Monday, 25 October 2010

Raw-edge layer cake quilt tutorial

This is quite possibly the quickest quilt you will ever make! Mini 10" quilt 'sandwiches' are sewn together with a 1/2" seam. The seams are clipped to give some great 'cuddle-up' texture. 

For a 54" x 63" (6 x 7 squares)quilt you will need:
1 x layer cake or 42 x 10" fabric squares 
2.9 metres (3.25 yards) backing fabric, 112cm wide
1.4 metres (1.5 yards) fusible batting, 240cm wide
0.4 metres (15") binding fabric 

Edit: The layer cake used for this quilt was Bonnie & Camille's 'Bliss' for Moda.


I chose to add an extra row to my quilt by cutting a further 6 fabric squares from my stash. 

For a 54" x 72" (6 x 8 squares)quilt you will need:
1 x layer cake or 42 x 10" fabric squares
6 extra 10" squares from your stash
3.1 metres (3.5 yards) backing fabric, 112cm wide
1.6 metres (1.75 yards) fusible batting, 240cm wide
0.45 metres (17") binding fabric

The fusible batting I used was Hobbs Heirloom Cotton Fusible Batting, 2.4 metres wide. It is fusible on both sides. You can use any quilt batting you like, but you may find some quilt basting spray will be handy to keep the layers together as you stitch.

Cutting:
Cut the backing fabric into 10" squares. 
Cut the fusible batting into 9" squares.
Cut the binding fabric into 2.25" strips across the width of the fabric.

Construction:
Lay a 10" backing square on your ironing board. Place a 9" fusible batting square on top, centring it 0.5" in from each side of the fabric square. Place a 10" layer cake square on top, and fuse the three layers together to form a quilt sandwich.

These three layers are now quilted together. I have chosen to quilt a straight line pattern like this:
To avoid having to mark each square with the quilting lines, I devised a cunning plan! I cut two strips from scrap card, one 2" wide and one 1.5" wide. These will be used as guidelines for your quilting.

Mark a spot on your machine 2" out from the needle. For me, this was the edge of a hole on my machine bed. Start stitching a straight line 2" in from one edge of your 10" quilt sandwich.
You need to stop stitching 2 inches from the next edge. To avoid measuring this, align your 2" wide strip of card against the edge of the square and stitch until you reach the card. 
Stop, with your needle down, and pivot 90 degrees. Continue stitching 2" from each edge, pivoting as described, a further two times. 

As you work your way to the centre, you need to stop your stitching and pivot 1.5" from your previous stitching. Align your 1.5" wide strip of card against your previous row of stitching and stitch until you reach the card. 
Stop, with your needle down, and pivot 90 degrees. Continue stitching 1.5" from your previous stitching line. To do this, use the 1.5" strip of card as a guide, and stitch along its edge as shown:
Continue stitching 1.5" from each previous row of stitching, pivoting as described, until you reach the centre of the square. Backstitch to secure your thread. Hopefully, you will have something that looks like this: 
I know this all sounds a bit complicated, but if you can get your head around it, it makes the quilting step very speedy. 

After quilting all your sandwiches, arrange the squares in seven (or 8)rows of six squares.

Stitch the squares in each row together using a 0.5" seam. Make sure you put WRONG SIDES TOGETHER (ie. the backing side) when joining the squares. The seam allowance needs to end up on the FRONT of the quilt.

Stitch the rows together using a 0.5" seam.

Bind your quilt using the 2.25" binding strips. (If you're not sure how to bind a quilt, there is an excellent tutorial here).

Using a sharp pair of scissors, clip the seam allowances at approximately 1cm intervals. Clip to within a few threads of the stitching lines, taking care not to cut through them!
Throw the quilt into the washing machine for a quick wash. Then fluff your quilt up in the dryer. The more you wash & dry your quilt, the more the seams will fray and the cuddlier your quilt will become. It is a very utilitarian quilt, great for kids. The more they abuse it, the better it becomes!
Now, I hope all this makes sense. Please feel free to ask questions. If you happen to make a quilt from this tutorial, I would love to see it. There is a Flickr group here for your creations from my tutorials.

Have fun! Bloom x

Edit: I have been asked, "When sewing the rows together, do I press the seam allowances open or do I push them to one side"?

On joining the rows, I opened the seams. But it really doesn't matter either way because the join is disguised under the fluffiness of the seam allowance and you don't really notice which way the seams are going.
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