Are you ready to join me for the adventure of a lifetime? Or at least a fun sewing escapade over the next several weeks? I’m excited to guide you as we make my Optical Illusion quilt from start to finish. All you need is a copy of the Optical Illusion quilt pattern and a can-do attitude!
Optical Illusion made from Geo Pop, 67″ x 88″
Scroll this image to see the lines move!
My original version was sewn up in bold black, white and gray from my Geo Pop fabric line. I had requests to see how it would look in other colorways, so thank goodness for EQ8 software which allowed me to quickly recolor lots of fun combinations!
I made some of them into quilt kits which you can pick up if you desire, or just use them as a color guide and pick something similar from your stash.
Color Play: Choose Light, Medium and Dark
The trick to making the design work is the interplay of the values. Value is just the lightness or darkness of a fabric compared to its neighbors. For this design to work you need three fabrics that read as light, medium and dark.
The illusion works because the medium fabric is ALWAYS used for the skinny strips whereas the light and dark color combos are used for the squares.
Here’s another group of colors that also showcases the illusion with some interesting color combos:
Solids, or fabrics that read as a solid look best for the bold, graphic design, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use prints. Just be sure you choose something that is mostly one color or color family per print. Here’s another color grouping that works well:
Remember, for best results, use the lightest and darkest fabrics are for the squares, with the medium for the skinny strips. To test the value of your fabrics, take a picture set on gray scale from your camera phone. Then you can easily tell which should be classifued as light, medium or dark.
That’s a dozen different combinations that WORK! (Many are available as kits for the Quilt Along.) I have no idea why our brains read it this way, but it sure is cool, don’t ya think??
Watch what happens when the skinny strips are LIGHTER or DARKER than the two colors in the squares. It creates too much contrast and doesn’t give the illusion.
These 4 colorways above and below still make a nice looking modern quilt, so don’t despair if your color combos don’t work exactly as you thought. Part of the fun is learning new things, right??
For further discussion and some more examples, check out this video from my Facebook Live “Ask me Anything” series. Click the image below to play. It’s just under and hour and I go through color combinations as well as other quilty tips and advice asked by the audience. (I do these live sessions each wee k and have started posting them on YouTube so be sure to subscribe!)
In my examples, I’ve used mostly prints that read as one color for the best results. But don’t worry—the modern quilt design looks cool whether the illusion works or not!
Optical Illusion Supply List
Start thinking about the colors and fabrics that you would like to use, and gather up the needed supplies. The quilt pattern comes in three sizes. Click the pattern image below to expand.
Here’s what you need for the Twin size quilt top (67″ x 88″), which is what I made:
- Optical Illusion Quilt Pattern
- 2 3/8 yards fabric #1 (black or main color)
- 2 1/2 yards fabric #2 (white or background color)
- 2 5/8 yards fabric #3 (gray or accent color for skinny strips)
- 5/8 yds fabric for binding
- 5 1/4 yards of any coordinated fabric for backing
- 73″ x 94″ piece of batting (I used Hobbs cotton/wool)
- Thread for piecing and quilting (I recommend Aurifil 50 weight cotton)
- Basic rotary cutting equipment (with self healing mat & ruler sizes)
- Sewing machine in good working order (I love my BERNINA 770QE)
- New sewing needle (I recommend Superior Topstitch needles)
I can’t wait to show you how to quilt the walking foot spiral design!
Quilt Along Schedule
The links below will go live as each part is posted. Bookmark this page and refer back to the schedule anytime in the future to work on this quilt at your own pace.
- Part 1 – Cutting Your Fabrics
- Part 2 – Sewing the Blocks
- Part 3 – Completing the Quilt Top
- Part 4 – Backing and Basting
- Part 5 – Machine Quilting Walking Foot Spirals
- Part 6 – Binding to Finish
SHARing is caring
If you’re an Instagram junkie (like me!), please tag me at @christaquilts and use the hashtag #opticalillusionquilt so I can see what you are doing and cheer you on!
If you’d like to ask questions or need additional help, please participate in my Christa Quilts Group on Facebook. It’s a great place to encourage your fellow makers and get additional ideas for fabric choices and a quilting plan!
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