Sunday, April 7, 2013

Totoro Quilt Tutorial

My oldest son is a HUGE, and I mean HUGE Totoro fan.

He asked me ages ago to make him a Totoro quilt.  I looked around the internet and couldn't find anything I really liked.  Making something with a kitsch character for a teen is hard.  So many of the things I found were cutesy vs kitsch.

My friend and I went to West Elm the other day for our spring visit.  I'm not a huge fan of their furniture but I do quite like their linens.  I only had to take one look at this wide rugby stripe duvet to know I had a jumping off point for the Totoro quilt.  I don't think anyone would argue that rugby stripes are manly.

west elm duvet cover

A quick google after I got home found me some images of Totoro and a plan to print some fabric.  I discovered that a regular old ink jet printer can print on fabric.  All you need to do is press the fabric on some freezer paper.

iron freezer paper

Cut it into 8 1/2 by 11" sheets.

And print!

Totoro dust mites quilt

Tororo quilt images

I sprayed the prints with spray matte medium to seal in the ink and gave them a rise in the sink.  

They faded a bit but nowhere near as much as I would have thought! The fabric is soft and flexible.

I used two Ikea sheets, one grey one white, cut into 11" strips.

Ikea bed sheets grey
 I sewed them together in alternating stripes and fitted in Totoro and the dust mites.

Totoro quilt

My son is 17 and all about subtle.  He was thrilled with this!  I knew he wouldn't want something that screamed kid quilt.  Subtle and animation usually don't go hand in hand but I think this fits the bill quite nicely.


I made this a couple of years ago.  Alas, the printing method wasn't all that great.  It faded.  The quilt is still lovely but the Tororo is not what he once was.  When I can get my hands on it for a little bit, I'm going to use some embroidery floss and stitch in the Totoro.


  1. How did you sew Totoro and the dust mites on? Did you hand stitch them? I've not done applique but a quilt like this would make my grandson a happy boy, so I may have to learn. :)

  2. I tried to transfer them with the printer but they aren't so great. I'm going to go over it with hand stitching.