Four of My Quilt Patterns Are Now Available in Print

Thanks to those of you who have been with me for awhile, following along with my journey into pattern creation. It has literally taken me 10 years to finally make the plunge into pattern design. I began with 4 of what I thought would be my most popular designs, and started in January to take the necessary steps to get them into print.

4collage_patterns

I’ve also researched the best ways to get them to you all and here’s what I have come up with:

I chose these outlets to start as that’s what I feel I can manage right now. So far, so good. I’m already getting good traction and I’m sure I’ll add more distribution networks as I grow. I’ve received a nice re-order from Moda/United Notions, which means that local quilt shops are starting to carry them, which is super exciting! Of course, I don’t know which shops, so if you see them “out there in the wild” please let me know. Please feel free to recommend them to your favorite quilt shop, too!

Now, the next step is to start on the next batch of patterns. As always, stay tuned!

Christa’s Soap Box – I’m Jumping Off the Deep End With My Patterns

After literally 10 years of going back and forth on whether I wanted to design and write individual quilt patterns, I’ve finally come to a decision – I’m going to do it! For real! 🙂 I’m jumping on the bandwagon, diving in head first, or whichever metaphor is appropriate for what I’m doing, LOL!

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’ll know that the best way for me to accomplish a given task is to blog about it. So guess what? I’ve decided to take you along with me on this journey as I go from concept to completion.

CQ-PatternsThese cover shots are ok – but there’s no branding!

The background leading up to this decision:

I’ve seriously wanted to do patterns forever but never thought I had the skills to successfully sell my own patterns. I can do all the math and come up with the designs, but the idea of creating a professional looking layout was a huge roadblock for me. It hasn’t stopped me from releasing a limited number of self-designed PDF patterns, but I wasn’t ready to get serious about pattern design until now.

At first I thought I’d learn how to do everything myself, take some online courses, and read a few books on how to create a professionally looking layout. But you know what – I tried that and found that it’s just not fun for me. In the end, I’ve decided to hire a graphic designer (hi Lindsie!) to do that part for me, so I could concentrate on what I love best: designing, writing, and making quilts.

It hit me like a ton of bricks when I realized this is the same reason people hire others to do their machine quilting. Those graphic designers are probably rolling their eyes at me thinking, “but it’s so easy” – the same way I’m out there trying to encourage others, “but machine quilting is so fun!” I will machine quilt in my sleep if I have to, as long as I can avoid having to illustrate and layout my own patterns, LOL!!

patternMy one and only print pattern can use a little help with graphics – don’t you think?

The First Steps

Like I said, I’m going the professional graphic designer route, but you certainly don’t have to! I’m also working with my friend Tina from Mod Geometry to do a little pattern testing on the side. I’ll first update and re-release all of my current PDF patterns, and finish a few that are in various stages of completion. Then I will release the print versions with sales channels to be determined later.

I’m also working with Lindsie to update the look and feel of my logo and blog. Nothing will change functionally, but we’ll work together to create some cohesive branding, which I’m really excited about.

Quilty ChevronsNow that I have the rights back to Colorful Chevrons, I can re-release it myself.

Future Goals

I guess the big pie-in-the-sky dream for any pattern designer is to have a booth at quilt market and get picked up by national distributors. While I’ll certainly consider that for the future, it won’t be the measure of my success in the short term.

For now, I’ll be happy to have professional looking patterns which I can sell to my fabulous readers, use to teach from myself, and offer to other instructors for them to teach from. I get a lot of requests to use my designs as the basis for other teachers’ classes, so If I can help them out with a ready-made pattern at an affordable price, then it’s a win-win for all of us!

Mini_patternGetting published in magazines was a great way to get my feet wet with pattern writing!

A Little Bonus

For a limited time, you can purchase any of my current PDF patterns for just 4.95! When all is said and done, I’ll offer them for the normal going rate once they are all jazzed up. So stock up now while you can!

CQ-PatternsHopefully my collection of patterns will grow over time.

 If you’ve purchased any of my patterns in the past, I’d love to hear your feedback on how I can improve them in the future. Just shoot me an email or leave your comments below.

And if you are thinking of getting into pattern design – don’t wait 10 years like I did!

