If you've ever thought of sewing a quilt this is a great one to get started with. It's made from squares and half-square triangles which are quite easy to put together. Plus I've also got plenty of helpful links to guide you through the whole process.
Before we start - here's where I took my inspiration. A manhole cover. Romantic, oui? Just be thankful I photoshopped out the cigarette butt.
This pattern will produce a crib sized quilt (45 x 60 inches) for your baby-wrapping pleasure. You'll need to decide on two contrasting colours (I've gone tangerine and a beige/taupe) and then assemble some fabrics.
I chose 4 different neutrals (a half yard of each) and 7 different tangerines (fat quarters of each). A neat trick is to find a fabric with a repeating pattern in regular rows, like this one:
By just altering the spacing of my cutting, I ended up with three different looking blocks from the one fabric:
Once you've had fun pulling your fabrics together, you can start cutting:
From your tangerine colours you will need a total of 180 x 3 in squares.
From your neutrals you will also need a total of 180 x 3 inch squares.
Then we need to make the 72 half-square triangles (HSTs). What follows is an explanation of how I like to make them, but there are other methods. Get your google on or see this tutorial over at Jennifer's That girl...that quilt.
So, back to the HSTs - you'll need:
36 x 3.5 inch tangerine squares, and
36 x 3.5 inch neutral squares.
Take a neutral 3.5 inch square and draw a line diagonally corner to corner on the wrong side. I use a Hera marker, but a water soluble fabric marker works too. Match this neutral square with one of your 3.5 inch tangerine squares, right sides together.
Then using your marked line as your guide, sew a seam a quarter inch either side of that line.
Chain piecing really speeds the process up here. Feed your units in one after the other to sew one seam, then clip them apart, flip them around and feed them all back in again to sew the other seam. Then you'll have all your squares sewn up lickety-split.
You might notice I've evenly mixed my tangerine squares while my neutrals are still in their individual colour stacks (just lumped on top of each other). This way my tangerine fabrics will be evenly distributed among the neutrals in my HST units. (I didn't want all of one orange fabric ending up sewn to the one neutral.) Then I could just grab from the top of each stack without thinking about it.
Once you've cut apart all your two square units it's time to cut along the marker line to give yourself two HST units.
Press your seams either open or to one side, as you prefer. Remember to press and not 'iron'. Ironing involves running the iron back and forward like you'd iron a shirt, pressing is putting the iron down, shot of steam, lift the iron up and repeat. No moving the iron across the fabric as this stretches and distorts your triangles.
Now I have made these triangles a wee bit larger than the 3 inch finished product required. This is so there is some fat to trim so your HSTs are accurate and make pointy looking points. Yes, it adds another step, but it makes for a good-lookin' product.
Right, so trim/square up your HSTs to 3 inchs either with a square template or, like me, using the 45 degree angle line on your cutting mat:
Now you will have all your units cut and ready to lay out in your chevron pattern. Just follow the grid below, alternating your colours within each chevron in a way that's pleasing to your eye.
All laid out? Good. Break open a block of chocolate and then sew the whole thing together - first join your squares to make rows, then sew the rows together.
Whee! We're on the home stretch now. Now to make a backing. I used the tangerine left overs in mine, between two pieces of IKEA flat sheet. If you're getting jack of it all (or have run out of chocolate) and just want to finish, go with a single large piece of fabric.
What quilting pattern are you going to use? It can be as simple as a large grid, using the seams as a guide or some fancy free motion quilting to highlight your chevrons. I went for a straight-line pattern echoing the chevron shapes.
Make your quilt sandwich with backing, wadding/batting and then your quilt top. You can pin them together (great tutorial on this at Red Pepper Quilts) or you can spray baste them together. I chose to spray baste as my quilting pattern had lots of pivots and I wanted the extra hold as I hauled the quilt through my machine.
Choose the thread colour for quilting - I went with thread to match each fabric colour but you could easily use tangerine on your neutral chevrons and neutral on your tangerine fabric for a different look. Don't forget to consider the back as well. In retrospect I wish I'd only used tangerine thread on the back (bobbin thread) so the quilting stood out even more on my neutral backing. We live and learn, huh?
Once you've quilted it's time to bind. My favourite binding making/attaching tutorials are here: at Crazy Mom Quilts and Red Pepper Quilts.
Once your binding is attached you have to trim excess batting and backing, fold the binding over to enclose the raw edges of the quilt and then secure by sewing. You can machine sew it with precision (Red Pepper Quilts tutorial) or go for a quicker machine sew by using a zigzag stitch (like Rachel in her Stiched in Color tutorial). I chose to hand sew this one.
I choose a thread to match the backing (rather than the binding) and use a long length of it doubled up. I thread the two cut ends through the needle and the uncut loop hangs at the other end. I put my needle through this loop when making the first stitch to secure the thread without having to use a knot. I sew an uneven ladder stitch - about a quarter inch in the binding (I just zip along inside the fold) and then a smaller stitch into the quilt back and batting before heading back up into the binding. And I love using binding clips to hold it all in place; much more friendly than pins.
After it's all done, throw it in the wash to get rid of your water soluble marker, dry and then find a baby to snuggle with. Mmmm, babies.
Even though I'm late I'm going to link this up to the Tangerine Tango Challenge pool, which I first saw over at Ali's blog a.squared.w.
And there you have it. Not hard when the internet is here to guide you! If anyone is still reading, I wish you many chevrons and babies and plenty of time to enjoy them all.
P.S. If you see any boo-boos please let me know.