Monday, March 21

Making a Patchwork Quilt

I have been sewing for years, various crafts, curtains, pillows, kids clothes and Halloween Costumes. I have even made small baby quilts but never a full size quilt.

Recently I did a Camper Remodel and wanted to use the leftover fabrics from reupholstering the cushions and sewing new curtains in the camper to make a camper quilt.

One of the easiest quilts to make and one of my favorites is a patchwork style quilt.
Patchwork is simply sewing pieces of fabric together to form a pattern or blocks that when all together form a quilt top. When the quilt top is finished, it's then quilted, meaning the top, the batting and the back cover are sewn together.
When deciding on what pattern or style of quilt to make as my first, I took a look at my quilt collection. Of all the quilts I have, patchwork is my favorite it seems and the one I have the most of. I gravitate towards it every time I find quilts for sale. It's the style of quilt I am currently using as a blanket on my bed.

Fabrics I used in a camper remodel were used for a patchwork quilt

Many generations ago, the first quilt project for young girls to learn was the Patchwork quilt.
Originally this style quilt was made to make full use of left over scraps of fabric or worn out clothing. 

"In the 100 years between 1750 and 1850 thousands of quilts were pieced and patched, and many of them are preserved. Many of these quilts were so elaborate that years were spent making and quilting them. It is no wonder they are cherished as precious heirlooms and occupy honored places in homes and museums. Those early quilts provide a glimpse into the history of quilting as well as the history of the United States."  ~ The History of Quilts

You can sew patchwork pieces by hand or by machine. I chose to sew mine by machine.

Make sure to get enough fabric for the quilt back and pick up batting

Chose fabrics with colors you love or go with the theme of the room the quilt will be used in.
The fun of patchwork is you can also recycle old clothes, use odds and ends of leftover fabric from another project or use pre-cut fat quarters.
Cotton is a great fabric to use because it washes and wears well, but any fabrics are usable in a patchwork quilt!
My husband wanted bright colors used in the remodeling of our camper so I used all the left over fabric from that project.

The first step is to decide on the size of the quilt you want to make and start collecting the fabric and supplies. I made my first patchwork quilt a 60 inch x 90 inch.

A huge quilting time savor:  Cutting mat, straight ruler and rotary cutter!

For supplies, the best thing I have purchased for quilt making is a cutting mat, a straight edge ruler and a rotary cutter.
I started out measuring and cutting each square by hand and gosh does that take time!
I happen to run into a woman (an angel really) in the fabric store who gave me the tip on the mat and cutter. What a time saver!

When cutting squares make sure to add extra for 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Next cut out the size squares you want. I chose 6-inch squares.
Remember that you need a quarter-inch seam around each side of the squares, so to finish with a 6 inch square, you will need to cut out 6 ½ inches square.

Layout squares in the desired quilt pattern then stack in order of sewing

After cutting, I first laid out the rows to form the quilt, then stacked them by rows in the order of sewing.  I sewed each stack of squares together in a row to reach the width I wanted. 6 inch squares times 10 squares makes the quilt 60 inches wide. 
I then sewed the rows together to get the length.
It is very important to make sure all the seams are lined up when sewing the rows together.

Sew each row to desired width of quilt.  Then sew rows together

Remember to press the seams as you go. Ironing the seams will help the quilt lay flat when sewing it all together.  I have read various ways to press seams.  For my first I pressed them open.  I have since read a logical reason (logic is what I need) to press them to the side instead:  Pressing each seam to the side protects the seams and makes them stronger.  So that is what I will do on all future quilts. 

All future quilts will have the seams pressed to the side

For finishing, you need to sew together the quilt top, the middle batting (what makes it warm) and the backing and then add a binding around the edges.  On my quilt I also decided to add a 3-inch border.
The finishing work can be done by hand or machine.

Finished quilt with Pumpkin Seed stitch and 3-inch border

Front and back of quilt. Click on the Camper Remodel link to see where these fabrics were used!

I decided to have a friend who has a large quilting machine sew my quilt together.
For the top stitch, I chose the “Pumpkin Stitch”, which is a series of overlapping circles that form what looks like pumpkin seeds! Pumpkins and fall are two of my favorite things.

Pumpkin Seed top stitching is circles that overlap to form the design

I am very pleased with my finished quilt and we think it looks great in our little camper.

The quilt in our little camper
I have since made a twin quilt for my granddaughter using the Disappearing Nice Block and am nearly done with a quilt for my son using the Rail Fence Pattern.
This is addicting!


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Anonymous said...

Heidi Britton

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...


Mari said...

I love your quilt. My favorite fabrics are the one with black background and the one with brown background. And the back side is fantastic too. Very uplifting :) Keep up the good work.

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Thanks so much Mari. Patchwork is my favorite and I had fun making this one.