One question that always stumps me is when someone asks, "What's your favorite color?" Whoa! It depends on my mood, which colors I'm working with that day, what design everything is spun into... and probably about a dozen other factors, including time of year and what song is playing on iTunes. I think I've loved each and every color at one time or another. That's what's so wonderful about patchwork – you get to blend all kinds of colors and patterns. Pieceing and patchwork are about choosing more not less! Today's beautiful throw uses NINE different fabrics from the new Pirouette collection by Verna Mosquera for FreeSpirit Fabrics. From tiny rosebuds to bold damask to a pink and white tartan, Verna has created a romantic medley of sweet treats. As a holiday project, we anchored our throw's design with a traditional rich, ruby red; then softened the palette with prints from her Flamingo, Moss, Opal and Mocha colorways. Like all the projects within our Happy Holidays with FreeSpirit & Rowan series, today's Priouette throw is a simple yet classic creation executed in gorgeous fabrics - perfect for holiday giving and decorating, but with a beauty that will last year 'round.
Paying special attention to seam allowances is important in every project, but is essential in quilting, because your seams need to match up perfectly (quilters call this ‘perfect points'). Therefore, you need to be very careful to make sure all allowances are consistent. For this project ALL our seam allowances are ¼". If you are new to patchwork, check out our tutorial on quilting basics. This throw finishes at approximately 60" x 50".
Our thanks to the great folks at FreeSpirit and Rowan Fabrics for sponsoring all this holiday happiness! Each week we bring you a new collection from a different designer. During our first week, you met Melissa White of Rowan Fabrics and her new Amelie's Attic collection. Last week, we thank Ty Pennington Impressions for allowing us to feature Ty's new Fall 2012 Collection. This week you're surrounded by the sweet loveliness of Verna Mosquera's Pirouette. And later this month, we'll take a look at Alchemy from Amy Butler for Rowan Fabrics.
Pirouette will begin appearing next month, December 2012, at participating online and in-store retailers.
In addition, for all of the projects in our series, Westminster helped us put together a handy Where to Buy Retailer Locator, giving you a fast and easy way to source the fabrics we are featuring from both brick and mortar stores in your area (the page is broken out by state) as well as online options.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900 QCP)
- Our Janome has the great built-in AcuFeed™ Flex system to make working with multiple and/or thick layers smooth and easy. If you don't have this type of even-feeding system, consider using a Walking foot to help topstitch the front ribbon strips.
Fabric and Other Supplies
Our quilted throw uses EIGHT beautiful fabrics from within Verna Mosquera's Pirouette collection. We have letter-coded the cuts on the layout diagram below. These same letters are used within the supplies list. As with all our tutorials, we recommend reading through all the instructions at least once before you dive in.
- 1 yard of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for all A and B blocks; we used Little Bouquet in Ruby from the Pirouette collection by Verna Mosquera for FreeSpirit Fabrics
- 1 yard of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for all C and D blocks; we used Cabbage Rose in Opal from the Pirouette collection by Verna Mosquera for FreeSpirit Fabrics
- ¾ yard of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for all E blocks; we used Tiny Roses in Moss from the Pirouette collection by Verna Mosquera for FreeSpirit Fabrics
- 1 yard of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for all F and G blocks; we used French Damask in Flamingo from the Pirouette collection by Verna Mosquera for FreeSpirit Fabrics
- ½ yard of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for all H blocks; we used Cabbage Rose in Mocha from the Pirouette collection by Verna Mosquera for FreeSpirit Fabrics
- ½ yard of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for the I ribbon strips; we used Ballet Dictionary in Mocha from the Pirouette collection by Verna Mosquera for FreeSpirit Fabrics
NOTE: This yardage amount is enough to allow you to cut your strips either horizontally or vertically to best fit the motif.
