Friday, 6 February 2009

The Year of the Quilt 1 :: A Baby Quilt

This quilt has been kicking around in my brain for a while, based on that fabric there in the background. You've seen it before- a sheet from Michael's Grandmother.

At this point I would like to say this is just how I do it. This is the second quilt I've made, and though the first one turned out pretty darn good I take no responsibility if results vary with this method. The quilt shop lady today looked down her nose at me and said "oh, just squares." I think her imagination has been addled by patterns and appliques because she also asked how much fabric my pattern called for. I told her I designed it myself and she clutched her heart. Well she didn't but I think it may have skipped a beat.

Anywho, I play around with my colours in the (just) squares. I squint so it goes all blurry to see the effect. Graph paper would be handy at this point. Then I do a "good copy."

Quilts are amazing. They are made up of the same thing over and over, turned 90 degrees and sitched together to form a picture. The trick is to deconstruct.

This quilt is made up of 2 squares, each of which are made from two strips of 3 squares.
I've worked out how many squares of each fabric I need to complete the design above. (67 of the sheet, 28 green and 40 blue.)
Onto the yardage.

(Disclaimer #2: I just hung out the fabric I bought and it really really does not look like much. I may or may not have worked this out totally wrong. Time will tell.)

I based the total quilt size on a measurement I found for a standard cot sized quilt. I used the bottom width and fudged it a bit as seen in the picture. After working out the width of each square I could work out the length of the quilt. I then decided on the border width, (a bit wider than a single square). At this point you have to remember to add seam allowances- I think the standard amount is 1/4 inch per seam- I just use a presser foot width when sewing, but everything turns out even so long as you do the same thing.

So my magic number was 3". Each individual square equals 3" squared.
The fabric is 44" wide so 44/3=14 (the number of squares I can get out of each 3" wide strip of fabric cut salvedge to salvedge.)
To work out how many 3" wide strips of fabric I need to buy per colour I just divide the total number of squares of that colour by 14.
With me so far?

So for the blue fabric I needed 40/14= 2.8 3" strips of fabric.
This is a total of 9" of fabric, or 22cm. I always round up the numbers, and then buy a bit extra. I bought 30cm, so that small strip I have hanging on the line should be plenty. Whew!

For the green I performed the same calculation, but needed to calculate the border as well. I want a 3.5" finished width border, so need 4" strips. Total border length is 134". So 134/44= 3.05 strips of fabric. 3.05x4"= 12.5" of fabric. (+ fabric for squares = 17.5" or 47cm of fabric. I bought 55cm.)
Clear as mud?
Stay tuned: tips on how not to go about buying your fabric, and some pictures of the fabric I chose.

::I just want to say thankyou for all the kind things, and words of wisdom you said about planning a wedding and my decision to make the dress. Maybe this year should actually be the Year of the Quilt in which a Wedding Dress is made. A bit of a mouthful!::
::Also if you click on any of the pictures you will be taken to a place where you will see it bigger and can squint to your heart's content. If anything is not clear and you want clarification leave a comment and I will do my best to clear things up. Equally if you can see why my nagging feeling I didn't buy enough fabric may be true then let me know- I'll need to get back to the store before they sell the rest of the roll! I'm here to learn people::


  1. Oh my, how freaky deaky, I am also working on a "just squares" quilt at the moment, and I love love love it. All the clever designs around are very nice, don't get me wrong, but there's something about squares that is noble and honest and good and sweet. All power to you! Love the way it's shaping up!

  2. OK - should really read that again before I post a comment, but have you calculated fabric for the binding and back? Otherwise design and calculations look great. Love the vintage sheet. Quilts made with 'just' squares are lovely (Maybe you shop at the same quilt shop as I do - the lady in there always looks down her nose at me too...)

  3. :: :: :: :: ::
    Thanks Guys!

    Michelle- You're right, I haven't calculated fabric for the binding or back- as I plan to use the sheet fabric for both! But maybe I should have a quick measure up to make sure I've got enough left!
    :: :: :: :: ::

  4. I recognise that belongs on the bed in the guest room of our beach house (built in 1973...sheet purchased at the same time! *giggle*)....a vintage house for a vintage sheet.

  5. "Just squares" are my absolute favourite!

    Can't wait to see what you do.


  6. Wow now that is a seriously impressive calculation! Gooooood luck with it! x Lies

  7. You know when you nag your third form math teacher "what's the point of this I'll never use it in the real world"? Maybe I shold have paid a wee bit more attention.
    Just squares is sweet!