March 21, 2016

Picnic Quilt Tutorial

I thought I'd write a tutorial of how I approached the construction of my Double G Picnic quilt.  Of course this quilt could be made by simply sewing together a bunch of squares, but I used strip piecing techniques which I felt were quite efficient and might be worth sharing.



My initial cutting plan was almost a disaster.  I had not taken into account the proper orientation of the fabric designs.  I reworked my plans to construct the quilt in a way I would consider "sideways"; this resolved the orientation problem, and it even seemed more efficient in regards to cutting.

The yardage requirements for the top are as follows:
White -- 1.5 yards
Blue print (apples) -- 1.5 yards
Red print (apples) -- 1.5 yards
Dark blue -- 0.5 yards
Dark red -- 0.5 yards
Gray -- 0.75 yards
We will be cutting 5.5-inch WOF (width of fabric) strips from each of these fabrics.  From the white, blue print, and red print, cut 9 strips each.  From the dark blue and dark red, cut 2 strips each.  From the gray, cut 4 strips.

Assemble a strip set as shown below, noting the directionality of the fabrics.  Start by sewing a white strip to a blue print strip, and sewing another white strip to a red print strip.  Then join these two pieces together.  When sewing strip sets, it is helpful to alternate the direction of your sewing for each strip.  For this quilt, if you consistently sew with the darker strip on top, you will automatically alternate the direction (or you can sew with the lighter strip on top, as long as you are consistent).  Press seams toward the print fabrics (the apples).


Repeat to make 4 sets of white - blue - white - red strips.  Lets call these "A" strip sets.  On one of these 4 sets, sew an additional white strip to the red strip.  Do not press this seam open yet.


 Your fourth strip set should look like this:


Now sew your "A" strip sets together in pairs, so that you have one set of 8 strips and one set of 9 strips.  Again, do not press these seams open yet.  Your set of 9 strips should look like this:


Take a strip set to your cutting table and align a ruler so that its horizontal lines align with the seams, and trim off the selvages:



Now cross-cut the strip set into seven 5.5" sections:



You should have seven strips of 8 squares, and seven strips of 9 squares.  Sew strips of 9 end-to-end with strips of 8, maintaining the sequence, so that you end up with seven rows of 17 squares each.  Each should begin and end with a white square.  Press the remaining seams toward the prints.

For "B" strip sets, sew together red - gray - red - dark red strips as shown below, taking careful note of the directionality again.  Make two sets.  Press toward the red print (apples).


Sew these two sets together (sewing a dark red strip to a red print), but do not press open yet.  Trim the selvages as we did with the "A" sets, but this time only cut three 5.5" sections for now.  You should have one remaining red print strip; trim this strip to approximately the height of the remainder of the "B" set (at least 17").  Sew this trimmed strip to the dark red piece at the end of what is left of the "B" set; do not press open yet.  Now cut three more 5.5" sections from the combined "B" set.

From the "B" set, you should have three strips of 8 squares, and three strips of 9 squares. Sew strips of 9 end-to-end with strips of 8, maintaining the sequence, so that you have three rows of 17 squares each.  Each should begin and end with a red print square.  Press the remaining seams toward the prints.



For "C" strip sets, sew together blue - dark blue - blue - gray strips as shown, again taking careful note of the directionality.  Also note the difference in the sequence compared to the "B" sets. Make two "C" sets.  Press toward the blue print (apples).


Sew these two sets together (sewing a gray strip to a blue print), but do not press open yet.  Trim the selvages, and again only cut three 5.5" sections for now.  You should have one remaining blue print strip; trim this strip to approximately the height of the remainder of the "C" set (at least 17").  Sew this trimmed strip to the gray piece at the end of what is left of the "C" set; do not press open yet.  Now cut three more 5.5" sections from the "C" set.

From the "C" set, you should have three strips of 8 squares, and three strips of 9 squares. Sew strips of 9 end-to-end with strips of 8, maintaining the sequence, so that you have three rows of 17 squares each.  Each should begin and end with a blue print square.  Press the remaining seams toward the prints.

The rows of 17 squares (from A, B, and C units) will eventually become the columns of the quilt, but I will still refer to them as rows for now.  Start by sewing rows together as shown below.  The seams should "nest" to help with aligning seams.


Continue joining rows (or columns) to assemble the top as shown in the first photo above.  The resulting quilt is approximately 65" x 85".


If you make a quilt using this tutorial, I'd love to see it.

4 comments:

  1. Great color placement to make the plaid effect! Love the photos too :)

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  2. LOVE this quilt!!! Do you remember what dark blue print you used and also the "white"?? Thanks!
    Kac0037@gmail.com

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! All the prints are from Cotton+Steel. The dark blue is Ghost Saltines in Dark Navy (from Kimberly Kight's Cookie Book), and the "white" is Dotties Cousin in Natural (from Rashida Coleman Hale's Mochi).

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