Last year, Claudette Stultz, a member of the Bloomington Quilters Guild, donated over 40 of these, “quilt as you go”, quilts to the guild’s community quilt project and she is still creating many more. Her quilt, pictured above, is made with 6.5″ blocks and measures 45″x45″. She is often asked, how did you make that? I spoke with Claudette and she gave me some insight on how she makes the quilts and with her permission, I have adapted her directions to make them more web friendly. Claudette sews on her sashings by hand. I will be sewing them by machine. Since this is a technique tutorial, I have not given fabric requirements. Your fabric yardage will vary on how big you make your blocks and the finished quilt size. I suggest making your first quilt a scrappy quilt and use fabrics from your stash.
I started out making 12 quilt sandwiches with a 12.5″ backing fabric, an 11″ batting square and a 10.5″ square of fabric for each block. For the batting, I would suggest an 80/20 poly/cotton blend. I free motion quilted each block and squared each one up to 10″. You can make your blocks any size that you desire.
If you prefer not to free motion quilt, I would suggest making your blocks with the, “flip and sew”, method that Claudette uses in her quilts. It is a separate tutorial on this website. Below is a sample of a block using that method.
After making the number of desired blocks and squaring them up so that they are all the same size , the next step is to make the sashings so you can combine the blocks. I used a different fabric for the sashing’s front and back but you may use the same fabric for both if you desire. There are no rules here. For the front side of each block, cut a piece of fabric 1″ wide and the length of the block. For example if my block is a 10″ square, I cut my front piece 1″ wide and 10″ long. For the back sashing of each block, cut the fabric, 1-5/8″ wide and the length of your block. Fold the 1-5/8″ sashing in half with wrong sides together and press. Now, we can start putting the blocks together.
The picture above is the front of my quilt block. Place your front, 1″ sashing piece on the top of the block, right sides together and raw edges even. Place the folded back piece of sashing on the back with raw edges even with the edge of the block. My raw edges are not even in the pictures so you could see both the front and back at the same time. Sew the sashings to the block with a 1/4″ seam using a walking foot or duel feed foot. Press the back sashing away from the block.
With right sides of each block together, pin the front sashing to the second block, right sides together and raw edges even. Sew together with a 1/4″ seam. As with every quilt that you create, make sure your 1/4″ seam is accurate.
The back of your combined blocks will look like this. If your 1/4″ seam was accurate the raw edges should meet in the middle. If you were off a little bit, trim your edges so they just meet. Press the sashing over the raw edges. It should just barely cover the stitch line where you attached the front sashing. The folded edge will need to be secured. There are several ways to to this. You may fold it over, pin to secure and hand stitch it. In the picture, I used a product called Wonder Tape instead of pins to secure it before I hand stitched. It is a 1/4″ water soluble sticky tape and can be found in the notions department in your local big box store.
Here is the finished back view. If you prefer to machine stitch, do so from the backside. I would suggest using a decorative stitch that has a nice side to side pattern so you will be sure to cover both the front and back of your sashings. below is an example of a machine stitched sashing.
I am going to make my quilt using three rows of four blocks each. I have sewn two rows of four blocks and now I will connect them the same way that I combined my separate blocks. This time, when cutting my sashings, I will use the same measurements and technique except I will cut the length of the sashings the same length of the row of the four blocks. The picture below is showing how the technique is being used for the long row of blocks. It important when sewing the horizontal rows together, make sure your vertical sashings line up with each other or your blocks will look like they are off set. Or, you could purposely off set your rows for a more modern look.
Once all of the rows are together then bind the edges as you normally would. Stand back and admire your work. This technique lends itself quite nicely for making, “I Spy” quilts. Use a different design in each block. Have fun with it. Below is the back view of Claudette’s quilt. Thank you Claudette for your inspiration and dedication to donating so many quilts for those in need in the community.