My mum and dad have moved house recently so I decided I would make a quilt for them as a ‘WELCOME TO YOUR NEW HOME’ present. I wanted a colour scheme that would look as good in their living room (if they fancied throwing it over the sofa) as in their bedroom. As it was for both of them I also didn’t want it to look like I had chosen the fabric more with mum in mind… (so many fabric collections/story’s are designed for ladies) It needed to be a choice of colours and style for a lady and gent alike…. I think I found the perfect combination!
So… this is how I went about the project…
MODA Jelly Roll and Charm Pack called THE FRENCH GENERAL, there are several designs based on the same colour way.
May I tell you a little bit about “THE BAKE SHOP”… fabric’s that MODA put together so well in pre-cut fabric collections/story’s…
Most of the “BAKE SHOP” items are pieces within a “FABRIC STORY” depending on the story you will get many different designs, occasionally you may find one fabric maybe repeated, but not very often!
The small square bundles (left) are called CHARM PACKS, each pack contains 42 pieces. Each piece measures 5″ x 5″ selection of fabrics from a fabric range.
The large bundle (centre) is called a LAYER CAKE and each measures 10″ x 10″, again a selection of 42 fabrics from a fabric range.
The roll (top right) is called a JELLY ROLL and each roll measures 2.5″ x 45″, selection of 40 fabrics from a fabric range.
The two very little chubby bundles (bottom right) are called PETIT FOURS or MINI CHARM PACKS from the MODA CANDY range, each bite sized piece measures 2.5″ x 2.5″ and you get 42 in a bundle.
There are also other fabric pre-cut’s that MODA offer… I don’t have any of these to show you, but they are super yummy and are as follows:-
FAT QUARTER BUNDLE:- Contains one of each prints in a fabric collection/story, normally 40/42, each measuring 18″ x 22″ (American Fat 1/4, often British fat 1/4’s are measured in cm and are 50cm x 55cm)
FAT EIGHTS BUNDLE:- Contains one of each print in a fabric collection/story, normally 40/42, each measuring 9″ x 18″
DESSERT ROLL:- Contains 20 strips from a fabric collection/story each measuring 5″ x 45″
HONEY BUN:- Contain 40 strips from a fabric collection/story each measuring 1.5″ x 45″
HONEY COMBE:- Contains 40 hexagons from a fabric collection/story which are 6″
TURNOVERS:- Contain 80 (two of each print) triangles from a fabric collection/story which are 6″
SCRAP BAGS:- Contains 8-10 onces of scarps from a particular fabric collection/story. Approx 24-32 strips, each measuring 36″ long assorted widths.
If you want anymore information about “THE BAKE SHOP” by MODA, please visit http://www.modabakeshop.com click on bakery and it will show you all the different goodies that are available. The site in general is lovely, lots to read about, beautiful photos and idea’s.
The first thing I did was collect my quilting tools together, large “self healing” cutting mat, pins, marker pen, rulers, rotary cutter and scissors.
Now for my fabric! As mentioned this fabric is called THE FRENCH GENERAL and I bought a CHARM PACK and JELLY ROLL. I also delved into my fabric stash for other fabric that went so well with these colours, so the quilt is not totally FRENCH GENERAL, but mostly!
I decided as the fabric was so beautifully pre-cut by MODA that a simple SQUARE in a SQUARE was the design I would go for. It is really super easy design for pre-cuts.
First of all I put a square from the CHARM PACK with a strip from the JELLY ROLL together side-by-side to make sure I was happy with the contrast.
I had my sewing machine* set up on the kitchen table, put up the ironing board up too, with iron switched on…. Off I went!
* Have a look through your sewing machine accessories/feet to see if you have a 1/4 inch seem foot, if you don’t BUY ONE… trust me it’s one of the best accessory/foot you can have if you are going to piece a quilt.
From the selected JELLY ROLL strip cut two pieces 5″ (1) sew the two 5″ strips onto the selected CHARM PACK square (2) press* and then trim (3)
* Pressing… there are two ways to press pieces in a quilt. There is the “open” seam (which is used often in dress making) and the “to one side” which you will find most patchwork and quilters use. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
OPEN:- I like this method as it keeps the fabric very flat, no bulky corners especially if you are doing triangles, diamonds or Mariners Compass. Not so good if you are going to “STITCH in the DITCH” when you come to quilt as the sewn stitches may damage the stitch seams. However if you are going to “random” or “free style” quilt then the seams will be just fine!
TO ONE SIDE:- Most quilters use this method, however I find it a bit bulky especially when doing triangles, and so on…. The only time I would use this method is if I intend to “STITCH in the DITCH”. However it is perfect for any other method of quilting too!
