Introduction: Amazing Reversible Quilt
Runner Up in the
Remix Contest 2016
I saw an incredible reversible quilt on pinterest. There were no directions given so that just fueled my desire to make one. It took a few tries to work the kinks out but this technique is not all that difficult to do. With that said, maybe not easy enough for a first project.
If you want to see the original inspiration, you can find it at: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/4c/c3/96/4cc396d17f39fe3402797c522e1ed8d6.jpg
I worked by hand but you could easily use a sewing machine.
I use quilts to stay busy when I am stuck waiting--to pick up kids from school, doctor's offices, watching sleeping hospital patients. This quilt in particular is a good 'take with me' kind of project. The pieces stay relatively small (fit easily in a Ziploc bag) right up until the end. Except for cutting the fabric and ironing, the I worked this entire project away from home.
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
Couple of pins
Sheet of paper
Fabric: I am using scraps from other quilts. You can use old clothes or buy new fabric. If you use new fabric, pre-wash and dry it. You do not want it to shrink when you wash the finished quilt. If one fabric shrinks more than another, it can tear the quilt.
Batting: Batting is the fluffy layer in the middle of the quilt sandwich. It comes in lots of different thicknesses and materials (cotton, polyester, wool)--they all work. I have a lot of scraps from other projects and this is an opportunity to use up some of them.
Backing: Traditionally the back of a quilt is muslin which is a plain, inexpensive cotton fabric. Since this is a reversible quilt, you may choose to use something else. I am going to use my scraps of muslin and a few other solid scraps--I like the color contrast.
Needles: If you are taking this with you, bring at least 2 needles. Sometimes one breaks--don't know why, just does. Choose one with a sharp point that is thin enough to slide through the fabric without too much effort.
Pins: It is always nice to have one when you need it.
Thread: I use quilt thread. It is significantly thicker (stronger) than all purpose thread. If you are using all purpose thread, I recommend doubling your thread. Mine is a scrap quilt so the color is not important.
Scissors: Even after the squares are cut, you will need scissors to trim them down to circles. They should be sharp. To keep your sewing scissors sharp, resist the urge to use them on paper. Paper destroys their ability to cut fabric.
Paper: This will be used to create the circle pattern that will give the beautiful design on the reverse side of the quilt.
Step 2: Decide on a Size
I did not decide on the size of the final quilt--I have a lot of scraps. I could make this as big as the house if I wanted to. At this point, you need to decide what size you want each block to be.
I chose 3 1/2 inch squares because I already had a lot of them cut out. Since you have to accommodate a quarter inch seam allowance, these finish as a 3 inch square. This technique works for any size square. The bigger the square, the fewer you will need. I am making a lap size quilt so I am planning on using at least 8 rows of 8 blocks. It may grow as big as 10 by 10 before I am done. Another nice part of this project--you can change you mind along the way.
Each block will require 4 squares. The size of the finished block will be a square that measures approximately the length of the diagonal of your starting piece.
My squares finish as 3 inch squares and from geometry class we know that the diagonal of this square is (3^2 + 3^2 = 9+9 = 18) the square root of 18--and you thought your math teacher was nuts saying you needed to learn the Pythagorean theorem. My diagonal is just a bit more than 4 inches. I will use that number later when I cut my backing and batting.
Cut an appropriate number of pieces. Like I said, mine were already cut and I just grabbed a bunch and put them in my bag--I did not count them. I had more at home if I needed them. I figured on 8 by 8 which is 64 blocks. At 4 squares per block, I need at least 256 squares. Sounds like a lot but it really isn't. When you start sewing, it goes pretty quickly.
Step 3: Sew the 2 by 2 Blocks
Sew 2 squares together. Line them up with their right sides together. Sew a quarter inch away from the edge of one side.
'Right side' is a sewing term. It refers to the outside our the fabric when made into clothing. The back is called the wrong side. Look at the inside of the clothes you are wearing. If there is a right and wrong side, you will see a difference. Some fabrics are the same on both sides.
You can draw a pencil line on the fabric a quarter of an inch from the edge. The pencil will not show in the finished quilt. I have quilted for so many years that I no longer draw the line.
Once you have the fabric in pairs, you need to sew 2 pairs together to finish the block. Open up each pair. Lay 2 pairs together with their right sides together. Put a pin in to hold the middle together. You want the seams to line up as perfectly as possible. Sew that same quarter inch seam.
