I was delighted when Harriet agreed I could make a quilt for the blog. I've been making patchwork quilts for years; I love mixing and matching fabrics in bright colours and there is something satisfyingly simple about sewing squares together into a geometric pattern.
Since I started making my own clothes, patchwork quilting has taken a back seat but I've realised how complimentary the hobbies can be in terms of using cotton scraps from dressmaking.
The difference between my patchwork quilting and dressmaking is that I design my own patterns for patchwork. However I know that some people would prefer to follow instructions, so here is how I made my quilt....
For this quilt design I chose the Cotton + Steel lagoon print collection with some matching Kona solids fabric to enhance the blue and pink highlights. I did not pre-wash any of my fabrics (this is common in quilting, although if you are using cheaper cottons where colours may run you may want to pre-wash). I tend to wash on a gentle cycle after the quilt is made using a colour catcher sheet in the washing machine.
I used 5 fat quarters each cut into 16 x 4.5 inch squares. I laid out the pattern and sewed each row together with a 1/4 inch seam (and used this seam allowance throughout). Pressing the rows with an iron, I then sewed the rows together being careful to match the lines of the squares by pinning well.
When all rows are together and pressed, I measured and matched strips for the border (approx half metre of fabric). I used Kona solids plus added four scrap squares from the Distant Dreams collection (there are two other Distant dreams prints in the shop).
The next step is measuring the full size of the quilt top and sandwiching it with the same size batting or wadding in the middle and a large back piece or fabric. I used cotton/bamboo mix wadding from my local quilting shop and a piece of stripy cotton chambray from my stash. I personally like a fun back and some of the wider RICO designs at Sew Me Sunshine would be lovely but you could use a good quality bed sheet if you liked.
Some people like to use a basting spray to stick the pieces together. My nana quilts too and likes to baste stitch it all over first. Others like to use safety pins or pin like crazy. I have to admit, I do none of that and just roll it tightly and neatly and use the lines of the squares to sew lines of stitching to join it all together. I'm careful to smooth it as I go to avoid any wrinkles or rucks. I'm not a bit fan of the quilting element of the project and by this point I want to just speed to the end!
Adding the binding is my favourite bit as it finishes off the quilt. I made matching lagoon print bias binding using a bias binding maker, cutting 2 inch strips out of approx just under half a metre of fabric.
Sew me Sunshine has lots of other cotton collections that would blend together for patchwork. How about using Cotton + Steel Kicks or Snap to the Grid? Or what about the blues and yellows of Blend Fabrics - mountain gorilla, mountain dreamscape and origami animals? Or the mustards of Dashwood studios Harvestwood would be a cosy choice.
For a super quick quilt go for the Cotton + Steel Beauty Shop Hankie panel, cuts the large squares and add sashing (that's the strips in between) in matching beauty shop material.
I really enjoyed getting back into quilting, especially at this time of year. My bed is like princess and the pea with all the quilts I have on it!
So how about adding a quilt to your make list for 2018? I think you get the same satisfaction out of quilt making as dressmaking and the same feel good factor of therapeutical sewing. But arguably quilting can be better as you don't have to worry about fit or fabric issues!
If you make a quilt from Sew Me Sunshine fabric, tag me in using @sewistella as I'd love to see what you've made.