us map baby quilt tutorial

I’ve always thought maps were amazing.  They’re beautiful to look at, but they’re also fascinating.  The idea that something as big as our state – or country – can be represented in two dimensions with so much detail is really cool.   A few years ago, while paging through the many fun map related projects on Pinterest, I found this map made by  SeeKateSew in 2011.

I LOVED it.  I couldn’t stop thinking about.  Those are my favorite projects  (the ones I can’t get out of my head), so I decided to make one.  I wanted mine to hang in my daughter’s room, so I bought a wall map, the really BIG one.

This map is from the office supply store and it’s 32″ x 50″.  Since you don’t have to cut it apart to make the map quilt, I’ve been able to use it several times.

My first map quilt was strictly a wall quilt.  The quilting was limited to the lines around the states and a single line around the entire map.

I learned A LOT from that first map. So, by the time I made this baby quilt last fall, I had worked out some of the kinks.

To make your own,  you’ll need these materials:

- a map (any size)

- fusible web, I used Heavy Duty Wonder Under from Pellon

- background fabric, you’ll need a piece that’s at least 2 or 3 inches bigger than your map on all sides

- fabric scraps for the states

- thread

- batting, backing and binding



Cut your background fabric at least 2 or 3 inches bigger than your map on each side.  As you’re constructing, the angle of the map can shift unexpectedly. I like to be generous here, it would be sad to get to the East Coast and find out that you’re background fabric isn’t big enough!

I used a deck wood-grain print from Riley Blake’s Maritime Modern collection.

Trace the first state onto the Wonder Under (I chose to begin with Texas so that I’d be moving outward in both directions – this decreases the cumulative shift your map may take as you’re adding states).  States are not symmetrical, so you’ll need to trace them onto the rough side of the Wonder Under, instead of the paper side.  If you trace on the paper side, you’ll end up with a mirror image of the map. (It turns out maps aren’t really flexible that way!)  You’ll need to see your line from the paper side of the Wonder Under, so I recommend using a fine-point marker, rather than a pencil.

Fuse the Wonder Under to the wrong side of the fabric you’ve chosen for the state (do not cut-out the state before fusing).  The rough side of the Wonder Under must be touching the wrong side of the fabric.  You should still be able to see your line through the Wonder Under paper.  Cut the state out of the fabric/Wonder Under combination.  I like to cut slightly inside the line to avoid ink marks on the edge of the state.

Repeat this process for each state.  I prefer to cut all of the states out before I begin fusing and sewing.  As I cut the states, I place them on the background fabric in order, so I can think about the color and value of the fabrics.


When you’ve cut out all of the states, place the background fabric on top of the map. The map should be centered under the fabric. Use a water soluble pen to trace the bottom edge of Texas onto the background fabric, this will help you put Texas in the correct place. Peel the paper off the back of the state and use an iron to fuse it into place.

Using a straight stitch and a very small seam allowance, sew around the border of Texas. I  pivoted to accommodate as many of the curves as I could.  I used a straight stitch instead of a zig-zag because I think it allows the relationships between the states to show better than a zig-zag would. I also like the idea of the edges fraying to create a little texture.


After sewing around the border of the state, secure the end of the thread by pulling the top threads to the back of the fabric and tying them to the back threads with a small knot.


Continue by fusing and stitching the remaining states one at a time.  Refer to the map before you fuse each state to be sure it has the proper relationship with the surrounding states.


When you’ve fused and stitched all of the states, sandwich and quilt as desired.


Bind and wash!  I love when the edges of the states fray.


My quilt was a gift for a new baby, and I hope he’s enjoying it right now!  If you make one, please share it in our sewn studio flickr group or facebook page.  We’d love to see it!





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13 Responses to us map baby quilt tutorial

  1. Melissa says:

    This is awesome! I love it!

  2. Sarah Burdge says:

    I’m going to make one for my third grade classroom. I thought about using solids or designate a color for each region. The east would be shades of blue, Midwest gold etc.

  3. Susie Florea says:

    Very nicely done! This is great! The baby can put it on his wall after he grows out of it and will have a reference for homework! You did a wonderful job with the instructions too. Thank you so much. I think my “someday” grandbabies should have one!

  4. Marla says:

    This looks amazing. The colors and background fabric is perfect. I love maps too.

  5. Kalise says:

    I found this via Pinterest and am not normally a blog commenter but I have say – amazing! Well done! I am excited to try my hand at one – thank you so much for the tutorial.

  6. Cheryl says:

    This is amazing!!!! I am going to make one to hang on the wall so my grandsons can learn where the states go and their names. Think I will make another piece for each state with Velcro to match up. Thanks so much

  7. I love this. You did an awesome job both in execution and explanation. :-) Thanks a lot!

  8. Usually I do not learn article on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very compelled me to try and
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  9. Tori Rochleau-Rice says:

    This is such a fabulous idea, and your quilt is beautiful! I am SO going to give this a try…thanks to your clear directions. I have a question…do you have any ‘tricks’ for dealing with those teeny, tiny states on the eastern seaboard? Did you end up doing them in a single chunk of fabric, or were you able to create a separate Maryland, Delaware, and Rhode Island without making yourself nuts? just wondering!

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