Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Making Preemie Quilts

There is nothing more precious than a brand new baby, and nothing more special to create than the tiniest of quilts for the tiniest of newborn babies...the little one born too soon.

When I need a break from larger projects, or when I need a rejuvenation of quilting spirit, making one of these precious quilts works like 'gratitude magic' for me.

So, in the middle of my Virtual Quilting Bee For Charity, I switched into my smaller gears and made 3 little preemie that a friend could arrange for their travel to AZBlankets4kids in of her 'traveling' quilt donation spots in the coming week.

Shown here:
the tiniest of the tiniest, meant for the 'super preemies' or as blessings for little bereavement quiltlets. Often, when babies are born far too soon, and don't survive their transition, they are either wrapped in a tiny quilt, or the family is given the opportunity to choose one to bring home with them. ...they become precious mementos of caring and love, extended by a stranger, expressing connection and caring. And if you include plain fabrics, their precious, names and birth date or messages of love and caring can also be written in by family members showing their own love and support.

These are all about 14"-18" and can be simply made from orphan blocks. Looking barely large enough for any use, they still serve and a fulfill a far deeper purpose and in spite of their tender size, are filled with so many more invisible stitches of love. Hospitals often suggest no batting be used (for easier envelope style folding) or only flannel used as batting.

TOP: A design of your own choosing, pieced or whole cloth.

BACKING:Pre-washed 100% cotton flannel.

BATTING: Most neo-natal intensive care nurses prefer no batting, just the top and the backing layers.

BINDING: Flannel or soft cotton fabric. The easiest option is pillowcase style (with right sides together, sew around the perimeter leaving 5-6” unsewn for turning purposes. Turn, press and slip-stitch opening. OR with wrong sides together, turn backing to the front and topstitch. Traditional binding techniques usually accepted if you prefer.

QUILTING: Hand or machine quilting. Most hospital prefer no tying and they see the knots as being too hard on these babies’ tender skin. If quilts are simply ontop of isolettes, tying is usually fine.

FINISHED SIZE: Some programs prefer extremely small sizes...from 12"-18" for the tiniest babies or for bereavement quilts. Other prefer 22" x 22", or even 24” x 30” . With quilts placed on top of an isolette unit, as many hospitals do... 30" x 30" or 36" x36" is a nice standard size. Like all quilt size recommendations, there is great variance, so check with your local hospital or favorite charity for preferences.

LABELS: Depends upon the program you join, the hospital requirements, and your personal preference. Some like AZBlankets4Kids, require their own label, on the FRONT of the quilt.

Fun Preemie Patterns to try, courtesy of quilt group 'Quilter's Anonymous in Lynnwood, WA.
Grecian Square
Ohio Star
Split Rail
Irish Twist Chain

Patterns from AZBlankets4kids:
Baby, Preemie, Double 4-Patch Quilt
Baby, Preemie, One Patch Quilt
Baby, Preemie Quilt, 1 Patch, 2 Borders
Block Party, Preemie to Teen
Baby, Preemie, 9-Patch Quilt, 18”
Baby, Preemie, Double 4-Patch Quilt, 18”
Block Party, Preemie to Teen
Charity Baby & Preemie Patterns
happy hearts quilt block...project linus

And from Project Linus:
Easy Preemie Quilt

My complete List of Preemie, Baby and Children's Quilts:
Free Babies, Childrens Quilt Patterns
and check out:
Angel Wraps and Preemie Blankets

Michele Bilyeu Quilts With Heart and Hands for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) Join in my Liberated Quilting Challenge...and buy or donate a quilt, today!! We are changing the little quilt at a time.Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey through her life in Salem, Oregon and Douglas, Alaska. Sharing thousands of links to Free Quilt and Quilt Block Patterns and encouraging others to join in the Liberated Quilting Challenge and make or donate small art quilts to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) Help us change the world, one little quilt at a time!

photo above:
updated 2011 collage


  1. I participate in a preemie project for the NICU at a local hospital through my quilt guild. The blessings of the project are so profound and far reaching. It does a quilter's heart good and it means the world to the families. Great post!

  2. Oh Michele, how precious. I've never done any of these. I'm going to have to find out which hospital accepts them here and start. Wonderful post!!

  3. Hi Michele,
    A couple of years ago,we made some preemie quilts for our local hospital as one of the ladies in our group had had a boy who was a preemie. He is doing well now as a 10 year old.
    We made the really small size - The hospital has got somewhat stickier so I am not sure if they will still accept them. I know that they no longer accept hand knit baby things - It is unfortunate.

    Have a great day Michele,

  4. How rewarding. My husband and his twin sister were premies. They weighed just under 2.5 lbs. It's a wonder they survived considering the level of technology fifty years ago.

  5. I lost my son by stillbirth. It would have been nice to bring home the receiveing blanket used at the hospital but it wasn't offered to us. I am a quilter and have started making doll quilts to sell. I haven't sold any and if my local hospital will accept them I will gladly give them away to help women in their time of need.


Michele Bilyeu blogs "With Heart and Hands" as she journeys between Douglas, Alaska and Salem, Oregon. Leave a comment and your blog will be visited, as well.