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A few weeks ago I was playing around with patterns and came across some traditional bargello quilts. The idea stuck with me, but I wanted to make it a little bit more modern. After awhile the idea for this Racing Stripes modern baby quilt popped into my mind, and really seemed to appeal. It reminded me of racing stripes on cars and racing stripes on vintage Nike shoes, which is what led me to these colors which seem to scream retro toy cars. Yum!
After playing around with it for awhile, I also came up with another variation, which I’m calling Mountains. There are directions at the bottom of the tutorial for adapting the Racing Stripes modern baby quilt pattern to make Mountains. It’s fun, and still modern, but I’m envisioning it in a much more subdued color palette – blues and purples, or green, brown, and cream.
Racing Stripes Modern Baby Quilt
**Fabric must have 43″ of useable width (so 43″ exclusive of selvages). Yardage includes scrappy binding as well.
1 1/4 yard Kona Azure for background
3/8 yard each of Kona Jade Green, Kona Persimmon, and Sun Print Mercury in Flame
All of your regular sewing supplies – sewing machine, rotary cutter, mat, ruler, piecing thread, marking pencil, etc.
From your background:
- Cut three 5 1/2″ by width of fabric strips. Sub cut:
- Two 5 1/2 x 37″ rectangles
- One 5 1/2 x 36 1/2″ rectangle
- From the remainder cut three 5 1/2″ squares
- Cut one 20 1/2 x 36 1/2″ rectangle
- From the remainder cut one 5 1/2″ square
From your three colored fabrics:
- Cut off selvages.
- Begin by cutting one 5 1/2″ by the width of fabric strip, then cut:
- One 5 1/2″ by 37″ rectangle
- Cut one 5 1/2″ square
- Cut one 5 1/2″ square
- Set aside remaining piece for binding
Step 1 – Gather your five 5 1/2 x 37″ rectangles (2 background rectangles, and one from each of the three colors). Play with them until you settle upon a pleasing arrangement of colors. One of the two background rectangles has to be the uppermost rectangle.
Step 2 – From your five 5 1/2 x 37″ rectangles: measure in 12 1/2″ from the left edge of each strip and cut. You should get one 12 1/2 x 5 1/2″ piece and one 24 1/2 x 5 1/2″ piece.
Step 3 – On the wrong side of each of the ten 5 1/2″ squares, mark a diagonal line from corner to corner. If you have any directional prints, make sure to mark appropriately so you have one of each direction.
Step 4 – Lay out your 5 rectangle pairs in the desired order. Along the interior slit, take your squares and lay them out as shown, using the color of the strip below. The bottom most rectangles will use background squares. Make sure that your diagonals are facing in opposite directions.
Step 5 – Sew on the line. Trim away the excess (the pieces closest to the corner) a 1/4″ past the seam. Press.
Step 6 – Sew the matching pairs together along the center seam. The triangles should form a flying geese shape. Press seam open.
Step 7 – Matching the seams sewn in step 7, sew the rows together in the order decided on in step 1. Press all seams open.
Step 8 – Take the 5 1/2 x 36 1/2″ rectangle of background fabric and sew it above the stripes unit. Press seam open.
Step 9 – Take the 20 1/2 x 36 1/2″ background rectangle and sew it below the stripes unit. Press seam open.
You’re done! Another awesome, easy, modern baby quilt. If you’d like to make the Mountains variation on this quilt, check out the picture below.
This quilt is made by varying the place where you make the cuts in step 2. Instead of always measuring 12 1/2″, pick a few different places to make your cuts. From there it’s all the same. Can’t you imagine this in some beautiful earth tones?
This month in our hand pieced quilt we’ll be focusing on a classic: the churn dash block! It’s easy to sew, and just so beautiful. I’m actually going to offer you four options this month – two different 6″ blocks and two different versions of the 12″ block. I just couldn’t decide which I liked best!
I’ve made up what I call the small version and the large version of each block. For the large version it will be a single churn dash block in the appropriate size. For the small version of each block you will be making 4 individual smaller churn dashes and then piecing them together. Do whatever works best for you! It’s a quick block to piece, so if you’re running a little behind (or are making two quilts), then I would just make the “large” version.
Churn Dash Block
Download the templates for this block here. Make sure they have printed to scale – the largest squares should measure 4″ and the smallest should measure 1″ across. There are actually 3 shapes you’ll need to trace and cut: the half-square bar, the half-square triangle, and the square itself. Remember to cut the templates apart before tracing into the fabric. Once traced, the line becomes your sewing line – cut 1/4″ past the line all the way around. If using a directional print, make sure to allow for that when cutting.
