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Quick Quilt

A simple technique lets you turn any expanse of pretty fabric into a welcoming coverlet. Here, a vintage floral linen tablecloth creates the top of the quilt, but any medium-weight fabric will work. We used a piece of linen in a complementary color to create the backing and border. 




  • Basic sewing supplies
  • Fabric for top of quilt
  • Cotton batting (cut to the same size as the top fabric)
  • Medium-weight linen (about 2 inches longer on all sides than the top fabric)
  • Embroidery floss (for tufting)
  • Embroidery needle


  1. Step 1

    Layer the three pieces: top layer right-side up, bottom layer right-side down, and batting in between. Safety-pin together, starting in the center and working toward the edges, smoothing as you go.

  2. Step 2

    Tuft layers at regular intervals: Send an embroidery needle threaded with two strands of floss through all three layers from the top; bring it back up again 1/8 inch away. Knot, and trim the ends to 1 inch. Repeat with two more strands in almost the same spot, then repeat tufting all over quilt.

  3. Step 3

    Trim excess bottom layer of fabric, leaving an allowance of 1 1/2 inch. Fold the edge of the border fabric over 1/2 inch, and press. Fold the remaining inch over the top layer, press, and pin. Continue folding and pinning around the perimeter. At the corners, tuck the fabric into itself neatly, creating the effect of a mitered corner. Edge stitch the border in place. Hand-stitch the flaps of fabric at the corners to secure. Remove pins.

Martha Stewart Living, February 2000



Reviews (57)

  • andynielsen 27 Aug, 2011

    You shouldn't avoid printing ads - this is an ad supported website so the way they support their editorial staff to create all this great content is through the money they make from advertisers paying for you to see those ads. Support the content by printing the ads.

  • joyuhrin 20 Jul, 2010

    Tuft--They're wanting you to sew 3-4 stitches in one spot Starting in middle.,then move over -say about 12 inches -keeping all material flat as you go, sew again 3-4 stitches in one spot. do this all way across. =do another row the same way before you know it you have a tuft. quilt. BE SURE TO PIN ALL MATERIAL . -BEFORE TUFTING --IF YOU START PINNING IN MIDDLE AND 12 INCHES APART YOU CAN USE THIS AS YOUR QUIDE TO DO YOUR TUFTS..REMOVE THE PINS AS YOU GO AFTER TUFFING IN THAT SPOT..

  • ginnyunder 18 Mar, 2009

    To print w/out ads, I just use the mouse to highight what I want, right=click, select 'Print', then click 'Selection'. Maybe this will work for you too.

    You could also copy and paste the text and pictures you want into a text editing program, such as Microsoft Word.

  • jojoB 17 Mar, 2009

    I do not appreciate that when I print out these instructions, I wind up printing an advertisement, as well! And of all ways to waste ink, the ad was for HP Inks!!! Please help up save on ink and remove ads from the print versions of the instructions.

  • jose51 6 Mar, 2009

    I would love to make this, but could not understand some of the instructions - anyone translate please?

  • sunnyhope 12 Dec, 2008

    I really didnt understand how to do this and i really need how to learn to make some qick but nice lookin baby blankets; actually i need 4 or 5 of them ASP-
    Anywaone who can help me can email me on please i would be very greatful.


  • seweasy 11 Nov, 2008

    I have made 5 of these blankets for Christmas presents. They are quick and easy to complete in about 2 hours. The average cost is between 10-15$ each.

  • onenanaj 29 Oct, 2008

    Sorry my request for the bat made with a coffefilter should have said and glued to a clothespin not a coffee filter. sorry

  • onenanaj 29 Oct, 2008

    Does anyone have the instructions to the Bat made with a coffee filter clued to a coffee filter, holding a card. Please let me know if you do. I loved it but Martha showed it at the end of her show and I could not get to the directions in time.

    It was supposed to be on Martha's website but I have not found it yet.
    thank you

  • karleenoppermann 8 Oct, 2008

    Another great idea for batting substitute is old matress pads.

