in Snow White for the backing
Quick Craft Poly-Fil® Fiber Fill – 2 ounce Bag for filling bears
1 2/3 yards Nature-Fil™ Wool Batting (at least 60" wide)
1/4 Yard Toasty Cotton or Nature-Fill Bamboo Batting or batting scraps
Coordinating thread
Extra Long Dritz Pins
1/4 yard paper-backed fusible web
Basting Spray
Printed Copy of Templates (See Pattern Link)

Download Pattern

Supplies
Rotary Cutter, Mat, and Ruler
Sewing Machine and Related Supplies
Even-feed or walking foot for sewing machine (optional but recommended)

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Nature-Fil™ Wool Batting 90″ wide x 8 yard Roll

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Quick Craft Poly-Fil® Fiber Fill – 2 ounce Bag

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Instructions

Step One

This Polar Bear Baby Quilt is easy to make and so special…

Step Two

Cut out 38 – 6″ squares from wintery blue fabrics and 26 –  6″ squares from wintery white fabrics.  You might want to choose fat quarters especially for this project or scraps or a mixture of both.  Lay them out according to this diagram.

Stitch with 1/4 inch seam allowance.  (Note: I made two quilt tops, one in each direction, so this picture is in reverse.

Perfect Wintery Polar Bear Quilt - Baby Quilt - Alaska Quilt

Step Three

Cut 4 – 3″ strips from your Luxe Cuddle® Chenille Snow White for the inner borders.  Sew these borders on with a 1/2 seam allowance, being careful not to stretch the Cuddle® fabric as you sew.  It’s easiest to sew Cuddle® with an even-feed or walking foot on your machine.

Cut 6 – 4″ stripes from your outer border fabric.  Sew strips end-to-end.  Attach outer borders with 1/2 inch seam allowance.

 

Step Four

Trace the parent and baby polar bear patterns onto a piece of paper-backed fusible web.  For the larger polar bear, you’ll need to tape the pages together, matching overlaps.

Perfect Wintery Polar Bear Quilt - Baby Quilt - Alaska Quilt

Iron your fusible web onto the BACK of the Cuddle® you plan to use for your polar bears.  Cut out around the fusible web with SHARP scissors.  You want to make sure the “fur” is all trimmed to the shape as well as the back of the fabric.

Pin polar bears in a couple of places.  Iron FROM THE BACK of the quilt to fix the fusible web in place.  Check the edges of your appliques to make sure they’re secure.  Iron again if needed.  Note: Shannon Cuddle® is made from polyester, so you do NOT want to use an iron on high heat.  The pile on this fabric is so lush that it’s almost impossible to iron from the front and have the fusible web stitch without damaging the softness of the Cuddle® so you definitely want to iron from the back.  (I really love Dritz Extra Long pins for working with Cuddle® because they slip in easily and don’t get lost in the fur.  You do NOT want to accidentally leave a pin behind.)

 

Step Five

BEFORE we stitch around the edges of our design we’re going to use basting spray to add some batting scraps behind our bears.  You’ll want cotton-type batting (cotton, cotton/poly, or cotton/bamboo…NOT polyfil type).  Use a bit of basting spray or pins to keep it in place.  It should extend at least 1/2 past the bear in all directions.

Stitch around the edges of your appliques using a satin stitch or tight zigzag stitch around the edges of your polar bears.  As you sew, use your finger to bold as much of the “fur” out of the way of your machine foot, so as little as possible ends up caught in the stitching where it will look a bit messy.

Trim excess batting around the outside of the bears.

 

From the back, cut slit ONLY though the batting layer behind the bears.  Stuff lightly with polyfil.  It is easy to overstuff.  We want a balance between the bear puffing out on our quilt and our quilt still being able to lay flat.

Loosely hand-stitch the bear closed.

 

Step Six

From here you will will baste and quilt the quilt as you normally would, taking extra care when basting around the polar bears as it can take a few tries to smooth out any wrinkles that may form around the bulk of the polar bears.  Also take extra care when basting the borders to fold seam allowances under the Cuddle® border.  This will distribute more of the bulk to the Cuddle® border and give it some extra pop.

Perfect Wintery Polar Bear Quilt - Baby Quilt - Alaska Quilt

 

I started by the quilting by stitching with a straight stitch directly outside the polar bears to really help them look defined and make them pop.

Perfect Wintery Polar Bear Quilt - Baby Quilt - Alaska Quilt

I also recommend using a different quilting design for the ice/land part of the quilt than you use for the sky/water part of the quilt.  I quilted swirls that reminded me of blowing wind or swirling water in the blue sections and free motion side to side lines in the icy portion.  If you’re new to free-motion quilting, this is a great project to practice on.  I’m still quite new to it and the swirl pattern was new to me.  I made a few mistakes, but am very pleased with the end result.

Perfect Wintery Polar Bear Quilt - Baby Quilt - Alaska Quilt

Step Seven

Now all that will be left is to bind and finish up your quilt.  I prefer to use a double thick binding, especially on kids’ quilts since I find the binding is often the first part to wear out.  I know a lot of hard-core quilters will disagree with me…but I machine sew, rather than hand sew my bindings for anything except particularly special art-quilts…because machine sewn bindings are fast, durable, and let me get onto my next project sooner.

Perfect Wintery Polar Bear Quilt - Baby Quilt - Alaska Quilt

Perfect Wintery Polar Bear Quilt - Baby Quilt - Alaska Quilt

Perfect Wintery Polar Bear Quilt - Baby Quilt - Alaska Quilt

Perfect Wintery Polar Bear Quilt - Baby Quilt - Alaska Quilt

And if you’re looking for the perfect book to gift with the quilt, I highly recommend Mama, Do you Love Me by Barbara Joosse.  We were given the book by my daugther’s birth-mom when my now 12-year-old was a baby and it’s still a favorite.  Both the quilt and book celebrate the bond between a mother and child with an Alaskan flavor.

Perfect Wintery Polar Bear Quilt - Baby Quilt - Alaska Quilt