Here's a romantic Valentine's story: a pretty patchwork quilt meets an old softie fleece; they fall in love and become inseparable. That's the true tale of today's beautiful lap blanket. The front is a patchwork of Layer Cake squares from the Kissing Booth collection by BasicGrey for Moda Fabrics. The back is a cuddly fleece so there's no need for batting. The blanket is bound around the edges and also tied. But, it's not just a traditional tied knot... oh no! There are sixteen 2½" cornerstone squares across the middle of the quilt, and each square is tied through with a little yarn bow, creating the look of sixteen pretty gift boxes. Wrap up your Valentine in this warm and wonderful blanket.
As we mentioned above, we used pre-cut, 10" x 10" Layer Cake squares for our blanket. For more information about pre-cuts, check out our Pre-cuts Lesson tutorial from our friends at Fat Quarter Shop for the inside scoop on the most popular pre-cut bundles.
The finished blanket is approximately 55½" x 55½".
Our thanks to Moda Fabrics for sponsoring our wonderful Winter series: over three weeks of projects and how-to tutorials that got you through the holidays and thinking about your 2013 sewing resolutions. Stay tuned for a Great Giveaway this Friday, featuring pre-cuts from some of the collections you've seen.
Sewing Tools You Need
Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900 QCP)
Quarter Inch Seam foot (optional but helpful since all the patchworking is done with ¼" seams)
Walking foot (also optional but helpful when working with thick fabrics like fleece)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 25 Layer Cake squares - a Layer Cake has 42 squares, so you'll have 17 leftover (If you choose not to use a Layer Cake, you'll need to cut 25 coordinating 10" x 10" squares): we used we used a Layer Cake of the Kissing Booth collection by BasicGrey for Moda Fabrics
- 10 Jelly Rolls strips - a Jelly Roll has 40 WOF strips, so you'll have 30 leftover (If you choose not to use a Layer Cake, you'll need to cut 40 coordinating 2½" x 10" strips): we used a Jelly Roll of Moda's Bella Solids in Snow
- ¾ yard of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for the binding and cornerstone squares; we used We Belong in Cherry Cordial from the Kissing Booth collection by BasicGrey for Moda Fabrics
NOTE: We used straight, cross grain cuts to make our binding. If you prefer bias binding, get a full yard. For more info, check out our bias binding tutorial.
- 1¾ yards of 58-60" wide super soft fleece for the blanket backing; we used a minky cuddle fleece in snow. S4H Marketplace vendor, Fabric.com has a great selection of solid color fleece
- Ball of soft yarn to tie the layers together at each cornerstone square; we used Martha Stewart's extra soft wool blend craft yarn in Bakery Box White
- All purpose thread to match fabrics
- Large safety pins for basting layers
- See-through ruler
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Straight pins
- Tape measure
- Hand sewing needle
- Large-eye yarn needle
- Select 25 squares from the layer cake and arrange them in an order pleasing to you. You need five rows of five squares. Alternate both color as well as motif size to get a pleasing pattern. Remember, in a Layer Cake you have 42 squares to work with, but you'll only use 25; this allows you extra to work with so you can avoid duplicate fabrics and/or similar colors side by side. You can follow our pattern or create your own. There's no "wrong" way to do it; it's all based on what you like best. Our design is shown below.
- Cut the jelly roll strips into FORTY 10" lengths. If you are not using a jelly roll, cut your fabric into FORTY 2½" x 10" strips.
- From the fabric for the binding and cornerstone squares (We Belong in Cherry Cordial in our sample), cut the following:
SIX 3" x width of fabric (WOF) strips
SIXTEEN 2½" x 2½" squares
- Cut the fleece into a 58" x 58" square.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- The lap blanket top has a traditional ¼" quilting seam allowance throughout. We used our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot to help maintain a perfectly straight line.
Create the main rows
- There are a lot of pieces to keep track of, so work in a specific order, like a grid. We worked from top to bottom and left to right. It helps to lay things out first to cement the order in your brain.
- Starting with the first row, pin one 2½" x 10" solid rectangle right sides together with one side of each of the first four 10" x 10" squares. You should have FOUR pairs.
- Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch these pairs together.
