As moms, we get attached to a lot of the things our kids wear. We’ve made great memories with them in these clothes, and they just look so darn cute in them! Like most moms, my sister had a stack of onesies that she couldn’t part with, but my niece had long outgrown. So for Christmas this year, I’m making her a onesie quilt! Getting one on etsy is super expensive (at least $100 for a small one), but making one isn’t too hard at all!
Just like a standard T-shirt quilt, the first step is to cut your onesies up. I found that a 7″ square is about the largest I could do, especially when there were 0-3m onesies in the mix. Keep in mind that you’re going to lose 1/2″ from each side of the square, so if there are some seams in there, they likely won’t show on the finished product. Once it’s put together, that leaves a 6″ square, which is big enough to see whatever design is on the shirt. But unlike adult T-shirts, onesies are a lot more varied in their designs, so you have to get a little creative with how you make your blocks!
My niece also lives in Florida, so there were several onesies that were adorable spaghetti straps. I could have just used the design on the shirt, but the straps are part of it’s appeal, so I didn’t want to just cut them off! I cut my usual 7″ square, but left the straps long. Then I measured how far down the arm holes went, and cut a piece of coordinating fabric a little larger. I ironed that onto my fusible batting (carefully so I wouldn’t get the glue on my iron), then layered the onesie on top and ironed the bottom part on. But the top of the onesie was still flapping in the breeze, so I cut a small piece of Wonder Web (Heat N Bond would work too) to “glue” the shirt onto the overlapping fabric. Then I stitched around the neckline and straps of the shirt to complete the square, and trimmed the extra strap length. This same method can be used for bibs! (Check out this shirt on the finished quilt below – I love how the frilly straps went over the spaces between the squares!)
Another popular onesie design has a faux skirt over the snapped bottom. In this case, the onesie had a cute design near the bottom of the skirt hem. So I cut the skirt to be about 6″ long instead of 7″ and used a piece of fabric from the onesie below the skirt to finish off the block. You can see there is a flap again, but I stitched it in place along the hem of the skirt, so I didn’t need to glue it down.
My niece had the cutest outfit for the 4th of July (Peach actually wore it the day Radar left) with a tiered skirt. I wanted to show off one of the tiers, so I let the ruffles lay naturally when I cut, so it’s a little 3-dimensional. It gives the square the girly feel of the dress without compromising quality or stability because it was layered in the original garment.
Often, the embroidered design on a onesie is right up near the collar; if you were to cut it to exclude the collar, most of the quilt block would be empty space. Plus, you are cutting off those cute little bows that girls’ onesies often have! So I used a similar method as I showed above with the spaghetti straps to incorporate a collar into the quilt block. Measure the width and depth of the opening of the shirt (once your block is cut out) and cut a piece of coordinating fabric to fill the gap. Iron it on the fusible batting, then layer the shirt on top and iron on. There should not be so much overlap that Wonder Web is necessary, but you’ll definitely want to stitch along the collar line to keep it in place.
And don’t let zippers or snaps scare you – you can still have them in your quilt! A zipper won’t come undone once it’s sewn into the quilt, but I would stitch down the sides of the snaps to keep them from coming open.
My sister didn’t give me hers, but it would be super cute to include a square with your child’s hospital blanket – I don’t know about you, but I can’t part with them, even though I don’t use them any more! You could also add hats using the fabric layering method and Wonder Web – the sky is really the limit if you’re creative! Another great idea to include in a onesie quilt is the cute animal faces they like to put on the little butts of onesies and pants these days – adorable!
To assemble the quilt, I used the same method as I detailed in the T-shirt quilt tutorial, so I’m not going to go into super detail about that and risk being redundant (if you don’t understand the method for putting it together, you can also check out my king size quilt, which uses the same method). I didn’t actually quilt the individual squares this time, though – they’re only 6″ square finished, so the backing doesn’t really need to be held in place, and the designs on the onesies are so tiny and intricate I felt that quilting would detract from them rather than add. I just layered the back square pieces with the front of the quilt blocks as I assembled the quilt.
One more super nifty thing about this method is that with a little work, it can be added to! All you need to do is pull off the binding, and more squares can be added! I bought too much of the panda fabric on purpose with this in mind, so as my niece continues to outgrow her adorable clothes, the quilt can grow with her! It’s an easy Christmas gift that keeps on giving!