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Carla Rodio

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Friday, May 7, 2010

tutorial: lap, nap, baby or toddler quilt top

This is a cute little easily constructed quilt suitable for a lap, nap, baby or toddler quilt or a quilt suitable wherever you wish to use a small quilt. Here I provide directions for making this quilt exactly as I have constructed it. You may, of course change it in any manner that you wish. You may make this quilt to be sold anywhere; craft fair, internet, whatever. All I ask is that you don’t run off copies of the directions to sell or give away or lend. If you have a friend (or enemy) that wishes to construct it; please refer them to my blog.

I copied the design that I drew up in EQ6 and printed it out so that I could write notes all over it. I highly recommend that you print it off also; label where the different sized and colored strips go. You could also pin fabric swatches to it so that they don’t get lost.

The top is composed of 5 strip sets and 4 pieced strips.

Fabric key from top to bottom: (strip set 1) a, b, pieced strip, (strip set 2) a, b, c, pieced strip, (strip set 3) c, a, b, pieced strip, (strip set 4) c, b, a, pieced strip, (strip set 5) b, a

The fabric placement may be a little challenging but I supply you with some tips to help keep you organized. If possible, set aside large blocks of time (1 or 2 hours) to make it easier to concentrate on each of the different steps as you proceed through the construction. A couple of tips to help you understand my directions: WOF means width of fabric; RST means right sides together. All seams are ¼”. Backtack at beginning and end of seams that run the width of the quilt. All your stuff:

8 small pieces of paper for making temporary labels
Eight coordinating fabrics:
For pieced strips; 5 fat quarters OR 5 6½” WOF strips cut from yardage
For strip sets:
fabric a ½ yard
“ b ½ yard
“ c ¼ yard
2 yards of a OR b OR c for backing and binding (I added two yards to fabric c)
Rotary cutter, mat, cutting ruler
Sewing machine, iron, ironing board
Thread, pins, measuring tape
Appr. 45” x 58” batt

Wash dry, and press fabrics. Write out 3 labels, a, b, and c. Place the a, b, and c labels on the corresponding fabrics and take a photo with a digital camera OR cut a small swatch from each fabric and pin it to the corresponding label, this is to help you remember which fabric is a, b, or c. This helps eliminate confusion if you have to step away from your project for a length of time.

Write out 5 more labels 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Cut your strips for your strip sets.
To keep your strip sets organized as you cut and sew them:
As you cut your WOF strips make five different stacks, pin a numbered label to each stack and as you cut out each strip, pin that strip to the corresponding numbered stack. Trim each of the strips to 40” long.

Fabric a

1-3 1/4"

2-3 ½

3-4 ½

4-1 ½

5-3 ¼
Fabric b

1-2 ½ "

2-1 ½

3-1 ½

4-3 ½

5-3 ½
Fabric c
2-2 ½ "

3-2 ½

4-2 ½

Also from fabric c, cut 5 WOF strips for binding. I usually cut mine 2 1/2” wide.
I highly recommend pin basting together the strips prior to sewing. First place strips RST making sure that edges are even, pin the strip ends then pin the center. Eyeball the center between each end pin and the center pin and pin at that point also. You should have 5 pins in your strips. Sew up to pin then remove it. Try to never sew over pins because if you hit the pin it will mess up your needle.

In stack 1 sew b to a and press seam towards a. Completed strip set 1.

In stack 2 sew b to a and then c to b. Press seams towards a. Completed strip set 2.

In stack 3 sew a to c and b to a. Press seams towards c. Completed strip set 3.

In stack 4 sew b to c and then a to b. Press seams towards c. Completed strip set 4.

In stack 5 sew a to b and press seam towards b. Completed strip set 5.

You will now have 5 strip sets each with a numbered label on it. Set these aside and cut and sew together the pieced strips.