  • lc0621 3 Oct, 2008

    If you would like to see a video, go to and search for "how to tie a quilt". It helped my quite a bit. Good luck!

  • Waimea 30 Sep, 2008

    Love it! I live in Hawai'i and have lived in Tahiti - where they make "bed spreads" called Ti Fi Fi...(Tee-fy-fy)...they do not use batting however, cause it is so warm - but two pices of pretty material of rather equal size....(both of bed sheet quality - cotton...) sewn together...I use a plain sheet for the underside....makes for a nice either bed spread or a big throw....and fun to use pretty sheets/table cloths/shower curtains/ fact I just made one with a gorgeous, plain pinkish/or

  • photophil 30 Sep, 2008

    My grandmother and I did all our quilts this way. We even put together our patchwork quilts this way.

  • jvincent 30 Sep, 2008

    Sounds lumpy and time consuming. Not to mention a mess when washed and the fusible interfacing looses its grip.

  • cookiesgalore 29 Sep, 2008

    I bet a good idea for a batting alternative would also be old recycled clothes that yo are not wearing anymore. Just sew or iron them all on a large piece of fusible interfacing and make everything flat so that it's like one big blanket and then use that as the batting.

  • deebeee 29 Sep, 2008

    Thank you all so much for all the great suggestions and sources. I'm kind of a neophyte on all this craft stuff, so having your comments is really so helpful.

  • oceanrocker 29 Sep, 2008

    Another great place to buy the Natural Batting is They were listed as one of Martha's favorite sources at Christmas time.

  • Brinky 29 Sep, 2008

    I've made these for years using old blankets for the "batting" and they turn out so nice. I've used a beautiful set of sheets for both top and bottom too. Another alternative for a cozy warm throw is to use a nice berber fleece for the top and flannel for the bottom - no need to use batting. So many options.

  • mpegm 29 Sep, 2008

    A tied baby quilt makes a really quick and easy baby present also, and something that the recipient realy cherishes. It's a good project for a weekend, a good way to get a teen into sewig/quiltig/crafting, just a neat idea all around.

  • mcs2pcs 29 Sep, 2008

    An easy way to make sure all the ties are in a uniform pattern: Take a large enough piece of interfacing (not the fusible kind) and make holes in it in either a 4 x 4 or 6 x 6 inch grid. Take a stitch in one of the holes and then take another stitch. Go to the next [filtered word] without cutting the yarn/thread. Once you have stitched in all of the holes, you can snip your thread/yarn in the middle of the holes and then tie the ends. The interfacing slips right off.

  • spookystyle 29 Sep, 2008

    I bet a fleece blanket would make a good replacement for the batting. I've also done this with NO batting, and the blankets turn out wonderful weight-wise, and make great picnic blankets, and great throws.

  • SueKelsey 29 Sep, 2008

    A good alternative to embroidery floss or yarn is Pearl Cotton. This is a twisted cotton floss that available in 4 sizes and hundreds of colors and is manufactured by DMC and Anchor. The size you used depend on the type of fabric. Use the thicker size for heavier fabrics, thinner size for lighter fabrics. Many quilters in our area use this in place of yarn or embroidery floss. Yarn can be too heavy and the color range in cotton yarn is limited. Generally, pearl cotton is available at your local needlework (cross stitch or needlepoint) shop. The big box stores carry a very limited number of colors.

  • thisaintMS 29 Sep, 2008

    I did something similar with a piece of faux fur and corduroy for the back so it wouldn't slide on the bed, made a "bear fur" quilt for a twin bed, did not need filling as the faux fur was warm enough.

  • toothjantr 29 Sep, 2008

    crewtondix, I could not get the website you mentioned. Would you check it and tell us again? thanks.

  • alicemarie 29 Sep, 2008

    My mother did this in the 1940's to recycle old, worn, stained quilts. She used a 4 or 5 inch square of cardboard to do the measuring. She took the needle through all layers from the top and up again, then did it again, then tied a square knot, trimed the ends and moved on to the next corner of the cardboard. This makes measuring pretty simple and fairly uniform.