Make a Modern Mini Quilt with My Mini Churn Dash Pattern

I’ve jumped on the mini quilt bandwagon with one of my latest finishes, Mini Churn Dash. I actually made it over the summer, but I’m able to share it with you now that it’s been published in the latest issue of The Quilting Quarterly by the National Quilting Association.

Mini-QADI was actually able to use this mini for two features in the magazine – the pattern on how to make the mini quilt, and my regular recurring column, Quilt As Desired.

Mini_patternI used a few fabrics from Bonnie & Camille’s Miss Kate line, generously provided to me by Moda Fabrics. I had so much fun making this mini!

I wanted to keep both the quilting and the binding in scale so I reduced my quilting stitch length and I finished it with 1/8″ binding rather than the standard 1/4″. It really wasn’t that hard to do. I used single-fold binding strips that were only 1 1/4″ wide and sewed with 1/8″ seams.

mini_bindingI love using Wonder Clips for binding my quilts. The more clips, the better!

In case you missed the magazine issue, you can purchase the individual pattern here.

I’ve been enjoying seeing quilts made with churn dash blocks and am so glad I was able to combine two trending ideas, mini’s and churn dashes into one quilt. If you are inspired to make your own Mini Churn Dash, I’d love to see it! You can share a picture with my via email, on my flickr page, or on Instagram with the hashtag “minichurndash.”

Christa’s Quilt Along 4.9 – Sea of Squares Binding by Machine

Machine Binding

Today I am going to show you a quicker way to bind your quilt – by machine. Sometimes when I am in a hurry (like this week trying to finish all my quilting tasks before heading off to QuiltCon), a machine binding is just what I need!

It took me a total of 2 hours to bind this quilt using my home sewing machine. I love how it looked outside today with the quilt against the cloudy sky. A cool juxtaposition…

Sea of Squares Finished

Step 1 – Trim Your Quilt (10 Minutes)

Before binding, you want to start with a nicely trimmed edge, flush with your quilt. I don’t leave any batting peaking out. My method ends up with a fully stuffed, flat binding.

Using a large square ruler, I trim up all 4 corners first. If anything is out of alignment, I gently tug it back into place. Then I trim up all the sides with a long ruler.

Trim Corners FirstTrim the Sides


By starting with trimmed corners, I can match up the cutting lines so that things stay straight (as possible). You can throw your trimmings away or recycle them as pillow stuffing. 🙂

Step 2 – Calculate the Length of Binding Needed & Cut Strips (10 Minutes)

My favorite binding is called double fold straight grain binding, and it is super easy to make. You start off with strips of fabric, cut them on the straight of grain, then fold them in half twice to get the double fold. It holds up well especially on quilts that get a lot of use.

Measure the Perimeter

First, measure the perimeter of your quilt and add on 10 inches for corner folding, seams and “insurance.” In this case, my Sea of Squares quilt measures 50″ x 58″. It shrunk about 2 inches due to the intensity of the quilting on it.

I need a total length of 226 inches (50+50+58+58+10). If I divide this by 40 inches (the length of a fabric strip), I end up with 5.65 strips which I round up to 6 binding strips needed for this quilt. I cut all my strips 2.25 inches wide.

Binding Strips

Cut Six 2.25″ Wide Strips

For those of you sewing along using one of my Sea of Squares kits, binding fabric is included.

Step 3 – Sewing the Binding Strips Together (5 Minutes)

Join all of your binding strips into one long piece. Sew the ends on a mitered angle so that the bulk of the seam will be distributed more evenly. Be sure to cut one end of the binding on the same 45 degree angle. Fold the strips wrong sides together and press along the length with a dry iron.

Sew Continuous StripsFirst Fold

Before attaching to the quilt, I will pin part of the binding to one side, starting somewhere in the middle. Loosely walk the binding all the way around the quilt to ensure there will not be any mitered seams falling on the corners of your quilt.

Step 4 – Attaching the Binding to the Quilt (30 Minutes)

Sew from the front.Whether finishing the binding by hand or machine, this part is the same. Using coordinating or matching thread in top and bobbin, sew the binding to the front side of the quilt.

Starting with the binding on the angled end, leave a few inches of unsewn “tail” and use quarter-inch seams.

Be sure that you are sewing with the raw edges of the binding and the raw edges of the quilt in the seam. These will be covered with you flip your binding to the back.

