Introduction to Cheater Quilts

Cheater is such an ugly word for such a beautiful thing. Cheater quilts are a perfect project for new sewists or folks with little time for craftiness. Featuring fabric designed and printed to look like patchwork or applique, a cheater quilt allows you to skip the huge task of doing piecework on a quilt. All you have to do is quilt and bind. I quilted this lovely baby quilt in about 30 minutes. All that’s left to do is bind it, which can be done quickly on the machine or heirloom quality by hand. Stay tuned for upcoming posts on the different ways to bind a quilt.

But I know the big question, right? What is that gorgeous fabric? It’s Jay-Cyn Designs Storyboek for Birch Fabrics – Field Stroll Cheater and the back (which I think would be so cute for Christmas) is Field Friends Coral. Both are on sale right now at Fabricworm.

And the baby… is Gordon, who is totally man enough to pose with a pink quilt. Thanks buddy, I owe you the boy version.

Read on to learn more about how to make a cheater quilt.
 First pick up a cheater quilt fabric, a yard and a quarter for a 44″ square baby quilt.

Wash and iron your fabric.

Sandwich high-loft batting between the wrong-side-facing fabrics.

Pin in place in a few spots to hold the layers together.

Pop on your walking foot and select threads to match your front and back. This is a good time to take the time to adjust your machine tension so the thread doesn’t peek through. This thread from the Brother Country Yarn Thread Pack was a beautiful match for the coral.

And then just stitch along the lines to creat your “quilt.”

Isn’t this such a rewarding and quick project? The perfect baby shower gift for someone you like a lot but not enough to pull all-nighters doing piecework for 6 months. HA! I hope my neighbor and her new baby don’t read Prudent Baby.

So mamas, get your cheater quilts ready and I’ll be back with the scoop on binding your quilt. Like I said, there are methods anywhere from less-than-an-hour to heirloom-by-hand.

What do you think? want to try a cheater quilt?




Hi dMarie- If you want to try transparent thread, this is a perfect project for it! It would look great with the fabric. I left it off this project because it can be a little tricky to work with for beginners but thanks for mentioning it!

Kimberly F

Thank you! I bought a fun panel of fabric with the 12 days of Christmas from moda, and I wanted to do exactly this but I haven't quilted before and wasn't quite sure how! I will keep a look out for your binding lesson. BTW, is a quilting foot a necessity for this project?


Hi Kimberly-
The quilting foot is very helpful but not necessary. You might want to use a lower loft batting just to be sure.


Can you use old blankets inside instead of battening? When everyone has moved away from home and you have downsized, wouldn’t that be away to use up old blankets?


Hi Guys!
How much fabric would you suggest for making a larger quilt? For a twin size bed maybe? Or maybe something a little smaller than that? Thanks!


I bought the fabric, the batting, and the thread… washing the fabric now. From your directions, it sounds like I quilt it first, then bind… is that correct? Any pointers on binding or shall I Google that? LOL This is my very first quilt! πŸ˜‰


Ummm, can I come steal Gordon?!?! He might be one of the cutest babies I’ve seen for a long time!! Those cheeks πŸ™‚

Oh and the blanket is BEAUTIFUL. I want one for myself….


Your work is beautiful! I just bought my first “cheater” fabric and it looks like it just might be inside my skill chart πŸ˜‰ I have a question though, about the light blue stitching lines, do they come off in the wash? Or do I need to be careful to cover them up while quilting?


Hey Rebecca! I’m not sure what you mean by the light blue stitching lines. Maybe that is just your fabric? You might have to ask where you bought it…

elaine jackson

That baby! How cute is he! I am soooo doing this quilt. Just found it on Pinterest. Thanks for posting this for us newbies!


I have never quilted and this seems like a good place to begin. One thing I wasn’t sure about is the tension. Where should I set it and why don’t I want my thread to show? Thanks so much for the post!

Donna Cox

Does anyone make smaller cheaters for a beginner that will be quilting it by hand. No machine?

Mary Lancaster

Can you use cotton fabric for the front and flannel for the back.
I love the quilt you made.


My friend who has passed away now would never let me refer to these type of quilts as cheater quilts. She said they were “Convenience” quilts. Sounds so much nicer doesn’t it?

Kathy Tincler

You mentioned that we need 1 & 1/4 yd of fabric for a 44″ baby blanket. Is that to be split between the front & back? I’m a true newbie & also bad at math but it seems that 1 & 1/4 yd would make it smaller than 44″. (there’s no mention of the back side fabric) Thanx


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