Back to the main Quilters' Guild website

Tips on How to Make a Miniature Quilt

Tricia Denholm

Making Miniature Quilts

Most people start making quilts of different sizes (i.e. cot, single, or double).  Techniques include pieced over paper templates, strips, foundation pieced and applique. Miniatures are made the same way as large quilts, but on a smaller scale using finer fabrics. A true miniature should be 1/12th the size of a large quilt, i.e. a twelve inch block becomes a one inch block. This can be quite daunting to a beginner so A4 is a good size to aim for.  

Piecing over individual paper templates (e.g. hexagons, squares, or triangles) and then sewing together by hand is easy for a miniature once you work out the design and finished size of your quilt. Foundation piecing means you draw your design for each block on fine Vilene or fine paper and then work from the reverse side following the drawn lines. This method can be either hand or machine sewn.

Fine fabrics, such as Liberty Lawn, silk, or fine cotton, are best for miniatures as they ease the bulk of the seams when joining pieces together. Also used fine threads and fine hand or machine needles if possible. It is your choice whether to hand or machine quilt the finished design. 

All quilts have a wadding. We tend to use Hobbs 80/20 cotton wadding or compressed polyester used in dress making, this can be bought in quilt shops.

Enjoy making your first miniature.

Tricia Denholm shares her experience making a miniature quilt using foundation piecing 

I am a member of the Miniature Quilt Group and when wanting to make a piece of work I sought a pattern which I could reduce easily.  I chose the Anja Townrow wall hanging as I had made the foundation papers to make the full size piece.  The corner squares were 8 inches so I decided to make then 2 inches which meant I could assume an inch would become a quarter inch. I used Vilene for making my foundation pieces and started with the 2 inch squares, putting a quarter inch border around the pieces to join them together. Once joined I then trimmed the seams to 1/8th inch. Once the finished top was layered with wadding and a backing fabric I machine quilted it as the thickness of the whole quilt made hand quilting difficult.  I could only work for about half an hour at a time as my eyes found the small scale taxing.  I am delighted with the finished quilt though!

Tip for adding a sleeve to a quilt

Cut a piece of fabric about 1" shorter than the width of your piece and, for a 4" sleeve,about 8.5" wide. Put a very narrow hem along the 8.5" sides so you haven't any raw edges. Fold your sleeve in half lengthwise so that you have a strip that has stitched ends and a raw edge at the top. Machine this to the top edge of your quilt but with a less than a quarter inch seam. Now when your top binding is on and turned on to the back of your quilt the raw edges of your sleeve will be inside the seam. Stitch the bottom edge of the tube very carefully to the back of your quilt giving room for a dowel/batten to be placed without stretching the quilt. The sleeve is not sewn flat to the back of the quilt. When putting a sleeve on a miniature quilt you can use the same method but of course adjust the size of the sleeve to suit the project.