Hey everyone! I hope you are enjoying the weekend. It is H.O.T. Hot in Texas, but they keep telling me it will only get hotter. With that said, it looks like I’ll just have to stay inside my air conditioned quilt room.
Today’s quilt is a super fast one that could quite possibly be made in a day. I did it in small batches over a couple of weeks because life was just busy and I kind of put off getting the backing and binding. I’ve decided that I’m going to pick out the backing and binding before choosing the precut and/or only ordering matching color-ways. Running to JoAnn’s and finding matching or close to matching colors is getting harder and harder. I’m sure you don’t want me rambling on about frustrating shopping experiences so let’s get started.
My friend Marina is having her first baby girl. The nursery is lavender, gray & white. Lavender, gray and white pre-cuts are really hard to find and if you know of a secret spot please let me know! Luckily I had a layer cake called Jubilee by Bunny Hill Designs for Moda.
I remembered that it had baby blues, pinks, lavenders and grays so I did the unthinkable and separated a layer cake (I know, I know, but hear me out). What’s great about this is that the baby size only needs 20 squares which works out great if you can choose a stacker that has 21 pieces. Those usually range from $11-$20 which makes for an even more cost effective quilt. So even though I separated a layer cake In know I still have 22 squares left for another project that are still matching.
Okay back on task; here’s what you need for a baby quilt 36″ x 45″:
- 20 – 10” Squares or part of a layer cake or a 21 piece stacker
- Border fabric (optional) (I used 4 pieces of a left over white honeybun from our window pane quilt)
- Binding 1/3 yard 44” wide
- Backing 1.5 yards 44” wide
- Double sided fusible interfacing (optional for applique)
- Fabric for your chosen applique. (optional)
Step 1: Cutting the blocks.
- Lay your first square on your cutting mat and line up the edges
- Next measure 7” from the left of the square. You’ll notice mine says ‘8’, but that’s because I didn’t line my square up on the 0” line of the cutting board.
- Cut along your ruler with your rotary cutter. You will now have two rectangles; one that is 7” and one that is 3”
- On the 3” rectangle measure in 1.5” from the left just like above. Cut.
- Now you will have three rectangles. A 7”, 1.5” and 1.5”
- Do this for all 20 squares.
- Hint: If you feel confident with your rotary cutter and mat feel free to double or triple your cutting efforts. Just make sure everything is square and you have a good sharp blade.
Step 2: Arranging the blocks.
- Since my blocks are either lavender or gray I decided to just mix the two colors. You can really go wild with this pattern and you don’t even have to use one of your 1.5” rectangles if you don’t want. I actually contemplated using a white honey bun for the center strip, but decided against it.
- Go ahead and mix and match one of your 1.5” rectangles with the other blocks.
- When replaced it will create a color strip and that’s the basis for your block.
Step 3: Sewing the blocks
- These go up super fast and I suggest my favorite method…wait for it…have you guessed it?…yep; Chain Stitching!
- Just be cautious to have a method so you don’t mess up your blocks.
- Using a ¼” seam stitch the rectangles back into a square shape connecting your 7” + 1.5” + 1.5” rectangles all together.
- Notice that they aren’t completely square now. We’ve lost 1” due to seam allowances.
Step 4: Resizing the blocks
- To correct this we need to cut the long end down to match.
- Place your block on your cutting board with the strip facing you horizontally.
- Line up your ruler and take 1” off of one side. It doesn’t matter which side, but I suggest the one that isn’t 100% even.
- Complete this on all 20 blocks.
Step 5: Arranging the blocks
- There are limitless possibilities for how you choose to arrange your blocks on this quilt. I opted for a simple 4-way rotation that I’ve repeated all the way down the quilt.
- So, this means that row two starts with the 2nd block in from the left and then the 3rd and then the 4th and finally the 1st block makes an appearance again.
- Here’s a grid to make it easier to understand. (sometimes my rambling is not helpful)
Step 6: Row Assembly
- Using a ¼” seam assemble each of the five rows.
- Left to right, setting your seams as you go.
