How to Make Cot-Size Quilts

By Janet Beal

  • Overview

    Cots, whether folding or stationary, are an easy way to expand bedding for guests. Since bedding tends to be available in less variety for cots than for larger mattresses, making cot size quilts is a great way to help fit a cot into your decorating scheme while giving your guest or youngster a good night's rest. This project is easiest if you have a little sewing experience, but formal quilting experience is not required. Follow the steps below to make a cozy quilt for your cot.
  • Measuring for your quilt

  • Step 1

    Measure cot mattress, top to bottom, side to side, and depth. Cot mattresses are approximately 30 inches wide, 75 inches long and anywhere from 3 to 6 inches deep. To make room for a sleeper under your quilt, add a total of at least 12 more inches to each of the four sides (this is called the "drop"). Results look like this: Mattress: 30 inches wide, 6 inches deep (times 2 sides), plus 24 inches (a 12-inch "drop" on each side) = 30 +12+24 = 66 inches of fabric for quilt width. You will need the same dimensions for quilt batting. You may need to stitch widths together, although some craft and sewing stores sell sheets of batting in bed-sizes. 75 inches long + 12 (6 inches deep x 2 sides) + 24 inches (12 inch "drop" top and bottom) = 111 inches of fabric for quilt length.
  • Step 2

    Select fabric for the top and bottom of your quilt, bearing your measurements in mind as totals. Sewing fabrics tend to come in 36-, 45-, and 60-inch widths, so you will be buying two lengths of fabric for each side and seaming them together. Sixty-inch fabric will do in a pinch, but your quilt will be skimpy for an adult sleeper. Use extra fabric from your double-width to make a matching pillowcase to finish your look.
  • Step 3

    Consider starting your quilt in the linen department. Measurements above are very close to the dimensions of a standard twin-bed sheet, which are 66 wide by 92 long. Sacrificing the drop on your length makes your quilt a true blanket, rather than bed spread. There will not be enough length to tuck your quilt under and over a pillow, but there will be enough material for an appropriate quilt. Matching pillowcases are no longer a problem if you begin your quilt with two single sheets.
  • Assembling your quilt

    • Step 1

      Wash and iron the fabric before using. You can adjust for small amounts of shrinkage in your overall dimensions, but sewn fabric that is then washed may have slightly bumpy seams. Fabric that has already been washed and ironed is easier to handle.
    • Step 2

      Lay out the quilt bottom on a work surface face down. Seam widths down the middle, if necessary, to produce the necessary width. Lay out the batting on top of the fabric. Baste to quilt the bottom with long stitches--there's no need to tie off, because you will be pulling threads after you join the top and bottom fabrics. Once the batting is basted onto the bottom fabric, trim the batting so that it is 1 inch smaller on all sides than the bottom fabric. Let the basting threads trail beyond the hem so you can pull them out at the end of the project.
    • Step 3

      Flip the bottom fabric/batting over so that it lies face up on your work surface. Cover it with top fabric, face down (stitch widths together first and trim if needed). Pin all three layers together on three sides, allowing for a 1-inch seam on all four sides. Make certain the basting threads trail.
    • Step 4

      Following pinned lines, machine- or hand-stitch 3 sides together. At each stitched corner, cut off a 3/4 inch triangle of fabric and cut a 3/4 inch nick from the seam toward the stitching--both these maneuvers mean that, when corners are turned, they will not bunch up with excess fabric. Remove all pins.
    • Step 5

      Turn batting/fabric "sandwich" inside out. This will put both fabrics rightside out, with batting in the middle. Pull basting threads through seams and leave them trailing. Turn in edges of the open side and pin to make final a 1-inch seam. Stitch by hand or machine. Remove the pins.
  • Finishing up

    • Step 1

      Lay out the finished quilt. Tack at even intervals with the pins to secure batting to both fabrics. A minimum grid of 3 tacks across and 5 down will secure the batting. For more puffs in your quilt, increase the number of tacks.
    • Step 2

      Sew tacks with embrodery floss, crochet cotton or yarn. You can sew a simple criss-cross, leave ends for bows or stitch small shapes, like hearts, at each tack spot. If your cot-quilt is designed for small children, make your tacks smooth, rather than leaving bows or yarn ends that can be chewed and swallowed.
    • Step 3

      Remove the pins. Pull out the basting threads--they will still be visible on the bottom fabric if the trailing ends get lost in turning your project right side out. Pull from the edges or center to remove.
    • Step 4

      Use any excess fabric to make the throw pillow or sleeping pillow covers.
    • Skill: Moderate
    • Ingredients:
    • 2 pieces of pre-washed, ironed fabric, each 60 inches wide by 90 inches long, total (see Measuring, below)
    • or 2 single-bed sheets
    • Sheet quilt batting, total area 58 inches by 88 inches
    • Scissors
    • Measuring tape
    • Thread and needle for basting (easiest if thread contrasts with fabric)
    • Sewing machine, unless, as an experienced quilter, you prefer handwork
    • Pins
    • Embroidery thread, yarn or crochet thread in a color that harmonizes with fabric

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