Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Collaborative Quilting, part II (or Tutorial Tuesday?)

When we last left off , I had purchased the fabrics for the quilt top. Now it was time to construct it! I was impressed by how quickly this quilt top came together (a few hours, including cutting out fabric). 

 [ schematic for pieces to cut out and the order in which to sew them ] 
Fabrics Needed
12 9" squares (a-i in the above image)
2 yards quilting cotton for first (yellow, #1-3 above) border
1.5 yards quilting cotton for outer (green, #4, 5 above ) border
1 yard flannel for center panel for backing
1.5 yard flannel for border fabric for backing
Batting measuring at least 50" x 60" (I love the Warm & Natural brand, which can be purchased at JoAnn's. Batting is not cheap- make sure to buy when it is on sale or when you have a 40 or 50% off coupon!)
1/2 yard quilting cotton for binding

Constructing the quilt top:

1.  From the yellow fabric: I cut nine 3 3/4" x 9" rectangles that correspond to #1 in the above picture. I first cut two 3 3/4" strips from my fabric and then sub-cut those into nine 9" rectangles. Next, I cut four 3 3/4" x 42 3/4" strips for #2, still from the yellow fabric. I then cut out two 3 3/4" x 38 3/4" yellow fabric strips for #3.

2.  I used a 3/8" seam allowance throughout, as I mentioned in my previous post. First, I laid out the embroidered squares in the desired order and then attached the #1 rectangles underneath the a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h and i blocks. I then stitched the 'a' block + rectangle to the 'd' block + rectangle, which was then stitched the 'g' block + rectangle and finally attached those to the 'j' block. This created one long column. I repeated this for the middle and right columns of blocks. [ I am sorry I do not have pictures for these steps; I had not started the blog when I constructed this quilt. ]

3.  I then attached the longer, #2 borders to each column, working from left to right. The #3 borders were subsequently attached to the top and bottom of the quilt top.

 [ quilt top after yellow border added. excuse crappy cell phone photo ]

4.  At this point, I went back to the cutting table (also known as our dining room table) and cut out four strips for the green, outer border. For #4, I cut two 5 3/4" x 48 3/4" strips from the lengthwise grain. I did this so I could get one continuous piece for each border, rather than having to piece together multiple strips (I hate unnecessary seam lines) if I cut from the crosswise grain, which was only 42" wide. I then cut another two 5 3/4" x 48 3/4" strips for the #5 borders, again from the lengthwise grain.

5.  The outer borders were attached, with the #4 borders added first and followed by the #5 borders. This gave a final quilt top measurement of 48 3/4" x 58 3/4".
[ finished 48 3/4" x 58 3/4" quilt top ]
Constructing the quilt back:
At this point, I went out and purchased my backing fabrics. I opted to go with flannel on the quilt back so that it would be nice and warm for Sarah's daughter. Because the quilt was wider than most flannels (JoAnn's does carry a very limited color selection of extended width flannels), I opted to feature one fabric in the center of the backing and then surround it with a flannel 'border'.

 [ center fabric for quilt backing ]

[ border fabric for quilt backing ]
1.  I squared up the 1 yard cut of the center fabric to 36" x 42" (I removed the selvage edge, which had print on it). I then constructed the backing as follows:
[ schematic of the quilt backing ]

2.  For the #2 borders, I cut two pieces of 7" x 42" from the green flannel fabric, again cutting from the lengthwise grain. I then cut two pieces of 9" x 50" from the green flannel fabric for the #3 border pieces.

3. Still using a 3/8" seam allowance, I attached the #2 border pieces to the left and right sides of the center backing piece. I then attached the #3 pieces to the top and bottom of the backing. This created a backing that was about 50" x 60", slightly bigger than my quilt top.

4. I then basted (this is a good tute for basting) the quilt with curved safety pins, to attach the quilt top to the batting and backing.
[ i used allllll the pins! ]

5.  One of the things I loved about this quilt kit was that the squares that Sarah embroidered had a lovely octagon pattern printed on them, just inside the embroidered blue corners. I selected a light blue thread to match the blue embroidery and stitched the twelve octagons. It created such a cute pattern on the back, though it was difficult to see with the fluffiness of the flannel. I also quilted 1/2" away from the yellow border (on the green border fabric) just to make sure things were secure.
 [ quilt backing after quilting the three layers ]
[ close up of the quilt front- you can see the blue octagon and the quilting on the green border ]

[ another view ]

6.  After everything was quilted, I removed the eleventy zillion safety pins, squared the quilt up (using this technique), and mentally prepared myself to add the binding.

7. For the binding, I used a cute blue fabric that matched the blue embroidery floss used and made a continuous crossgrain binding

[ binding fabric ]

I cut 2.5" wide binding strips. I calculated how many strips I needed based on the quilt top measurement (48 3/4" x 58 3/4") as follows: 48 3/4" + 48 3/4" + 58 3/4" + 58 3/4" + 12" (allows for avoiding seams at corners) =  227.03, I then divided that by 40 (conservative estimate of fabric width) = 5.6 and then rounded up to 6. This means that I cut 6 strips, 2.5" wide, cutting on the crosswise grain. I then trimmed off the selvage edges and joined the pieces as shown in the tutorial I linked to above.
[ binding laid out on the quilt top before it was trimmed ]

While I do not actually pin my binding to my quilt as I sew it on, I do lay it out around the quilt before I start sewing to make sure that seams in the binding do not end up close to the corners (bulky seams + extra fabric to miter corners = yucky to sew over).

For this quilt, I attached the binding first to the quilt top as shown in the image above. I then wrapped the binding around to the back of the quilt, added a zillion straight pins to keep it in place and carefully stitched the ditch between the binding and the green border fabric, while catching the binding on the back at the same time. I only stabbed myself with pins twice- moral victory. This part is time consuming, but I have found that the more I pin and the slower I go, the less likely I am to make a mistake or not catch the binding on the back.
[ Finished quilt top ]

[ Finished quilt back ]

[ close up of quilt top ]

[ close up of quilt back ]

I am incredibly thrilled with the way this quilt turned out. It was amazing to collaborate with Sarah and I felt very inspired by her embroidery color choices in picking out my fabrics. I surprised Sarah with the fabric selection after discussing initial color likes and dislikes (this was her choice and it was really hard to keep it a secret until it was done!). The final approval was up to her daughter, however, and fortunately for both of us- she LOVES it. She loves it so much that Sarah has to be strategical about when to wash it, as her daughter prefers to not let the blanket out of her sight!

I had so much fun making this quilt and Sarah and I are already discussing the next collaboration- her daughter's 'big girl bed' comforter. Sarah is currently embroidering away on these lovely blocks in pinks, purples and dark and light greens. Cannot wait!

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