Step 7: Applique (optional)
- Believe it or not I’ve never appliqued on a quilt before…I know, I’m not sure why I’ve never done it before!? I wanted, however, to make this quilt a little more personal so I thought why not an appliqued monogram? Plus how often is it that your friends will tell you the full name of the baby pre-birth?! Well in most of my friends case, fairly rare. Maybe they don’t trust me? Perhaps I should look into that…nah!
- Okay as the step implies this is purely optional and if you don’t want to do it then skip (if you haven’t already) to Step 8.
- What you’ll need is your double sided fusible interfacing, (Or one sided if you’re me and got in a hurry and just grabbed the one that said quilting interfacing. Oops!) Fabric for your applique, and decorative either accent or matching thread. I went with shiny lavender.
- Since this was my first time I PRACTICED PRACTICED & PRACTICED again.
- First I printed the letters off on my computer. I specifically chose and easy rounded font that would be easy for me to navigate. No gothic or calligraphy here!
- Next I followed the instructions that came with the fusible interfacing (each brand is different) and attached some to the fabric I wanted as the applique. One trick I have learned over the years of using fusible anything is to make sure your fabric is just a little bigger than the interfacing. Otherwise you may end up with a sticky mess on your ironing board or heaven forbid your iron.
- I’m not a huge fan of tracing and cutting so I just pinned my letter templates to the interfacing side of the fabric (so I could see where it was).
- VERY IMPORTANT: It is necessary to pin these in a mirror fashion or all of your letters will be backwards. Make sure to picture them from the other side….will they look right? Remember triple check, cut once.
- Once your letters are cut out from the fusible interfacing you can pin them to your project. I recommend working on one letter at a time, but having a game plan for your final layout. Side note: If you are using double sided fusible interfacing you can just iron on the letters again as well per the instructions, but I would also recommend pinning.
- I put my letters on the last row, which is why we are doing it before final assembly. I didn’t want to have too much bulk while trying to move the entire quilt front 360o under the needle.
- I lined my letters up with a ruler because I’m OCD and even though the J was wonky there still must be order!
- Remember that there will be ¼” taken away once we sew the rows together so you will want to make sure you account for any seam allowances that might skew your final masterpiece.
- I placed mine 1 ¼” from the top edge of the fabric and the ‘C’ and the ‘M’ ¼” from the ‘J’.
- This is where the practice comes in handy. I found that my applique worked best with a simple zig-zag stich set at 1 on my machine. Some quilters like a blanket stitch, but my machine was just not giving me what I wanted in that regard and I actually like the zig-zag better.
- Starting somewhere in the middle of your letter, usually a long straight stretch or big curve, begin slooooooowly stitching around the letters. In tight spots it is okay to anchor your needle, lift the presser foot and rotate.
- Find the sweet spot between your needle, presser foot, and fabric. For example I know that if I line up the centerline of my presser foot with the fabric then my needle will hit just the edge of the letter outside giving me a maximum stitch inside the letter to anchor it.
- Make sure you anchor all the way around each letter.
- Once you’re done stand up and ‘Shake it Off!”. You’ll know what I mean when you get there…there is a lot of tension and concentration in Step 7.
Step 8: Final Assembly
- Go ahead and assemble the front once all of your rows are complete.
- Make sure to match your seams where each big block meets. Here is another reason I used the rotating layout….no center lines will ever need matching.
- If you choose to add a border feel free to reference ‘The Sunset of My Sunshine! Front Assembly, Quilting, & Binding!’ for my border tutorial.
- For spray basting and pinning check out my instructions from ‘Supernova Spray Basting and Pinning for Quilting’As for binding, well you may know that I had to take that post down and am diligently working on bringing it back, but until then I will leave you with one of the better binding tutorials from Missouri Quilt Co. and where I learned to bind again a few years ago.
Here’s the final quilt when completed! I must say this is one of my favorites to date!
As always please feel free to leave any questions or comments below! Time to get back to work on my Zig Zag Quilt…(that one is huge and getting sent out for quilting and binding. ;))