For the large 12″ block cut:
1 – center square (set A)
4 – light half square triangles (set A)
4 – dark half square triangles (set A)
4 – light bars (set A)
4 – dark bars (set A)
For the small 12″ block cut:
4 – center squares – can be all one fabric or can be different (set B)
4 sets of 4 – light half square triangles (set B)
4 sets of 4- dark half square triangles (set B)
4 sets of 4 – light bars (set B)
4 sets of 4 – dark bars (set B)
For the large 6″ block cut:
1 – center square (set B)
4 – light half square triangles (set B)
4 – dark half square triangles (set B)
4 – light bars (set B)
4 – dark bars (set B)
For the small 6″ block cut:
4 – center squares – can be all one fabric or can be different (set C)
4 sets of 4 – light half square triangles (set C)
4 sets of 4- dark half square triangles (set C)
4 sets of 4 – light bars (set C)
4 sets of 4 – dark bars (set C)
Sewing the Churn Dash Block
Step 1 – Sew all of the half square triangle units together: match at the points, pin, and sew. Press towards the darker fabric always.
Step 2 – Sew the bars together: match the long edges, pin, and sew. Press towards the darker fabric always. If using a directional print, peek at a picture of the finished block, below, and make sure that you’ve got all of the prints falling in the appropriate direction.
Step 3 – Lay out the block in rows, as shown, and piece. Do not press.
Step 4 - Piece all the rows together. If you are making either the large 12 or 6″ block, press once completed – you’re done! If you’re making the smaller version of either of the blocks, repeat to complete all 4 blocks, and don’t press yet.
Step 5 – Play with the arrangement of the four blocks until you are pleased. Piece together the top two blocks and then the bottom two blocks to form two rows.
Step 6 – Piece the rows together. Press.
Now, I’m sure you’ve noticed that my block isn’t actually done yet. Due to some poor planning on my part I’ve run out of time. If you’d like to see the finished block make sure to check either our facebook or instagram page in the next week – I’ll get a picture up as soon as it’s done!
***Please note that next month’s tutorial will be a week late due to Quilt Market – it should post on the 4th Friday in May – just in time for some Memorial Day sewing!
Edited 4/22/15 9:48: Our lucky winner is Maryanne, whom I’ll be contacting shortly. Thank you to everyone for your class suggestions – I hope to implement them all in the coming months. Please bear with me, though, if you don’t see everything come up in the summer – I hope to have even more in the fall!
Right now I have approximately 8 hand-sewing projects going on. Why am I telling you this? Because I wanted you to know the amount of stuff that I try to keep organized in my “sewing area” of my living room for all of my projects (AKA piles in a corner). My biggest issue is that I have a favorite pair of scissors, a favorite thimble, a favorite needle brand, and a favorite set of pins – just for hand sewing. And it can get kind of tiring trying to track down all of those things to make sure I always have them when I went hand sew. This is where the Sew Together Bag pattern comes in.
The Sew Together Bag has pockets and pockets and pockets – my dream come true! The main bag has one zipper, but then within that are 3 more zippered pockets, along with 4 compartments. Ahhhh… heaven! The Sew Together Bag is perfect for all of your sewing notions, whether it be for hand sewing or for taking all of your notions to a sewing class here at Quilting Adventures! It could also be used to carry more than one hand sewing project at once, if you are indecisive, like I am. The Sew Together Bag is also perfect for road trips or summer vacations at the beach. You can get everything in there and it will all zip-up to help prevent spills in your suitcase or the sand (ick!).
The outside of the Sew Together Bag can either be made with one fabric or it can be pieced, and you can choose to quilt it or not, based on your preference. This time I decided to make mine out of this gorgeous print from Kate Spain’s newest line, Paradiso. I layered it with polyester batting and quilted it with organic straight lines about 1/2″ apart. For the interior I used this awesome triangle-ish print, also from Paradiso. The interior of the pockets were the pink stars from Chirpy Lola, and the binding was the navy calico from Sunday Morning by Dear Stella. Now, one thing that’s really important is that the interfacing amount called for by the pattern is not quite enough! I used Pellon Shape Flex, and I ended up needing 7/8 yard. If you’re not quilting the outside, just interfacing it, you’d need 1 1/8 yards. You need two different sizes of zippers for this project – an 18″ (or longer) zipper and three 9″ (or longer) zippers. We’ve special ordered 18″ zippers in just for this project, so you don’t have to run to a chain store to get all of your supplies! I also used our regular 14″ zipper in lieu of the 9″ zippers for the interior with much success. For this project I used three shades of blue zippers – Aquatennial, Turquoise Splash, and Navy along with my white outer zipper. I love the subtle ombre look!
