This plush throw is framed with patchwork and pom poms. Even if you've never done any patchworking, you can make this project. The fun part is picking all the squares: 72 of them in this case. It's like coloring with fabric; you mix and match, combining colors and patterns from square to square. The Heather Bailey Pop Garden & Bijoux fabrics we used create a vibrant border, but you could shuffle your choices to be more subdued or even more zany. The jumbo pom pom trims adds a playful touch, and the center of the throw is super-soft, double-sided Minky. Colorful, cute and cuddly in one great project!
This project is easiest to do with fabrics for which there is no distinct pattern direction. If you have worry about keeping stripes or other directional prints going the right way from front to back, top to bottom and side to side; you'll probably drive yourself slowly insane.
Our throw was made using Heather Bailey's delightful Pop Garden & Bijoux Collection for our Citrus Holiday collection. Check out our other bright and beautiful projects with this unique take on holiday color and pattern. Who says you can only use red and green?!
You can find several colors of double-sided Minky at S4H Shopping Directory, retailer, Minky Delight.
Though an older collection, Pop Garden & Bijoux continue to be popular and you can still find remnants. These S4H Shopping Directory retailers feature Heather Bailey:
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Memory Craft 6600P)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- Cotton fabrics for patchwork squares around front and back borders of throw: 72 squares total (36 around the front, 36 around the back). Each cut square is 6" x 6", so a ¼ yard of 45" wide fabric will yield seven squares. We used a variety of Heather Bailey Pop Garden & Bijoux fabrics, in fact, we really just used scraps from our other Citrus Holiday projects. You can do this too or you could choose to buy specific fabric cuts; the patchwork pattern can be as symmetrical or random as you'd like. Our pallet included: Rose Bouquet in Cream and Blue, Mod Bead in Canary, Tangerine and Green, Paisley in Blue and Lime, Swirly Buds in Tangerine, Pineapple Brocade in Canary and Green, Tiled Primrose in Pink, Sway in Turquoise and Lime, Wallpaper Roses in Green, and Pop Daisy in Green.
- Double-sided plush pile fabric for inside throw area. The center plush square 51" x 51", so 1½ yards of 54"- 60" wide fabric will work. Most plush is 58"- 60" wide. We used Minky Ultra Plush in white. It is important you select a plush that is double-sided (plush on both sides) as our instructions are for a single layer of fabric.
- Large pom-poms: 6¼ yards total: w e used 1" vintage white pom poms we found on Etsy.
- All purpose thread: select a color that is a good match for the plush fabric and use this for both your upper thread and your bobbin. The thread will disappear into the plush when you do your finishing stitching.
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pencil or chalk
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Straight pins
- From your plush fabric, cut one 51" x 51" square. Set aside.
- From your cotton fabric cuts or scraps, cut 72 squares at 6" x 6".
- Lay out your squares on the floor or a cutting table, and mix and match until you're happy with your patchwork pattern. The front and back rows can be identical or completely different. You have two rows of ten squares and two rows of eight squares for EACH side. Remember, the rows come together in the corners, so make sure you like how the squares match up in each corner.
- Gather the eight squares that will be one side row. Take the first two squares, pin right sides facing, and using a 1/2" seam, stitch along one side. Take the next square in your pattern and stitch it to the two-piece unit you just made. Continue to add squares in this same manner to make your complete row of eight squares of sewn patchwork.
- Quick tip: You'll notice from the photo above that I like to put a piece of blue painter's tape across the bed of my machine at the 1/2" guide mark. I run it from the back of the machine bed, across the throat plate and around the front of the bed. This gives me a nice, straight, easy-to-see line to follow so I keep a consistent 1/2" seam. Some higher-end machines, like the Janome Memory Craft 11000 Special Edition have a unique accessory called a Cloth Guide that snaps in place and performs the same function.
- Repeat Step 4 until you have FOUR panels, each containing eight squares of sewn patchwork. These panels are your four side pieces.
- Gather the sets of 10 squares that make up your other rows, and in the same manner as described in Step 4, create FOUR panels that each contain ten squares of sewn patchwork. These panels are your upper and lower pieces.
- Press all seams open.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Sewing the front four panels to the plush
- Lay your plush fabric flat out on your cutting surface. Measure and mark (with your fabric pencil or chalk) 5" down from all outer edges to make a complete 41" x 41" inner square.
- Locate one upper panel of patchwork (one of your ten-square panels), and place it right side down on the plush fabric so the top raw edge of the panel is perfectly lined up with your chalk line. Pin in place.
- Stitch the panel in place, using 1/2" seam allowance (1/2" from the raw edge of the patchwork panel). LEAVE THE FIRST AND LAST PATCHWORK SQUARES UNSTITCHED. These squares will be sewn later to the seam allowance of the side panels to form the corners.
- Locate one lower panel of patchwork (another ten-square panel) and repeat Step 2 and Step 3 along the opposite side of your plush square.
- Flip up the upper and lower panels and lightly press in place. The raw edges of the patchwork panels and the plush should be even top and bottom.
- Locate one side panel of patchwork (one of your eight-square panels), and place it right side down on the plush fabric so the top raw edge of the panel is perfectly lined up with the side chalk line. Pin in place.