You may wish to add a few pins to secure.

When you near a corner, be sure to mark a line 1/4″ away from the corner. Stop sewing at this line, then turn your quilt 90 degrees and sew off the edge.

Stop 1/4 inch from end.

Sew perpendicular to edge.


Flip the binding strip to create a 45 degree angle, pinch the excess, and then fold it back down. This creates the excess fabric allowing for a nice miter on both front and back of the quilt. Begin sewing the next side starting at the corner of your quilt. Repeat for all 4 corners.

Flip binding up.Flip binding down.


Leave about 6 inches of tail when you finish sewing. This will be joined next to create a continuous binding.

Step 6 – Joining the Ends Together (5 Minutes)

This is probably the trickiest part of the whole binding process. You want the ends to be joined with a nice miter seam that does not give any extra slack.

Leave a Tail

Open the Blunt End


Open both tail ends. Place the angled tail on top of the blunt tail and draw an erasable line along the edge of the angled tail where it meets the blunt end. You will need to account for both seam allowances, so cut 1/2 inch away from this line, keeping the 45 degree angle.

Trace the Angle

Now join the two ends together with 1/4″ seam. Use pins if needed and offset each of the triangle tips by about 1/4″. Finish attaching the binding to the front of the quilt.

Cut 1/2 inch wider.Pin ends and sew.


Step 7 – Binding by Machine (1 Hour)

I have a tendency to pull on my binding as I’m sewing, stretching  it and creating a wavy edge that needs to be blocked. By pinning first, this can eliminate most of the stretching.

Pin Binding

There are several different ways you can finish stitching the binding on by machine. For example, you can stitch in the ditch from the front side but only if you are absolutely sure you are catching the binding on the backside, too. You can stitch using straight lines or decorative stitches. Just sew slowly and be sure to catch the corners as you go around the quilt. A decorative stitch can hide a lot of mistakes!

For Sea of Squares I chose to use a reverse blanket stitch (similar to the regular blanket stitch I used for my machine applique table runner). The stitching won’t line up perfectly on the back but if you use a blending thread it won’t matter too much.

Sea of Squares Binding

Often times I have finished by quilting a decorative stitch from the backside, too.The picture below shows the binding I did on my first quilt-along, the Jolly Jelly Roll Quilt. I used one of my favorite stitches on my machine, a wavy serpentine stitch.

Jolly Jelly Roll QuiltI hope you have enjoyed following along as I made my Sea of Squares Quilt. I learned a lot from it and I encourage you to give this quilt a try. If you are currently working your way through your own version of Sea of Squares, I’d love to see it! You can share photos of your work in progress on my flickr group: Christa’s Quilt Along.

Here is a picture of the back of Sea of Squares, showing all that machine quilted texture.

Backside of Quilt


Complete Quilt-Along Schedule for Sea of Squares
Click any of the links below and follow along at your own pace.

Sharing is Caring

Please share your work in progress in my facebook group: Quilt With Christa . 🙂

Christa’s Quilt Along 4.8 – Sea of Squares Extra Quilting

Can you believe this quilt is almost done? Next week I will show you how to bind it by machine. The following week I will start all over with another brand new quilt-along. Here’s a hint for my next quilt: it requires 1 Jelly Roll and a 1 1/2 yards of background.

Extra Quilting

This week I added tons more quilting to my Sea of Squares quilt. I spent an extra 7 hours gleefully quilting along, adding loads of texture with straight slightly wonky lines using my walking foot. If I had planned ahead I would have quilted about an hour a day for 7 days. Instead, being the procrastinator I am, I did it all in one day, but it was still fun!

Step 1 – Quilting the Sash Rows (1 Hour 45 Minutes)

First I started with what was easy. I quilted parallel lines all going the same direction through all of the skinner sash rows. I worked my way across the quilt, one row at a time, flipping the quilt when there was too much bulk under the machine.

Quilt Parallel Lines

Step 2 – Quilting the Rest of the Rows (5 Hours, 15 Minutes)

Now it’s time to fill in the rest of the space. I quilted the rectangles with lines running perpendicular to the previous quilting lines. For the big squares I alternated directions. I quilted the print squares all one direction, and the solid squares the other way.

Quilt Perpendicular Lines

It was cold that day so I bundled up while quilting!

