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Molly's Sketchbook: A Wedding Quilt

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

Prepare Fabrics

  • 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 Fabrics


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!

Sew Top

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!

Reader Comments (59)

It's beautiful, Molly!
November 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKay
thanks for the great pattern
November 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLaDonna
This is lovely, Molly. And Cranberry Quiltworks, what a lifesaver! The quilting part of the process terrifies me, but I think I could take on at least the piecing myself. Thanks!
November 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnnabelle
Beautiful quilt Molly your friends will be so happy to receive this one. Very clever instructions!!
November 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMary
This quilt is fantastic! Such wonderful colours and perfect design. Glad you were looking at the people's garden.
November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
That quilt is awesome! The colors are so happy! Can you tell me what size the pattern is for? I did not see it in the directions. Thank you for a beautiful design!
November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSharon
November 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKirsten
This is such a great gift! It's beautiful!
December 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlilli
Wow! Those bright colours sure pop against that stark white. Thanks for sharing.

What are the final dimensions for this quilt?
December 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLori
Lori - I was wondering the same thing. If I'm doing my calculations right I think it's roughly 75" x 84". I have a king size bed and like an oversized cover so I'd need to increase the width to 110" and the length to 98" - so at least one extra row and 11-12 extra columns.
December 11, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterhsp
This is Gorgeous...just gorgeous. Lucky friends.....
February 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlinda
I love this pattern so much! I reproduced it in turquoise, chartreuse and navy. Feel free to take a look here: Thank you so much to the Purl Bee!!
February 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVanessa Vandersande
I'm in love with this quilt! I have been searching for a quilt to make for my nephew when he gets married. (He's finally found someone who he has said is "The one".) So I'm very excited to have come across this. I'm relatively new to quilting (only about a year), so I'm still in need of help and ideas.

I'd love to make this for him and have the colors represent his love of the outdoors and that he lives near Denver. Both he and his girlfriend love hiking, snowboarding, biking, swimming, if it's an outdoor sport they love it.

They live where they see the mountains every day and I'd like to have the colors somehow represent that lifestyle, outdoors, mountains.

So, any thoughts on color choices?

I'm thinking at the "foot" of the quilt start with greens to grays (grass to mountains
The middle - grays to whites (mountains to snow tops)
The "head" - whites to blues (snow tops to sky)

Is that to literal? Any thoughts? I don't mind constructive criticism at all. :)

Thank you all!
March 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrenda
I am obsessed with this! It's gorgeous!!!
April 15, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterandrea larsen
This is Beautiful!!!!!
April 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJamieBEE
Amazing! I love how you explained exactly how to make this quilt! I've been wanting to learn for a while now, it's always great to read through instructions and SEE how it's done. Thanks!!

And the couple receiving this quilt is going to be SO happy! It's a wonderful gift!
April 24, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkatelynjane
OH. WOW. What an amazing and beautiful work of art! Thank you so much for sharing... for taking such amazing photos... and for creating such an amazing record. Simply: WOW!
May 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCMN
wow. absolutely stunningly gorgeous! the colors - the pattern. just perfect!
May 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlisa s
Hi there,
What size is this quilt in the end? Queen?
May 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterf
your quilt is absolutely beautiful. when i first saw it, i knew i wanted to make one of my own. i'd never taken on a project of this magnitude but your instructions were so easy to follow that it took no time at all. much thanks!
here's a link to my quilt:
--my color scheme went from light greens, to blues, to just a touch of purple
June 25, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersmm
I love this quilt. It's absolutely gorgeous. Thank you so much for posting the pattern. I've only just started quilting but once I get better, I can't wait to try it out.
July 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKT
I've been lusting over this quilt since Apartment Therapy posted it a few months ago, and it got me quilting again, for the first time since I was a kid!

I'm linking this on my blog tonight, and listing your page on my inspirations. Thanks for being awesome :)
August 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChelsea
I love this quilt!! I am new to quilting and was looking for the perfect present for one of my best friends in the world. I know she is going to love it if I ever finish!! I I have been cutting fabric for days and it is making my head spin. Probably because this is my first quilt attempt (and I figured I would make 2 since I was already doing it)... but man is that tedious!! Thanks for the design!!
August 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney
This is my first quilt attempt, with color selection and much help from my grandmother. My room isn't quite as pretty as the one in your photograph, but I am very much in love with the pattern.

I have only just started with the actual quilting of the piece, but I'm determined to do it by hand. I'm quilting 1/4" from the seams. I also added a few strips to each side of the quilt, and added length to the top so I had a partial-row of white instead a partial row of color. It hangs off my queen bed so nicely.
September 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBecky
This is also my very first quilting attempt. I've only just finished cutting the colorful fabrics and haven't started the white. I'm sticking with the pink, orange, and yellow color scheme because it's a gift for a friend who loves those colors.

For those of you who have finished the quilt, how many yards of fabric do I need for the backing?

Thank you, Purl Bee, for such a gorgeous quilt...and to PurlSoHo for offering such a fun selection of fabric.

Good luck everyone!
September 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLiza
Thank you so much for this wonderful post! I am a first time (as in this is going to be my first quilt) quilter. I have NO idea where to start. I am stuck at picking out the fabrics. I was wondering if it would be possible to buy the color selections you have chosen all in one big bundle. What I mean is, do you sell bulk fabric for this project? If not, would you be willing to help me find the right fabrics?

Thank you!

