When I found out my dear friends Nicole and Marty were getting married I knew I had to make them a wedding quilt. Their wedding colors were festive and bright: yellows, reds and pinks so I knew what colors I would use, but I didn't know what the design would be. One day I was walking around my parent's Berkeley, California neighborhood and I saw the most beautiful quilt hanging on a wall through someone's window (I was admiring their garden, I swear I wasn't just walking around peeping in windows!) and was inspired to make this quilt.
To make a 75-inch by 84-inch quilt:
- Twenty to Thirty 1/4 yards of quilt weight fabric in a spectrum ranging from bright pink to pale yellow
- 3 yards of Kona Cotton in Snow
- Wash, dry and press all fabrics.
- Divide the 1/4 yards equally into four sections, so that the colors gradually lead into one another along a spectrum as in the picture above (the pinks gradually transition into the oranges etc):
- Group A: Bright Pink to Orange
- Group B: Orange to Bright Yellow
- Group C: Bright Yellow to Medium Yellow
- Group D: Medium Yellow to Pale Yellow
Cut the colorful 1/4 yards and Kona Cotton as explained below. Keep the prints in spectrum order as pictured above:
- Group A: Cut 25 pieces 12.5-inches X 3.5 inches long. (Note: As you can see above I didn't use an equal amount of each fabric. The ones I really liked I used more of. There are no rules as long as you have 25 pieces).
- Group B: Cut 25 pieces 12.5-inches X 3.5- inches
- Group C: Cut 25 pieces 12.5-inches X 3.5- inches
- Group D: Cut 22 pieces 12.5-inches X 3.5- inches
- Kona Cotton: Cut 96 pieces 12.5-inches X 3.5-inches
The cutting is the most tedious part of this project, I promise! I recommend cutting the colorful prints one day and then the Kona Cotton on another day in order to keep your sanity!
Prepare For Piecing
Make sure that your cut fabric groups (A, B, C, and D) are organized so that it is clear to you which group is which. It is also important that the colors of each group are all going the same way:
- Group A should be arranged so the bright pink pieces at the top of the stack and the orange pieces are on the bottom.
- Group B should have orange on the top and bright yellow on the bottom.
- Group C should have bright yellow at the top and medium yellow at the bottom
- Group D should have medium yellow on top moving to pale yellow at the bottom.
Piece Vertical Strips
Follow the piecing guide below to piece the 25 vertical strips. I pieced my quilt by pinning and sewing one vertical strip at a time so that I wouldn't get confused about the color order while sewing, but you can organize your piecing however you feel comfortable. Always take the top piece from the specified color group as you work your way down the vertical strip.
All seams should be sewn with a 1/4-inch seam allowance.
Download and print this piecing diagram so that you can check off each strip after it's been pieced. Keep the strips in order once you piece them. If you want to be extra organized you could write the strip's number on it's edge with an erasable fabric marker.
A= a piece from Group A
B= a piece from Group B
C= a piece from Group C
D= a piece from Group D
White = Kona Cotton
Cut Vertical Strips
Cut the tops and bottoms of the vertical strips as shown in the diagram above. (For example: strip 2 cut 9-inches from the top and 3-inches from the bottom). Please note that some of the strips are not cut. Download and print the cutting diagram so that you can read the measurements more clearly. Remember to keep the strips oriented so that Group A is at the top and Group D is at the bottom.
After you are done cutting the strips they will all be the same size and you'll be ready to sew the top together!
If you'd like to download and print this diagram, you can do so here.
When piecing long strips like these with a lot of horizontal seams you may find that some of your strips are a bit longer than others. This is a common situation and nothing to worry about, you can compensate for any difference by pinning. Begin by carefully aligning the corners and edges of your strips. Place pins at each corner and then another in the center, then place a pin between each pin. Continue adding pins between pins until your pins are about 2-inches apart.
Sew all seams with a 1/4-inch seam allowance.
Sew strips 1-8:
- Sew strip 1 to the left hand edge of strip 2, keeping both strips are oriented with Group A fabric at the top and Group D fabric at the bottom.
- sew 1-2 to 3
- sew 1-2-3 to 4
- sew 1-2-3-4 to 5
- continue in this manner through strip 8, set aside.
Sew strips 9- 17 as above, set aside.
Sew strips 18-25 as above, set aside.
Sew the first panel (strips 1-8) to the second panel (strips 9-17). Double check that you're sewing strip 8 to strip 9 and going in the correct order. Then sew the last panel (strips 18-25) to the rest of the quilt being sure to sew strip 17 to strip 18. Now you're top is together and you can see the cool zig zag design!
Quilting and Binding
Knowing myself, and knowing that I only had a year to get this present to Nicole and Marty I decided to leave the quilting the the experts! I sent my finished and pressed quilt top, along with a backing fabric and a binding fabric to our friends at Cranberry Quiltworks or (888) 82-QUILT. They do machine quilting on big long arm machines. Once they received it they called me and we discussed what kind of quilting I wanted. They had really helpful suggestions about everything from where to quilt it to what color thread to use. In the end we decided to simply "stitch in the ditch" along the long edges of the strips using an off white thread (that way it would blend with both the white background and the colorful pieces.) They used a thin 100% cotton batting and they even bound the whole thing with a double-fold binding. They sent it back promptly and even included the unused bias binding and backing fabric. I couldn't be happier with the result!