How to make a quilt in a day

Have you ever tried making a quilt in one day?  I have a simple pattern and full details on how you can do just that!

What you need

moda gives guidelines on how you can cut up a layer cake

Preparing your patchwork fabric

The pamphlet that comes with a layer cake from Moda shows you how to cut strips from your fabric of 10″ squares.  We want 5 x 2″ strips from each swatch.

If you are confident with your cutting skills, you can take up to 4 swatches and cut them at the same time by carefully aligning the edges, but if you are still starting out, I would advise you do this one swatch at a time.

Cutting the strips and laying them out according to colour tone

When you read my post on colour theory for quilters, you will understand what I mean when I talk about the light, medium and dark tones of fabric.  Check it out if you’re not certain of what I’m referring to.

The strips that you’ve cut from your layer cake should be sorted in dark, medium and light tones.  A layer cake comes pre-sorted according to these, usually dark at the top, and light at the bottom.

cutting your layer cake into 5 strips according to moda's instructions
strips sorted from dark to medium to light for piecing

I chose to stick to the light to dark layout for my blocks as far as possible.  Sometimes there are more light or dark swatches, which requires you to play around with your layout choices.

quarter inch foot for seam allowance

Using a quarter inch foot to make sure that all your seams are the same size, you can start piecing your strips together.  I chain piece because it’s a little faster.

chain piecing the strips

Size of blocks

You want to stitch six strips together.

After each round of piecing 2 strips, then 4 strips and then the six strips, press your seams in the direction of the darker colour.  This is important when you start stitching your blocks and rows together to ensure an even fit and a less bulky seam.  It does this since the direction of the press will alternate giving you a flat join between the four seams.

pin the seams correctly to get a perfect patch
Press your seams to achieve this when you join your blocks together. A flat seam because the press is in different directions.
aligning seams for perfect corners
What a flat join between blocks will look like as a result of correct pressing.
pile of blocks ready for making rows
You will have a pile of blocks that have been stitched to have 6 fabric strips together.
layout diagram of the quilt in a day

Quilt layout

Arrange your blocks so that you have alternating horizontal and vertical seams.  Use the quilt diagram as a reference.

Once you have established your layout, and you are happy with what it will look like, you can start stitching your rows.  Remember to line up the seams of the blocks so that you have a nice square and flat join.

Now that your blocks and rows are all joined, you can add the border around the edges.  If you are comfortable with making a mitre border, please go ahead, but since this is a beginner quilt, I stuck to a horizontal join.  Your quilting will hide the seam in any event, so it won’t make too much of a difference.

When you are finished, you should have something looking like this, and you have reached the quilt sandwich or layering stage.

You will notice that I did change my blocks around so that there is no consistent pattern for the light to dark.  My layer cake had a larger number of light and medium tone fabrics.

You now need to prepare your patchwork for quilting.  Remember that backing fabric should be bigger than the quilt top to allow for the shrinkage that will result from the quilting.

completed quilt top ready for quilting

Final steps

Once you have completed quilting, you can add the binding to the quilt.  I have a post on a great binding method that will make this easier for your.

Make sure to add your quilt label to indicate who made the quilt and when.  Some quilters go all over the country, so perhaps add where you made this too!

quilting on the quilt in a day
Closer look at the quilting on the quilt.
completed quilt in a day
Completed quilt in a day.

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