Sewing

Economy Block Lap Quilt

I ordered some lovely Riley Blake ‘Witch ‘Hazel’ fabric last week, having been swept up in a Halloween craze! Even though Halloween still isn’t a huge thing here in the UK it’s taking off a bit, and I’ve always been one for stories about witches and vampires and all things magic.

I’ve seen so many economy blocks on social media over the summer that when I decided I wanted to make the most of the main fabric in the collection, I decided a bit of fussy cutting and economy blocking were probably the best way forward. Now, I’ve not made a quilt before, and the only quilting I’ve done has been on small project bags.

Starting with a sketch of what I had in mind, I did a trusty Google search for an economy block tutorial. This was one of the first I found, by Red Pepper quilts and the instructions were clear and concise with plenty of pictures and measurements. Perfect! Until I measured up my little witches and realised that I was going to have to dust down my brain and dig deep for some maths skills……

I had half metre cuts of each of the five Witch Hazel fabrics you can see, and I still have almost half of all except the star fabric and green spot fabric, where I only have scraps left. 0.75 metres square was sufficient for the backing fabric and wadding.

So here’s what I did! Drawing heavily from the Red Pepper Quilt method, my Witch Hazel economy squares are made from one 4.5 inch centre square (perfect witch height!), two 4.5 inch squares cut on the diagonal for the inner triangles and two 5.5 inch squares cut on the diagonal for the outer triangles. I have used a 1/4 inch seam allowance throughout. Or at least, that’s what I was aiming for 🙂

I did try using a 5 inch square for the outer triangles but I do find my seam allowances aren’t always terribly consistent and I favour the Red Pepper Quilt practise of slightly over-sizing and trimming down.

You can see from the first picture that the top and bottom triangles are sewn on first, then the side triangles. The excess fabric was trimmed after both stages. Make sure you press your blocks as you go to get sharp edges.

I made five of these economy blocks which trim down to a lovely 8.5 inch square. I then cut four 8.5 inch blocks of my contrast fabric to fill in the gaps. I decided to border my squares using the black star fabric so proceeded to do this in strips.

I cut six 8.5 x 2.5 strips as you can see in the photo above, and created three vertical panels. These were then joined and edged using four 28.5 x 2.5 inch strips. Finally I used two 33 inch strips for the top and bottom. These measurements are slightly longer than needed, but are easily trimmed down.

I then took my wadding and backing fabric and basted them together. I bought this gorgeous multi-coloured Mettler thread which I used to wiggle-quilt the entire thing. I don’t think wiggle-quilt is necessarily a recognised technical term, but describes what I did!

What do you think of my orange and green thread? I think it’s great!

Once it was finished I trimmed away the excess fabric, and the outer border down to 2 inches.

Finally I used some of the green spot fabric to bind the edges. To do this, I cut strips of fabric two inches wide and joined them together to make one continuous strip long enough to go round the edge of the quilt. I folded it in half lengthways, and then folded the raw edges into the middle. Make sure you press firmly with an iron.

I sewed on one side, then pressed the binding again and clipped it down with my Clover clips to hand sew to the back. There are loooooooads of video tutorials for mitred edges on quilts, but here’s a quick explanation:

Stop sewing your binding a little way from the edge. Then, fold your binding so the right side is showing but away from where you are sewing,and line it up to the edge of the next side you want to attach it to. Finally, fold the binding back on itself. There will be a triangular piece of material under where my second finger is on the right hand photograph. Continue attaching your binding along this new edge.

Here I am sewing down the binding, complete with a few zombies courtesy of The Walking Dead:

And here it is! My new quilt, complete with a mini pumpkin. Or, if you will, a munchkin.

Happy sewing!

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