- 1¾ yard of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for the large back panel; we used Tiny Roses in Ruby from the Pirouette collection by Verna Mosquera for FreeSpirit Fabrics
- ½ yard of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for the binding; we used Tartan in Flamingo from the Pirouette collection by Verna Mosquera for FreeSpirit Fabrics
NOTE: We used straight-cut strips for our binding. If you'd prefer to cut bias strips, you will need ¾ of a yard. Check out our Bias Binding Tutorial for more information on this technique.
- Lightweight batting (at least a 60" x 50" rectangle, although we recommend working with a slightly larger cut so you can trim to the finished top and back)
- All purpose thread to match fabrics
- Cotton craft yarn for hand quilting ties; we used red
- Tapestry needle with a large eye and a sharp point
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Tape measure
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Large safety pins for quilt basting
- From the fabric for the A and B blocks (Little Bouquet in Ruby in our sample), cut the following blocks:
SIX 15½" high x 9½" wide
THREE 5½ high x 9½" wide
- From the fabric for the C and D blocks (Cabbage Rose in Opal in our sample), cut the following blocks:
SIX 15½" high x 9½ wide
TWO 5½" high x 9½" wide
- From the fabric for the E blocks (Tiny Roses in Moss in our sample), cut SIX 5½" high x 9½" wide blocks
- From the fabric for the F and G blocks (French Damask in Flamingo in our sample), cut the following blocks:
FIVE 15½" high x 9½ wide
TWO 10½" high x 9½" wide
- From the fabric for the H blocks (Cabbage Rose in Mocha in our sample), cut SIX 5½" high x 9½" wide blocks.
- From the fabric for the I ribbon strips (Ballet Dictionary in Mocha in out sample), fussy cut SIXTEEN 15¼" x 2½" strips.
NOTE: These ribbons run vertically through the quilt top; fussy cut to best showcase the motif within what will be a 1" finished strip.
- From the fabric for the large back panel (Tiny Roses in Ruby in our sample), cut ONE 60" high x 41½" wide rectangle.
- From the fabric for the binding (Tartan in Flamingo in our sample), cut SIX 2½" x Width of Fabric (WOF) strips.
NOTE: We used straight-cut strips for our binding. If you'd prefer to cut bias strips, check out our bias binding tutorial for measuring and cutting notes.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Assemble the blocks to create the vertical panels
- Using our diagram above as your guide, assemble the FIVE vertical patchwork panels for the quilt front, plus the ONE vertical panel for the quilt back. To do this, it helps to sort out the fabric cuts needed for each panel and stack them in the order to be sewn.
- For example: for the leftmost panel in our sample we collected SIX cuts in the following order:
5½ x 9½" Ruby Little Bouquet (B)
15½" x 9½ Opal Cabbage Rose (C)
5½" x 9½" Moss Tiny Roses (E)
15½" x 9½ Flamingo French Damask (F)
5½" high x 9½" Mocha Cabbage Rose (H)
15½" x 9½" Ruby Little Bouquet (A)
- Take the first pair (B and C) and pin them right sides together along one 9½" side. Stitch together (remember - all seams are ¼"). Press the finished seam open.
- Pin the next cut in the sequence (E) right sides together with the remaining 9½" raw edge of the C block. Stitch together and press the seam open.
- Pin the next cut in the sequence (F) right sides together with the remaining 9½" raw edge of E block. Stitch together and press the seam open.
- I bet you are starting to see a pattern here, right? Continue adding one cut at a time until you have assembled all six pieces. You should have five ¼" seams and the top and bottom edges should be raw.
- Follow these same steps to create the remaining four vertical panels for the front and the one vertical panel for the back. Set the back vertical panel aside in a special area so you don't get it mixed up with the front panels.
Assemble the front vertical panels
- Find your five finished front panels.
- Working from left to right, lay the first two panels right sides together, along the RIGHT 60" edge of the first panel and the LEFT 60" edge of the second panel, matching the raw edges. Pin in place. Don't worry is there is a bit of excess top to bottom, you can trim everything flush later.