  • Timssantafewife 29 Sep, 2008

    In order to do a good quality job of tacking and tying (which is the common name for what is descrobed in this craft) you need to make your stitches all of the same length on the back. You also need to have your ties a equal distance apart. A staggered pattern is preferable. A quality batting like Warm and Natural or Quilter's Dream are my choice when doing this because they don't clump up when washed.

  • skyeyes 29 Sep, 2008

    null, thank you too! I will definitely keep the thread count in mind. This is intended as a "dragon quilt"...draggin' around the house, draggin' around the inside of the car, so forth. Something to throw on the floor and be able to throw into the washer and dryer if it gets messy. Nothing heirloom or fancy. ;-)

  • skyeyes 29 Sep, 2008

    wfb-mom, thank you for your comment! That sounds like just the right idea! Now to get myself to Walmart or other store and buy those sheets and batting! ;-) The polar fleece sounds interesting as well.

  • lepinkowl 29 Sep, 2008

    janwinje: great alternative idea using an old blanket between rather than batting! Even thought batting is fairly easy to come by, I have a lot of thin blankets that are tattered and/or out of style. It is a great way to save some money.

  • KimStrut526 29 Sep, 2008

    you can sewing batting together, to get the size you need, use a zig zag stitch, and butt them up together. use a coupon and get you batting from joanns or hancocks..
    has these great flannel top sheets/blanket that work great for a light weight batting. most or all batting packages tell you on the package how far away your stitching can be..or tying. use either Emb. floss or some pearl cotton..stronger and doesn't "burn up" in the dryer, like yarn does..
    these tied quilts

  • wfb-mom 29 Sep, 2008

    We live in WI where the winters can be very cold. When my boys were little I bought extra packages of the top sheet for their set. I then used a top sheet (flannel) extra thick batting and polar fleece to make their comforters with this technique. They still brag to their friends about the warmth.

  • dovemama 29 Sep, 2008

    Jo Ann's online has all sizes of batting in case you can't find it locally.

  • skyeyes 29 Sep, 2008

    Would it be reasonable to use bedsheets or cribsheets as the fabric, or would those be too thin? My sewing machine is on the blink which makes sewing lengths of fabric difficult. I can definitely handstitch around the edge of sheets though. I'm planning to make a tied quilt or coverlet for my little grandniece.

  • crewtondix 29 Sep, 2008
    video of knotting a quilt for you visual learners:)

  • CatzCat 18 Sep, 2008


  • irishcats 18 Sep, 2008

    If you can't find large batting, just use smaller pieces and whipstitch the edges together. It works fine.

  • glorybees7 7 Jul, 2008

    Any way of getting a close up picture of the knots and tufting? I have never quilted before and would like to see a better example. I just came home with some of my late grandmothers leftover vintage fabrics and would like to do something like thise with them

  • curlygirl222 26 Jun, 2008

    RE: #6 I live in the Pittsburgh area...and finding lkarge sized batting is difficult....

  • Learner10 25 Jun, 2008

    Thank you "Peaceandlight" for the URL with the very clear diagram of your method of tying. I have printed out a copy. (See comment number 11).

  • janwinje 25 Jun, 2008

    My grandmother in South Africa used to recycle tired blankets by quilting them this way. I still have one from my childhood and it hasn't aged a bit! (The blanket was used, instead of batting).

  • pc1forever 20 Jun, 2008

    My grand mother used to make quilts in this fashion. As she got older she could not "quilt" because of her arthritis. She would use yarn or embroidery floss to tack the quilts together. She would leave a little bit of the tie to make it decorative.

  • casperboy 19 Jun, 2008

    good project. made a lovely coverlet using old (recycle) silk drapes. very feminine.