- Stitch the panel in place, using a 1/2" seam allowance (1/2" from the raw edge of the patchwork panel, just as you did for the ten-square panels). LEAVE 1/2" UNSTITCHED AT THE BEGINNING AND END OF YOUR SEAM. In other words, start your seam 1/2" from the raw side edge of the panel and stop your seam 1/2" from the opposite raw edge at the end. This 1/2" will be sewn later to the squares of the of the upper and lower panels to form the corners.
- Locate another side panel of patchwork (another eight-square panel) and repeat Step 6 and Step 7 along the opposite side of your plush square.
- Flip up the side panels and lightly press in place. The raw edges of your panels should be flush with the plush (hey .... that rhymes!).
Making the corners
- Leave your two side panels flipped up with edges flush. Take your upper and lower panels and flip them back down – the same position they were in just prior to stitching at the chalk line. The first last last squares of the upper and lower panels are overlapping the side panels, so the two panels are sitting right sides together. You will notice that the 1/2" you left at each end of the side panels lines up just perfectly with the bottom of the first and last loose squares of the upper and lower panels.
- Fold the plush out of the way, and working from the wrong side pin the loose side of the side panel to the bottom of the upper/lower panel. You are creating the corner. Repeat at each corner.
- Take the whole piece to your machine, and carefully insert just the panel fabric under the needle. Keep the plush out of the way. You want to insert this under the foot so that the raw edges are facing to the left. This will feel a bit backwards to how you would normally stitch a seam, but it allows you to keep the bulk of the plush away from the bed of the machine.
- Stitch from the edge to the existing seam line, remembering to back tack at the beginning and the end of your seam. Make sure you go a couple stitches over your existing seam so there isn't any hole at the corner. Most machines have seam markings to both the right and the left of the needle. So, use the left markings to line up and make a 1/2" seam.
- Repeat for all four corners.
- With all four corners stitched, flip up your upper and lower panels and marvel at the cute corners you made. Press in place all around. Remember, all outer edges should be flush.
- Pin together your raw edges and baste around all sides. This step is to keep the layers from shifting during the rest of the project. You could baste by hand or by machine.
- Lay out your newly completed patchwork and plush square on a flat surface with the patchwork panels facing right side up. Pin the pom pom trim along raw edge on top of the patchwork. Baste around all sides of the outer square. Yes ... I am making your baste again. This is because, for a beginner, it's much better to work with trim that is basted in place rather than pinned – much less chance for shifting during your final seam.
- Set aside your plush, patchwork and pom pom square.
Creating the back panels
- Take the remaining two ten-square patchwork panels and the remaining two eight-square patchwork panels, and turn under and press 1/2" along one lengthwise edges of each panel.
- Sew each end of the upper and lower panels to the side panels to make a square patchwork frame. Make sure your folded and pressed edges are all facing the inside of the frame.
- Retrieve your plush, patchwork and pom pom square and lay it out nice and flat right side up. Place the patchwork frame you just made on top, right side down, covering the pom pom trim and keep all raw edges together. Pin in place.
- Stitch around all four outside edges with a 1/2" seam. Go slowly and make sure your pom poms stay out of the way of the needle. Remember to remove pins as you go; don't stitch over them, and pivot at each corner. This means you stop, with your needle in the down position 1/2" from the edge, lift your presser foot, pivot your fabric 90˚, line up for a 1/2" seam, lower your presser foot and start stitching again. Trim close to your seam around all sides and clip the corners. Whenever doing any kind of trimming, be very careful not to cut into your seam!
- Turn the patchwork frame right side out, flipping it all the way over to the back side of the square. The inner square of your frame (the square with all the folded and pressed edges) is now laying right side up on the back side of the plus square. Your pom poms have also popped out around all the sides. You can tug on them slightly to straighten if necessary. Lightly press all the edges of the throw. Press on the back side so you are sure to keep that pre-folded and pressed inside square edge nice and neat.
- Pin the patchwork frame to the plush around all sides of the inner square.
- Stitch the inner patchwork frame to the plush using a wide zig zag stitch.
Note: Your zig zag stitch is attaching the frame to the back, but of course it will also be seen on the front side. When you are pressing in Step 5 and pinning in Step 6, be aware that the front and back patchwork panels should be aligning with one another with the plush sandwiched in between. You want the inside edges of the front and back panels to line up as perfectly as possible. This also insures that the zig zag stitch in Step 7 (the attaching stitch for the back panel) catches the front panel evenly and looks nice and neat. The thread will disappear into the plush, but you will see it on the patchwork, and an even stitch is a pretty stitch.
- Clip all loose threads on both sides.
Hints and Tips
If you simply can't find any double-sided plush fabric, you can use regular fleece. Buy enough yardage so you can cut TWO squares. Then stitch the two square WRONG SIDES TOGETHER, using a 1/4" seam all the way around all four sides. You are basically creating your own double-sided fabric. However, because your center section is now made up of two pieces instead of one, you need to worry about it shifting and twisting if you ever try to wash the throw. To avoid this, you can either a) stitch a number of vertical and/or horizontal seams across the square; or b) make an evenly-spaced dot pattern across your square of fabric, and with a hand needle and heavy thread or light yarn, make a couple stitches at each dot and clip the thread and tie a knot – you're left with two little thread or yarn tails. I'm sure you've seen this effect on quilts and blankets. It can look pretty cute, but it is time consuming.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Dianne LeBlanc
Other machines suitable for this project include the Elna 5300 and the Bernina aurora 450.