Introduction: Cathedral Windows Quilt Squares

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.

Step 1: Supplies

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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

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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.

Step 4: Stitch It in Half

Picture of Stitch It in Half

Now, you are going to want to fold your square in half, with the ironed down edges facing out.

Stitch up the short sides, with just a whip stitch over the sides. Do your best to keep these even and neat!

When you get both short sides stitched, turn your piece right-side out.

Step 5: Stitch the Center

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Now, bring both seams of your rectangle together, line up the edges, and whip stitch across the top edge. Once again... keep it neat!

When you have finished this seam, flatten your piece into a square, with your seams forming an X in the center of the square. Press it flat.

Step 6: Fold Up & Stitch Corners

Picture of Fold Up & Stitch Corners

Now, fold each corner in to the center, forming a smaller square. You'll want to cover the seams that X across the squares with these corners. Fold and press each corner down, doing your best to do it as evenly as possible.

Once you have your corners pressed down, stitch the just the tip of each corner in place. You'll want to go through all layers of fabric here, and make sure each corner is very firmly attached, since there will be a bit of pull on these stitches in a future step.

Step 7: Stitch Your Squares Together!

Picture of Stitch Your Squares Together!

Once you have a few of these squares made, you need to start stitching them together.

To do this, place them with folded edges together, and whip stitch down one edge. Lay it flat and press.

I like to do only a few of these together at a time, because I have an easier time doing the next step if it's a smaller piece.

Step 8: And Now, Finally....

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The pretty part! Tired of looking at all of the boring beige? I know I am!

When you look at your joined together squares, you'll notice the diamond shape where the two pieces are seamed together. This is where you add your pretty bright fabric!

I usually trim the edges and corners of the 2" patterned squares just a little bit, to make it easier to fold into the edges. But that's just me, you don't necessarily have to do that.

Now, fold the folded edge of the diamond over the edge of the patterned fabric, hiding the cut edge. Hold it in place with just your finger or a pin, and stitch this edge down. You'll want to use as invisible of a stitch as you can! Don't go through all of the layers of your fabric, just the top few. There should be a pocket formed underneath the diamond.

Step 9: And Now, Go Crazy!

Picture of And Now, Go Crazy!

That is basically all you need to know!! You can just keep adding to get the size you want! Turn it into a full sized quilt, pillow case, purse, whatever you want!

Keep in mind that these blocks aren't usually quilted in the traditional add batting/backing fabric way, these stand alone as is.

Interested in other ways to use up little scraps? Check out my crazy quilt block instructable.

Happy sewing!!!


aunty80calmat (author)2017-07-27

Wont download

Are you clicking the green "download" button on the right? Or the "download" button at the top of this tutorial? If you click the green download button, it takes you to a commercial product to download their stuff. Just an FYI

liviaspargo (author)2017-08-24

Mssouri Star has a great tutrial on u tube

vanessa54321 (author)2017-01-27

not able to download!

vanessa54321 (author)2017-01-27

hi there

why can i not download this?

Nancys Nest (author)2016-11-24

Moda Muslim is a best quality fabric and will hold up over the years. Any brand, Moda, Kaufman, Timeless Treasures, etc. you get in a quilt shop will be the best for the pretty squares. It may cost a little more, but when you put this much time and effort in a Cathedral Window quilt you want something that will last longer than a few washes. Happy stitching.

leah.yamazaki (author)2015-04-15

I'd like to know what the thickness is of your muslin fabric... As I'd like to search for something just as light weight in a solid color....

And would I be looking for cotton or what for this large squares?

Tousey (author)leah.yamazaki2016-11-03

I am wondering which muslin would be best also. I made one a long time ago but wasn't knowledgeable about thread count, dye lots, etc

Tousey (author)2016-11-03

cathedral window quilt muslin

Stellatoni (author)2016-04-27

Looking forward to trying this.

Jollymolly51 (author)2016-04-18

I've wanted to make a Cathedral Window quilt for YEARS! Your instructions are so clear and well illustrated I am inspired to start. It's a project that will travel well, and I can work on it anywhere. Thanks for taking the time to post these instructions.

cemond (author)2016-02-27

Why can't I get this to download without going pro. When I say no thanks I can't download anything???

GrannieLaura (author)2016-02-12

I have been looking for these instructions for years my mother who is now deceased made one for me and my sister and I still have it and now I want to make one for my daughters.

Quilter gal (author)2016-02-05

This is a lovely clear tutorial, but I think i would lose the will to live if I did all this by hand. Lead me to the machine!

leah.yamazaki (author)2015-04-15

I have made this before using the muslin...I bought a whole bolt... But now I'd like to try a color fabric? Suggestions?

stephanie.l.murray.96 (author)2015-01-02

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 ,,

dapperson (author)2011-05-29

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)dapperson2011-05-29

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.

dapperson (author)abbyholverson2011-05-30

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 :)

maxikyd (author)2014-12-29

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_girl (author)2014-10-15

Wowser - that's great!

donnamoore (author)2014-03-18

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

crazymama63 (author)2012-10-26

very pretty,pretty new to quilting but this look is awesome!

mbalch4446 (author)2011-04-27

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)mbalch44462011-04-27

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!

dirtybirdie (author)2011-04-25

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!

LuzminasCorner (author)2011-04-22

This is a great tutorial!! Thanks for sharing ;)

piccolo1979 (author)2011-04-10

I LOVE IT! I've never made a quilt before, but after reading this instructable I am very inspired to start! Absolutely beautiful!! :)

Grl4sportz (author)2011-04-07

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)Grl4sportz2011-04-08

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!

DELETED_jorgegunn (author)2011-04-07

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.

jessyratfink (author)2011-04-07

Yes, yes, yes! I always wondered how these were made! You're awesome!

aidenpants (author)2011-04-07

WOW! This is incredible! I salute your creativity and your patience!

scoochmaroo (author)2011-04-07

Simply stunning!

About This Instructable




Bio: My name's Abby, and I make things. Lots of things. Sewing is my favorite activity, and any project that involves fabric is like a ... More »
More by abbyholverson:Quilt-As-You-Go QuiltChildren's Doodle QuiltCathedral Windows Quilt Squares
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