Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Good Day Sunshine

About a month ago, Alex and I started looking for a bed spread for our new apartment. We looked everywhere, but we couldn't seem to find anything that wasn't floral or plaid that we could agree upon.

Looking through Apartment Therapy posts, we finally found a quilt on The Purl Bee that we both fell in love with. When we looked to see where we could buy it, we were a little sad to find out that it was handmade. Lucky for us, a tutorial was included and I know how to sew!

I'd never sewn a quilt before, so it was a little intimidating, but I think it came out pretty well. Hopefully it stays together when we wash it. That will be the first test!

Sunny Tied Quilt (from The Purl Bee by Molly)
  • eleven fabrics, of your choice, totaling 6 3/4 yards
  • 3 1/2 yards 108 inch wide muslin
  • 1 queen size quilters cotton batting
  • 1 tapestry needle
  • 1 skein 100% wool yarn, in a coordinating color
  • 1 spool white cotton thread
  • 1 spool cotton thread, in a coordinating color

Choosing Fabric

Alex and I picked an assortment of eleven fabrics in greens, yellows, oranges, and divided them into solid fabrics, bold color fabrics, and fabrics we loved. We started with 1 yard of each of the fabrics that we loved, a 1/2 yard of each of the bold fabrics, and a 1/4 of a yard of each of the solid fabrics. We chose to get white muslin for the backing, gold yarn, and green thread.

Preparing and Cutting Fabric

Wash, dry and press fabric. The quilt is pieced in strips of fabric cut from selvage to selvage. I wanted to try to have each of the fabrics represented twice on each side (so I needed at least 4 strips of each fabric.) The directions said to cut all of the solid fabrics into strips, selvage to selvage, in a range of widths from 2 1/2-inches to 4 1/2-inches. All of mine were 2 1/2 inches each. Next, cut all of the bold colored into strips, selvage to selvage, in a range of widths from 4 1/2-inches to 7 1/2-inches. Lastly, cut all of the favorite fabrics into strips, selvage to selvage, in a range of widths from 6 1/2-inches to 12 1/2-inches.

Sewing and Quilting

Pick any two strips to start with. Lay your first piece of fabric down flat and place your second piece of fabric on top of it, right sides together. Line up the top selvages and pin together.

Sew with a 1/4 seam allowance and press your seam open.

Finish your seams by running a zigzag stitch down each seam allowance. This will prevent your seams from fraying with normal wear and tear.

At the bottom of the strips, you will find that all the strips are different lengths. The original fabrics the strips were cut from are all slightly different widths so that's what happens. Don't worry about it, you will take care of this uneven edge in the next step. Just make sure that you have one straight side and that all of your uneven edges are on the other side

Pick out another strip and sew it to the previous strip as above. Continue piecing strips together like this until your piece measures at least 91-inches long (we decided to go a little further since eventually we are hoping to get a Queen sized bed.) This is the first half of the top. Next, measure the length of your shortest strip. Trim the uneven side of the quilt to the length of your shortest strip. Now you'll have two straight sides!

Piece the second half of the top the same as the first. Once you have 2 91-inch pieces of fabric all sewn together. Pin the two halves right sides together along one of the 91-inch sides.

Sew together with a 5/8-inch seam allowance. Finish your seams by running a zigzag stitch down each seam allowance.

Now you have the top half of your quilt. Look how pretty. Now on to backing.

Backing the Quilt

Start by cutting your muslin into a 99-inch by 89-inch piece and place it on a clean patch of floor. Smooth your muslin down and flatten as much as possible. Place batting in the center of the muslin. Unfold the batting on top of the muslin and smooth it down gently from the center out. Trim it so that it's about 2-inches from the edge of the muslin backing all the way around.
Place your quilt top, right side up, on top of your batting and smooth it out gently from the center, it should be 2-inches from the edge of the batting and 4-inches from the edge of the backing.

Starting from the middle of the quilt mark the top with the Water Soluble Pen every 6 1/2-inches in a grid (vertical and horizontal.)

Thread a tapestry needle with the yarn. Start on one side, at the middle of the quilt. Sew a 1/4-inch stitch through the first marked point on the edge. then pull the yarn through and take another stitch at the next marked point. Sew across an entire row of marked points, leaving slack in between each stitch. At the end of the row cut the yarn, leaving a long tail at each end. Sew every row of marked points. It's very important that you sew through all three layers during this step.

Cut the midpoints of the slack on all your stitches. Tie each stitch tightly with a square knot.

Trim the batting to meet the quilt top by sliding a cutting mat in-between the batting and the backing. Go all the way around the four sides of the quilt top. Lastly, cut the backing so that it's 1 1/2 from the edge of the quilt top all the way around.

Beginning at one of the corners, fold one edge of the backing fabric in half toward the quilt top and press. Fold the perpendicular side in half as well and press.

Fold in the point of the corner at a 45 degree angle .

To finish fold the sides in towards the quilt top once more and pin the edges in place. The sides should meet to form a neat corner. Pin all four sides down in this way, by folding them in half and then over towards the quilt top.

Use a wide zig zag stitch and colored thread to sew along the edge where the binding meets the quilt top. When you come to the corner sew 1/4-inch past the corner and stop, leaving your needle in the fabric. Then take a few back stitches to the corner, leave your needle in down position, pick up the foot and pivot the quilt to begin sewing the next side. Repeat at remaining 3 corners and your done.

Ta da! Our first quilt is finally finished.


  1. This is awesome! I can't believe you made your own quilt--very cool!

  2. erin this is amazing!!!!!!!!!! it looks sooooo good!