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Let's Start Sewing!
Welcome to Part Three of this three part series. Today the fun begins as we start piecing our Riley Blake Designs "All Wrapped Up" throw quilt together using the wonderful Riley Blake Designs "Comfort and Joy" fabric kit.
First, let's go over a few basic rules for piecing. The two most important things that you need to keep in mind when making any quilt is to be consistent in your cutting and consistent in your seam allowance. If you have used the Cricut Maker to cut your pieces, then you already have consistency with your cutting. In general, all your seams will be 1/4" in width unless the pattern tells you otherwise. Using a 1/4" piecing foot on your sewing machine will help you be consistent with your seams.
A 2.0mm stitch length is most commonly used for piecing a quilt top and back stitching is not necessary. You will also want to try chain piecing whenever you can. Chain piecing is simply feeding your pieces under the presser foot one at a time without breaking your stitches. For example, in this quilt, I sewed all my triangle pieces together at the same time by placing each of the triangle units right sides together and running them under my presser foot one after the other.
Piecing the Blocks Together
The blocks for this quilt will be assembled in two separate strips. The top strip forms the bow and the bottom strip forms the gift box.
Starting with the top strip, you will sew the triangle units together and then you will move on to sewing the two small rectangular pieces together which forms the bow. On both units, press your seam towards the darker fabric. For the bottom strip, sew one of the large rectangular pieces to each side of the center strip and press the seams away from the center strip toward the outside of the block. I love using the Easy Press Mat to iron my seams. This is how your pieces should look now:
Moving back to the top strip, sew a triangle unit to each side of the rectangular unit. Be careful of the orientation of the triangle unit to the rectangle unit. This will form the bow. Next, sew a longer white rectangular piece to each side of the bow unit. Once completed, press one side of the triangular unit toward the rectangle unit and the other side of the triangle unit toward the outer edge. This is how your units should look now:
Now that you have both your top and bottom strips sewn together for your block, you are ready to sew the two strips together. Place the top strip over the bottom strip with right sides together. The seams from the center of the bow and the center strip on the gift box have opposing seams which should help both the top and bottom strips to lock together nicely. Sew these two strips together with the same 1/4" seam.
Sewing the Sashing Together
Begin by sewing your squares placing them right sides together. This is another good time to chain piece. When you are done sewing these units together, iron your seams towards the darker fabric.
Next, you will take two of these units and sew them together. Place them so that the seams are ironed in opposite directions. This will help the seams to lock together. After sewing the two units together, press the seam to one side.
Last, you will take your completed unit with the four squares and sew it to one of the white rectangular sashing pieces. I actually chain pieced all these units together.
Sewing the Columns of Gift Boxes and Sashing
This next step is exciting because we actually start seeing the quilt come together. Now, we will begin to sew the gift boxes and sashing into columns. Keep in mind that you have two different size gift boxes and three different size white rectangles that will be sewn in-between the gift boxes. For both the gift box and sashing columns, it is very important to refer to the chart in your general instructions for proper placement when sewing the units together.
Sewing the Columns of Gift Boxes and Sashing Together
I find the best way to sew two columns together is to find the quarter points of each column. To do this, you will take a column and fold it in half, and then in half again. The column should now be in four equal parts. Put pins where the columns are folded. Do this to both the gift box column and the sashing column. Then you will pin both columns together by first matching up the quarter points where you pinned and then you can add as many pins in-between as you feel are needed. This will give you the best result in lining up the columns. Again, make sure you follow the diagram in the general instructions for sewing all the columns together.
Adding the Inner and Outer Borders
This quilt has both an inner and outer border. I have deviated from the pattern instructions for sewing on my borders. The pattern instructs you to sew long strips of the borders together which are longer than the actual sides of the quilt. You would then sew these long strips to each side and cut off the excess.
Instead, I measure the actual length of the sides, top and bottom of the quilt and I prepare a strip that is the exact length needed. I quarter both the body of the quilt and the border strips exactly the way we did when we sewed together the columns of gift boxes and sashing. I believe this gives you a much better end result and your quilt is more likely to be square. If you have sewed and measured properly the left and right sides should be the same measurement and the top and bottom of the quilt should also be the same measurement.
Preparing to Quilt
After your borders are sewn on, you can start layering your quilt together. Prepare a backing that is approximately 7"- 8" larger than your quilt top. Cut your batting the same size as the backing. I like to find a large area where I can layer the top, batting and back together. I then hand baste the layers with a long running stitch in rows that are about 3" - 4" apart.
Once my basting was completed, I was ready to start quilting. I used my domestic sewing machine with a walking foot attached and set my stitch length to 3.0mm. I did a very basic quilting by stitching in the ditch on all my seams. My last step was to prepare and sew on the binding. The result is a beautifully finished quilt that will give many years of enjoyment!
Making any quilt is a labor of love. As you can see many steps are involved which require a big time commitment. The return on your investment of time and materials will give many others years of fond memories whether you hang your quilt to decorate your home or choose to just snuggle under it.
Using the Cricut Maker and Riley Blake Designs quilting patterns will ease the process of creating your beautiful heirloom, by giving you pieces that are consistently cut making piecing easier. It will also free you up to work on other parts of the quilt such as preparing your borders and backing while the Maker cuts the individual pieces for you. The stress that cutting puts on your hands will be eliminated; something my aging hands appreciates these days. All in all, the Maker is a wonderful new tool that surely adds to the pleasure and convenience of sewing!
If you would like to learn more, please check out posts from other fabulous quilters who have also used the Cricut Maker and Riley Blake Designs: