How To Make A Chevron Quilt – Full Tutorial

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Chevron is in!  It’s a simple zig-zag pattern that’s everywhere.  In quilting, there are a lot of different ways to make a chevron quilt but I chose to to use half square triangles (HST) because it was the most popular option I saw when researching how to do it.

To learn how to create HST’s and/or create HST’s with directional fabric, see my detailed tutorial about it here.

This post is about how I sewed the half square triangles together and made the entire quilt.  Literally, every little step from start to finish I tried to include!

Here’s how you get started: First, decide how you’re going to lay your pattern down.  I found this helpful template for FREE on Craftsy.  With it, I was able to create a concrete image of the quilt I was going for.  I brought this piece of paper with me to the fabric store and it helped me so much because I knew what colour palette I was looking for and roughly how much fabric I would need.  My finished quilt changed slightly as I went along but this template was a great starting point.

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After I made my HST’s, I completed the following steps.

This is how I sewed the squares together: Step 1:  Lay out your HST’s so that colours touch colours and white touches white in a chevron pattern (zig-zag pattern.)

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Step 2:  Sew the half square triangles into horizontal rows with a 1/4 seam allowance. Press the seams with a hot iron.  This row has all of the vertical seams pressed to the right.

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The row below has all of the vertical seams pressed to the left.

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Continue sewing the rows and pressing the vertical seams all to the right followed by a row with seams all to the left.

Step 3:  Attach 2 rows together with a 1/4 seam.  To do this, align the raw edges and pin together.  Since one vertical seam goes to the right and the other goes to the left, they create a little ridge that allows them to nest up together like so. photo 3

Once sewn together, press the seam you just made.  I chose to press these seams towards the top of the quilt.  I like to spray my seams with “best press.”  It really helps to make crisp, neat seams when you iron over it.

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Continue sewing 2 rows together at a time and before you know it, you have a fleet of chevron zig zags.

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Step 4:  Sew the rows you just made together like you did in step 3 until all of the rows are attached and you have a quilt top!

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But….At this point, I decided I wanted 8 squares across instead of only 7, so I added them on.  I also decided I wanted to add a white border.  Typical me.  I can never just stick to the plan.

This is how I added the border: Step 1:  Cut 4 (2.5″ x width of fabric) strips and sew them together like you would a binding strip.

Here’s the fastest tutorial on how to do make a binding strip:

A)  Lay ends of 2 strips, right sides together, like a plus sign.

B)  Attach strips together sewing across corner to corner.

C)  Trim with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

D)  Press open.

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Step 2:  Sew a strip on the top of the quilt and the bottom of the quilt with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Trim excess.

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Sew strips on the sides of the quilt in the same fashion (picture not available.) Now you’re ready to make your “quilt sandwich” which is the quilt top, batting in the middle and a quilt bottom sewn together…like a sandwich.

This is how I made the quilt sandwich:

Step 1: Lay down your backing fabric wrong side up.

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Step 2:  Lay your batting on top.  Smooooooth it out!  (This batting is way too big but the smaller package available was just was just a little too small.)

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Step 3: Lay your quilt top on top and smooooooth it out some more.

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As you can see, there is too much batting so I trimmed it.  They say to have at least 2″ extra of backing and batting outside of your quilt top before you sew it together.  I had about 4″ because I was afraid I’d screw it up!

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Step 4:  Baste your quilt sandwich (meaning, attach all the layers you just laid down together.)  There are a few different methods of doing this.  I used quilting safety pins.  I only pinned through the coloured fabrics because I didn’t want the pin holes to show after I took them out of the white fabric.

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Now you’re actually ready to quilt!

This is how I quilted my quilt: There are endless possibilities with how you quilt your blanket together. Firstly, I “stitched in the ditch.”  All this means is that you sew along an already existing seam so you can’t see the stitch on the front of the quilt (but you can see it on the back of the quilt.)

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After, I stitched lines about 1/4′ above the coloured chevron zig-zags and 1/4″ below the coloured zig-zags.  These lines are visible from the front and back of the quilt.

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Look!  It’s really coming together now:

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Before long…wait, who am I kidding, these quilts take some time…but after you’re done that, you’re ready to trim off the excess and attach the binding!

This is how I trimmed the excess:

Easy!  Use a ruler and a rotary cutter and trim.

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So fresh and so clean, clean!

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Last step, and it’s an important one, the binding!  The binding is a strip of fabric that enclosed the edges of your quilt sandwich.

This is how I made and assembled the binding:

*I am choosing to do my binding strips in white which might make some steps difficult to see…but I’ll explain so hopefully you get the idea!

Step 1:  Cut strips that are 2.5″ x the width of fabric.  (Strips of a different width can be made – it’s personal preference.)  How do you know when you have enough strips?  Measure the perimeter of your quilt and add approx 12-18″ of extra length to be sure you have enough.  I cut 5 strips.

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Step 2:  Sew your binding strips together and press the same way as you sewed them together for the border.  Here’s the picture again for good measure.

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Step 3: Press your long binding strip in half, wrong sides together.

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Step 4:  Prepare the end of your binding strip for closure.  Cut end of strip at a 45 degree angle.  Fold over 1/4″ and press

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Step 5:  Pin your binding along one of the edges of the front of your quilt.  (I used binding clips – they make it so easy!)  Start with pinning the binding end you just cut with the 45 degree angle.  The raw edges of the binding should meet the raw edge of the quilt top.

Step 6:  Begin sewing your binding to the quilt top with a 1/4″ seam.  I’m using a 1/4″ foot on my sewing machine. Start here….

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Stop here…

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Start here again (about 2 inches away from where you just stopped) and sew until you’re approx 1/4″ away from the corner with a 1/4″ seam.

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So stop about there…you’re almost at the corner.  About 1/4″ away.

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Step 7:  Turn your quilt 90 degrees and sew right off the edge!

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Step 8:  Now you’re ready for the corner.  Fold the binding strip back on itself.  Press seam down with your fingers (or an iron if you’re fancy.)

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Step 9: Fold the binding back again to create a 45 degree line (mitred corner) and continue pinning along the raw edge of the quilt. Continue this process (stitching to almost the corner, turning 90 degrees and sewing off, folding the corner) all the way around your quilt, stopping when you’re about 4″ away from where you initially started.

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See, I stopped about 4″ away form where I started…

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Step 7:  Trim your tail so it’s about 2″ longer than where the binding starts.  (There might be a better way to do this part!  I just went with what made sense to me.)

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Step 8:  Snuggle the end underneath the 45 degree opening you made.  Make sure everything looks flat.

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Step 9:  Sew across.  Everything is attached now but you’re not done yet!

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Step 10:  Press binding open/away from the front of the quilt and fold it around to the back.  With the front of the quilt still facing you, clip or pin he binding into place making sure the binding is covering the 1/4″ stitch line you just made.

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See how it wraps around to the back here?

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Make sure the corners are folded nicely too!

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Look, all clipped!

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Step 11: With the top of the quilt facing up, “stitch in the ditch” all the way around making sure you are piercing through the binding that’s folded around the back of your quilt.  Go all the way around the quilt.

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Step 12:  Repeat.  Just kidding..You’re done!!!

Can you believe it? And that my friends, is how you make a quilt, particularly, a chevron quilt! I really hope you find this useful and give it a try.  Please feel free to send feedback or comment.

I hope baby girl likes it!  xo

Happy Quilting,

-AFriendLikeBen-

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How To Sew Half Square Triangles (HST) with Directional Fabric

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Exciting news!  My hubby and I are expecting!  We found out we’re having a girl who is due in early September.  We’re very happy.  Obviously I love to sew, so I wanted to make a baby quilt to celebrate and to use as the first item in our nursery.  Being fairly new to quilting, I heard a baby chevron quilt using half-square triangles (also called HST) was a realistic quilt to make.  As beginner as it was, I ran into a few problems because of the directional fabric I chose!  This post is about how to make half-square triangles and also about how to make them with directional fabric.

See the aqua fabric with the bird cages?  See the pink fabric with the leaves?  Those are considered directional fabrics because the print is going in one or 2 directions.  The other fabrics are non-directional because you can lay them down in any way and the direction doesn’t matter.  (Fabrics I used are all Keepsake Calico Prints from Joanne.)  For quilting, directional fabric can be tricky to use… hence what this post is all about!

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To start, let’s all be on the same page with how to make a half-square triangle (HST).  You need 2 pieces.  I used a white 5″ square with each of my 5″ patterned pieces.  (5″ squares can also be called “Charm Squares.)

Step 1: Draw a line down the centre, corner to corner, of one of the patterned pieces.  I used pen because it will be cut through later.  If you’re using directional fabric, this step needs to be carefully planned (explained later.)  If your fabric is non-directional, it doesn’t matter which corners you draw your line through.

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Step 2: Lay the patterned piece over the white piece, right sides together.

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Step 3:  Stitch on either side of the marked line 1/4 of an inch.  I used my 1/4″ presser foot as a guide.

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If you prepare a lot of squares at once you can “chain piece” them together like this!  First, I sewed 1/4″ on one side of the line on all of the squares, then I turned it around and sewed on the other side of the line on all of the squares.

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Step 4: Cut each square in half along the centre line you drew in pen.

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Before you know it, you have a ton of HST’s waiting to be pressed!

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Step 5: Press each triangle open so that the seam lays below the darker fabric (in this case the patterned fabric.)

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Step 6: After sewing, each square is no longer a perfect 5″.  They are roughly 4.5″ squares so it’s a good idea to trim them a bit!  Use a square ruler as a guide if you can.

With the 45 degree line on the ruler laying over the seam on the square, measure a 4.5″ square and trim the edges.  Rotate the fabric square to the other side and trim those edges too.

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See that little seam allowance sticking out on the right?  give it a trim!

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So…at this point, I thought I was ready to sew my quilt in a chevron pattern but when I laid out the squares, the direction of the fabric was going all different ways!  ROOKIE MISTAKE!

Here is an example of what happened.  See how the birdcages on the left HST are upside down and the birdcages on the right HST are sideways?  I want them all to be right side up!

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To give you an idea of what it’s supposed to look like, here’s a picture of it after it was fixed.  See how all the bird cages are all right side up now?  The way to use directional fabric with half-square triangles all lies in where you place your seam.  As you can see, for each HST, the seam is going on an angle towards the right or to the left.

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To really see what I was doing, I took each square and folded it so that each seam was going up to the right or to the left while making sure that the pattern on the fabric was right side up.  I laid them in a pile.

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Then, one at a time,  I marked the back of each piece with a pen at the same place where I folded square.

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I sewed them together with white squares and all the HST’s were perfect!

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YAY!  The beginnings of a cute baby quilt for our new arrival on the way, xo.  I’ll tell you how I finished the quilt in my next post.

You can find another useful blog post on this topic here.

If you’ve done this before and have any more tips, please feel free to comment!  Thanks!

Happy sewing,

-AFriendLikeBen-

Lap Quilt with Swirly Fur Fabric

Finally, something for the man who bought me my beloved sewing machine for my birthday…last May. – a quilt for my husband!

I can’t say I’m overly thrilled with how the quilt itself looks (I’m not a huge fan of how the pattern and fabric combinations turned out) BUT I’m thrilled with the fact that I successfully completed my first large project and I really amped up my sewing skills in the process.

The fabric collection I used is called “Hearty Good Wishes by Janet Clare” for modafabrics.com.  I purchased it at a local quilt shop.  My husband doesn’t boat or fish but he likes blue and it was the most masculine collection I could find!

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Quilts are traditionally backed with cotton but for the extra comfort (and challenge), I backed this quilt with super soft swirly fur fabric AND inserted a layer of batting in-between.  My hubby is tall so I also made this quilt extra long to cover his toes when he’s reclined on the couch.  (How ridiculous did that just sound?!  haha.)

At times, I felt a little overwhelmed with the amount of fabric everywhere!  It was heavy too!  Using a walking foot helped to sew all the layers of the “quilt sandwich” together.  (My walking foot came with the machine but you can purchase them separately.)

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For the binding I used a technique explained in a previous post that involves Elmer’s Glue and a hot iron.  I wasn’t sure if this technique would work with the fur fabric but it worked like a charm!  As you can see from the final picture, I was able to machine stitch the binding to the quilt without the use of any pins – it’s magical!  Feel free to learn more about it here.

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I learned a lot with this project and more importantly, my husband loved it.

Happy Sewing!

-AFriendLikeBen-

Thought I’d Give Quilting A Try!

Every time I’m at the cutting table in a fabric store, I’m always looking over to admire the fabrics others have chosen for their quilts.  I love seeing all the colour combinations and patterns – they’re just too cute sometimes!  So, I thought I’d give it a try!

There are a few things I did to get started.  Firstly, I bought a pack of coordinating “fat quarters” (the woodland themed fabric shown wasn’t my #1 choice but I wanted to start at the inexpensive level.) I also watched this FREE “Piece, patch, quilt: basic quilting techniques” tutorial on Craftsy.com.  This tutorial was super informative and provided a lot of helpful tips.

After watching the tutorial, I got started on my first quilt but knew that I would learn so much more if I learned from someone in person.  I popped by the “Sew Wilde” quilting shop in New Hartford, NY, and I AM SO GLAD I DID because Shelly, the owner, was fantastic!  She taught me a “quilt as you go” method using strips and I learned some great techniques that I didn’t learn in the video tutorial.

One amazing tip that blew my mind was how she used a small amount Elmer’s School Glue to hold the binding in place.  The iron really helps the glue stabilize the fabric and you don’t need to use pins!  The glue washes away very easily and if kindergartener’s can eat it, I think its safe!

Click here to see a great video that demonstrates this method of binding the quilt.

Am I hooked on quilting?…not quite sure yet but I’m going to pop back into Sew Wilde next week to learn some more techniques.  I’d like to work my way up to trying a full size quilt.

Hope you can give quilting a try too!