A Modern Baby Quilt: Nesting Phoenix Star

Soon after my husband and I found out that we would be welcoming a little one into the world, I began to plan their quilt. Making one of the stars in my Constellations Series was a no-brainer. Whether it was a baby boy or girl in our future, my most recent release, Nesting Phoenix, felt like the perfect fit likely because the star depicts a place of rest and safety for them to lay on. 

The Nesting Phoenix quilt pattern is available in the S&V shop in both paper and PDF formats.

Nesting Phoenix Quilt Pattern

A Modern Star Quilt

I may be partial, but I love to make the larger versions of my star quilts. The templates make a 36” square block that is easily transformed into a baby quilt by adding borders to the top and bottom of the quilt top.

Nesting Phoenix: 5-Colour Variation

The earlier stars in the Constellation Series featured negative space between each of the elements, like The Square of Pegasus and Arcturus Shield. This technique made the designs more unique when compared to traditional patchwork star blocks.

That being said, I steered away from negative space when I initially designed Nesting Phoenix, but having the opportunity to revisit the pattern meant that I could experiment with the layout again. I decided to replace the fabric requirements for Fabric C with Fabric A (background) and drafted a few mock-ups to consider. As you can see in the images below, the negative space showcases the linework in the design, and creates an impactful Mediterranean lattice.

 Nesting Phoenix quilt top featuring Ruby Star Society fabrics Sugar

Above: Original Nesting Phoenix design using six fabrics from Ruby Star Society's Sugar collection.

 Four digital mockups of nesting phoenix in blues, browns and creams.

Above: Four Nesting Phoenix mock-ups using Fabric A in place of Fabric C. 

My Nesting Phoenix Quilt Fabric Pull

My husband and I decided to make the version with the white/cream background, and chose a selection of Giucy Giuce prints for the quilt top.

I don’t usually use large-scale prints in my FPP projects as the smaller piecing is better suited to solids or basics. Giucy Giuce has released some beautiful basics that are subtle in design, but bold in colour - a combination that's right up my alley! And the low volume background fabric makes the design – dare I say – the star of the show!

Replicate the same project by referencing the fabric list below.

  • Fabric A (background): Snowfall Dots in Bianca, Natale Collection
  • Fabric B: Spectrastatic II in Aquatic
  • Fabric C: Snowfall Dots in Bianca, Natale Collection
  • Fabric D: Devil’s Arrow in Aeshnidae, Fabrics from the Basement Collection
  • Fabric E: Tally in Jute, Fabrics from the Basement Collection
  • Fabric F: Spectrastatic II in Dusty Blue

A selection of prints by Giucy Giuce for Andover Fabrics

When the yardage requirements for Fabric A and C are combined, you’ll require 2¾ yards for the baby quilt size. If you’re a proficient foundation paper piecer, you can likely get by with 2 to 2¼ yards.

If you decide to purchase less yardage, I recommend that you cut your top and bottom borders before doing any piecing to ensure you’ll have sufficient fabric to make the project size.

Check out these foundation paper piecing tutorials for more instructions and tips:

A Step-by-Step Guide to Foundation Paper Piecing
Preparing Your Foundation Paper Piecing Templates
How to FPP: Angled Sections and Cutting As-You-Go 

    nesting phoenix quilt top

    Nesting Phoenix quilt top in the sunshine with a ruler for squaring.

      Minky Backing for Baby Quilts

      It’s an undeniable fact that babies love soft things, and I certainly didn’t want to skimp on my baby’s first quilt! I found a beautiful grey minky fabric at Fabricland to use as the backing.

      If you’re choosing to do the same, keep in mind that a raw minky edge is a messy one! Fluff will fall away if you’re not quick to add a stay stitch along the cut edges. 

      minky fabric swirled up

      Longarming for Baby Quilts

      I quilted my first Nesting Phoenix quilt myself – it’s an excellent size for comfortably quilting on your domestic machine.


      Above: Custom quilted Nesting Phoenix baby quilt. Learn how I did it.

      But for this version, I decided to have the quilt longarmed by Honeybee Quilt Studio. I did this for a few reasons:

      • Time: I didn’t want to have the project fall into the work-in-progress pile. I was determined to have it finished for baby’s arrival. But it can be difficult to prioritize time for the “quilting” step of quilting in my world, so I happily passed off the task to a local trusted longarmer, Sylvia Lamothe. 
      • Double Batting: I chose to use two layers of batting to make the quilt a bit more robust against wear and tear, and to add some cushion for a play mat. This made the quilt bulkier and I didn't want to wrangle it under my domestic machine. 
      • Minky Backing: Without an opportunity to experiment with quilting on minky fabric yet, I decided to leave it to the professionals. This project was too important to mess up!

      My husband picked the “chunky knit” motif in a 2" width, which added nicely to the cozy feeling we were going for. I was very pleased with the final result!

      Minky fabric quilted with a chunky knit panto

      And finally, I rummaged through my fabric stash to find binding. I landed on Scratch in Dove by Ghazal Razavi.

      Nesting Phoenix quilt binded with a grey fabric. 

      A Quilt Finish

      This quilt was a pleasure to make and it has found its home in the nursery awaiting baby's arrival. I'm certain that any of today's expecting parents would love to add this to their nursery too. 

       Photo of a completed Nesting Phoenix baby quilt

      Close up of nesting phoenix baby quilt

      Close-up of quilted nesting phoenix quilt

      Nesting Phoenix quilt with hat and sunglasses resting on top.

      Make Your Own Nesting Phoenix Quilt

      While at first glance, the pattern seems intricate and complex, it’s only a single quadrant repeated four times. Yes, it’s an intermediate FPP pattern, but there are loads of resources in the S&V blog to help you along the way.

      And keep in mind that it's far easier to construct the larger templates (included in all Constellation Series patterns) than the smaller ones.

      I encourage you to set upon your own Nesting Phoenix adventure - you won't regret it.

      Project Details

      Quilt Pattern: Nesting Phoenix by Ships & Violins
      Fabrics: Giucy Giuce for Andover, various collections
      Backing: Grey minky fabric
      Binding: Ghazal Razavi for FIGO Fabrics, Scratch in Dove, Serenity
      Longarm Quilting: Honeybee Quilt Studio


      Which version of the Nesting Phoenix star do you prefer?

      The 6-colour original or 5-colour variation?

      Leave a comment below.

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      The nesting phoenix pattern is beautiful! I would like to try making it.


      I’m loving your 5 colour baby quilt. The chunky knit quilting is perfect. I know you will enjoy having an addition to your family. Have fun!

      Cheri Corbett

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      Cristina De Miranda

      Cristina De Miranda has been crafting and creating since her early years watching Art Attack. A tactile world of colour, pattern, and design appeared before her when a colleague introduced her to quilting in 2018. Cristina quickly dusted off her sewing machine and dived into a plethora of designer fabrics. Today, she is totally and irreversibly immersed in a whimsical world called Ships & Violins.