Colour Explosion Quilt Tutorial

ETA: I have released a pattern for the twin and queen versions of this quilt (it has the crib version too, for completeness). It is US$10 for all three sizes. You can find it here in the shop.

Hello! Are you having a bright, colourful day? If not, I’ve just the thing for you – a Colour Explosion Quilt (or a Color Explosion Quilt, depending on where you’re tuning in from).
This quilt pattern is for a fun baby quilt I recently made; it measures 36″ x 48″ when finished. It’s quick to sew up and easy to adapt to your colour preferences.

Download the pattern for this quilt here:

Colour Explosion Quilt - a colourful and easy quilt tutorial, perfect for beginners, by Bonjour Quilts
You’ll need 16 fat quarters to make this quilt. I’ve divided my quilt into warm and cool colours, but you could choose whatever you like (this one could work well)*. One thing to remember though, is that you need to make sure there is contrast between the fabrics in each row. Each fabric should also contrast against the triangles it touches in the row either above or below.

Colour Explosion Quilt - a colourful and easy quilt tutorial, perfect for beginners, by Bonjour Quilts

Here’s my first version of the quilt, which shows you what happens if you don’t take care with the contrast:

Photo 17-07-2016, 12 18 24 PM

You can see the second and outermost rows on the cool side of the quilt don’t have adequate contrast – as a result they read as if they are a solid mass of colour. To me this quilt is about movement as much as it’s about colour, so I want the eye to move quickly from the centre outwards. The solid rows were an impediment to this and that’s why they had to go. I think the revised version is much better.

Colour Explosion Quilt - a colourful and easy quilt tutorial, perfect for beginners, by Bonjour Quilts

So, 16 fat quarters. 8 cool and 8 warm. Contrast between fabrics that touch each other.

Each row has a flying geese unit and four HST units. The geese, unfinished, measure 6.5″ x 12.5″ and the HSTs 6.5″ square (they are 6″ x 12″ and 6″ square respectively once sewn into a quilt top).

If you have a particular way you like to make your HST and flying geese blocks, please use that method. I like to make oversized units which I then trim back to size (with Bloc_loc rulers).

I decided to quilt this one with straight lines and I really love how it turned out. I didn’t mark any lines at all, I just used the width of my walking foot as my measure and made friends with the word “organic”. As I came close to my pivot points, I slowed down and used a little ruler to check my distance (the distance from my needle [centred] to the outer edge of my walking foot is half an inch, so I pivoted when I was half an inch out from the next line).

Colour Explosion Quilt - a colourful and easy quilt tutorial, perfect for beginners, by Bonjour Quilts

I quilted lots of V lines in the top and bottom centre portions of the quilt, then either side of that were two U units. Finally, the last little triangles at the very edges of the centre were filled with smaller Vs.

Colour Explosion Quilt - a colourful and easy quilt tutorial, perfect for beginners, by Bonjour Quilts

I used three different colours of thread on each half of the quilt – tangerine, pink, apricot and then turquoise, light blue and teal.

Colour Explosion Quilt - a colourful and easy quilt tutorial, perfect for beginners, by Bonjour Quilts

Colour Explosion Quilt - a colourful and easy quilt tutorial, perfect for beginners, by Bonjour Quilts

For binding, I went with a navy blue. Half a yard will do it, easily (5 strips 2-1/4″ x WOF). If you prefer 2.5″ binding you’ll still be fine with a half yard.

If you’d like this pattern in PDF format, I have it here below for you.

That’s probably enough from me for today! I hope you’re having a great week and find some time for a little (or a lot) of sewing.

Until next time,
Kirsty

*This is an affiliate link, which means if you purchase through the link I receive a small, but much appreciated, commission. This is at no cost to you – Amazon pays for it (thanks, Amazon :). These commissions help keep Bonjour Quilts’ website expenses paid, so thank you!

Colour Explosion Quilt - a colourful and easy quilt tutorial, perfect for beginners, by Bonjour Quilts

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62 thoughts on “Colour Explosion Quilt Tutorial”

  1. This is terrific. Thank you for this. I love reading your thought processes as you went through the pattern. Glad to see I’m not the only one to make oversized HST’s which are trimmed to size. Cheers

    Reply
    • Thanks Ann. I never get HSTs right when trying to make them the exact way. I decided not to fight my natural tendencies and embraced the trim-back method!

      Reply
    • Hi Misty, you would have to change the design as its width/length proportions aren’t suited to queen size. You could make the blocks bigger and then add a row or two extra to each side. It will change the look but still keep the “spirit” of the quilt, I think.

      Reply
  2. What a gorgeous quilt! And thanks so much for walking us through your color decisions–it’s a real help to me since I’m a hesitant beginner :)

    Reply
    • Hi Regina, due to the width/length proportions you’d have to make some changes. You would need to make the blocks bigger and then add a row or two extra to each side to get the width required for a double bed.