- In addition, several of the horizontal seams will intersect. Where this occurs, in order for your seams to 'nest together' and create perfect points on the front (a perfect intersection of the corners), you need to alternate the direction of the seam allowances you are matching up. In other words, fold one towards the top and one towards the bottom so the seams sandwich together and lay flat.
- Stitch the panels together, using a ¼" seam allowance. Press the seam open.
- Repeat to pin and stitch the remaining three panels in place.
- Trim the quilt front if need be so the top and bottom edges are flush.
Assemble the back panels
- The back of the quilt is simply two pieces sewn together.
- Find the 60" x 41½" rectangle (Ruby Tiny Roses in our sample) as well as the sixth vertical panel. Again, check our diagram above to confirm.
- With right sides together, pin the RIGHT 60" edge of the large rectangle panel to the LEFT 60" edge of the sixth vertical panel, matching the raw edges. Pin in place.
- Stitch the two pieces together with our standard ¼" seam allowance. Press the seam allowance open.
- Trim the quilt back if need be so the top and bottom edges are flush.
Make the front ribbon strips
- Find the SIXTEEN 15¼" x 2½" strips. Break them into four groups of four.
- Pin four strips together end to end, right sides together, to create one long strip.
- Stitch together each of the three short seams, using a ¼" seam allowance. Press the seam allowances open.
- Repeat to create an additional three long strips with the remaining pieces.
- Fold a completed strip right sides together, aligning the long raw edges. Pin in place.
- Stitch together along the long raw edges, using a ¼" seam allowance, to create a long tube.
- Press the seam open. Turn the tube right side out.
- Roll the seam to the center back of the tube and press the tube flat. This creates a long 1" wide "ribbon" with a clean, flat front.
- Repeat to create the three additional "ribbons" with the remaining strips.
Layering to make a quilt sandwich
- Find your 60" x 50" + batting piece.
- Lay it out flat on your work surface.
- Place your quilt top on top of the batting. Align all four raw edges of both layers.
- Find your large safety pins. Place a pin in the middle of each rectangle to secure the top to the batting.
- Below, we simply flipped up one corner to remind you there are just two layers at this point, the top and the batting.
- If necessary, trim any excess batting around all 4 sides of the quilt top so all the edges are flush. Set these layers aside.
- Find the quilt back. Lay it out flat on your work surface, wrong side up.
- Carefully move the quilt top/battings layers to your work surface and lay them on the quilt back. The quilt top should be right side up and all sides should match up perfectly.
- Open up each safety pin and re-pin it through all three layers.
- Find the four front ribbon strips.
- Center one strip over each vertical seam on the quilt top. Pin in place. If you are new to quilting, you may want to go to the extra step of hand basting the strips in place.
- Carefully move the pinned quilt to your sewing machine.
- Thread your machine with thread to match the ribbon strips in the top and thread to best match the back fabrics (we chose red) in the bobbin.
- Increase your stitch length.
- Edgestitch along each side of each ribbon strip through ALL the layers. These seams act as your vertical quilting stitches. We recommend using a Walking foot for this edgestitching to keep the layers from shifting.
Creating and attaching the binding
- If necessary, do one final trim of all the quilt layers so they are flush all the way around.
- Find your binding strips (Flamingo Tartan in our sample). Pin them together end to end (the 2½" ends) to create one long strip. Stitch together and press all seams open.
- Create and attach the quilt binding, using your favorite edge binding technique or follow our Complete Step-by-Step Tutorial for Binding Quilts & Throws.
Hand stitched and tied "Xs"
- At this point, the only quilting holding the layers together are the vertical seams that attached the four ribbons strips.
- For additional horizontal quilting, and also because it looks quite pretty, we added hand-stitched and tied yarn Xs at each horizontal seam.
- Thread a large sharp needle with a length of yarn.
- At the center of each seam make a large X.
- Pull both ends through to the back of the quilt and tie a simple knot to hold in place. Clip the ends of the yarn back to about ¼".
Project Concept: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild