Thursday, 13 January 2011

Cathedral Windows Quilts

Cathedral windows quilts always looked quite difficult to me, but when I tried one I was amazed at how quickly the quilt came together.

The basis of a cathedral windows quilt block is a folded square of fabric.  When these squares are sewn together they create a square shape across the join between two blocks.  A small square of a different fabric (the glass of the cathedral window) is sewn onto this square shape by rolling the edge of the square over the edge of the glass fabric to give a curved edge. 



In the quilted wall hanging in the photo I used a Celtic panel for the main section but then surrounded it with a border made of cathedral windows quilt blocks made in black.

To make the central panel of the cathedral windows quilt I layered wadding, then the Celtic panel and the backing fabric (18" squares of each) with right sides together.  Sew round three and a half sides of this sandwich, leaving a gap to turn it right side out.  Turn it right side out and slipstitch the gap shut.

As I wanted to use cathedral windows blocks for the border of this panel, I needed to have an 18" length of blocks.  This could be made with four 4.1/2" blocks and that would mean four cathedral windows quilt blocks down two sides and six blocks going along the other two sides.

For each block you will need one 9" square of black fabric and one 4" square of contrast fabric for the glass of the cathedral window.

Press a 1/4" seam around the edge of the 9" square and fold the square in half along the diagonal.  Press to get a fold on the diagonal and do the same with the other diagonal.


I've changed to a different fabric in the photos because right and wrong sides don't show up on the black fabric.

Fold the corners in towards the middle, creating another square.

Then fold these corners in to make yet another square.   This is the basic cathedral windows quilt block.

Make a small cross stitch in the middle of the block to hold all the corners together in the middle.  Continue and make as many more of these cathedral windows quilt blocks as you need.

To join two blocks, lay them with the smooth sides together and slipstitch along the edge catching both quilt blocks with your stitching.


You will see a square shape formed across the join of the squares.  This is where you place the contrasting fabric to make the glass of the cathedral window.

To secure the glass fabric, roll back the edge of the square over the top of the glass fabric and slipstitch in place.  This gives you the lovely curved look that makes cathedral windows quilt blocks so special.

Continue adding cathedral windows quilt blocks all the way round your centre point.  Of course, you could always make an entire quilt from the cathedral windows quilt blocks if you don't have a central panel to put a border on.



The instructions in video:




I thought at first that this block was quite extravagant in terms of using a lot of fabric for a small quilt block, but of course the cathedral windows quilt block come complete with its own backing fabric so there is a big saving there.

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