      Reply
  3. I am very impressed by your sense of color..excellent directions and especially your photos! Its hard to get great lighting for the whole quilt..I’ve even gone to shooting quilts outdoors even when they’re is snow on the ground!

    Reply
  4. This is absolutely gorgeous. Love the color and movement of this quilt! Can you share what fat quarters you used? From a beginning quilter who is totally in love with your quilt!

    Reply
      • Hi again, Janice

        I’ve referred to my Kona colour chart and the closest colours to what I have used (in order from the red side to the purple) are:
        Sangria
        Red
        Carnation
        Orange
        Coral
        Melon
        Carnation
        Pink
        Baby Blue
        Bahama Blue
        Windsor
        Blue Grass
        Celestial
        Bahama Blue
        Thistle
        Eggplant.

        Reply
  5. Your color combinations are striking. The quilt is visually appealing. This will make a nice “love quilt” for my guild. It’s not too hard and it will give me a lot of opportunity to practice my quilting skills.

    Thank you for the pattern.

    Reply
  6. Kirsty,

    As always I love your tutorial and appreciate your generosity for sharing your work.

    This is a beautiful quilt. Plan to make it next since there is a baby on the way for a lovely couple.

    Reply
  7. The quilt is lovely and the tutorial will be most useful. I have a daughter and her two friends expecting just after Christmas so I will get going using a fat quarter bundle of blue Robert Kaufman solids I have just purchased from my local quilt shop (in Southern Ontario). Thanks again for sharing.

    Have a great day

    Gail

    Reply
  8. Thanks so much for sharing. I live on the Navajo Nation and this looks perfect to make in “Navajo colors”. I’m adding this to my list of quilts to do soon!

    Reply
  9. Hi Kirsty! As someone who has made many, many baby quilts for friends and family, I’m really excited to say that this is the quilt I want to make for MY baby who will be here in March. One basic question, though – can I ask what the size of the quilt is that is in the photos in this blog post? It can’t be 36″ x 48″ – or can it?

    Thank you,
    Kelly

    Reply
  10. I love this quilt. I’ve been struggling with ‘geese’, and this pattern gives me a chance to make them big. Like a school kid using those big crayons, you know? I can’t wait to get started on my version of it. Thank you!

    Reply
  11. Your work is gorgeous and inspiring, thanks for sharing and hopefully I’ll be sending you pictures soon of my color combos…
    Deb Bee Gee

    Reply
  12. Hi! OBSESSED with this design.

    Wanting to make it into a King size, and wondering about yardage.

    Maybe 16 half yards of each? (Without adding any other dimensions, just increasing the size overall.)

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi DelRae, HST stands for half-square triangle, which is one of the units you see up there in the quilt. The first illustration in the post (showing 2 squares sewn together and then cut apart) shows you how to make them.

      Reply
  13. Thank you for including your remarks and pictures of your quilting design. I loved what you did with just straight stitching. So many tutorials just say quilt and bind at the end, no help with that process. As a beginning quilter, I am not yet doing FMQ.

    Reply
  14. I made this top with colors my daughter picked in a king size. Now to figure out how to quilt it on my long arm. I really want to do the straight line. but there are BIG areas that won’t fit. LOL

    Reply
  15. This is gorgeous! I plan to make each of my great grandchildren a quilt for their beds as the move into a bed. I think that one of our little girls would love this! Thank you so much for sharing it ☺️

    Reply
    • Hi Kathleen, I’m actually working on a twin and queen version of this pattern – so pin this page and check back. I’ll also announce it via my email list, so if you’re signed up to that you won’t miss it (plus you’ll get a discount code for it when it’s published).

      Reply
      • Is your pattern available for the twin size? I am very interested in it. My granddaughter is graduating soon and really loves this quilt. Help!

        Reply
  16. So I did everything I thought right to get the PDF of this explosion pattern, but I don’t see where I can open a PDF file for it, please and thank you.

    Reply
  17. Just got a email on this quilt. I wish I had early , just finished a baby quilt. But I love this quilt.. I’m a scrape quilter. I can put a quilt together by looks, but I don’t get what you mean 16 blocks. I have counted. Confused. I know size of pattern and cutting my blocks, but not the 16 blocks

    Reply
  18. This has many possibilities for me. My current quilts are for foster children and milt. vet ladies. Thank you for the inspiration. These will be ease for me to make.

    Reply
    • I don’t think so, Colleen. It comes down to what you like. Some quilters really love borders, others don’t, so you can do whatever makes you happy (and gives you the quilt size you need). There is a twin and queen pattern for this quilt in the pattern shop as well, if you’re looking for larger sizes.

      Reply
      • Thank you, I think I will be purchasing the pattern.
        I am planning to add borders to the Queen size so it hangs over the edge of the bed more, like a bedspread.
        You truly have lovely patterns!

        Reply
    • You certainly can. I would recommend small scale prints or those that are tone on tone. The most important thing is to keep the contrast between the neighbouring colours so that the triangles aren’t washed out in the pattern. Hope that helps!

      Reply

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