Try both and see which you prefer.
The next stage is to make up the square into a square. Cut two 10″ strips from the JELLY ROLL in the same pattern (1) stitch onto the previous made up piece, press and trim (2)
Make up all SQUARE in SQUARE until you are happy with the number. I made 72 blocks (squares) to create a 9 x 8 finished design.
The next stage takes a bit of time! Remember once this stage is finished you don’t want to mess-up the sequence if you wish to achieve a “random mix” to your final quilt design. I find numbering the squares a great help, especially good if you don’t think you can get this bit done in one go… it may take a few goes to stitch together. Lets be realistic here, you may need to break off to make tea, put the washing out on the line, collect the children from school, or even realise it’s bed time!
I spread ALL the blocks out on a freshly washed kitchen floor, stood back to see how they looked, rearranged, rearranged again, swapped about, got my husband in to see if there was anything I had missed, like two blocks together looking too similar.
Once I was happy (well reasonably, you could go on-and-on, and on with the arrangement) put the blocks into piles with the numbered one on the top. Then stitch the blocks together in “block-strips. Then give each “block-strip” a good press. Spread out again on the floor, then stitch the “block-strips” together. You will find why is it useful to have numbered them at this stage, especially if it was a few days previous to when you made them up… Give the whole piece a jolly good press.
Now you need to decide on boarders. When I looked at the blocks all pieced together I thought it needed a strong colour to go completely around the finished blocks. I also thought it was important to keep the scale correct so cut my inner (narrow) boarder to the same width as the JELLY ROLL.
You may need to join the boarders together as most craft fabric is a standard measurement of 44/45″ wide (112/115cm) unless you have a huge long length and you are able to cut from the length. Also you may wish to choose a fabric that has a random design, avoid a directional fabric as you may find you come across a problem with matching the design around the quilt.
For the best results when adding boarders, pin and tack onto the pieced blocks starting from the centre and working out towards the edges. This gives an even and unpuckered seam and avoids realising you have run out of length! Give the seams a good press.
Second boarder, I wanted a lighter wider boarder
Again, prepare your fabric by joining where needed, pin, tack and stitch using the same method as the narrow boarder.
Choose your backing* and your wadding*
*BACKING:- You will find that your fabric shop will have mostly standard craft fabric width of 44/45″ (some times the information on the salvage edges of fabric can take off approx 1″ from the width leaving 44″ of design) They may have extra wide fabric in excess of 100″ which is great! I am quite particular about the backing… I don’t say “Oh, it’s only the back so it won’t show” I would rather get the right fabric for the project and join narrow fabric together (naturally sympathetically) than put a wide “ordinary” fabric on the back. Carefully measure your backing to make sure you have allowed a bit extra to trim away, I would add 3″ or 4″ the whole way round.
*WADDING (or as the American’s say batting). There are all sorts of waddings out there in the market place. I am not at all keen on the man made ones as I find them far too springy, too narrow (not nice to join) and they are polyester… say no more! I would not like to sleep under polyester, and I don’t like working with it much either. There are some exceptions I guess for some, not me. Polyester is sooOOOOooo much cheaper, than natural blends. My all time favourite is WARM and NATURAL or WARM and WHITE which comes in two widths 90″ and 120″. Often the width can be used for the length of your quilt, 120″ is BIG! These waddings are mostly cotton, a tiny % of polyester which is a very fine mesh in the centre which the cotton is “punched” onto to keep it nice and strong within a quilt. There are other blends of wadding from cotton, wool, silk and bamboo! Love the natural ones…
My quilt was quilted on a big fancy long arm quilting machine, I chose a random trailing flower and trailing foliage design which went right over the blocks and both borders right up to the very edge.
I trimmed off all the loose threads, went over the whole quilt with a fine tooth comb, picking stray tails of thread of here and there. The very last stage is the bindings. There are various ideas I can offer here. Same fabric as the backing, or one of the boarders or one of the fabric choices you have used in the blocks… or my all time favourite is to use up all the scraps. It takes time to make the bindings this way, but I think it adds charm to the quilt, and I love using up the bits not having to buy any extra fabric. I gathered together all the bits.
Sorted them into four heaps (one for each side of the quilt) so I had a little of every thing to even out and give a nice random look to the boarders. Stitched them all together. Kept to the JELLY ROLL width which is quite easy as most was already cut! Once together, give them a good press, then fold in half length ways and press again with a steam setting to form a clean straight edge.
Pin, tack and sew raw edge of the binding onto the front of the quilt. REMEMBER to pin, tack from the centre to avoid puckers and stretching. Fold pressed edge from front to back over raw quilt edge, pin and slip stitch using weeny stitches.