Making the Quilt

All my fabrics were pre washed, ironed, and neatly arranged on the ironing board.

Quilt fabrics

I prepared all my equipment for quilting as well.

My next step is to take photos of each piece of fabric and design my new quilt.

After two attempts, I came up with this Sunshine and Shadow pattern with borders:

Sunshine and Shadow quilt design

All fabrics were cut into strips 5 1/2” wide to make five inch squares after the quarter inch seam allowance (on each side).

Ironed and stitched strips of fabric.

I keep all of my sewing machine settings unchanged until all patchwork is complete. It is very important to have exactly the same seam allowance to line up the blocks very neatly later.

Quarter inch seam allowance.

When all strips were stitched together, the seams were ironed to one side. Great care was taken to press the seams very flat without stretching the material.

Precise alignment of the quilt blocks makes a big difference in the end.

One strip of fabric was cut at the right angle to make the first row of single square blocks 5 1/2” wide.

First strip of single square blocks.

After one strip was cut, the remaining sheet of the fabric strips was sewn shut to form a tube. That last seam must be pressed in the same direction. Because of this circular arrangement, the Sunshine and Shadow patchwork is sometimes called “Trip around the World."

Tube of the sewn strips

Next, the tube was cut perpendicular to the seams to make several rings five-and-a-half inch wide.

And here is the big secret. Each ring was ripped at one seam, but not the same seam. The rings were ripped in a staggered fashion to create the diagonal arrangement.

Quarter of the Sunshine and Shadow quilt.

The strips are sewn together with the same unchanged 1/4” seam allowance setting.

Sewing strips together.

The technique of stitching the strips together is called “chain sewing.” (At least I don’t have to do chain sawing like I did a few years ago when I learned how to cut wood with a chain saw. Whew!)

It always helps to have a little helper to double check your work.

Chain sewing all strips of square blocks.

Yep, it’s all in the right order.

Quality control.

When all strips are stitched together, the seam allowances are pressed in the same direction.

Ironed seam allowances.

Four quarters of the quilt are done separately to be assembled into one large Sunshine and Shadow quilt top.

If you read my previous post about the fabric selection for this quilt, you may remember this bright and cheerful print designed by Angela Anderson. I used this border along the periphery of the quilt.


But I didn’t use it as a continuous piece. I broke it with additional quilt blocks to make design more interesting.

Eight quilt blocks were made to adorn the border.

Four green blocks for the corners of the quilt, and four brown-and-orange blocks were used in the middle of the border on all four sides.

Quilt blocks for the border.

When the border was finished, it was carefully ironed to flatten the seams.

Border and corner of the quilt.

When working on my patchwork, I don’t see the whole quilt. It’s too large to be spread out on the work surface. And I try not to pull and shake the quilt top as it may cause the undesirable stretching of the quilt blocks.

Part of the quilt.

The beautiful backing fabric from Hancock’s of Paduckah was pre-washed, ironed, and trimmed.

Solid piece of backing fabric.

The patchwork was finished at last. The back side of the patchwork will never be seen again.

The next step is to sandwich the top, batting, and backing and secure the quilt.

I don’t use basting sprays on my quilts. Good old fashioned safety pins do the job.

Every block gets a pin.

All three layers were sandwiched into one piece of my cozy creation.

All three layers were spread out gingerly with no pulling or tugging.

Preparing quilting sandwich.

The next step is stitching the quilt.