All types of quilts, both large and small, have similar construction and lap quilts are just a smaller version of the large bed-sized quilts. There are three layers that make up a quilt, the quilt top which usually consists of blocks of varying types and colors of blocks sewn together. The middle section is called the batting and it provides warmth. The final layer is called the backing, and the sewing that holds all three layers together is quilting. Some quilts, like prayer quilts, are lap sized and tied rather than sewn together this saves on time and money.
The first step when making a lap quilt is to choose your material and gather your supplies for sewing the lap quilt by using a sewing machine or by hand. Most people decide to use a sewing machine as it is a lot faster. After the material is selected, washed and dried. A pattern is chosen to use in sewing the top of the quilt. This depends on how much experience you have in sewing and beginning quilters usually choose blocks of different colored fabrics that are cut to the same size and sewn together to make the top for the lap quilt.
After the lap quilt top is sewn together, press the seams towards the darker part of the blocks using an iron and ironing board. This helps hold the quilt together and prevents bulky seams that may be uncomfortable for whomever is using your lap quilt to keep warm with. Trim the edges of the top so they are all even before continuing.
Selection of the batting is often thought to be difficult, but it doesn't have to be. There are two main types: polyester and natural (cotton) batting. The polyester type tends to clump together in some washing machines when the lap quilt is washed. The cotton is a better selection even though it may be more expensive. Cut the batting to the same size as the quilt top.
The bottom layer of the quilt is a single piece of material, laid right side down on a large table or the floor and cut it just a bit larger than the lap quilt top and batting. Place the batting on top of the bottom layer of material and the quilt top on the top, with the right side showing. Smooth out any wrinkles and baste or pin together before quilting all three layers together. The last step of making a lap quilt is to sew a narrow edge of material around the edges of the quilt, this is called binding. The purpose of adding the binding to the lap quilt is to finish off the edges and make the quilt last longer.