I wanted to try out the continuous reverse feature on my machine. I can push a button once and it will sew backwards until I push it again to stop (and I don’t have to keep my finger on the button). So I would quilt one line of quilting, then push the reverse button and quilt a line backwards without having to turn the quilt all the way around. It was great!

Reverse Quilting

It took about 1000 yards (2 spools) of thread just for the top. I used the same color in a thinner weight for the bottom so I wouldn’t run out of thread.

Quilting this quilt was very liberating for me. I did not mark the quilting lines because I wanted to add a touch of modernity to the quilt with more organic-looking texture. Once I let go of my perfectionist tendencies and got into the “waviness” of the lines, it set me free to enjoy the process. Jason is always telling me to go bold and let out my inner artist. So now I’m giving you the same permission!

Quitling Makes the Quilt

Be sure to take a look at my flickr group so that you can see the wonderful quilts being made by everyone else. And if you are working through any of my quilt-alongs, I’d love to see your progress!

In fact, Judith shared her version of Sea of Squares in beautiful brown and cream. Notice the wonderful quilting she did with wiggly lines across the surface and quilting motifs in the blocks. I love it when you can really make your quilt your own. Nice job, Judith!

Judith's Sea of Squares

Please share your pictures here:

http://www.flickr.com/groups/christasquiltalong/


Quilt-Along ScheduleLinks are Active at the Completion of Each Step:

Sharing is Caring

Please share your work in progress in my facebook group: Quilt With Christa . 🙂

Christa’s Quilt Along 4.7 – Machine Quilting Sea of Squares

For today’s post I will be showing how to quilt this quilt with a walking foot and straight lines. This is enough quilting to hold the quilt together and give it some definition. It took me a total of 5.5 hours to quilt this part of the quilt

I will be adding more quilting to my quilts because one of my quilting mottos is, “Quilt the heck out of it!” I will show that optional extra quilting next week.

Thread Choice

Thread ChoiceFor this quilt, I would like my quilt to have some definition but I don’t want the stitches to stand out too much. I selected a little bit heavier weight thread – a 40 weight polyester with larger quilting needle (size 90) to go with it.

I wound my bobbins with the same color but in a lightweight 60 weight polyester. I chose a cream thread because there is so much white in the quilt. The cream will blend into the white but It’s not quite as “stark” as white so it won’t be too bright against the blue fabrics.

Warm UpStep 1 – Warm Up Session (15 minutes)

It’s a good idea to practice on a scrap quilt sandwich first, even when quilting straight lines.

This way you can check tension, stitch length, and thread color before you begin.

Step 2 – Anchor Quilting (1 Hour, 15 Minutes)

Before you get into any fancy-shmancy quilting, it’s a good idea to “anchor” your quilt first by quilting a few of the major seam lines. This will help stabilize your quilt. While doing this anchor quilting, you want to stabilize your quilt in all four directions. Think of this as a large grid across the top of your quilt. I can quickly and easily pull out the pinmoors as I quilt.

Begin Quilting

With the quilt laid out horizontally, I started quilting on one edge of the quilt. Using my walking foot as a guide, I stitched about 1/4 inch away from the ditch. I used a slightly longer stitch length and quilted continuously in one long row from the top of the quilt to the bottom. Because the lines go all the way across the quilt and the edges will be covered by the binding, I did not need to lock my stitches or tie them off.

Anchor Quilting

When I got the the end of this first line of quilting, I “scooted”  over a whole block width to the right (leaving less bulk under the machine). I quilted 2 more rows in the same manner.
Don’t quilt the very edges of the quilt yet; you can do that at the end.

Next, it was time to rotate the quilt 180 degrees and quilt some anchor lines on the other half of the quilt. Again, I quilted them about 1 block width apart. Now the quilt has been quilted in 2 directions. By the way, I love the Machingers quilting gloves because they provide a good grip on the quilt while moving and squishing it under the machine.

Anchor Stitching

It’s time to rotate the quilt 90 degrees and quilt all of the vertical anchor lines now. Again, start in the middle and quilt about 3 rows, one block width apart. Then rotate the quilt completely and finish off the other side.

The quilting is now ready to be finished.