Make as many blocks as you think you need. You can always make more later if you change your mind.
Step 4: Making Circles Out of the Square Blocks
If you have access to an iron, press each block. I didn't have one right then and still needed something to do for the next few hours so I ironed later at home.
This is where the paper comes in to play. Cut a square that is the same size as your blocks. Mine were 6 1/2 inch squares. Fold the paper square in half and in half again. Round the outside corners until you have as close to a circle as you can manage. Of course if you have a compass with you and it is big enough--you can make a circle that way too. I just didn't have one with me and it would have been too small anyway.
Use your circle to mark cutting lines on each block. Once the line is drawn, cut carefully and discard the corner scraps. Be very careful not to stretch the curved edge.
Turn the edge of the circle a quarter inch to the back of the circular block and baste. I like to keep both the knot and the tail of my thread on the right side of my work so it is easier to remove them later. There will be little puckers in the edge on the wrong side. This is ok. Concentrate on keeping the folded edge smooth. This edge will show on the final quilt. Do this to all your middle blocks.
The outer row of blocks all the way around the quilt will be treated a little differently. (Step 6)
Step 5: The Middle Blocks
Draw a pencil line across one of the circles. This pencil line should connect 2 adjacent seams. See the picture--it shows what is hard to explain.
Place 2 circles right sides together and line up the seams. Stick a pin in to make sure that the seams stay lined up. I don't use pins often but this is one time they are helpful.
Stitch across the pencil line. I usually start the seam by tucking my knot inside the basted hem on the circle. I make 2 tiny whip stitches to make sure it is a sturdy connection. I end the seam with a few whip stitches too.
Continue drawing a pencil line and sewing pieces together until you use all the blocks. When sewing strips together, I do stop and make a few whip stitches every time I move from one circle block to the next. I want the corners to be well anchored together.
My quilt is now 6 by 6 blocks.
Now you need to cut some backing fabric. I decided to use several different light, solid colors. Cut squares of both batting and backing. This is where the measurement of the original square's diagonal comes in. Mine was the square root of 18 or just over 4 inches. I cut my squares of backing fabric to 4 1/2 inches--too much is better than not enough. I used my paper circle as a pattern. Just fold in the sides to make a square.
My batting is a little closer to 4 inches. Cut one or 2 and test fit them before cutting too many. The batting should fit nicely into the squares on the back of the quilt--between the curved flaps. Next goes the backing square. I turn the corner of the backing square under just a bit at the corners and pin each corner. This ensures that no raw edge of fabric is exposed on the finished quilt.
The curved flaps go over top of the backing fabric. These flaps get quilted in place. The 'quilting' is a running stitch that goes through all the layers of the quilt. I used a white button hole thread and followed the edge of the curve about a mms or 2 from the edge. After the quilting is done, the basting thread can be removed.
This was when the quilt starts to look like it will when it is finished.
Step 6: Side Edge Pieces
The batting and backing is cut and sewn a little differently here.
Baste a quarter inch hem around 3 sections of each circle. Save 4 circles for the corners--see next step.
Take your circle of paper where you have folded the curves in to make it a square. Open up one side and this is the shape to cut. Cut the batting just a little smaller all the way around.
Sandwich together a circle block, a backing piece, and a piece of batting. Sew along the curved edge and flip it inside out. This will be the outside edge of the finished quilt.
Sew these into a strip long enough to span one side of the quilt--in my case 6 blocks. You will sew straight across the piece between 2 consecutive seams like before. This leaves the curved flaps on the back like before. This strip gets sewn to the main part of the quilt along the remaining curved edge of each piece. Quilt down the curves on the back side as before.
Repeat with another strip along the opposite edge of the quilt.
Step 7: Corner Pieces
You need 4 corner pieces so you can finish the last 2 edges of the quilt.
Open your paper pattern so that 2 adjacent curved edges are out. This is your new pattern. Cut 4 backing pieces and 4 batting pieces just a little smaller all the way around. Sandwich the block, backing, and batting as before and sew a quarter inch seam along the curved edge. Flip it right side out.
Sew 2 more strips of blocks with one of these corner pieces on each end. Sew the strips to the quilt and finish the curved flaps on the back of the quilt.
I finished the final quilt with a line of quilting all the way around the finished edge--a quarter inch from the outside edge.
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