I’ve actually made one of these before, and I must say, the second time was easier. This is not a good last-minute project, but it’s definitely worth the few extra minutes it takes to do it right. The last time I made a Sew Together Bag I ended up piecing the outside (and featuring some hand embroidery), and using all sorts of different colors on the insides of the pockets. I also used two different colors of binding. I can’t wait to make one I can actually use – the first one was a gift and the second one will be hanging out in the shop for you to see!
Want to win a copy of the Sew Together Bag pattern? Leave a comment below telling me what class you’d like to see offered at Quilting Adventures (if you’re not local, tell me your favorite class you’ve ever taken), and we’ll pick one lucky winner using random.org. The deadline for comments is 8AM EDT on Wednesday, April 22.
Many of you have heard the phrase ‘sew with a scant 1/4″ seam’ used before, but how many of you know where to find a scant 1/4″ on your machine for sewing? Whether your new to quilting, or just need to refresh your techniques, sewing a scant 1/4″ seam is one of the most mythic, elusive, and easiest things to fix in quilting.
What is a scant 1/4″ seam allowance you ask? Well, it’s exactly as its sounds – a seam allowance that is just slightly smaller than a 1/4″. Why do you want it to be smaller than 1/4″? The reason you want to be sewing a scant 1/4″ seam allowance is because both your fabric and your thread in the seam take up small amounts of space. I’m talking less than millimeters, however when it comes time to make a 12″ block, those millimeters can all add up! You want to allow room for the thread and the fabric to take up space once the block is pressed.
The inability to sew a scant 1/4″ seam allowance becomes an issue the more complex your blocks are, such as with the whale quilt above. As you advance from beginner-level to advanced techniques, this will be one of the biggest make-or-breaks. So, how do you know if you’re not sewing a scant 1/4″ seam allowance? Well, first of all, measuring the actual seam allowance won’t work because you still won’t be accounting for the pressing and the thread, so the best thing is actually to be looking at your finished blocks. If you find that your blocks are consistently smaller than they’re supposed to be (or bigger!), or your pieces are not all lining up, then there’s a chance that your seam allowance is off. So here’s how to determine a scant 1/4″ seam allowance on your sewing machine:
Sewing a Scant 1/4″ Seam
Step 1 – Cut four 2 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ scraps. Sew them all together along the long edge. Pay attention to where you aligning the edge of the fabric as you’re sewing – the edge of the presser foot? The 1/4″ mark on the plate?.
Step 2 – Press the seams either open or to the side.
Step 3 – Measure the block. Is it 8 1/2″ square?
- Check the pressing. This is actually the number one problem I find among my students. Sometimes when you are pressing the seams, especially to one side, a little bit of fabric gets tucked over by accident.
- Block too large? If the block is too large, then you are not sewing a large enough seam allowance.
- Block too small? If the block is too small, then you are sewing to large of a seam allowance.
How to Fix
You have two options here:
Option 1 – Cut more scraps to the measurement above and sew again. Slightly, and only slightly, adjust your seam allowance, paying very close attention to where the edge of the fabric is falling in relation to your sewing machine foot or sewing machine plate. Press and measure again. If the block is still off, cut and sew more strips, adjusting the seam allowance a bit more. If it is an 8 1/2″ square, then your adjustment was correct! Make mental note of it and sew on!
Option 2 – Purchase one of the Perfect Piecing Seam Guides from Perkins Dry Goods along with some Sewing Edge re-positionable sewing machine markers. The Perfect Piecing Seam Guide is a ruler with a hole in it – align the ruler under your sewing machine foot and turn the fly wheel on your machine towards you (always towards you!) until the needle is in the hole with the smaller side to the right. Lower your presser foot on top of the ruler. This ruler will show you where a scant 1/4″ seam is – is it where you have been sewing? If not, take one of the Sewing Edge strips and align it against the edge of the ruler. The raised edge of the strip will help “train” you until you get used to the new measurement!
Hopefully from here on out you will be sewing a perfect seam!
This month I’m excited to bring you our free spring embroidery design sheet! All the designs focus on springtime and would work wonderfully with the last two month’s freebies. I didn’t have a chance to stitch any of these yet, but I can’t wait to do so – especially the big one! Even though the large spring design just has lazy daisy stitches, I’d like to go back through and add some buttons and some french knots and some cross stitches and some other flowers to make it like a bed full of flowers. If you need further inspiration, make sure to check out our Pinterest page, especially the It’s All the Details board, which focuses on handwork inspiration.
Please, please, please make sure to show off your embroidery – whether it’s from this free spring embroidery design sheet or another design sheet we’ve done or something else you’re working on – post it on social media with #quiltrva so we can check it out!