Step 2 – Stitching all the Vertical Lines (1 Hour, 45 Minutes)

I like the “stitch near the ditch” pattern so much that I am outlining every seam about 1/4″ away from the center. I’m not too worried about whether my lines are perfectly straight so I didn’t worry about marking. My other quilt motto is, “Finished is better than perfect!”

Quilting Vertical Lines

Now I can start in the middle of the quilt and quilt all of the vertical lines halfway across the quilt edge of the quilt. When there is too much bulk under the machine, I rotate and finish the other side of the quilt.

Step 3 – Quilting all the Horizontal Lines (2 Hours, 15 Minutes)

This section took a little longer because there were more rows to stitch. Again, I quilted half of the lines going one way, then rotated the quilt to stitch the other half.

Quilting Horizontal Lines

On the very last row which was near the edge of my quilt, I actually quilted 1/2″ away from the seam line rather than 1/4″. This is to take into account the seam allowance which will be covered by the binding.

Edge Quilting

This is now enough quilting for this quilt, but as I said at the beginning, I will add more. Join me next week to see how I finish the rest of the quilting.

If you’d like to try something a little jazzier than just straight lines, why not play around with the decorative stitches on your machine?

Wavy Quilting

The picture above shows me quilting my Jolly Jelly Roll Quilt which was my first DIY Quilt Along. I used a wavy serpentine stitch which would also work well for Sea of Squares!


Quilt-Along ScheduleLinks are Active at the Completion of Each Step:

Quilt Kits are available from my shop for a limited time in these two colorways:

Apple Jacks

Apple Jacks

Sea of Squares

Sea of Squares

Modern Dresden Block – Paper Pieced Pattern

Pattern Update – 2018

I have now turned this block into a full-fledged foundation paper pieced pattern.
Click here to purchase the print version.
Click here to purchase the PDF version.

Pieced Primrose Quilt Pattern by Christa Watson

Click here to purchase my Pieced Primrose Quilt Pattern.

Original Design Idea – Modern Dresden

This my contemporary interpretation of a Dresden Plate block.

Modern Dresden in OrangeI started with the idea of “plates” or “wedges” radiating out from a center. But instead of classic curves, I wanted to keep my design straight and angular. So I played around with lines and angles in EQ and this is what I came up with.

And just for the fun of it, here’s the same design in purple. It really sparkles by using lighter hues of the same color at the edges of the blocks.

Modern Dresden in Purple

Christa’s Quilt Along 4.6 – Basting Sea of Squares

I finished my pieced backing from last week and now it’s time to baste Sea of Squares!

The backing took me 2 hours to cut, piece and starch. The basting also took 2 hours, so it was a very pleasant way to spend my day today. 🙂

Pieced Quilt Backing

Sea of Squares Pieced Backing

I follow these four steps whenever I baste a quilt:

(1) Completely secure the backing to a large flat surface. I use two heavy duty utility tables that I got from an office supply store. They are 8′ long and I keep them up all the time. It’s my work surface and my cutting area, plus the kids use them for art projects and homework. So they get a lot of use!
Secure The Backing

  • You can also use just one table if space is limited and move your quilt around as needed. I use office binder clips to secure the two edges of my backing to the edge of the table.
  • Then I use a generous amount of tape to secure the other edges. You want to make sure that your backing extends past your batting and quilt top by at least a couple of inches.

Batting (2) Next, layer your batting on top of your backing and smooth it out nicely.

I am using 1 layer of cotton batting with 1/2 layer of wool – yes, it actually pulls apart. (For my previous quilt, Charming Chevrons, I used a layer of cotton and a full layer of wool. I loved the “heft” of it but it was a bit thick to quilt through. I’ll let you know I like it.)

  • Notice that there is no need to secure the batting layer.

Sea of Squares Quilt

(3)  Grab a helper to gently lay your quilt top onto the center of your batting/backing layer.

If you are doing this solo, you can quarter your quilt instead and unfold it one quarter of a time. But I prefer a helper if I can manage it! If either your top or backing are directional, don’t forget to check to make sure your quilt is oriented correctly before you begin.

Add the PinsCap with Pinmoors


(4) Finally, let the basting begin! I prefer to use flat flower pins and pinmoors to baste. I insert the pins in the quilt first, one section at a time. Then I cap them all with pinmoors.

