How to Sew a Cheater Quilt

It's more fun to say it in Hawaiian - "Kuiki Kikiki" (btw that's my own word for a cheater quilt combining the word cheat and quilt). A cheater quilt is a great way to make a beautiful quilt at the fraction of the time, headaches, and materials. A cheater quilt has the quilting design predesigned and printed on the fabric so all you have to do is put it with a batting and backing and sew it/finish it.

I'm not an expert seamstress, not even close, but I love crafting and as a busy mom and business owner - I have to find ways to accomplish more in less amounts of time. Below I will share how I make my cheater quilts.

Here are the steps:

  1. Iron all your pieces. If you don't iron your pieces then they won't flatten nicely while sewing and your fabric will bunch. I know this because it's happened to me many times until I finally decided to stop being lazy and iron the fabrics first.
  2. Center all your pieces in this order: quilt on top facing up then the batting under that and the backing on the very bottom.
  3. Smooth your layers and then pin them in place. Use as many pins as you have the patience to use. It helps a lot. And be sure to keep smoothing out the layers as you pin.
  4. Take it to your sewing machine. Sew your horizontal and vertical lines. Sew all of them except for the ones on the very edge. You'll get to those when you finish the binding - no need to sew it twice. Tip when you sew is to stretch and watch your fabric as you go to make sure there isn't any noticeable bunching.
  5. Lay your quilt on a flat surface and separate the top 2 layers from the backing with a cutting board. Using a ruler - trim the top 2 layers to 1" away from the edge of the quilt design. Trim all the way around. Once you trim the top 2 layers, trim the backing (the bottom layer) 3" away from the edge of the quilt design. You can adjust the trimming to have a thinner boarder just make sure the backing trim is twice the width as the top two layer trim. NOTE: Because the design is printed on the fabric in one piece the outer squares may be a little misshaped. The printed boarder on the quilt piece is to help buffer for this. It give you wiggle room for when you finish the boarder using the bottom layer.
  6. Fold the backing to the edges of the top two layers and over one more time. It should cover the edge of the boarder and touch where the quilt design starts. Clip in place around the entire quilt. Don't worry about the corners for now.
  7. Start hemming on one boarder in between two corners. When you get to the corner you can either fold in over and then fold the other side in and sew the corner or you can make a mitered corner. I suggest using method 2 of this sewing blog to help you understand how to do it. Just practice folding it until you like the way it looks.
  8. Finish off the boarder and cut off all the loose threads.
  9. Wash and dry your quilt and Boom! It's ready for use, gifting, or just admiring.


  • If this is your first time then take your time to do all the steps slowly. You don't want to have to unstitch mistakes that can be avoided by not rushing to the next step.
  • Be sure to only cut the top two layers when you're trimming the quilt before hemming the boarder.
  • Make it yours! Add your logo, tag, and story to what you create and finish.

For visual help. Check out my Instagram where I posted videos of these steps.