Thursday, March 10, 2011

PictureBox Quilt pattern/tutorial

This isn't a tutorial in the strict sense of the word, but, finally, here is the pattern for my PictureBox quilt. I hope you enjoy making it! If you do, please link up to my new Flickr group for projects made from my tutorials/patterns. I'd love to see them!!!

A couple of small things:
- Please link up to follow me on the sidebar if you make a quilt from this pattern :-) I'd be so thrilled if you did.
- Also, as with most tutes and patterns, it's intended for your own personal use or for gifts but is not for commercial use. Please do not sell quilts made from this pattern.

Ok, so here goes. Please read pattern fully before starting! If you have any questions on any aspects of it, or it doesn't make sense, feel free to ask me any questions via the comments or by email I will answer any questions on the pattern in the comments section rather than back to you via email so that everyone can see the answers.This is the first quilt pattern I've written so please bear with me! And my apologies that I don't have better photos of various stages, I hadn't anticipated doing it as a pattern when I started making it. I also want to say a huge thanks to my friend Fi over at Patchwork Delights who did a sense check on it for me and had some great advice!

The finished quilt measures approx 60" long x 53" wide, slightly wider than cot bed size but not full twin bed size. It is a perfect size for using on a baby's cot bed and then layering over other covers when he/she moves to a twin bed.

Fabric Requirements:
  • 3 Fat Quarters of large scale prints for the feature panels
  • Fabric scraps for outside "frames" - variety of colours, shades & prints.
  • Assortment of fat quarters & large scraps for the small squares - you will need approx 5 FQs or equivalent.
  • 1 FQ small scale print/solid colour for framing feature panel
  • Approx 1 yd white cotton for sashing ( I used Kona Ivory)
  • 1/2 yard solid colour fabric for binding (I used a soft mid-blue shade)
  • Backing fabric
  • Cotton Batting - I used Warm & White cut off the roll, it was 60" x 64"
  • Cotton thread for piecing and quilting. I used Gutterman cotton thread, colour 5709 (white)
  • Rotary cutter, cutting mat and quilting ruler

Cutting List:

  • From each of the feature fabrics cut a large panel measuring 16" x 10.5". (UPDATED MEASUREMENT) Decide on where best on the FQ to cut to get the best focus for your panel.

  • From the FQ of small scale print/solid for framing cut 6 1.5" x 18" strips and 6 1.5" x 10.5" strips.

  • From the smaller scraps cut the following, varying fabrics, shades, colours and prints:
          18 pieces - 4.5" x 3.5" (A)
          18 pieces - 3.5" x 3.5" (B)
          12 pieces - 2.5" x 3.5" (C)
            6 pieces - 5.5" x 3.5" (D)
            6 pieces - 6" x 3.5" (E)

  • From the FQs/large scraps cut 36 5.5" squares (F) and 12 3.5" x 5.5" rectangles (G).
  • For the sashing, cut 8 strips 2" x 27.5" (H) , 6 strips 2.5" x 18.5" (I) and 12 strips 2" x 18.5" (J)

Layout and Piecing Instructions:

Use 1/4 inch seams throughout.

1."Frame" the 3 large feature panels as follows:
Attach the small print strips to each side of the large panels by placing right sides together and sewing with a quarter inch seam. Press seams open (or to one side if you prefer). Now take top and bottom strips and sew to the panel & side border piece and press seams open.

2. Decide on the layout of the large panels from top to bottom. Once you have decided how to order them start arranging your small scrap pieces to form the 2nd layer of border frame for each panel.

Each side border should consist of following pieces: [1 x A, 2 x B, 1 x C] and each top/bottom border should consist of following pieces: [2 x A, 1 x B, 1 x C, 1 x D, 1 x E].

How you lay out the scraps for the borders is up to you; I suggest that you move around the composition on each line so that each line does not have exactly the same layout, otherwise it may lack in movement. Consider light and dark shades, colours, pattern etc. and how the bottom and top borders interact with the border on the panel above/below them.