  • With my table, I can reach all the way to the center of the quilt, so I can baste half of the quilt from one side; then I finish up on the other side.

Pinmoor Basting

A note about Pinmoors…

Pinmoors are a bit pricey but are well worth the investment. If you’d like to try them, I suggest buying one package and baste as much area as you can. Then, baste the rest of the quilt with regular safety pins.

When you are done quilting, take note of how much quicker and easier the pins and pinmoors were to remove versus regular safety pins!

One note of caution – if you move and scrunch your quilt under your machine like I do, watch for any pinmoors that accidentally fall off so you don’t get poked! Be sure to push the pins in far enough so that they are secure.

Now the quilt is ready for quilting next week. Be sure to post pictures of your quilt top, pieced backing or quilting on my flickr group: Christa’s Quilt Along.

You can also share pictures of any of my previous quilt-alongs that you are working on!


Quilt-Along ScheduleLinks are Active at the Completion of Each Step:

Quilt Kits are available for a limited time in these two colorways:

Apple Jacks

Apple Jacks

Sea of Squares

Sea of Squares

Modern Love Mini Quilt Along #2

Thanks for joining me for part 2 of my Love Mini Quilt Along. Links for the supply list and the tutorial schedule are shown at the end of this post.

I am making this table runner which finishes approximately 30″ x 12″. I played around with EQ7 and fabric swatches from BasicGrey’s Kissing Booth to come up with a couple of different color options. My version is shown for the step-by-step photos and at the end.

Love Runner

Step 1 – Cutting the Fabric

  • Cut 4 roughly 4.5″ squares for your letters (red).  You will prepare them in step 2 below. Or you can fussy cut your appliques by using a big chunk of fabric instead.
  • Cut 4 – 5″ squares of background fabric (cream).
  • Cut 13 – 2″ x 5″ rectangles for sashing (red check).
  • Cut 10 – 2″ squares for sashing squares (red).
  • Cut 2 – 2.5″ x 8″ strips for side borders (pink floral).
  • Cut 2 – 2.5″ x 30″ strips for top/bottom borders (pink floral).
  • Cut 3 – 2.25″ x WOF (Width of Fabric) strips for binding.
  • Cut 1 – 14″ x 32″ piece of batting.
  • Cut 1 – 16″ x 34″ piece of fabric for backing.

Step 2 – Preparing the Love Letters

Love ReversedDownload and print of a copy of the letters L-O-V-E (click here). (Or if you’d like to be a little more creative, you can enlarge any font style you like and make your own letters.)

Flip your paper over so that your letters are backwards. Trace the backwards letters onto the paper side of your fusible web.

You may need to use a lightbox to see through the paper. Or print the letters out on transparent vellum for tracing.

Rough cut around each fusible paper letter. Then following the mfg’s instructions, adhere your fusible web to the backside of  your letter fabric. Use this phrase: rough to wrong. The rough (glue) side of the web needs to be stuck to the back (wrong) side of your fabric.

Use Fusible Web

I used Pearl Bracelets fabric for my letters and positioned them to take advantage of the printed design. Cut out the letters following their outlines. Don’t forget to cut out the center of the O! You have now made your own iron-on appliques.

Love Lettters

Step 3 – Assembling the Quilt Top

Sew your inner-quilt pieces (IQ) into 3 separate rows (sash row, block row, sash row):

Sew the Rows

You will notice I have not added the letters yet. I like to add them once the top is done so I can space them just right. Press seams open or towards the sashing fabric.

Add the Borders

Join the rows and add side borders that are trimmed to size. Then add the top and bottom borders and press towards the border fabric.

Lover Runner

Remove the backing from your cut out letters. Following the mfg’s instructions, adhere them to your block backgrounds. You can eyeball them in place, arrange them whimsically, or use a ruler to measure exact placement. It’s up to you!

Next week I will demonstrate you how to applique and quilt all at the same time. The key is to use thin thread that matches your letter fabric. I prefer silk or very thin polyester thread for this, but regular cotton thread is ok, too.

Here is the mini-quilt along schedule. Links will become active once that blog post is done.

Please join my ChristasQuiltAlong flickr group to share pictures of your work-in-progress!

For these other arrangements, just follow the modified steps below.

