When one of my best friends announced that she was expecting her second girl I decided it was go time! A trip to the local fabric store provided me with my inspiration - a beautiful backing fabric that had my friend's name all over it! From this fabric I pulled out colors, and decided that I wanted to make a chevron quilt pattern. I even bought a neat little acrylic rhombus to cut out my piecing, along with a cutting mat, rotary cutter, binding ruler, beginners quilting book, and some awesome variegated pink thread for the quilting (the people at the store were super helpful!).
After getting home and reading my new book, I found that I had jumped into the deep end a little bit with my plans. Ok, maybe the middle of the pool where the buoy line runs across, but still, not in the shallow end where I needed to be. This is pretty typical behavior of me, so luckily I have learned to improvise and, in the words of Mr. Tim Gunn, "Make it work!"
- If you want to change the colors of the squares, it's easy! A little tedious, but if your color scheme is different it could really help keep things straight later on down the road.
- Scalability. My intention was to make a crib size quilt. I think it was a little smaller than that, so if you want to play with the number of blocks or the sizes, ratios, etc., go for it! Chevron quilts for everyone!
*Handy tip - if you want to add another row or column, there might be the one you need already in the pattern. Look at the row that you want to add on to, and try to find this row in the pattern. Then select the next row down or the next column over, and copy and paste onto the end. You'll be able to tell pretty quickly if it looks right, as long as you have colors in the squares. Ctrl+Z is always there for you. Make sure to update your rectangle count if you add on!
piecing & pressing
If I were to do it again, I would press the blocks in a clockwise fashion, so the top-left pair was pressed up, the top-right pair was pressed to the right, the bottom-right pair was pressed down, and the bottom-left pair was pressed to the left. Does that make sense?
Then I would press the top row of blocks together all to right, the second row of blocks all to the left, alternating all the way down. (If this is totally and completely wrong, please let me know in the comments! Without a pattern, I'm just trying to think through the sturdiest and cleanest construction method.)
Remove the T-pins and you are ready to quilt! I used a walking foot and quilted "in-the-ditch", meaning that I just followed the zigzags down right where the different fabrics came together. This gave me a pretty zigzag on the backing fabric in my pink thread (you can kind of see it in the photo below). If you want to get fancy, quilt any pattern you like on the top of your quilt! Special pencils are made to mark patterns, but I've haven't used one yet so I can't recommend one.
- Measure the circumference of your quilt. Write this down, trust me.
- Cut 2 1/2" strips of the fabric you want to use as binding, enough to go around the quilt, and then about 10" more.
- Sew them together. This gets a little tricky. Take the end of one strip, and point it to the right. Then take your next strip, and point the end up. Line up the top-right corners (It should be an upside down L). There should be a square of overlap - we're going to stitch across the diagonal from top left to bottom right. The first few times you do this - pin it first! Check to see if, when you open it back up, the strips look like one continuous line. If you stitch the diagonal the wrong direction, you'll end up with an L.
- Trim the excess top-right corners off of the binding strip seams, taking care not to cut the stitching. I pressed these open.
- Press the starting end into a triangle by pulling the top corner down to the bottom, across the diagonal like a square. Then fold the binding in half longways, and press.
- Line up the OPEN side of your pressed binding to the edge of your quilt top (the folded edge will be towards the middle of the quilt). Start somewhere in the middle of a side, not in a corner. Pin it to the quilt all the way around.
- Sew to the quilt, starting about 3" down from the start of the binding . I used a 1/4" allowance from the edge of the quilt. When you get to the end, trim the binding if necessary and tuck into the un-sewn start of your binding. Finish stitching through the overlap.
- Wrap the binding (folded side now) down and around the edge of the quilt. You will have double thickness (4xfabric) on the top side, and single (2xfabric) on the backing side. Pin it, and stitch all the way around. The corners get tricky, so make sure to pin first! Ta-da! Binding without hand stitching.