3. Layout the side columns using pieces F & G alongside the large framed panels, leaving gaps where your white sashing will be. Each panel should have 2 pieced columns on either side. Each pieced colum consists of 3 x F and 1x G. I alternated the order/layout in each one, the top and bottom piece in each column should be a square, but I alternated the layout of the 2 middle pieces in each column.

4. Move the fabric around and tweak the layout until you're happy! I find it very useful to take some pics of the layout on my phone/camera and look at them during the process, it gives me a good "big picture" perspective of how pieces interact with each other. I don't follow any particular "rules" (I don't even know if there are any!), I tend to trust my eye in relation to colour and layout.

5. Assemble the pieces ready for sewing in an order that makes sense to you and that you will find it easy to sew with. I ususally pin groups of fabrics for each strip from either top to bottom or left to right and stick a post-it on top of each "pile" numbering them. Taking a picture before starting this process may help you later if any parts get mixed up.

Start piecing! Remember to iron all pieces beforehand and press seams open/to the side after sewing each set of seams. I use a quarter inch foot to get an accurate quarter inch seam.

6. Start with the big panel scrap borders and sew your border strips together. Start with the side borders, piecing the scraps together in a line until done following the layout you decided on. Sew to the sides of the feature panel right sides together. Do the same with the top and bottom borders until your large panel blocks are finished. Set aside for the moment.

7. Piece each of the side columns. Set aside.

9. Sew sashing pieces I to either side of each feature panel block.

10. Sew sashing pieces J to each side of each of the outside columns. Then join the "inside" sashing piece to the outer side of the inner column to make a large column block.

11. Now join each of the large column blocks to the feature panel block sashing, matching up the correct sides.

This leaves you with 3 large horizontally laid out blocks running the width of the quilt top.

12. Take the 8 sashing pieces H and divide into pairs. These will form the horizontal sashing. Join each pair along one of the short edges using a half inch seam.

13. Take the first long sashing strip and sew to the top edge of the top horizontal block, placing the seam in the middle of the block. Do same with next 2 horizontal blocks, and sew final sashing strip to lower edge of bottom horizontal block.

14. Sew middle block to top block along top edge of sashing & bottom edge of pieced block. Follow suit with lower & middle blocks.

15. Trim any excess sashing fabric from edges. Your quilt top is now finished! You will need to press all seams very carefully and trim any stray threads from the raw edges on the wrong side so that they don't show through your white sashing fabric when you start to quilt.

Backing & Basting:

Piece your backing fabric, if you desire. Once it is ready, lay out on a clean floor and, using masking tape, tape to the floor around all the edges, pulling fabric taut but not stretching it. Next, lay your batting down over this and smooth out the surface to lie completely flat. Your batting and backing should be at least 2” wider than your quilt top on all sides. Finally, lay your pressed quilt on top of the batting and take great care to ensure that it is smoothed out.  You will need to crawl around the quilt to get this right, but it’s worth taking the time. You will then need to baste the quilt using your preferred method. I used curved safety pins for quilting; they are much easier to work with than regular straight ones. I start at the middle of the quilt and work outward in a circular fashion, smoothing out any last wrinkles etc as I go. I pin approx every 4-6 inches. Once you are done, remove the masking tape carefully and check that the back has remained smooth and wrinkle free. It is now ready to be quilted!


I quilted the PictureBox with wonky straight lines, but I think it would also look great free motion quilted. It would also look good quilted in wider straight lines.

If you want to do the wonky straight lines, I started by marking a line down the centre of the quilt using a quilt marking tool, or you could use masking tape as a guide. Use your walking foot to ensure even feed of fabric (mine is integrated in my Pfaff machine and works with most of my presser feet). I quilted down the centre line and then used the outside of the widest presser foot I had as a guide for the remaining lines, working out from the centre, and working up and down the quilt in alternate lines. I varied the width of the lines, moving the needle position to get maximum width and allowed the presser foot to vary the line and wobble in and out in places to give the wonky effect. If you're doing this, use the straight seams to ensure you're not going totally "off track" and even things up a little; wonky is good, completely crooked and out of line just looks shoddy. If you want to free motion quilt, you will need to attach the correct foot and lower your feed dogs.

