Learn to Sew an Exquisite Baseball Quilt

Here’s a project for you to make for the sports enthusiast in your home. Sure, this one is baseballs, but how hard would it be to make them in the shape and colors of footballs, basketballs, golf balls, etc.?

What’s a baseball quilt you ask?  Well it’s something my husband has been begging me for ever since we got married.  So finally, for his 50th birthday, I made it for him. He had explained what he wanted several times over the years and I guess it just took me some time to figure out how I was going to accomplish what he wanted.

Fantastic Baseball Quilt How To - MattandShari.com

His idea was to have an all white background and just the red stitches sewn on in the appropriate places so your eyes and mind could “see” the ball even though it really wasn’t there.  I thought it sounded like a wonderful idea, but I just couldn’t figure out how to do it.

Now that I have this baseball quilt finished, I think if I just zeroed in on one baseball, I might be able to create what he was really after. However, that’s another quilt and another article!  So, if you have interest in putting together a baseball quilt for the baseball enthusiast in your home, here’s how I did it.

Instructions:

1.  I started with soft white cotton for my baseballs.  I washed the fabric first and did some light ironing so it would at least lay flat.

Creating a Baseball for the Quilt - MattandShari.com

2.  I folded the white fabric in half lengthwise then I folded one end up as far as I needed to draw ¼ of a baseball.  I kept my fabric tape measure at the corner of the four layers and made marks at 22” following the curve of the ball.

Cutting the Baseball for the Quilt - MattandShari.com

Once the marks were in place, I followed them with my scissors and cut out the only complete baseball in the quilt.

Laying Out the Baseballs for the Quilt - MattandShari.com

3.  I then cut out portions of baseballs, though all from the same 44” circumference so they looked like they were all the same size ball, just fragments of each one.  I did end up cutting out 4 complete baseballs and one of them I was able to get two pieces from making it look like there are 5 baseballs represented.  I pinned them together to see how they would look and where they would overlap.

Ironing the Baseball Edges - MattandShari.com

4. The edges were then ironed to the back at about ¼ inches.

Filled in between the Baseballs on the Quilt - MattandShari.com

5. Next, I filled in the spaces between the baseballs. If you look closely you can see that I then cut square and rectangular pieces of the brown background fabric I selected to fit and fill up the spaces between the baseballs. I pinned everything in place and then machine stitched the baseballs to the background.  Then, because the dark brown fabric could be seen through the white baseballs, I trimmed off the excess background fabric close to the seams.

Cutting Out the Baseball Stitching - MattandShari.com

6. Now, the hard part….the stitching!  I did use 5 different reds to make the stitching, one color for each baseball.  I varied the finished length of the stitches from 3” at the longest to about 1” at the shortest to make the balls look three dimensional, but they were all ¾” wide.  So, their cut size was 4” by 1 ½”.  I ironed all the raw edges to the back, and then when I wanted the stitches to be shorter, I cut the length and simply folded the ends over.

Different Colored Stitches on the Baseballs - MattandShari.com

I pinned all the stitches for one baseball in place before I machine stitched them on so I could be sure the ball looked like it was three dimensional. To make it dimensional, the stitches were long on one side of the stitch line and short on the other side.  Notice too that I had to angle the edges of the stitches that went along the stitch line.

Tip:

Use a Real Baseball to get Stitches Right - MattandShari.com

To make this baseball quilt look right, I had to get the curves of the stitching just right. To picture them I held a real baseball in my hand and closed one eye so I saw it in two dimensions only.  From this I sketched the curves of the stitching onto the white baseballs in light pencil.

The Baseball Quilt Top Takes Shape - MattandShari.com

As each baseball was finished, the quilt got more and more interesting and three dimensional.  I kept placing it on the floor to look at it and marvel at the fact that I had really done it!

Of course I could only look at it when my husband was out of town because as you recall, this fabulous and long awaited baseball quilt was a surprise for his 50th birthday!

Hand Quilting the Baseball Quilt - MattandShari.com

7. Once all the stitching was in place, I layered a brown backing fabric with the quilt batting and the top.  I pinned the three layers together and started the quilting process.  I decided to follow the curves of the stitching on all the baseballs.

Yarn Tied Background for Baseball Quilt - MattandShari.com

8. To make the background look different, I used brown yarn and simply punched through from the front to the back to the front again and tied the yarns.

baseball15

9. The final step was using purchased binding tape to finish off the edges!

FYI – When the quilt was complete it measured 62″ wide x 82″ tall and the baseballs ended up being about 43″ in diameter.

This is one of those projects you create in your lifetime that is never forgotten.  It was hard work, it took a lot of time, and it was made with love for someone special.  What could be better?

Shari

OK, as many of you know, we’ve received all sorts of interest in our baseball quilt. Finally, someone has made one and has been kind enough to share photos of it.

Here’s what Wanda had to say, “I loved your quilt so much, I made one of my own. I cheated and used premade red single fold bias tape for the stitching. The finished size of the large center ball was 42″. It did take a lot of work but the recipient of the quilt loved it. I did an all over meander on my HQ16. My background was royal blue and the binding was red. 

Wanda Twins Quilt 1

I live in MN and appliqued the Twins logo on the back corner of the quilt. Thank you for the awesome idea.”

Wanda Twins Quilt 2

Thank you so much to Wanda for allowing us to enjoy this beautiful baseball quilt she made.

Comments

    • Shari Hiller says

      April, I’ve been asked this before, and I wouldn’t even attempt to create one of these for someone else. I’m a good sewer, but not an expert and I wouldn’t feel comfortable if I had a wavy stitching line, or something a bit out of kilter….Why not take the photo to a quilt shop and have a professional make it for you?

  1. Lisa Landis says

    Shari,

    Can I please pay you to make me one? I have been looking ALL over for something like this and can not find anything! I have no worries that you’re not a professional. Hahaha

    • Shari Hiller says

      Lisa, I really ought to think about doing that. I’ve had so many people ask me. If I get up the nerve, you’ll be the first to know!

  2. Kelsey says

    I am in love with this quilt. I am going to have one of these made for my son’s room. Can you please tell me how much material is needed to make the quilt? Front, Back, Baseballs, etc. I appreciate your help so much! Beautiful quilt! So glad I found this on pinterest!! Thanks!

    • Shari Hiller says

      Kelsey, The amount of fabric you need will depend on the exact size of the quilt you are having made. I made a small one to wrap up in while watching TV. If you are putting one on a bed, you will need to decide if it will go to the floor, if you will use a dust ruffle and make the quilt shorter, what size bed will you be putting it on, will it wrap around the bed pillows….etc. Your best bet is to make these decisions and take a photo of the quilt to your sewing expert. They will figure out the amount of fabric required for you. by the way, with all of these requests, I’m trying to find someone who will make them for me so I can supply them to anyone who wants one!

  3. says

    Shari,
    I am going to try and make this awesome quilt tat you have so kindly shared with your viewers. My question is…if you put batting between the baseballs and the brown fabric or if you just had them directly touching? Thank you,Mindy

    • Shari Hiller says

      Hi Mindy, Yes, I put batting between the two layers just like you would for any quilt design. This gave it some weight and warmth!

  4. Karen beers says

    Your quilt is beautiful! I made a similar one for my grandson, perhaps more of what your husband described. I thought that was a lot of work, but yours seems even more! I am glad to have you idea as I have a baseball crazy family. When my grandson turns teenager he may need another one! Or if another grandson comes along. Is there a reason you hand cut all of your own red pieces? I think I would try using ready made bias tape.( but then I wouldn’t get the color variation, which I really like) for mine, I drew my entire stitch line on the back of a big roll of wrapping paper, for a pattern, then ironed it on and did a machine appliqué. You can see mine on my Pinterest page. I’m with you. I would never make one for someone else…only for someone I love! Mine is only a baby quilt so probably 42×54 or something like that.

    • Shari Hiller says

      Hi Karen, it’s nice to hear about your baseball quilt. Sounds really neat. Yes, I used fabric for the stitching for that very reason, I wanted a variety of color. Unfortunately, I don’t know what happened, but I washed it the other day and although I know I prewashed all the fabrics, one of the reds still ran all over the baseballs…some are pink and I might have to remake it…(I’d swear now if I could!)

  5. says

    This is freakin beautiful. Great job! When I start planning quilts, I always forget about doing applique and just focus on triangles, squares, and such. Thanks for the reminder!

  6. Susan Erb says

    Did you actually make a seam between the red “stitches” or does it look like there is a seam because of the 3D effect?

  7. Barbara Grant says

    Shari, I love your quilt! I think I may try something similar for a grandson. About when you washed the quilt, you may be able to salvage it yet. When I wash any quilts or even just laundry and there is a color that may bleed, I always use 2 or 3 color catcher sheets. These can be found in the laundry aisle at the grocery store or stores like Jo’anns. I would rewash the quilt with several color catcher sheets and see if this works before I remade it. I had trouble recently with a yellow organic cotton. Even though I prewashed it it still deposited yellow on other items. I rewashed again with the sheets and the excess color came out. Good luck!

    • Shari Hiller says

      Barbara, thank you so much for the wonderful idea!!I will try the color catchers and I’ll let you know….the red on the white though….it’ll be a miracle!

  8. Wanda Benner says

    I loved your quilt so much, I made one of my own. I cheated and used premade red single fold bias tape for the stitching. The finished size of the large center ball was 42″. It did take a lot of work but the recipient of the quilt loved it. I did an all over meander on my HQ16. My background was royal blue and the binding was red. I live in MN and appliqued the Twins logo on the back corner of the quilt. Thank you for the awesome idea.

    • Shari Hiller says

      Wanda, you can hardly describe that beautiful quilt without sending us a photo!!! You DID take a photo didn’t you? If you send one to me I’ll post it and show it off!

      • Wanda Benner says

        Well, Shari. I must be a glutton for punishment. I went out and bought the stuff I need to make another baseball quilt. So far I have cut out the baseballs and filled in the spaces between. Next comes the stitches. I will keep you posted on my progress. Thinking I should take this one to a Twins autograph event and get some players to sign it.

  9. Marla Stebens says

    Oh ladies this is beautiful! I would love to try this. Please post pictures of the ones you have made. Shari I so hope you get the color out of yours.

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