top of page

Introducing Nomwhal: A Whimsical Back-to-School Quilt Adventure!

Bits n Bobs Blog introducing Nomwhal (donut narwhal)

Summer's End

Nom Nom Nom
Nom Nom Nomwhal!

As the summer sun sets, and the back-to-school season approaches, it's time to embark on a crafting journey that will bring magic and joy to the start of the academic year. Get ready to dive into the enchanting world of "Nomwhal" - a delightful narwhal-themed quilt that's sure to make hearts smile and imaginations soar.

Imagine a narwhal with a rainbow-hued horn, gracefully swimming through an ocean of creativity, surrounded by floating donuts and sprinkles that add a touch of sweetness to every stitch. This adorable quilt, with its whimsical design, promises to be a beloved companion for students heading back to school and anyone who craves a splash of happiness in their lives. Afterall, "Like an underwater unicorn

They've got a kick-ass facial horn

In this blog post, we'll guide you through the step-by-step process of creating your very own Nomwhal quilt. Whether you're an experienced quilter or just starting your sewing journey, this quick and easy pattern will have you stitching with joy in no time.

So gather your fabric, thread your needle, and let's embark on this creative adventure together. Let's bring the magic of Nomwhal to life and add a sprinkle or two of joy to the back-to-school season!

The Start of a Whimsical Adventure

The inspiration behind our magical Nomwhal friend is really quite simple. It's all in the memes! I've had the Narhwal song stuck in my head almost as long as the Baby Shark song. (it's bad I know!) I've been doodling narwhals on napkins and notes for a few years now, but never really was set on one design to make into a fun quilt. With School coming up, my oldest will be a big time 5th grader. Her room is filled with meme posters and colorful stickers of donut cats. It all just clicked! Next thing I knew I can merged all the magical meme-ery of a Nomwhal into this quilt banner! Because of this, Nomwhal is an applique focused pattern. Applique lends itself perfectly to my style of sketch and art.

In this Pattern I will focus on using the raw edge applique technique. Why? Specifically because it is the faster of the applique techniques and will allow you to bust this Nomwhal out in a weekend. Raw edge applique is also optimal for this quilt because it will be a wall banner and not have to be washed (if ever) so the fear of the fabric edges fraying is minimal. If you have time to spare, why not try your hand at needle turned applique?!

Before you begin

  • Read through all instructions before you begin

  • Prepare Applique Layout Guide and Applique Parts sheets (full PDF's at end of Blog)

  • All seams are sewn ¼ ", unless otherwise stated

Terms to Know

WS - Wrong side of fabric

RS - Right side of fabric

WOF - Width of Fabric, traditionally 44"

Fabric Requirements for Nomwhal

Prepare your background

  1. After starching and ironing all fabric, trim your background fabric to a 13" x 20" rectangle

  2. Fold your fabric in half lengthwise, finger creasing the fold

  3. Unfold

  4. Measure 14" down the length of the background on each side and mark see fig 1

  5. From the 14" mark, measure and mark down along the ruler to the center bottom point on each side

  6. Trim along the diagonal line on each side of your marked line to form and banner point

banner measurements
fig 1

Raw Edge Applique Technique

applique tracing
fig 2

*Note that all applique parts are already reversed

  • Trace the included applique shapes onto fusible webbing using a Sharpie pen & light box

  • Cut traced shapes, leaving ¼" of paper bordering the shape see fig 2

  • With WS of fabric up, iron traced shapes to corresponding fabrics, according to the instructions found on your specific fusible webbing

  • Cut fused shapes out along the traced line

Nomwhal parts laid out
fig 3
  • Using a heat proof, clear silicone mat that is laid over the Applique Layout Guide: remove backing from shapes, position shapes, then iron briefly (2-3 seconds) and let cool

  • Peel pressed fabric gently (do not worry if some pieces do not stay together, you can re-place them before final iron

  • Lay form over background fabric, using Applique layout Guide

  • Press a clean iron over the applique form according to your fusible webbing’s specific instructions

  • Sew fabric down using your preferred method (we chose to thread sketch since this Nomwhal in theory will not be washed)


A Note on Thread Sketching

I have found that thread sketching before quilting the top helps add detail and depth that may be otherwise lost. Here are a few basic tips for thread sketching/thread painting to get you started

  • Start with an outline: Begin by stitching the outline of your design using a thread color that complements your fabric.

  • Fill in the details: Gradually fill in the interior of your design with stitches, adding texture, shading, and dimension. Experiment with different stitch lengths and directions to achieve the desired effect.

  • Layering and blending: Use multiple threads of varying colors and textures to create depth and visual interest. Layer threads by stitching over existing stitches, blending colors to achieve realistic effects.

  • Work in sections: Divide your design into manageable sections and focus on one at a time. This approach allows you to concentrate on the details without overwhelming yourself

rainbow of sewing threads


Nearing the end of our Nomwhal Adventure!

You're almost done!! How have you expressed your creativity? Did you make our magical Nomwhal's horn a rainbow? Or maybe you went with a more neutral option? There is no wrong answer, only your ability to create.

After you have basted and quilted your Nomwal quilt banner, it's time to add the binding and your hanging sleeve. Personally, I like to attach my binding by machine along the front first, pin my sleeve in place along the top, then wrap my binding around to the back and hand stitch my binding down along the back of the quilt. Everyone has their preferred method. The following instructions are mine.

Hanging Sleeve instructions


binding figures 8 and 9

  1. Cut (2) 2 ½ " x WOF strips

  2. Layer RS together at a 90° angle

  3. Mark a diagonal line from point A to point B see Figure 8

  4. Sew along marked line

  5. Trim ¼" outside of the sewn line see Figure 9

  6. Trim points off

  7. Press seam to one side

  8. Repeat steps 2-7 until required binding has been made

  9. Fold binding in half lengthwise with WS together

  10. Press

  11. Before you begin sewing down, pin 2 ½" below the top of binding, folding down the top 1" into itself to keep the raw edge being exposed when complete

  12. Using a fat ¼" seam allowance, attach binding to the front of the quilted panel

  13. To finish binding: several inches before binding is completely attached, estimate how much binding is required to finish, trim, then tuck tail end into folded binding that was left from step 11

  14. Fold binding over the edge of the quilt to the backing

  15. Hand sew binding to the backing of the quilt using a whip stitch

Want to add some more flare??

When you go to sew the binding along the bottom section of the banner, add pom-pom trim!

Back to School with Charm

As we put the final stitches into our Nomwhal quilts, we're filled with a sense of accomplishment and wonder. The journey from a mere idea to a vibrant, cuddly narwhal quilt with a rainbow horn and floating donuts has been nothing short of magical. And just like the upcoming school days, this quilt represents the start of something exciting and full of possibilities.

As you embark on this new academic year, or simply embrace the joys of quilting, let Nomwhal be a reminder that creativity knows no bounds. It's the thread that weaves together our dreams and aspirations, giving life to the extraordinary even in the simplest of things.

Don't forget to personalize your Nomwhal quilt, making it uniquely yours or a thoughtful gift for someone special. You can experiment with colors, fabrics, and even add your own touch of sparkle to the donuts with sequins or beads. I personally will be embordering sprinkles onto Nomwhal's frosting top and the playful floating donuts! Another way to add that special, thoughtful touch? Add a quilt label with an inspirational quote, or meaningful note that will inspire that special someone when they need it the most.

I can't wait to see how you let your creativity soar!

Tag me on social media here and use # Nomwhal

Happy Stitches Quilty Crew


Art Quilts by Design logo

Applique Layout Guide

Nomwhal Applique Layout Guide
Download PDF • 613KB

Applique Parts

Nomwhal applique parts
Download PDF • 612KB

79 views0 comments


bottom of page