Picture of Cathedral Windows Quilt Squares
I am a total fabric junky (some would say hoarder), and I particularly LOVE to collect little bits of bright cotton. There tends to be a bit of a problem trying to justify having SO much tiny little bits of fabric, and cathedral window squares give me a great excuse!!!

Cathedral windows is a stunning pattern, that really looks great with all sorts of a variety of scraps. It is done entirely by hand, so it does take a certain amount of patience, but it's worth it! Personally, I find hand sewing to be very relaxing, so I'll work on it a bit here and there, when I need a break from other projects.
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Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies
Here are the materials you will need:
  • Solid cotton material (which will vary depending on the size and scope of your project... keep in mind that a 7" square of this fabric will amount to about 3" of quilt)
  • A variety of 2" squares
  • Ruler
  • Fabric shears
  • Hand sewing thread
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Pins
  • Iron

Step 2: Cut your Squares

Picture of Cut your Squares

This part is super easy.

With your solid fabric, (in my case, muslin) cut a square that is 7". How many squares you cut is entirely up to you and the size project you are working on. I tend to cut a handful at a time, since it'd all come from the same bolt of muslin anyway, and since I'm not entirely sure what these blocks will turn into eventually.

Also cut 2" squares of your bright prints, in a variety. Use scraps from other projects and mix it up a bit! Or better yet, this would look lovely as a memory quilt, using old cut up clothing!

Step 3: Press Over Edges

Picture of Press Over Edges

With each 7" square, you need to turn over each edge 1/4" and press neatly. Do your best to make it an even 1/4", since this step could effect the final size of each square.

Hi ,,, love this technique ,,, I thought that you could machine sew your pièces together just before you bring your corners in to be cross stitched ,,,, it wouldnt show up as machine done as only the stitched fold over the print piece shows as hand work and it would leave you more time for this ,,,, I have tried it and it works ,, of course for tose who prefer to say its all hand done its not an option ,, I have several types of patchwork on 'the go' and its never about finishing them ,,

dapperson3 years ago
I was fortunate enough to learn how to do Cathedral Window quilting from a group of women who had been doing it for decades. The way I do it uses a sewing machine for the frame part of the project, but the rest is about the same. I love the way these look when they're done and have made them in all sorts of combinations of fabric. Here's the way I wrote up instructions when I worked for a web site in 2001 -
abbyholverson (author)  dapperson3 years ago
That's a great tutorial, too! I've done few squares by machine, just as you did. I just like the slow pace of the hand work. (my quilt may take 20 years at this rate)

I love the buttons you put on the back... May have to use that idea!

My first quilt was a cathedral window, and it DID take20 years! Now I've losy my mind and considering another one. I like the finished-as-you-go nature of it.

One comment about the buttons is consider the weight of the quilt when it is done with all the buttons. The one in the tutorial is a wall hanging, so it's not a huge issue. I'm working on a hexagon quilt now which will take 20 years, 100% by hand, so I dig what you're saying about the slow pace. I call it my mental health quilt :)
maxikyd2 months ago

Thank you, you answered my question about one step in the process. I wasn't sure if I needed to tack down the "pocket" after my color was set in. I tried it on a couple of the "windows", and it was pretty, but it didn't look quite right. I've been searching the net to get the answer, and you're the only one that actually specified. When finished, mine is white muslin with a rainbow of colors in a horizontal striped pattern of four, kind of like a rainbow of flowers. thanks again. I'll post pics if i ever finish. :-)

crank_girl5 months ago
Wowser - that's great!
donnamoore1 year ago

I am working on a cathedral quilt my mom, 85, started and my stitches seem uneven. Do you have any advice? Thanks

crazymama632 years ago
very pretty,pretty new to quilting but this look is awesome!
mbalch44463 years ago
These are nice to do because you can bring it with you. I'd rather stitch than view. Mine is kingsize - probably won't do any more, but it is definitely an heirloom piece.
abbyholverson (author)  mbalch44463 years ago
I love how portable this is... And it's such a good exercise in hand stitching. Kudos to you for finishing a king size! Mine would be about big enough for a throw pillow, maybe someday I'll get a full king size out of it!
dirtybirdie3 years ago
This is awesome! I'm just starting mine. I swear, it took me forever to make one square...phew! Time for a nap! Great instructable, thanks!
This is a great tutorial!! Thanks for sharing ;)
piccolo19793 years ago
I LOVE IT! I've never made a quilt before, but after reading this instructable I am very inspired to start! Absolutely beautiful!! :)
Grl4sportz3 years ago
I've had pieces cut out for quite a while and the pattern sitting there. Thanks for the great tutorial, now I've got the inspiration to start.
abbyholverson (author)  Grl4sportz3 years ago
Oh yay! That makes me happy. I just have a bag full of all the pieces and just work on it in little bits when I feel like it. It's a nice project for just sitting on the couch and watching tv. I can't not have my hands busy!
ohh neat I saw some wonderful cathedrial quilt aprons this weekend when we were out looking at the wildflowers and i wanted to make one so bad. My friend gave me a pamplet from the 80's but this instructables makes it clearer and color pictures are a help. Thanks so much.
Yes, yes, yes! I always wondered how these were made! You're awesome!
aidenpants3 years ago
WOW! This is incredible! I salute your creativity and your patience!
scoochmaroo3 years ago
Simply stunning!