Cutting directions for fat quarters (for cutting 6 ½” WOF strips see italicized directions) for pieced strips:
Select one of the fat quarters and press it. Layer another fat quarter on top; aligning selvage edges and aligning other edges as closely as you can (there is usually a lot of variance in size between fat quarters). Press both layers together. Continue layering and pressing all 5 fat quarters into a stack. It is important to press this stack with an iron as pressing the layers causes them to adhere and makes for a fairly stable stack to cut up. Some fat quarters have had there selvage removed. Just line it up where the selvage used to be.

Place stack on cutting mat, and treating the layer of five as if it were a single fabric, trim off selvage edge. If you are right handed, trim off left rough edges making sure to form cut into a square angle with trimmed selvage edge. If you are left handed trim off the right edge.

Slice two 6 ½” strips from stack. From each 6 ½” strip stack cut off widths. I cut mine in varying widths from 6” to 1 ¼”. Be careful not to have too many narrow widths or else there won’t be enough pieces for the 4 pieced strips that you will need for your top. Each piece will lose ½” to seams and that adds up to a lot.

Cutting directions for using WOF strips rather than fat quarters:
Trim selvages from each of the 6 ½” strips and then cut varying widths 6” to 1 ¼”. Be careful not to have too many narrow widths or else there won’t be enough pieces for the 4 pieced strips that you will need for your top. Each piece will lose ½” to seams and that adds up to a lot. Set these pieces aside and continue cutting up the rest of the yardage.

I turned my neat little stacks into a tossed salad; separating all the strips from each other and mixing them together. Pull out any two strips and sew them RST along the 6 ½” edge to form a pair. My only restriction when I was sewing was to never sew the same two fabrics together. When you get to the end of your seam don’t cut your thread. Lift your presser foot and place your next pair of strips under and continue sewing. When all pairs have been fed through then cut them apart. Now repeat the feeding through with the pairs. Line up a pair to a pair, RST, and feed that through. Continue feeding pairs, fours, eights, etc. until you have all of your strips sewn into one long pieced strip. Press all the seams in one direction and measure your strip to make sure that it is at least 160”. If not cut a few more strips from the fat quarter remnants and sew them on to your strip and press those seams.

Here is my >160" strip waiting to be cut up into 4 40" strips.
Now cut your pieced strip into 4 40” strips.
To cut your strip down to 40” strips: Lay your >160” strip horizontally across your cutting board and let the end fall off about 10” on the right hand side if you are right handed (left hand side if you are left handed). Take your tape measure and place the 40” mark on that end. Measure back up the strip length with your tape and place the cutting edge of your ruler right at the end of the tape measure; the ruler should run perpendicular to the strip. Pull your tape back out of the way and use your rotary cutter to whack through the strip right there. Repeat for 3 more strips. (4 total)

Here I've measured 40" and I'm going to whack it off.

Take strip set 1 lay it down and place a pieced strip next to it, then strip set 2 and a pieced strip; continue laying them out in order. Step back and look at the arrangement of strips and make sure that it is pleasing to you. If not, readjust to your liking. Now pin first pieced strip to strip set 1, pieced strip 2 to strip set 2, 3 to 3, and 4 to 4. Sew those seams. Pin set 2 to 1 and 4 to 3 then sew both seams. Now pin 3 to 2 and sew seam. Lastly pin and then sew strip set 5 to the end of the last pieced strip. Press seams to the strip sets. Tada! You have finished the top and you can finally remove your numbered labels.

I had a couple of strips left from my >160" so I used some of the remants from the fat quarters and made a long skinny block and inserted it into the backing. I pressed the seams open rather than to the side. It seems that the thread breaks more easily while you are quilting when there are seams in the backing. Pressing the seams open helps minimize that.

Lay down your backing wrong side up. Spread the batting over it and then the top face up. Pin baste layers together and then quilt layers together in whatever manner you choose. When you have completed the quilting; trim the batting and backing flush with the top and bind. Here is a link for a binding tutorial.

Voila! Finis!

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