02 April 2008

circle quilt tutorial

This post is for Steph. I don't know when we will ever get together with both our crazy lives - so instead of teaching you how to make it I made a step by step tutorial for you to follow.

- this is a very long post and will be very boring if you don't like to quilt!

This tutorial is for a quilt that I made for my sister in law Rhonda and baby Lucy, and my best friend Stephanie and baby Finley. I made the quilt for Rhonda almost three years ago and had enough material left over to make Steph one this last fall. Both of them get compliments on it all the time, which is funny to me because it is sooo easy to make. Here is a picture of Steph's quilt. (You can click on all the pics to get a huge look at them if you want!)

First a little disclaimer. This is my first attempt at writing a tutorial for anything, so sorry if I forgot something or ramble on too much.
I enjoy quilting, but I am more into get it done and enjoy it instead of do it perfect. Especially with this quilt. I like it when it puckers, or the circles don't match up just right. Also, I don't like to prewash cotton. I like it to pull a bit after it is done and washed. Makes the quilt look older. So with that said, here we go.

I haveo nly used cotton for this quilt. Use whatever you want, but I like the way cotton frays just a tiny bit. For the quilt I am going to show you I used scraps that someone had given me. Not sure how the all green and only 3 different fabrics will turn out, but at least you will be able to get the general idea. For Rhonda and Steph's quilts I used 6 different patterned materials for the circles, and a striped material for the sashing.
I 'm not sure how much material to tell you to buy, not good at figuring that out. Sorry. For this quilt I used six fat quarters for the circles (two of each of the three patterns). And I used nine 12x12 white or light colored squares. My squares are all the same fabric, but my mom has made this quilt with squares all the same tones but different patterns/fabrics. Do whatever you want. Then you will need fabric for the binding and sashing. You could also add three more sets of circles and three squares to make it rectangle instead of square. Wow I am talking A LOT already. Sorry.
Okay, so get a cereal box or card stock and draw 3 circles - a 10 inch, 7 inch, and 4 inch. I went back to junior high math days and used a protractor to draw my circles.
Then trace the circles onto your fabric with a washable sewing pencil or marker. Cut out 9 of each size circle. I like to cut my smallest circles from the the inside of my biggest ones, saves fabric. Also cut out nine 12x12 inch squares. I highly recommend a cutting mat and rotary cutter for this if you have it! Here are some of my circles.
Now the fun part. Put a big circle on the square and sew it on around he outer edge of the circle. I don't measure, just eye ball it. Again, I like it when each circle is off a bit and not all the same. But measure if you want to. I use about a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Gives it enough to flip up and fray a bit. I usually just follow around with my presser foot on the circle edge, but I'm not too exact.
Then do the same with a different color/pattern of the 7 inch circle on top of the 9 inch circle. Mix it up anyway you want. I pretty much just go random with this.
And then the 4 inch circle, again totally random color choice. (easier to be random on the other ones I made because I had more to choose from. Not to much option with only 3 material choices!)
When you have sew all the circles onto all the squares cut each square in to even quarters (will end up with 4 6x6 inch squares). I pile mine together in sets so I know what I have to pick from for the next step.
Go random or with a pattern and set it all out how the quilt will be. I like to leave mine near my sewing machine, usually on the floor beside it. Obviously Roman is no where near it, learned that the hard way. I like to then pick up each square and sew it together, then lay it back down. A bit more time consuming, going back and forth to the sewing machine, but it keeps me from messing up the pattern. Learned that the hard way too.
So pick up the 4 small squares that will make 1 big square. Sew two together and then the other two together. (1/4 inch seam allowance for everything from here on out) Then press the seams. I never use pins here. I am very anti pins. Too impatient.
Then sew those two rectangles together to make your big square and press the seams. Keep going until they are all done. I don't pin here either. I'm lazy. I just match up the center seams instead of the edges and then sew. My edges never seem to be even, but I really don't care! The quilt turns out just fine.
Then sew three of the big squares together to make a strip. You will have 3 strips of 3 squares. Again, I just match the seams instead of pinning.

Now it's time to sew the strip together. At this point I give in and break out the pins. I match all the seams, on the top and then the middle on each side. Then I pin to keep it in place and sew and press. Then do the same for the last strip.
And there you have it, the quilt top! Now you can add sashing to make it as big as you want. Then the binding, and then quilt it, and had sew on the binding, and you got yourself a quilt! I usually leave the circles alone and quilt in the white area or in the ditch over the entire quilt. I like to wash it too once I am done, gives a better effect of what it will look like, especially if you are giving it for a gift.

