No-Stress Window Pane Quilt

Hello my fellow quilters!

Greetings from North Texas! The move is done; well phase 1, I still need to move into the house I’m under contract with, but guess what? I have a new tutorial for you; I hope you like it.  I’m calling it the ‘No-Stress Window Pane Quilt’. You may have also heard it called the Garden Gate or Garden Fence as well.   What do you say, ready to get started? Let’s go!

Materials Needed: 

  • 5 – 5” Stackers or 90-5” squares (That sounds like a crazy amount of squares, but that’s why pre-cuts come in handy so often!)
  • 1 Honey bun (you won’t use all of it) (You can also cut 2″ strips of any solid fabric. Well, if you’re feeling frisky I’m sure you could use a print too!)
  • Backing fabric
  • Binding fabric

 This project was for a friend of mine’s sister-in-law.  They are having a baby boy and she liked ‘In the Ocean’ by Lesley Grainger for Riley Blake Designs.

In The Ocean - 5in StackersKona Skinny Strips - Window Pane Quilt

Step 1: Laying out the blocks.

For this project we need to layout the blocks prior to sewing so that we know what we want to use for the combinations.  I tried to pair specific color combinations that each block would showcase each of the fabric ways in the stacker. As you can see I used 4 of one style and one of the others.  That’s why I decided to use 5 stackers. (Pretty genius, right?)

Layout Examples - Window Pane Quilt

Step 2: Let the chain stitching begin

There are two keys items to this quilt. 1) chain stitching and more chain stitching 2) iron/finger pressing accuracy (but we’ll get to that in a bit).

Take all of the center blocks and chain stitch your honey bun all the way around. I find it easiest to do one side of all of the centers, cut, press and then work on the other side then the top & bottom. Here’s how to do it:
Chain Stitching Step 1- Window Pane Quilt

Stitch one edge of the 5″ stacker along 1 honey bun strip using a 1/4″ seam allowance.  When you hit the end of the first stacker add the next center block to be worked on.  You should be able to fit quite a few blocks on to one honey bun depending on how far you space them apart.  Once you have a strip done line up your rotary cutter and ruler to cut the individual blocks apart.
Cutting Chain Stitching - Window Pane QuiltCut - Final -Window Pane Quilt

Make sure you set your seams by ironing the finished seam and then opening up the seam and pressing towards the patterned side (not the white honey bun).
Press to the dark side - Window Pane Quilt

Now, chain stitch the the other side of the charm pack, cut the seams and press open just like the last step.
Chain Stitch 3 - Window Pane Quilt2 borders complete - Window Pane Quilt

Step 3: Chain stitching the sides of the center block:
Once the sides are done you will want to complete with the top and the bottom.  Chain stitching works well with this step too.
Final Chain Stitch Pass - Window Pane Quilt3 Borders Complete - Window Pane QuiltBlocks with Borders - Window Pane Quilt

See how nice and clean each of these blocks look with the four border pieces? I love clean lines!  Let’s work on the pane (not pain 😉 ) part of the block!

Step 4: Pane Border Assembly

Now on to the border pieces of the block; this step could not be simpler.  There are four charms per block for the border.  Start by stitching honey buns to two of those four squares.  Ready? Set…Chain Stitch! (hint: exactly like step 1 from above except of just stitching one of the squares you will do two of the four blocks that will surround your center square. I’ll add the photo one more time so you don’t have to scroll up…
Chain Stitching Step 1- Window Pane QuiltDid I mention there is a lot of chain stitching in this quilt? If you need to practice this skill this is a great quilt for just that!

Once you have one side done it is time to add the other two charms to the mix.  Go ahead and stitch them to the other side of the honey bun.
Border Pane Assembly - Window Pane Quilt
When they are done and pressed (to the dark side) they should look like this:
Borders Pre Cut - Window Pane Quilt

Step 5: Cutting border pieces:

We need four border pieces, but only have two sets of squares.  The finished border piece around the center square is 2”.  What we need to do is cut the 5” squares in half.  First, measure the center 2.5” in from the bottom of the small side of the finished border piece.
Cutting the Border - Window Pane Quilt

Cut the block in half lengthwise. It is very important to be accurate with this step…measure twice; cut once.

