Thursday, 9 May 2013

How to make a patchwork quilt the quick and easy way

Patchwork for dummies

Not all of us have the time or wherewithal to make a patchwork quilt in the traditional hand sewn way, magnificent as they are. This method involves making the templates for a design either traditional or modern and ensuring an exact fit. And then hundreds of hours of hand sewing the pieces together. 

Back in the seventies, when my children were little, we had no money or time but wanted to create something that incorporated all the fabrics used in my bedroom which were very cheaply sourced remnants from markets. 

Firstly measure the total area of the quilt allowing for a seam allowance and cut squares accordingly, it’s advisable to err on the side of generous ie ½” as these seams will get a lot of stress – lively kids and pets - and if too narrow may come apart. Obviously, the larger the squares the quicker the sewing will be.

One of the joys of patchwork is that the designs can be quite random though I prefer to have a mix of designs, ie florals both large blowsy roses and also small rosebud designs, stripes, ginghams etc. the backing fabric could be one of the stripes as this is quite effective when turned back on the bed. 

It’s a good idea to wash the fabrics first to allow for shrinkage as some fabrics shrink more than others and will spoil the quilt when washed as the seams will pucker.

So all you need is a sewing machine, thread, pins, sharp scissors, wadding, chalk for marking, tape measure and an iron for pressing.  As you sew each square together, press the seam flat, this will make for a neater finish to your quilt. 

When you have finished sewing all  the squares together and pressed it with an iron. Lay it flat on the floor and cut the contasting backing fabric to the same size (a really cheap option would be to use a flat sheet as that would give you the width, if you don't have one in the airing cupboard trawl the charity shops)  Do the same with the wadding filling.  Another cheap tip: use an old low tog hollofibre duvet as wadding. Pin three sides together and sew. 

On the fourth – opening side – sew just enough to allow to turn it right side out. And hand finish the closure. 
Hand sew the layers together every couple of squares at the corners, again pin together first at sewing points. And your done. 

Of course there are easier ways, you could just buy one readymade from Linen Lace and Patchwork House but that would be cheating: wouldn’t it?

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