Giraffe Quilt Story

This lap or child sized quilt was inspired by a nursery’s color and themes: giraffe, pink, teal and caramel. The pallet feels so fresh and modern yet retro too (just my style). For this design I wanted to keep it simple: centered on the colors and playful. I settled on three over sized log-cabin rectangles using a series of 2 ½ inch strips. The finished quilt is 42 in x 60 in. I sketched the appliqued giraffe freehand and incorporated a heart as the ear. For most of my juvenile animal quilts I incorporate a heart into the designs (see list at bottom). Even without the giraffe the quilt is adorable. Fabrics are from a variety of designers including Joel Dewberry, Amy Butler and others from my stash. Like what you see? This quilt is for sale in my Etsy Shop Odds & Hens along with several others.


  • 35 – 2 ½ x WOF strips, I had 7 different fabrics, some half yard cuts and a few cuts larger than a yard
  • 3 – 4 ½ x 26 1/2 rectangles, for the center of each of the three “cabins”.
  • Fabric for applique (either a fat quarter or half yard, but depends on how big your giraffe is
  • Fabric for backing, 1-2 yards depending on how you like back
  • Fabric for binding – I used up a lot of scraps from the cabin strips (2 1/2)
  • Warm and Natural batting


  • Cut from your three favorite fabrics a 4 ½ x 26 ½ inch rectangle. I did this by cutting on 4 ½ inch wide strip, then cutting the remainder not used for the center into 2 ½ strips that fit well on the shorter sides (see below). Use a ¼ inch seam or thereabouts, just be consistent.

  • Cut fabric into 2 ½ inch strips and trim off selvedges. This would be a great quilt to use with precut jelly rolls
  • Take the center piece and on the short right side sew on a 2 ½ inch strip and then trim off the extra. Start of pile of shorter 2 1/2 inch strips to use whenever possible. I tried to keep 6 strips the full WOF for the longest side of the cabin on the fourth go around

  • Take another strip and line it up with long edge of the center rectangle including the new strip you just attached and sew. When you get to the end of this edge. Trim the newly sewn strip to be flush with the original left hand side of rectangle. Press seams out as you go.

  • Now you are ready to put another 2 ½ strip on the original left hand side. This is a short one so look in your scrap pile for a good piece, so you don’t have to join as many in the end for the longest strips. Once you have sewed this side, trim it again to be flush with the top long side. Press seam out.
  • Sew another 2 ½ strip down the top long side of the rectangle. Trim off any extra length (and save it for a short side!) and press. Congratulations! You have now complete one full round of strips. For this quilt you will do four rounds for each center rectangle. The great thing about this pattern is that you can keep going and make the quilt bigger or only do 2 or 3 rounds for a smaller quilt. Lots of options. Play with the size of the original center rectangle too. Log cabin is easy to modify. How you incorporate colors and shades influences the final result (such as using white/solid only for the top and right sides, or dark versus light). For this quilt, my only rule (I always invent rules when sewing quilts) was that no two of the same could touch on any side and to use less of the giraffe spotted fabric for balance.

  • Start again! Sewing a strip on the short right hand side. Trim when you are done to match the length and press out. Rotate and sew on a strip along the bottom edge, then left, then top and you just did another round.

  • Try to use full strips, especially short lengths but if you need to join two strips to have enough length for the full side, I like to join on the diagonal as shown. Trim off the corner triangle about ¼ inch from stitch line and press flat to one side.

  • Once you have completed 4 rounds on one center square. Repeat for the remaining 2 rectangles. When all three “cabins” are sewn, press them really good and then join them together along the long side.

From here you can call it good and finish the quilt with batting, backing and binding (in your favorite way). I am not going to go into that here. For this quilt I added the giraffe, which first I needed to draw based loosely on a small stencil, traced on the iron-on interfacing (remember to flip the image, so the final is facing the right way) then trim around it. Once trimmed, iron it onto the wrong/back side of the applique fabric according to directions and then cut it out (you should be able to see the pencil or pen marks on the interfacing. I like to applique after I have quilted the “sandwich” all together.

So, I had hoped to find a warm fuzzy connection in the meaning of giraffes in dreams. It would take a more than a giraffe’s neck stretch of the imagination to make these fit a sleeping babe, but I share them anyway. Hopefully this doesn’t jinx anyone…..

To see a giraffe in your dream suggests

  • “You need to consider the overall picture. Take a broader view on your life and where it is headed. The dream may serve to indicate how you are “sticking your neck out” for someone.”
  • “Arrogance, conceit, or believing that you are above others. You or someone else that is seeing themselves as being more important than others. An issue where you think higher of yourself all the time”
  • “To dream that a giraffe is running implies that you are avoiding the truth. It also suggests that you saw something that you shouldn’t have seen.”

Shamanic wisdom is a little more encouraging however and would be good qualities for youngsters to develop.

  • People who have Giraffe as power animals often know what will happen in the future. They have clairvoyant abilities. Giraffe people should be very careful when talking – be sure not to say too much to the wrong person, or in the other hand, too little. Do not let other’s words have an affect on you. Giraffes legs are firmly planted on the earth, but their heads are in the sky, serving as a link between the higher and lower worlds. Their flexible necks let them see what is behind, next to and in front of them. This gives them the ability to know the future and understand the past, whilst moving with the present moment. We are taught how to increase our perceptions by viewing life from all angles. When we look up, sideways, forwards, and down, the past, present and future is made known. This symbolises balance and the capability to progress. Never become complacent and lose sight of the future, yet don’t live in the future, live in the now. Life could become ever more difficult until you set your sights once more on the path ahead. Giraffe can bring clear sight and can be a powerful ally to you. If Giraffe is your power animal, then just like giraffe you will have very strong bonds with family and friends, especially parent and children.”

Quilts featuring Animal (or Bug) Applique:

*Apologies* for some of the less than stellar photos. They were snapped before I improved. J

Sources of direct quotes:

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