When you are finished quilting, use your rotary cutter and quilting ruler to trim the excess backing and batting from your quilt, and check your lines are straight.


If you need detailed binding instructions check out these great, detailed tutorials: Oh, Fransson! or Jaybird Quilts

I use straight grain, double fold binding, but use whatever you prefer. This is how I do mine:

Measure around your quilt to get your total binding length needed and add on at least 10 inches for corners and to give you some spare. Cut enough strips from your binding fabrics to give you the total length, making provision for your seam allowances at the joins – 2.5” is a good width for binding, but you might want to go narrower or wider depending on your taste. Attach the strips to each other, right sides together using a quarter inch seam. I usually use a smaller stitch length here to strengthen the seam. Then fold the long strip in half, wrong side together, and iron the fold the whole length of the binding strip to give a nice sharp crease.

Return to your quilt, pin to your quilt top matching raw edges, making provision for mitred corners and join the ends carefully. Machine sew to the quilt using quarter inch seam. Fold over the binding and sew to back of quilt in whichever method you prefer. I love the look of a machine stitched binding but I know most people prefer it handstitched. Trim any stray threads.

The quilt is now done! Throw it in the washing machine, let it dry and enjoy its lovely crinkly texture. 


Sara @ Sew Sweetness said...

BEAUTIFUL! Thanks so much for the tute! I've been waiting for this! Although it might take me a bit to get to it because I've already committed myself for a few more quilts, lol!!!

Unknown said...

Absolutely gorgeous! I love all the fabrics you used. Great tutorial. It makes me (who has never made a quilt like this) want to make one.
I am featuring this at Grab my "Featured" button.

noga quilts said...

This is one of the most beautiful childrens quilts I saw!

Thanks so much for posting its tutorial! It will be one of my future projects and I'll be sure to share it in your group!

Sherry said...

Absolutely Adorable!

Bailey said...

I love your fabrics! Can you tell me who made the first two large picturebox fabrics? The white animal and the blue animal?? hrobbins422 at yahoo dot com.

Kelly Rachel said...

Thanks so much for the tutorial. I pinned it and this quilt is definitely on my to-do list.
I noticed today that Rachel linked to you on One Pretty Thing!

Elizabeth Dackson said...

Great job with the tute! Very well written :)

Jen said...

I just love quilts! So sweet!
I am a new follower.

Kristen said...

This quilt is wonderful! Everything is so sweet and thanks for sharing your methods!!!

Unknown said...

Love the quilt it is so active and cute. Great colors. May try that for one of my grandbabies.

Mishka said...

Gorgeous .. love, love the straight line quilting you did on this. Turned out fantastic.

Jenniffier said...

That is a very fun quilt. Thanks for sharing how you made it.

~The Bargain Babe from *Zucchini Summer Blog* said...

Visiting from Sugar Bee's linky party.

I just love this quilt! And the way you quilted it as well. It looks very soft and snuggly.

Megan said...

Great tute! I just love, love, love the straight line quilting you did! Thanks for linking up to {Sew} Modern Monday!

SewSara said...

Sarah this is awesome! I saw
the link on facebook! :)

Sarah @ FairyFace Designs said...

Hi all, a quick note to say that I noticed a typo in the measurements for the main panels - they should be 16" x 10.5" not 10". My apologies. I have now updated the post

Gretchen said...

This is a beautiful quilt and looks quite easy which is always a plus. Found it posted on Craft Gossip. It will definitely be on my to-do list. Thanks!

Haven said...

Excellent site..........

Hani said...

this is an amazing quilt idea.. love the tutorial very easy to follow..
Thanks for sharing..
come by and participate in my giveaways.. I am giving away tote bag and mother's day letterpress cards..
Stay in touch

JustPam said...

I just finished a quilt from your tutorial. I used Prince Charming and it turned out wonderful. Thanks for the tute and inspiration!

southernhushpuppy said...

Thank you so much for your tutorial. I finished my Picture Box Quilt for my daughter and she loves it!