A bed laid on a quilt

How To Make A Bed Quilt: A Beginner’s Guide To Bedspreads

If you’ve gotten bored of staring at the same bedsheet during lockdown it could be time to jazz up your room.

A homemade bed quilt is a simple way to jazz up your mattress and give your master bedroom that finishing touch.

You’ve more than likely got 80% of the equipment you need sitting in a linen cupboard at home just waiting to be transformed into beautiful ideas!

Would you believe me if I told you it was easy? See for yourself! with this how to make a bed quilt guide…

Is a bed quilt just a blanket?

Technically yes, but whilst a blanket is a material covering used for warmth, quilts take time and artistry techniques to create. (There is a lot more to the world of a bed quilt than you probably thought). Just to scratch the surface.

As this video below will show you, there are also plenty of ways to style your bed quilts.

Some ideas to style your quilts once you’re done!

Bed quilt

A bed quilt is a covering for a mattress made from three layers, composed of a top quilt, a middle layer of batting, and a bottom layer.

The top quilt can be made from different fabrics that have been sewn together in shapes or patterns for a pleasing aesthetic.

The batting is a thin or thick layer of wool or down and the bottom is usually a solid piece of fabric matching a color displayed on the front top quilt.

Cotton Comforters

Comforters are quilts without the finished side or top layer. They’re sheets that have been sewn together a bit like a duvet cover that can have batting inside.

A comforter is a trim way to finish a room, and if you want beautiful matching pillow shams – you can use an existing bedspread and a layer of batting to make your own.

TIP

You can sew a fitted sheet or flat sheet together for a lightweight quilt for a guest bedroom mattress.

Duvet Cover

Technically a duvet is a thick comforter, as it’s two pieces of fabric that have been stuffed with a filling or down for coziness.

A duvet cover is like a cozy fabric envelope where the duvet sits inside for protection and is easily removed for washing.

Duvet covers and bedspreads are often sold with matching sleeping pillows.

Flat Sheet Bedspread

A bedspread is a single layer-bedding topper and will cover the entire bed’s area all the way to the floor. Many bedspreads are adorned with corduroy finishes with dust ruffles at the bottom.

They’re pretty old fashioned now and you won’t find many in your everyday home.

On a master bed, decorative pillows can be placed on the top of a bedspread. You could even match a comforter to your window treatments and euro shams!

Side shot of a bed with a sheet, a quilt and pillows
Some older designs hang over the side of the bed

Who’d have thought there were so many different types of bedding?! These covers are not only suitable to provide us with warmth on top of our bodies, they can also be used for an extra layer underneath a person, as a mattress pad on a box spring mattress (for us stomach sleepers!).

FACT

In the second half of the 19th Century there was a tradition of military bed quilts sewn by American male soldiers from scraps of fabric from old uniforms or worn old blankets, whilst posted overseas.

How long will it take me?

Traditionally making a bed quilt was time consuming with lots of people working together to create an heirloom.

Nowadays and thanks to the invention of the sewing machine, you can create a simple quilt in a matter of a few hours.

In North America, early British and Dutch settlers established a tradition known as a bride quilt.

It’s a social occasion where many people share the sewing to create a quilt and pillow in a day for a girl who is about to get married to sit on her new mattress.

What do I need to make a quilt?

When learning how to make a bed quilt, these are things you’re gonna need. If you’ve sewn or played around the crafts before at home, chances are you will have a lot of the tools you need for quilting already sitting in your cupboards.

Basic sewing tools

  • Safety pins
  • Measuring tape or ruler
  • An iron
  • Sewing scissors

Sewing supplies for quilting

  • Sewing machine
  • Fabric
  • Batting
  • Thread

You can find a good selection of vintage or pre-loved fabrics on Ebay if you want to create a very good quality patterned top. Fabrics with a higher thread count feel ‘finer’ to the touch.

What size should my bed quilt be?

A set of quilts laid upon a chair
Bed quilts come in all shapes and sizes!

Single twin quilt

  • 5.5m (6 yards) x 2 for the top and bottom.

Queen bed quilt

  • 7.3m (8 yards) x 2 for the top and bottom.

