Use a few simple techniques to learn how to make an I Spy Quilt.
What Is an I Spy Quilt
I Spy Quilts are quilts created with pictorial or novelty quilting fabrics —fabrics printed with objects that might not be obvious from a distance but can be identified during a closer look at the quilt.
Sometimes quilters refer to I Spy quilt patterns as Eye Spy quilts.
Kids Love to Search for Objects in I Spy Quilts
The majority of I Spy quilts are made for young children who love to search and identify objects that might be a little hidden in the fabric.
I Spy fabrics can include scenes from any topic a child is interested in, such as cars and trucks, dogs and cats, farm animals, insects, and more —the choices are endless.
I Spy designs can be helpful when children are learning to speak or to recognize objects. Ask them to point out an object or point to the print and ask if they know the object's name.
Use Fussy Cutting to Pinpoint Areas of a Fabric
Most people fussy-cut the fabrics for this type of quilt, which means they target a specific area of each print to make sure a portion of the image isn't chopped away during cutting and sewing. Window templates make it very easy to fussy cut a fabric, but clear rotary rulers do a good job, too.
Quilt Block Patterns with at Least One Large Piece Work Best
Patchwork quilt blocks made with at least one large shape are good choices for I Spy quilts because they give you more space to showcase a novelty fabric.
Snowball quilt blocks are a popular choice for I Spy quilts. Their centers are cut from the novelty print, with contrasting triangles sewn in each corner of the block.
Patterns that Are Perfect for I Spy Quilts
- I Spy Snowball Quilt Pattern
- Scrap-Framed Quilt Pattern
- Continuous Squares (an easy quilt with center squares that are each framed with sashing and cornerstones)
- Puff Quilt Pattern (each tall puff can be cut from a pictorial fabric)
Use Only Simple Squares or Repeat Another Shape to Make the Quilt
You might decide to sew a quilt with only squares or rectangles (or any shape that's large enough to display the print). When one shape is used, it's often best to separate the patches with sashing to add contrast and keep fabrics from blending into each other.
Use a design wall or another flat surface to preview the quilt if you'd like to see how the fabrics look when the pieces are sewn side by side. You might decide that sashing isn't needed.
I Spy Quilts in the Quilting Photo Galleries
Be sure to take a look at some of the pictures of I Spy quilts in our photo galleries to see how each quilter created a unique version of the concept.