  • cheveuxrouge 19 Jun, 2008

    CMJ: Usually you can find batting in a variety of sizes from craft/crib sized up to king or queen bed-sized at any fabric store, even some craft stores. I usually buy 100% cotton, because it feels so light and beautiful, and it shrinks slightly and gives my quilts a comfy, slightly broken-in feel. If you buy like that, you can make sure you purchase a piece that is the same or larger than your fabric. Good luck!

  • cmjhawaii 19 Jun, 2008

    What if the batting I buy is not big enough to fit the entire width of the cover? Do you just sew the batting pieces together until you get the desired width and length?

  • blcarroll 19 Jun, 2008

    Great idea Martha. I have also done something similar to this however instead of using batting I used an old thin blanket I was not using (recycling). It works well. I even did one using down sleeping bags by removing the zippers first. These were then covered with gorgeous brocade fabric (make like a pillow) and great for winter covers for beds. I did some tacking like you mentioned to keep inside in place. I sponge wash and now used in our van for camping in colder weather.

  • Queb52 8 Jun, 2008

    I am interested in the details of the antique comb case hanging in the background. I have one that was my grandfathers - not as ornate but still very unique.

  • shoefrog 2 Jun, 2008

    They ask you to do that stitching in 3 separate moves so that if one of them lets go, the others remain. These stitches are holding a lot of weight and fabric shifting, so separately, they have more strength and longevity.

  • sammiej37 29 Apr, 2008

    "two more stands in almost the same spot" this is for looks only. Being in the center of that flower, if you only did the "tuft" or "tie" one time. You wouldn't be able to see it as well. if you used 3 strand of floss in your needle then seperated the threads after tying a square knot, it would have the same effect but would come untied more easily.

  • peaceandlight 1 Apr, 2008

    Sorry about all the posts. It seems that this message board can't handle the ampersand!!! Sheesh...

  • peaceandlight 1 Apr, 2008

    I'm not sure why the directions tell you to "repeat with two more strands in almost the same spot." My method is to thread an 18" length of yarn or embroidery floss through a needle, then take several spaced stitches before cutting and tying the yarn. It is important to use a square knot so that they stay tied. A simple diagram of the technique can be found here:

  • peaceandlight 1 Apr, 2008

    take several spaced stitches before cutting

  • peaceandlight 1 Apr, 2008

    I'm not sure why the directions tell you to "repeat with two more strands in almost the same spot." My method is to thread an 18" length of yarn or embroidery floss through a needle, then take several spaced stitches before cutting

  • googiewhump 18 Feb, 2008

    Where I come from this is a "tied quilt", meaning 1 base fabric, a center of batting, and the top fabric. Smooth all layers. Use pins if you wish to keep all 3 layers secure while you tie the quilt. We often find a pattern in the fabric or just mark off 6 inch squares and tie a square knot at the corners of the squares. Begin in the center and work your way to the edges. Roll the edge to make an even hem. Blind stitch or blanket stitch to finish the hem. Hope that helped.

  • skyyobx 17 Feb, 2008

    it is essentially putting all 3 layers together and tying little thread knots to hold it all together instead of quilting which would take longer. If you'll notice in the photo, the little red sprigs of thread is where it was "tufted". The thread was sewn in then back out and knotted with the 2 ends and cut. Then you will move over like 5 inches (for example) and do it again.

  • miqueaseli 13 Jan, 2008

    I need pictures too, Im sure its more simple than it sounds but i really dont understand it that well.

  • island_girl 3 Jan, 2008

    Texasborn: the directions for tufting are there....

    Send a needle thread with embroidery floss through all three layers from the top, then bring it back up again just a fraction of an inch away. Knot the two strands together, and trim ends to about 1 inch. Repeat with two more strands in almost the same spot

  • texasbornn64 26 Nov, 2007

    I need pictures or video that shows the step by step instructions.
    I don't know what some of the terminology means, such as "tuft layers". I understand everything until it gets to "Tuft layers at regular intervals:..." Maybe the webmaster could put the definition in parenthesis.
    Also, there is a typo: it should be Send a needle threaded-.