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African Quilts 101: How to Make a Quilt Using African Prints


how to make a quilt

Quilting might not happen in every household the way it did in centuries past, but it is still a great way to make a warm blanket. Equally important, it lets you create an heirloom or express your creativity.

For example, you can make a quilt using African prints to express your heritage. Never made a quilt before? Keep reading, and we will give you basics for how to make a quilt.

Cloth Selection

Cloth selection is the first step. There are many African textiles you can pick from, but a few of the popular favorites include:

  • Ankara cloth
  • Kente cloth
  • Gogolan cloth

Look for a pattern you like or one that represents your heritage to make it more meaningful.

Batting Selection

Batting comes in several types and materials. For a bed quilt, you will probably want poly-cotton blend or polyester batting since it resists mold and holds its shape.

For a something like a wall quilt, you will want needle punched batting for density, but the material is less critical.


Some people prewash the fabric. Prewashing helps prove whether the material is colorfast and gets any shrinking out of the way. Not prewashing leaves the material stiffer, which can make machine sewing easier.

You will also need some essential tools for quilting, including:

  • scissors or a rotary cutter/cutting mat
  • straight pins/safety pins
  • ruler
  • templates
  • iron
  • sewing machine

A sewing machine is not critical. It can make the process faster and less daunting for beginners.

Whether you prewash or not, make sure you iron the fabric before you cut. Use the template to mark your material and the scissors or rotary tool to cut them.


Start the sewing process by sewing together the individual rows that will make up the quilt. Use the pins to hold together the pieces you sew. Also, make sure you leave a 1/4-inch seam on each piece of fabric.

Use the same basic process to sew together the rows. Pin them together and sew with the appropriate seam. When you finish sewing the front, iron the rows to make them lay flat.

Measure the quilt front and then cut the batting and backing material around 2 or 3 inches bigger. Layer the backing, batting, and front and pin them together.

Starting from the center of the quilt, sew outward. As a general rule, more seams means a higher quality quilt. Use the existing seams on the quilt front as guides if you wish.

You will want an approximately two-inch binding around the entire outside edge of the quilt. Pro tip: use invisible thread for the back since it limits the appearance of the stitches.

Parting Thoughts on How to Make a Quilt

The real answer to how to make a quilt using African prints boils down to taking your time.

Use your templates to ensure consistent sizes. Make sure you leave the right sized seam. Do not rush the sewing.

If you do that, you will end with a beautiful quilt you can use or show off to your friends.

AKN Fabric & Textiles specializes in African prints. For questions about our prints or ordering process, please contact us today.

With 20 years of experience in the African fabrics market, AKN Fabrics guarantees you the best product, selection, price and overall service. We are specialists in the finest fabrics from Holland, London, African Gambia, West Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, and India. We specialize in Jacquards, hand embroidery, silks, seersuckers, cottons, quilting fabrics various other West African fabrics.


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