King bed quilt

  •  8.2m (9 yards) x 2 for the top and the bottom.

TIP

The measurements included here are a rough guide. Make sure to get the correct measurements of the four corners of your mattress, and include a seam allowance before you cut out fabric and start sewing anything!

How do I make a bed quilt?

Step 1.

First step is to create the quilt top, either by using a pattern or free hand applique. You may follow a paper piece pattern to create an artistic top. You can sew fabric and then fold and press it.

If you are making a comforter you can keep it simple and use plain cotton sheets or block color fabric pieces.

Step 2.

Next, cut out a panel of fabric according to your measurements for your comforter base. Cut out a panel of the same size for the batting of your bed quilt if you decide to use multiple layers.

Don’t forget to leave a seam allowance of around ½”. The seam allowance is the area between the fabric edge and the stitching line, which is added to ensure things are sewn to the correct size.

For thicker covers or a mattress comforter, add a next layer if you have excess batting.

Step 3.

Match your layers together then pin using safety pins.

The top and the bottom layer are facing inwards the same way, the middle layer is on top. It might seem as though you’ve got them on the wrong side but you will fold it inside out – this is to stop the raw edges showing.

Step 4.

I think the simplest way to sew a comforter together is to use a pillow method, where you sew all around the edge of your comforter, but leave an opening on one side so you can turn it right side out and then sew the opening closed.

Step 5.

You can edge the quilt nice with a neat top stitch, or tie it together with knotting techniques.

TIP

Choose flat sheets made from fabrics that are easy to wash and dry, such as cotton or acrylic, which wears well if you will sleep with it.

Can I make a bed quilt without a machine?

The short answer is yes you can, but sewing it by hand will be extremely time consuming. You can attach the fabric layers together with various techniques such as ties and knots, which will provide durability.

Sewing equipment laid out on a bed quilt
Doing things by hand can be more satisfying but time consuming

A machine is a quilter’s best friend! It allows faster sewing and is easy to sew with different types of stitching such as appliqué and patchwork.

You can automatically vary the stitch length and style without worrying if it will be equal or not!

You can find a machine on the market for cheap.

Do I have to use batting?

Costs of making a quilt may quickly add up if you are sewing from the beginning!

There are economical options if you want to save money or only use the comforter to protect your mattresses.

You can certainly choose to attach the fabric top and the back together without a middle layer of batting.

Added Layer

Or, you can use an unconventional added layer such as cotton or flannel: I made my newborn niece a small baby comforter and used an old polyester-cotton mix pillow case for the middle layer to give the comforter some weight. If it’s not warm enough her mum can fold it for more layers!

If you want more baby gift ideas, have a look at these baby sewing patterns I found.

How do I quilt with a beginner machine?

It doesn’t matter if your machine is from the 1800’s or from last season, as long as it’s got the basic stitches and will sew straight or zig zag lines.

Once you’ve put your material sandwich together with a filling of your choice, it’s time to begin using your machine.

TIP

It’s a good idea to make stitches a little bit longer when quilting to help prevent the thread snapping.

A good way to check tension on a test quilt is to use contrasting colored thread for the top and bottom stitch to make sure you cannot see any of the top thread on the bottom quilt.

You want the top and bottom thread to lock together in the middle layer of the quilt.

Pink quilt at the edge of a bed
You can start some of your bed quilts small to practice

Adjust the length of the stitch and then begin sewing straight or zig zag lines.

TIP

When making a quilt block top, start sewing in the middle and then work out to the sides.

Conclusion

Whether you want to make matching pillows, a mattress protector or a simple bed quit, the technique is an awesome and creative way to add color and vibrancy to an important room in your home!

Share this fun post with someone who wants to learn how to make a bed quilt or someone who is looking to add a bed quilt to their sewing and quilting collection! Side sleepers welcome!

For some more ways to jazz up your projects, make sure to look into the quilt design software that works best for your budget and skill level. There are a number to choose from!

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Kris Daub
Kris Daub
[email protected] byCurated I'm a maker at heart! I love to create and tech others to create. I particularly sewing and hand crafts like ebroidery. I also love larger home decorating projects. ✂️ 🧵