Here is my quilt top. I used a small white sashing, only 3 inches. It was a bit bigger on the other quilts - it's really just to get the quilt to the finished size you want. And then I sewed together different sizes of green strips at random to make my binding. I like a 3 inch binding. I think a lot of people sew their binding on after quilting, but I learned to do it first. So do it how you want to. Unfortunately I don't have any batting right now! So the quilt will have to stay as is until I find a use for it and get some batting. (finding out in a few weeks if this little belly has a boy or a girl in it - maybe that will be the motivation I need!)

I usually just lay out my binding around the sides of the quilt to see how much I need. But you can figure it out by measuring the quilt, adding length and the height, and multiplying by 2. So if I had a quilt that was 8 inches x 10 inches, that equals 18. 18 x 2 = 36. Then add 12 inches for mitering corners, seam allowance etc. So I need a binding strip that is 48 inches long.

And here are a few tutorials I have found about how to bind a quilt. This one has real pictures of each step. This one is great simply because it is Heather Baily! And this one is my favorite method for finishing off the binding - a bit different method that the other two.

And just in case you need it, here is a little tutorial on the quilt sandwich - basting front, batting, and back together so you can quilt. I like how she pins the backing to the carpet to keep it flat. I have also heard of using masking tape to do the same thing.

So happy circle quilting! I would love to see any pictures of any finished quilts!


Just Rhonda said...

Yep. I love that one!!!!! I am ONE day going to make one using this pattern. LOVE it!

Susie said...

Ok I didn't read it all, but I LOVE that quilt. Nice to know that when I am ready to give it a try I'll just look it up here. Thanks oh talented & crafty one he he

Stephanie M Larsen said...

what more can I say than, your the cats pajamas!! Great tutorial, you talked just the perfect amount and I think I get it, great job. I still want you to come up and we can have a quilting party together. In the mean time I'm on the lookout for the materials I want. With I was going to be here when you have your conference, but since I'm not your just going to have to come up again, or I can go down I suppose, but it's torture for me and anyone in close proximity to my 3 children when they travel. :)

Purple and Paisley said...

i just love your circle quilt! i especially love that the circles have raw edges to fray! thank you so much for the tutorial...

wayfarer said...

Love this quilt! I can't wait to try it in primary colors for my kiddo! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I've never seen a circle quilt like this before, I am so ready to go try this out! Thanks for the great tutorial and the inspiration. I'm seriously impatient too, it's really hard to believe I chose to fall in love with quilting, lol...so these kinds of tricks and tips are awesome! Thank you again.

Anonymous said...

Thank you-I have been searching for a quilt that speaks to me for our bed. I found it!

Anonymous said...

My sis at Purple and Paisley showed me this, and I LOVE IT!! To see what I made, visit my blog!! Thanks for a great project to do! :)

Megan said...

We don't know each other but i stumbled across your blog through a friends blog and I LOVED your pattern. I tried it out and it was so easy and fun! I have posted pictures of the top of it on my blog. My mom and sister now are ready to make one themselves! THANK YOU!

Anonymous said...

I just finished this quilt inspired by this post. It was fun and I love the results. It's posted at my blog if you want to take a peek. There are several posts about it showing the progress.


Bec Clarke said...

I know you posted this a while ago but I just found it and I wanted to say thank you. I have found it really helpful and I REALLY want to make one.

Christal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shishi said...

Hi there, I am new at quilting and this pattern is just what I'm looking for. I'm going to start it tonight.

I think your tutorial is very clear. Thanks for this.


Anonymous said...

I am looking through many different cirlces on google and this is the best one as of yet for quick explanation and excellent photos(for examples)

thank you.

Anonymous said...

Wow, thank you,thank you,thank you. I found this tutorial and was smitten. I spent the last two weekends doing the quilt shop hop in CT, picking up lots and lots of batiks for a baby quilt - it will be phenomenal. You are a real goddess for posting this, I am thrilled to be working on something so easy and spectacular at the same time! As a P.S. someone in my Fibre Arts group told me last week that when she makes a quilt for a baby girl, she does a miniature one at the same time, as her first doll quilt. I can hardly wait to see the faces at the shower when the mother unwraps it! Again, thank you a thousand times over, you are the BEST!