Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Royal Baby Quilt SAL- Piecing together the top!

Welcome back to the Royal Baby Sew Along!  Now that you've got all 16 blocks that you'll need to make the quilt, we'll show you how to assemble the quilt top and add the bias tape details. 

Block Orientation

You're going to first want to lay out your blocks like they will be in the quilt top.  Make sure you have plenty of space!


Stripe Orientation
Once you have the blocks laid out in their correct positions, you're going to want to ensure that the stripes within each block are oriented correctly.  Use the following to diagram to help you.   If you're blocks are laid out correctly, there should be a continuous line around the outside of the quilt and the stripes should point inward.  Also, each Block C's stripes should be visually continued by Block D's stripes in the middle of the quilt.

If you are concerned about the appearance of the shot cottons all being the same, pay extra attention to the way that you have each Block A laid out.  Since the warp and the weft of the shot cottons are different colors, the way that you orient the block will show off one color more than another.  With the other blocks, you don't really have a choice about how it's laid out (matching up the stripes forces each block into position), but with Block A you can rotate it 90 degrees and the stripes will all still match up.  If, like me, you aren't too concerned about them matching, you can always wing it and leave it to chance.

Have you got it all laid out to your liking?  Good!  Let's get sewing! 

 As you sew, be sure to line up the seams and take extra care to keep the seams together so that the stripes don't jog from one block to the next.  Pin them if needed while you sew.  If they're not exactly right, we have a fix to hide most of them so they aren't noticeable!


Step 1
Step 1: We're going to start by sewing the blocks from Columns 1 and 2 together by rows. So, grab Block A and Block C from Row 1 and sew them together.  Make sure that as you grab blocks to sew together that you keep them oriented correctly so that the stripes line up like they are supposed to!  Continue by sewing Block B and Block D from Row 2 together, Block C and Block D together from Row 3 and Block A and Block B together from Row 4. 

You can either press the seams open or to one side.  Personally, I like to press them to the side and alternate between rows so that Row 1 is pressed to the left, Row 2 is pressed to the right, and so on.  I find this helpful when it's time to sew the rows together because I can lock those seams together by fitting one seam right next to the other and it helps them not move as much when I'm sewing, which keeps the seams lined up.

Step 2

 Step 2: Next, we'll sew the blocks from Column 3 onto their appropriate rows.  Again, be sure to keep the blocks oriented the right way as you grab them to sew them onto the rows you've already completed!  This is the spot in the quilt top that the seams between blocks won't be hidden, so take extra care to line them up and pin if needed.  Sew Block B from Row 1 to the other side of Block C from row 1.  Continue by sewing Block D and from Row 2 to the other side of Block D from Row 2, Block D from row 3 to the other side of Block D from Row 3, and Block C from Row 4 to the other side of Block B from row 4.  Press the seams however you like. 

Step 3

Step 3: Now we'll need to sew the blocks from column 4 onto their appropriate rows.  So, grab Block A from row 1 and sew it to the other side of Block B from row 1.  Then continue in this fashion by sewing Block C from row 2 to the other side of block D from row 2, sew Block B from row 3 to the other side of Block D from row 3, and finally sew Block A from row 4 to the other side of Block C from row 4.

Let's just take a moment and appreciate that the rows are done! Hurray! 




Step 4 


Step 4: All that's left is to sew the rows together, taking extra care to make sure that the seams line up.  Sew Row 1 to Row 2. 

Step 5




Step 5: Then Sew Row 3 to the other side of Row 2, taking extra care to make sure that the seams line up since this is one of the seams that is not hidden by our bias tape cheat. 

Step 6




Step 6: Then sew Row 4 to the other side of Row 3.


La Voila!

Okay, so we've mentioned a detail in our quilt top that hides the seams in case yours don't come to perfect 90 degree angles and your stripes don't match up exactly from one block to the next.  Of course, even if your blocks match up perfectly (like Gus's quilt!), you may want to include the bias detailing since it really enhances the tartan plaid effect of the quilt top and helps to tie all the blocks together visually. 

In your quilt kit, (or on its way to you since we had you cut it to complete the stripes for Block C), you'll find a piece of Kaffe Fassett's Caterpillar Stripe fabric in Earth (the same one you used for the stripes from Block C), that measures 6” by the width of the fabric.  If you didn't buy a kit from us, you'll need 1/4 yard of fabric to make the bias strips for the quilt top.  You'll need 4 strips of 1/4” bias tape that are 40” long.  We didn't fuss with making them 40” long; we just made them the width of the fabric, sewed them on and then chopped off the extra.  It's up to you!

There are two ways to make bias tape: the traditional way and the gadgety way.  We'll walk you through both methods.  Either way you choose, you'll need to start by cutting your fabric into strips that are 1/2” wide by the length of the fabric (about 42”).  You'll need 4 of them. 

Note that we are using the term 'bias tape' loosely.  For this project, the strips don't need to be cut on the bias; cutting them with the grain of the fabric will do just fine. 

For the traditional method, you'll start with one of your strips with the wrong side facing you (and the right side down on your workspace).  Fold each of the sides of the fabric.   

Bias Fold

Iron it so that it stays that way and that's it!  You'll need to make 4 of these bias tape strips.  The next step is to place it on the quilt and sew it in place, which we'll show you after we go through the gadgety way to make bias tape.

Since it can be really hard to fold consistently down a strip that long (not to mention getting the strip to stay perfectly in place while you sew), there is also a way to make fusible bias tape that is a consistent size and has the added benefit of being able to fuse it lightly to your quilt top so that it stays where you want it while you sew.  If you use this method, be sure that you fuse it where you want it since it can't be pretty tough to remove once you've fused it. 

For this method, you'll need a 1/4” fusible bias tape maker (we use the one from Clover) and some fusible web made for that bias tape maker.  There are instructions that come with the fusible bias tape maker, but we'll repeat them here so that you have them all in one place.  You just insert the fusible web into the upper groove of the bias tape maker with the adhesive side down.  Insert your bias strip fabric into the lower groove and pull the bias strip fabric and the fusible web through the maker.  You can use an awl to get it started so that you can pull it through.  While you pull it through the bias tape maker, it fold your ends over for you and attach the adhesive fusible web.  Once the fabric has passed through the bias tape maker, iron the webbing in place.  Once you've made the whole strip, you just peel off the backer of the fusible web and stick it where you want it.  Then all that's left is to sew it into place!


Fusible web link:

We attached our bias tape along the seam between Column 1 and 2, and another piece between Column  3 and 4.  That way, it hides a lot of our seams so you can't see if they don't match.  Top stitch them into place, using a thread that complements the overall look of the quilt. 

Bias Columns

Once those are in place, attach bias tape between Rows 1 and 2 and another strip between Rows 3 and 4.  Again, top stitch them into place. 

Bias Rows

Now, just sit back and admire your beautiful quilt top! 

Your homework for next week is to acquire the batting of your choice.  You'll need a piece that is at least 2-4 inches larger than your quilt top on each side.  So, if your quilt top measures 40” by 40” right now, you'll need a piece of batting that is 44-48” square.  Check out our selection of Warm & Natural precut batting if you're at a loss for what to use. 

Warm and Natural link:



Next week we'll show you how to make the crown applique detail and give you some ideas for quilting.  We hope to see you then!

Happy Sewing!
Gus and Jenn


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