- Place the first two sewn pairs right sides together, aligning the remaining right raw edge of the first solid strip with the remaining raw left edge of the second square. Pin in place. Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch together.
- Repeat to add the remaining pairs.
- Finally, find the single square remaining for the first row. Place it right sides together with the sewn row, aligning the raw edge of the row's rightmost solid strip with the left edge of the final square. Pin in place. Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch the seam. This completes your first row.
- Repeat these same steps to build the remaining four rows.
Create the sashing rows
- For those who don't quilt regularly, sashing is the word used for the rows of fabric that aren't part of the quilt block rows. It's just a fancy way of talking about the rows in between the main blocks. The sashing rows in our quilt are made of two fabrics and two shapes: squares and strips.
- You need FOUR sashing rows, each made up of five 2½" x 10" strips and four 2½" x 2½" squares.
- Begin pinning together the first sashing row. Start with a strip and match one 2½" side, right sides together, with the side of one square.
- Work from left to right, adding one piece at a time (strip, square, strip, square... ), until you have your full row of five strips and four squares.
- Using a ¼" seam allowance, piece together the first sashing row.
- Repeat to make the remaining three sashing rows.
Assemble the block rows and sashing rows
- Place your main rows and sashing rows in order on your work surface.
- Working from the top row down, pin the bottom of the first main row right sides together with the top of the sashing row. The most important thing to remember is to keep your seams in line with one another. It helps to place pins right in the seams to make sure they're lined up on the other side.
- Also, at each intersecting seam, pin the seam away from the solid strip. This will keep all the seams facing the darker fabric and will allow for each seam to go in the opposite direction so they will lie together perfectly. This "sandwiching" technique is what allows you to get perfect points (perfectly intersecting corners) on the front.
- Using a ¼" seam allowance, sew the two rows together.
- Continue in the same manner for the next three main rows and sashing rows.
- You should now have four main/sashing rows and one main row with no sashing. Align them in order on your work surface from top to bottom.
- Keeping your seams aligned as above, stitch together the rows, using a ¼" seam allowance.
- When all the rows are stitched in place, if necessary, trim any excess from all sides of the blanket top so the raw edges are flush and square.
- Flip over the blanket top and press all the seams, making sure each seam faces away from the light solid strips.
Layer and tie
- Find an area with a lot of available (and clean!) floor space. You need enough room to keep the layers flat.
- Lay the 58" x 58" fleece square RIGHT SIDE DOWN on the floor. If you choose, you may use tape on the corners to hold it in place.
- Lay the blanket top RIGHT SIDE UP on top of the fleece, centering it in the middle. The fleece will extend beyond the edges of the top. This is okay; you'll trim everything flush before binding.
- Place a few large safety pins across the quilt top, making sure you pin through both layers. You just need enough to keep the layers from shifting. The fleece is pretty "grippy" so you don't need a lot.
- Thread the large-eye yarn needle with approximately 10-12" of the soft yarn.
- Bring the thread down and the back up through the center of each cornerstone square.
- Make sure you are going down and back through BOTH layers; these ties are what help hold the layers together.
- Remove the yarn from the needle and tie a tight knot.
- Tie a simple bow.
- Make a knot in each bow tail to keep the yarn from unraveling.
- Trim the excess yarn just below each knot. You can also use a dab of seam sealant to finish the ends. Now your cornerstone square looks like a pretty little gift box.
- Repeat to tie a bow in each of the remaining 15 squares.
- Pin the edges of the blanket top to the fleece around all four sides
- If possible, attach a Walking foot. Machine baste the layers together, keeping your seam allowance ¼ - ⅜".
- When you are finished basting, trim the edges of the fleece so it is square and flush with the blanket top.
- Find your binding strips (We belong in Cherry Cordial in our sample). Pin them together end to end (the 2½" ends) to create one long strip. Stitch together and press the seam allowance flat.
- Press the entire strip in half, wrong sides together.
- Lay the raw edge of the binding along the raw edge of the fleece side of the blanket all the way around. Pin in place.
- Stitch in place, using a ½" seam allowance.
NOTE: If you are new to binding, check out our tutorial: Complete Step-by-Step Tutorial for Binding Quilts & Throws.
- Trim the corners. Fold the binding to the front and hand stitch or stitch in the ditch to secure. We chose to hand stitch.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild