Buzzings from a quilter who bumbles her way through life!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Honey of a Preemie Quilt Tutorial

I enjoy making charity quilts when I can. Especially close to my heart are those tiny preemies. My grandson was born 3 months prematurely, and an experience like that certainly changes your perspective. Those parents are frightened, the mother is often not in good health, and those tiny little ones have left the comfort of the womb to a cruel world. (You would never know today, almost 5 years later, that my grandson had such a shaky start!) 
This little quilt could be made large enough to serve as a crib quilt by enlarging the sizes given here, or by adding more to the borders.
 The bee in the center block of this little "preemie" quilt has been pieced, not appliqued. It is based on the simple "Bow Tie" block except for the little wings and embroidered antennae.although I added two borders and a little embroidery so that I could use this as a donated quilt for the Preemie ward, it could be used as a block in a larger quilt or as a decoration on a bag. 
You will need: 3 squares each 1 1/2", bee body fabric
                         2 squares each 1 1/2", background fabric
                         2 squares each 3", background fabric
                                     2 rectangles each 3" x 8 1/2", background
                         scrap of white - enough to double and cut wings from, I used two 3" squares
                   Sew two sets, each with a 1 1/2" bee body and a 1 1/2" background. Press the seams open.      
Sew the two sets together, making sure the fabrics are opposite one another. Press.
Sew the 3" squares on each side of the bee block. Press, then sew the rectangles to the top and bottom. Press.
You now have a bow tie block surrounded by your background fabric. To make it look like a bee, you need a middle body and wings.
Turn the edges under about 1/4" on the remaining 1 1/2" square of bee body fabric. I use a glue stick to make them stay down.This will be appliqued or machine sewn over the ends of the wings.
Draw a petal shape about 2" long by 1 1/2" wide. Cut out on the line. Stack your two pieces of white fabric right sides together, and trace around the wing. You will need two of these. Leave enough room between the two wings to have a seam allowance on each. Sew around the outside of the wing, but leave the bottom open for turning. Cut out AFTER sewing. (It is much easier this way!) Turn each right side out. Press.
Make a pleat at the bottom of each wing and machine sew the ends in place at the center of the bee body. Test placement by placing the prepared square over it.

Applique or machine sew the square over the ends of the wings and lining it up with the center of the bee body. Embroider eyes and antennae.
 I happened to have some yellow 3" wide strips and some blue 5" wide strips left over from a different project, so I used these as borders. You can change the size of the borders if you choose. You could also add another pieced border around this. As it is, it comes out 22" square, a perfect size for a preemie incubator cover. I chose to write "My little honey is as sweet as can be!" around the yellow border. You might come up with something cuter than that or choose to not add wording at all. 
 I used the blue floral background fabric as a backing and used a piece of bamboo batting (because of its silky feel and other properties). I bound it with the yellow. 
I think this little bee could be useful for other purposes besides  a crib quilt. How about using it in a bag, as a journal cover, on a pocket or apron, or as a block in a larger quilt? 
Have fun and keep on buzzing!
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  1. this is so cute Linda,thankyou you are such a generous lady with your ideas.xx

  2. What an adorable quilt! I LOVE the little bow tie bee. Very clever...

  3. What a cute quilt! I love the little bumble bee!

  4. What a precious quilt and thanks for the tutorial! When I first looked at it I thought it was appliqued.

  5. this is too darn cute! Thanks for sharing

  6. Oh Linda, this is just what I need because I'm in the process of making NICU and preemie blankets!! How timely!!
    Gmama Jane

  7. What a clever way to make the bee!The whole thing is just adorable. You may have motivated me to start something like this for a charity.

  8. Gosh, how cute, Linda! It truly is a 'honey' of a quilt :-) Please stop by RocknQuilts for a give-away!

  9. Very adorable and very clever!

  10. An adorable bee and the quilting is just perfect for it! The colors are just perfect for a summer quilt.

  11. Very cute and clever! Thank you for the tutorial.

  12. What a sweet quilt, Linda, and how kind of you to provide a tutorial! Whoop whoop!!

  13. Hi! I love this little quilt! I'm here after finding your blog when google searching to try to figure out where to donate preemie quilts. I'm having trouble getting in contact with my local hospital. Do you donate yours right to the hospital or through a different organization that collects them? I'd love to hear what your method is! :) Thanks!!

  14. I have only just begun making comfort quilts for the local hospital, thank you for this idea and pattern!


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