printable version of baby and doll medallion quilts

Doll and Baby Quilts From History by Judy Anne Breneman

Baby and Doll Medallion Quilt

This quilt is a simple one with a large central fabric square in the center surrounded by borders with very little piecing. I designed the doll quilt to be used on a four poster doll bed. If you prefer you can fill in the bottom corners for a square quilt.

Lovely Fabrics to Choose From

The joy in this project is that you will be able to explore the fantastic array of reproduction fabrics that are typical of those imported in the latter 18th century and the early 19th century. Toiles would have been costly so a doll quilt would have used some small amount of fabric left over from another project. I used a toile on the 4 poster bed doll quilt sample.

Large scale prints, often floral, were also used in centers and borders of medallion quilts. Small prints were available as well and were frequently used in the pieced borders.

Medallion Doll Quilt

medallion doll quilt

estimated yardage: You will need a fat quarter of each fabric except your feature center fabric. I suggest you get 2/3 of a yard of the feature fabric. That gives you enough to fussy cut for the center and corners and you will probably have enough to back the quilt as well.

cutting instructions for the 19"x19" doll quilt

Your feature fabric needs to be a toile or other large print.

Feature fabric:

Cut one large square 10" by 10" for the center.

Wait to cut 2 or 4 smaller squares. (2 if you are making the 4 poster bed quilt) When the pieced and plain borders are sewn together measure the width then use that measurement to make the corner squares.

Plain borders:

Cut the wider border fabric into four 10" by 2" strips.
Cut the narrow border fabric into eight 10" by 1" strips.

Pieced border:

Cut eight fabric pieces into 2" by 2" rectangles.
Cut twelve contrasting fabric pieces into 2" by 2" rectangles.

Medallion Crib Quilt

Estimated yardage for the rectangle crib quilt.
The square quilt will take slightly less length with some fabric.

estimated yardage

Cutting instructions for the 39"x39" crib quilt.
(the square crib quilt has one more border than the doll quilt)

Your feature fabric needs to be a toile or other large print.

square medallion crib quilt

Feature fabric:

Cut one large square 19" by 19" for the center.
Cut 4 smaller squares 6" by 6" for the center.

Plain borders:

Cut inner border fabric into four strips:
Two shorter ones 4" by 19"
Two shorter ones 4" by 27"

Cut the narrow border fabric into eight 27" by 1" strips.

Cut the outer border fabric into four 27" by 3" strips.

Pieced border:

Cut sixteen fabric pieces into 2" by 3" rectangles.
Cut twenty contrasting fabric pieces into 2" by 3" rectangles.

If you want to do a four patch in each corner of the crib quilt instead of the solid block cut the blocks for the four patches 3" by 3".

Cutting instructions for the 39"x45" crib quilt.
rectangle medallion crib quilt

All you have to do to make the crib quilt longer is to add 6" to all the lengths. Then cut 4 more 2" by 3" rectangles, two of each fabric. These will lengthen the sides by 2 on each side.

Sewing Together the Quilt Tops

Start by sewing the pieced strip. Then check the length. If it's longer or shorter than the above measurements adjust them accordingly. Some of us sew our seams slightly wider or narrower so it's worth checking.

If you are making a crib quilt your next step would be to add the innermost border. The doll quilt does not have this border.

Now sew together the rest of each of the 4 borders. Put the narrow strips on each side of the pieced border then add the outer border. Do not attach them to the quilt yet.

Next attach the side borders to the quilt.

Then attach the large squares to the top and bottom borders.

Finally add the top and bottom borders to the quilt.

Quilting Your Medallion Quilt

Use a fairly thin batting. These quilt were made for decoration, not warmth. I used a plain light tan backing. I was tempted to use the toile on the back but realized imported fabric would have been far too expensive to be used on the back of a quilt.

There are many ways you could quilt your project. I chose to hand quilt, something I rarely take the time to do but I wanted to try the old way with my small doll quilt. I used a cup to mark the quilting lines. I got the idea from looking at the quilting on a late 1700s whole cloth wool quilt. This would be a utilitarian style quilting pattern.

Another way a quilt might have been quilted during this period is in a diaginoal grid. The stitching lines would have been about 3/4 of an inch apart. To the right is an illustration of this quilting pattern.

But if you want to make the quilt fancy you can use a number of lovely quilting patterns. Feathers were popular as well as floral, fruit and other motifs from nature. Get out your stencils or design your own. You can make the quilting as fancy as you wish.

Of course at this early time the quilting would have been by hand but you can do lovely machine quilting to give the look of this period.

Make a Very Narrow Binding

Cut your binding in one inch strips. Sew them to the front then hand turn the binding to the back. Hand stitch making the binding width less then 1/4 inch. Women of this time were proud of thier ability to make a narrow binding. Also these narrow bindings took very little of the fabric that cost so dearly.

© 2006 Judy Anne Johnson Breneman (Each person who comes to this site is welcome to use these patterns. Please check with me for permission before you copy this article or the patterns for others.) If you have any questions write to Judy Anne at and let me know which pattern you are asking about.