All Four Borders - Window Pane Quilt

Once you’ve cut them voila! four border pieces!

Step 6: Attaching the border to the center of the block:

Are you guys ready? This is what makes this block so easy. I mentioned earlier that accuracy in pressing will be key.  You may have also been thinking that there is going to be a lot of measuring and matching to make sure the white stripes are centered. Well, I’ve got you covered!  We can accomplish all of this with folding and an iron (or finger pressing). 

My only word of caution is to not go super crazy with your iron as you will need to starch and press out these seams later.  In fact, if you are comfortable you can just finger press it (works about the same and that’s what I did for 90% of the quilt).

  • Fold your center block in half (right sides together).
  • Press the white corners

Center Fold Press - Window Pane QuiltDo this on both the top and the bottom. Next, fold a side piece in half wrong sides together. Press the white corner opposite from the pinking or the side that will match to the center block.  If your patterned blocks don’t have a definite right side up then this doesn’t matter as much. I had fish and seahorses that needed to be upright so I tried to accommodate that as best as I could. 
Border Press 2 - Window Pane Quilt
Now we will ‘nest’ those folds and pin.  The pinking will still be on the outside to prevent fraying while we still work on the quilt.  Okay, there you go! You have found the center without measuring or re-measuring!
Press Seams Match - Window Pane QuiltMatching Border to Center Block - Window Pane Quilt
Pin Border - Window Pane Quilt

Once you have finished the top of the block we need to trim the sides.

Border Trim - Window Pane Quilt

It is time to repeat this step on the bottom then the right and left side.  Note: Make sure you do the top and the bottom before moving on to the sides.  This will create symmetry in the block and give you consistency in lines. You will notice that the blocks will not come out 100% even…this is okay; we’ll trim them in a bit.

Block Final before trim - Window Pane Quilt

Step 6: Trimming the block

As I just mentioned the block will not be 100% square, but this is okay.  All we need to do is trim the block to 2” from the edge of the white square.  This will make them square and we will get 9” squares in the end. Plus, this will make it much easier to line up our ‘panes’ during our final front construction.
Final Block Trim - Window Pane Quilt

And with that, we’re done with the block!

Two Final Blocks - Window Pane Quilt

Step 7 (Optional) Sashing:

Once you have all of the blocks done you have a decision to make…do you add sashing or not?  The photo below shows a possible layout of the squares without sashing.   Personally I found it to be too crazy and my eyes could not focus when I had all of the squares together. 

Final without Sashing

I decided to go with sashing so that the white would offset the squares giving focus.  Yes, it is risky for a baby quilt to have white…well anywhere frankly.  I think, however, that I would rather put out a good product and give a nice list of washing instructions. 

Adding sashing is just as easy as creating the squares. First, chain stitch (sense a theme?) all of the right sides to your honey bun and trim.

Chain Stitching - Window Pane Quilt

Next, and this is the second to hardest part of this quilt, attach the squares to make rows.  Let’s also make this as simple as possible.  We are going to finger press these too. Same method. Fold one in half right sides together and fold the other square wrong sides together in half.  Double check, but if you were diligent about your ¼” seams and trimming accurately this process should be a snap. Your pressing marks should line up and voila, a perfectly matched seam every time!

Here’s a photo of the final layout of the quilt prior to pinning, quilting and binding.

Window Pane Quilt Final Layout

For the life of me I don’t know what I was doing, but I didn’t get a good photo of the final product.  If I find it later I’ll definitely upload it for you, but this should give you a good idea of the finished product.

Stay tuned….disappearing 9-patch is on deck!

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