Love Wall QuiltLove Squared
The vertical love wall banner uses the exact same directions as the table runner except that the letters are arranged vertically instead of horizontally – watch out for directional fabrics and cut them accordingly.


To make the 18″ Love Square wall-hanging or pillow, use these cutting instructions:

  1. Cut 4 – 4.5″ squares for your letters.
  2. Cut 4 – 5″ squares of background fabric.
  3. Cut 12 – 2″ x 5″ rectangles for sashing.
  4. Cut 9 – 2″ squares for sashing squares.
  5. Cut 2 – 2.5″ x 14″ strips for side borders.
  6. Cut 2 – 2.5″ x 18.5″ strips for top/bottom borders (pink floral).
  7. Cut 2 – 2.25″ x WOF (Width of Fabric) strips for binding (for wallhanging only).
  8. Cut 1 – 20″ square piece of batting.
  9. Cut 1 – 22″ square piece of fabric for backing (use muslin or scrap for pillow).

Then sew together so that it looks like the diagram above.

Christa’s Quilt Along 4.5 – Sea of Squares Pieced Backing


Click here to sign up for more fun and free quilt alongs!!


Today I will show you two different ways to make a pieced quilt backing: (1) All from one fabric, or (2) from scraps and chunks. I have a little “cheater” disclaimer here. Since I am on vacation this week, I haven’t actually had time to sew my back together. Most of my tutorial pictures were designed in EQ7, but I’ll whip up my own back in no time when I return!

Step 1 – Measure Your Quilt Top

Sea of Squares Quilt Top

A good rule of thumb is to measure your quilt top and then add 4 inches around the perimeter on all four sides. This means you will take your quilt dimensions and add a total of 8 inches to each number. Let me demonstrate:

My quilt top measures 51″ x 62″ from raw edge to raw edge. I will add 8″ total giving me a needed back dimension of 59″ x 70″.

Step 2 – Calculate the Yardage Needed For One Fabric

The backing width I need is 59 inches as stated above. Rounding that up to the nearest 1/4 yard increment gives me 1.75 yards of fabric (or 63 inches). However, that will give me a length of just 44 inches from selvedge to selvedge (which I round down to 40 inches to account for seam allowances and trimmed edges). But  I need a total length of 70″.

Pieced Back 1 Fabric

Pieced Back 63″ x 80″

To solve this problem, I will need to double the amount of fabric purchased to 3.5 yards. This will allow me to use two 1.75 yard pieces and seam them together to get a total measurement of 63″ wide x 80″ long.

Step 3 – Calculate Pieced Sizes for a Scrappy Backing

If you like an artistic backing like I do, take your diagram above and subdivide it into smaller chunks and random pieces. Use your creativity and fabrics from your stash as a guide. Here’s one hint – if you have a lot of white in your quilt top like mine, try to use lighter fabrics on the back so they don’t show through to the front.

I will “draw” a pieced backing measuring 60″ x 70″ (for easy math) and fill it in like a puzzle, adding random chunks wherever I choose. My diagram looks nice and straight but you can certainly use improve techniques with more wonky lines to achieve a similar effect.

Pieced Back

Just remember that the outer 4-5 inches will be cut off so do not place any smaller chunks near the edges. For my diagram above, I have selected 10 chunks of fabric. Let’s look and see how they would be sewn together:

  • Add chunks 1, 2 and 3 together, then chunk 4
  • Sew 5 & 6 together, then add to piece 1-4
  • Next, sew 7-8 into one unit and 9-10 into another unit
  • Piece both of these sections together
  • Then add the top piece (1-6) to the bottom piece (7-10)

I will press seam allowances open and use a liberal amount of starch to keep everything tidy.

If you would like to follow my diagram exactly, here is how large you would cut each piece:

Pieced Back

  1. 8.5″ x 32.5″
  2. 12.5″ x 32.5″
  3. 20.5″ x 10.5″
  4. 20.5″ x 42.5″
  5. 20.5″ x 10.5″
  6. 20.5″ x 32.5″
  7. 14.5″ x 28.5″
  8. 18.5″ x 28.5″
  9. 28.5″ x 14.5″
  10. 28.5″ x 14.5″

Quilt-Along ScheduleLinks are Active at the Completion of Each Step:

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Please share your work in progress in my facebook group: Quilt With Christa . 🙂