Are you curious about donating quilts or wondering how you can use your quilting talents to benefit others? One of my favorite ways to bless others is through donating quilts. I’m really excited to share with you some tips my friend Rebecca has compiled for making a quilt to donate. She’ll also share her own donation quilt story of her recent charity quilt using the Bonanza Quilt Pattern.
Rebecca is one of my amazing quilt pattern testers. I’m so lucky to have her share with you some of her tips & tricks for making a donation quilt. Keep reading to find out Rebecca’s top 3 tips for successfully completing a charity quilt like this one she recently donated!
Rebecca’s Tips for Making a Charity Quilt
I recently had the pleasure of pattern testing the Bonanza pattern for Emily! This is such a cool pattern. I was thrilled to test out a new skill with all those tri-rec blocks! When sewing for a pattern test, I always try to sew from my small stash. For this quilt, I was able to pull all necessary materials from my stash – top, batting, backing, and binding. When I finished this top, I also knew that I didn’t have a purpose in mind for this quilt and wanted to donate it. Here’s my story of making one of my favorite quilts ever – fully from my stash and preparing it for donation, along with few tips!
When I started this pattern test, I was able to find enough fabric in my small stash for the entire quilt top for this gorgeous oceany-ombre colorway in blues, greens, and teals. For this project, once I got started, it was like a challenge to just keep going and try to get it all from my stash!
Tip 1 – Use your Stash to make Charity Quilts
Here’s my first tip – use your fabric stash! Having a cohesive stash helps you create really lovely color combinations on-the-fly, and helps make quick work of any quilts you plan to gift or donate. I definitely have a style, and it shows in my stash and in every quilt that I make from that stash!
After finishing the quilt, I started looking for places to donate this quilt and ran across the Welcome Blanket project. Welcome Blanket collects donated blankets (quilted, crocheted, knit, felted, woven, or otherwise handmade) to provide refugees resettling in the US. Part of the project is displaying all of the blankets and welcome notes as an art exhibit. From their website: “Woven into the fabric of our country is a fundamental idea: our diversity, our multiple perspectives, and our personal stories make the United States great.”
Reading the notes and seeing the blankets of all types posted on their instagram (@welcomeblanket) made me want to be a part of this project.
Tip 2 – Check on Charity Quilt Requirements
After selecting an organization, I made sure to look at their donation requirements, which is good because Welcome Blanket requests quilts that are approximately 40” x 40”. Here’s my second tip – Check the organization’s website prior to donating. Many have very specific or strict size or material requirements.
The Bonanza baby quilt finishes at 48” x 52” with borders, so clearly I needed to shrink my quilt top! I hadn’t yet added borders, so my quilt was already pretty close to the needed dimension in one direction. All that was needed was to cut off about 6 inches to square up the quilt. This turned out to be very lucky because I didn’t actually have enough backing fabric in my stash. I used the backing fabric that I did have in my stash, along with the piece I cut off the top, and some leftover binding pieces to create the backing. When you are making your quilt, you can also use scraps from the quilt to create a scrappy binding, like I did.
Tip 3 – Keep your Donation Quilt Simple & Sturdy
For this project, I selected a simple, durable, straight line machine quilting and attached the binding by machine. Here’s my third tip – when making a quilt to donate, carefully consider durability and simplicity. You might not want to give something that is difficult to maintain or impose your personal style on someone.
Emily’s Bonanza pattern is a great option to use for donated quits. The design is unique and striking, but not overly complex or time consuming to make. Plus, you likely already have the fabric needed in your stash!
Meet the Author
I’m Rebecca Ricks, a quilter and maker based out of Augusta, GA. I am an ecologist by day, gardener by lunch break, and a quilter by night. I have been quilting in earnest for nearly 5 years, starting after my first child was born. Quilting became a way for me to quiet my mind and soul and busy my hands. I’d love to have you follow along with my quilting and pattern writing journey! Find me over at rrquilts.com or on Instagram @rrquilts.
Want more Quilting Inspiration?
Ready to find more quilt patterns that would make fantastic charity quilts? Check out these patterns!