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Friday, May 24, 2013

How to make a quilt-as-you-go striped placemat, table runner or baby quilt

Quilting-as-you-go you can create beautiful quilts in a short time. I especially love this technique for the creation of little things, like placemats, table runners or baby quilts.
The technique is pretty simple and so are the designs you can achieve, but that only offers a lot of possibilities to finally use all those fancy fabrics, that lose their glamour in a more elaborate quilt. So play with fabrics and colours, match amd mix prints and keep in mind that all combinations are allowed as long as you like it.

Strips of the desired length and width of coordinated fabrics for the top
1 piece of batting in the desired size
1 piece of backing in the desired size
Coordinated fabric for binding

Rotary Cutter, selfhealing cutting mat, quilting ruler - or fabric scissors
sewing machine
iron & ironing board

In this tutorial we will be making a 35x55 cm / 13½x21½x in placemat. In order to make bigger quilts, a table runner, baby blanket or lap quilt, adjust the sizes accordingly.

Getting started: 

Put your backing right side down onto a flat surface and put the batting on top of it making sure that they are perfectly aligned, pin together.

Choose from which side of the quilt to start. Cut the fabrics for the top into strips using your rotary cutter and ruler on your self-healing cutting mat, or, if you don't have any of those, your fabric scissors. The strips may be of the same or of different width, according to the effect you want to achieve. All strips in the upper mat have the same size while the strips in the mat underneath have different width.

The strips should be a little longer than the largest part of your quilt, as shown in the drawing below:  

 Starting on the short side you will need strips that are a little longer than the width of the finished placemat (37 cm/ 14 in), starting from the long side you will instead need the strips to be long enough to cover the whole length of the quilt (55cm/ 23 in). For the diagonal setting you will need different length strips according to the position on the quilt, to determine the exact length you need, calculate it from the measurments of your quilt or simply cut your backing and batting to size and then measure the diagonal).

Now your are ready to start sewing.
Take your backing and batting and place the first strip of top fabric right side up onto the side from where you chose to start, aligning it with the edges of the sandwich. Then put the second strip wrong side up onto the first strip, again aligning the edges (when you do the diagonal version, make sure the second strip is a little longer than the first one in order to cover the larger edges of the adjoining space). Pin into place.
As you can see in the picture below, I chose to start from one of the short sides.

Sew along the edge of first and second strip, sewing through all layers (two top strips, batting and backing). I use a ¼-inch presser foot and the edge of the fabric as a guide.

Flipping over the whole sandwich you can see how, on the backing, the seam joining the two strips on the front at the same time acts as quilting, keeping all layers together.
Flip over the second strip and iron in place.

Now add the third strip by placing it wrong side up onto the second strip, aligning the edges and then sewing through all layers.

Flip over and iron.
Add the remaining strips following the steps explained above.
When the whole area is covered with strips your sandwich will look something like this:

As you can see the body of the quilt is practically done and already quilted.
Now square the sandwich up, cutting it to size.

Bind your quilt with matching fabric (for more detailed information on binding, go to my binding tutorial) and you're done.

With the right fabrics you can adapt this quilt to lots of occasions: Use pastels, pinks or blues to make the perfect gift for a baby shower, use bright fabrics for summer or greens and reds for christmas.

Have you made a project following this tutorial? Let me know what you think. Did you like it? Was it easy to understand and to follow? Do you have any suggestions?
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