Courtney Ann
March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney Ann
Hi Courtney,
We don't have a kit for this project, but we'd be happy to help you put together a selection of make one. Please send us an email at our customer service address at the following link and someone will be glad to help you. Please let them know that you would like to make Molly's Wedding Quilt.
March 15, 2010 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hello! I love your site and look through it often. I LOVE this quilt and am determined to make it. I blogged about my determination on my blog at www.theglasshen.blogspot,com-- come visit and have a look see! Thanks!
June 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTabby
How much is the machine quilting? I looked on that website but didn't see that as a service.. any other options for getting the quilt machine quilted?
June 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJaime
Hi Jaime,
The cost is really dependent on the size of the quilt and how densely you have it quilted. If you get in touch with Gina at Pear Tree she'll be happy to give you an idea of the cost for your project.
June 23, 2010 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Molly, this is so beautiful. I made the top last summer as a quilt for my now six year-old son, and will hand-quilt it this summer. For some reason, I mainly quilt in the warm weather, and knit in the winter. I like to do my projects by hand, hanging out with my family, so I pieced it by hand. It was easy to piece, as you might imagine. I just made a template and cut pieces out with a seam allowance. I did it in solid reds, oranges and yellows against black... sort of Amish, I guess. It's just amazingly beautiful, like lighting flashes. I'm going to quilt it with a non-metalic gold/yellow thread, making boxes just inside the seam allowance for each piece (never hand quilting in the ditch again, after my son's baby quilt -- which took me five years to finish because it was so hard to sew through all those seams!). I'll post pics when I finally finish it. The pattern was perfectly easy to follow, and easy to adapt to the colors I used. Thanks so much! Enormously inspirational.
July 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJess
I made one too! I loved the pattern--very clear and easy to make. It fit on my queen bed, but didn't hang over the edges at all--it would be perfect for a double bed, but it still looks pretty on a queen.

I used tutorials from Elizabeth Hartman's blog to make the sandwich and for the actual quilting: She uses a machine quilting method called stippling, which I find more modern-looking and engaging than quilting in the ditch. (That's just personal preference, of course).

Check mine out here:
December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMia
I would like to make this as a baby quilt. Any suggestions about the amount of fabric I would need?
March 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbarbara
Hi Barbara-

Thanks for your comment. To make a 30-inch by 40-inch (or thereabouts) quilt I would get 1 yard of the white, and at least 1 yard total of prints. You would also need 1 1/4-yards for the back and a 1/2 yard for the binding.

Happy Sewing!- Molly
March 28, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I love this gorgeous quilt! I'm in the process of cutting fabric right now and I can't wait to see how it comes together.

One suggestion I'd make is that 3 yards of the white fabric leaves little room for error in cutting 96 pieces - especially because such a long piece of fabric is unwieldy at first. I wish I had purchased 3.5 yard just so I had a little cushion. I'm going to make it, but just barely.
June 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnna Geletka
July 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChantelle
Love Love Love this, I am going to make it as a gift...I need help getting a King Size though! Can you tell me the finished size of the one you made? Thanks!
August 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTina
This is absolutely stunning. I'm going to be starting my first quilt (Which will also be my first sewing project ever!!) in the next couple months and I can't wait until I'm good enough to create this one!
August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMegan
I love this quilt! I was wondering if you could tell me which fabrics were used for the sample in the picture? Can I buy them from your store?
January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaniela
HI Daniela-

This quilt is over 3 years old so virtually all of the fabrics used are now out of print. If you'd like our help in coming up with something similar we'd be happy to work with you if you stopped by the store (if you're in NYC) or if you called our website, 1-800-597-PURL.

Thank you for your nice comment and question.

January 24, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Which way do you press the seam allowances? If I am going to hand quilt this, would there be sense in pressing the seams to one side and stitching near the ditch on the other side?

How much fabric is needed for the backing and binding?

Thank you for a wonderful gift idea!

March 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrookeB
Hi Brooke-

You will need 5 yards of 45-inch wide fabric for the back, which you will cut into two pieces of 2.5 yards each and stitch together along their long sides. Or, if you get extra wide backing fabric you'll only need 2.5 yards total.

You will need 3/4 of a yard of 45-inch wide binding fabric.

Which way you press your seems is a matter of personal preference. I like to press mine towards the dark side of the seam allowance so you can't see the allowances through the fabric.This also works well for stitching in the ditch, as you mention.

Thanks for your great questions!

March 7, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I used this tutorial as a guide for my very first quilt. This is what compelled me to try my hand at quilting.
Here is the outcome. Thanks for your very inspirational blog.
March 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRachel
I am sure this has been covered, but how much backing material do I need and about how much binding material? This is a wonderful design and I am almost finished has been fun to watch it all come together.
May 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKelli
Hi Kelli-

If you use an extra wide muslin like the one linked below you will need 2 1/2 yards:

If you use a 44-inch wide fabric and piece it together you will 6 yards (two 3-yard lengths sewn together along their long sides.).

Thank you so much for your question. I hope the quilt comes out great!

May 7, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Love this quilt! It's the first bed-sized quilt I've made. Here's mine!
May 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnna
Hi Anna-

Too cool! Thanks for sharing!

May 24, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
hi Molly - thanks so much for this tutorial. I managed to complete the wavy quilt and posted it so that you can see!
June 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterhermien
What a lovely quilt
My daughter and son in law want to have this quilt for there future home in 2013 so i'm gonna start this month and thanks for your clear and friendly discription, thanks a lot from a quilt friend from the Netherlands
June 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHenny hagebeuk
I made this quilt! Thank you so much for the easy instructions. It looks beautiful on my bed. I stuck to the color pattern because it was just so cheery.

Here's where I posted it:

I did add a full row on the bottom and another eight strips on the side so it would fall nicely over my queen size bed.

Thanks, again! It was my first big quilt :)
December 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

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