Thursday, 13 January 2011

Cathedral Windows Quilts Machine Sewn

Do you know, I had always thought of Cathedral Windows quilts as totally handmade - something to work on during the train journey or when curled up by the fire.  So I was really surprised when I found out that  cathedral windows quilts can be partly machine sewn.  I'm amazed at how much it speeds up the process.  It isn't always possible to use this method - for instance I wouldn't have been able to use it in the border for the celtic wall hanging in yesterday's post because that needed to be hand sewn to the centre panel

So instead I made a simple quilted wall hanging using only four quilt blocks in order to introduce the basics of cathedral windows quilts machine sewn.  For each of these I began with a 14" fabric square.  The size was chosen so that I could get three squares from one width of fabric with minimal waste.

To make the quilted wall hanging you will need:
four black 14" squares
four coloured 4" squares (the two blues in the photo)
eight red 4" squares for the triangular edges

Fold the 14" square in half with right sides together and sew up each side to make a pouch.  I've used a different fabric here for illustration because it's impossible to tell right side from wrong side with the black fabric.

Bring the two seams together at the open end of the pouch and smooth the two pieces of fabric together across the top of the pouch.

Sew across the top of the pouch, leaving a gap of at least 2" for turning the pouch right side out.  I know it makes it more fiddly to sew, but it is best to leave the gap half way across one of the sides rather than at either end.

Turn the pouch right side out, gently pressing out the corners from the inside.  Press.

Fold each corner in to the middle and press to mark the folds - watch out for scorched fingers at this stage!  This is the basic cathedral windows quilt block.  The contrasting fabric for the 'glass' part of the window cannot be added until you have several cathedral windows blocks joined together.

Joining them together is simple but requires care.  Place two blocks together with the flat sides facing, folded sides facing out.  Unfold the flap on the edge that you wish to join of each square.  Match the two folds exactly and sew along the fold line to join the two flaps together.

Sometimes it's clearer on video:

For this cathedral windows quilted wall hanging I needed only four quilt blocks so I joined them together in pairs and then foined the pairs together to make a four blocks square.

At this stage you can fold all the flaps back in to the middle and slipstitch them in place.  You will see how a square has formed across the join between two squares.  This is where you will place your contrasting fabric.

Measure the length of the side of this square.  The books say to use this measurement to cut the contrasting fabric, but I find it easier to use a square 1/8" smaller all the way round.  that means cutting a square 1/4" smaller than the size of the square you are matching.

Place the contrasting fabric in the middle of the square.  Beginning in one corner, roll down the edge of the background square over the contrasting fabric and slipstitch in pleace.

To fill in the triangles at the edges and create a border, fold the eight 4" red squares in half along the diagonal and press.   Place each triangle with the folded edge along the bottom.  Roll back the background black fabric over the edge of the triangle and slipstitch in place.

As this is for a wall hanging, I haven't stitched across the bottom of the triangle, but if I was making a cathedral windows quilt I would stitch the triangles bases to secure them.

Thanks for visiting my blog.
You'll find more ideas for quilting at how to quilt.
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