Charm Jewels


  • A minimum of 36 bright 5in charm squares or cut 36 5in squares from fabrics in your stash
  • 1m of cream fabric (for cream corner squares, border and binding)
  • 1m of backing fabric
  • 1m of wadding
  • Thread: a neutral shade for piecing and a toning shade for attaching the binding

Finished Size

32in square (81.5cm)

Skill Level


Replacing the cream background with black fabric will give a striking and contemporary look. If you want a bigger quilt just keep making the jewel blocks until you have enough and then
measure the borders as in step 1 of Borders, quilting and binding to calculate how much extra border fabric you will require.

Getting Started

  1. Cut the following from the cream fabric:
    • Four 2 1⁄2in strips across the width cut into 2 1⁄2in squares
    • Four 3in strips across the width for the borders
    • Four 2 1⁄2in strips across the width for the binding
  2. Label the binding and border strips and place to one side. On each of the small cream squares draw a diagonal line on the WS of the fabric.
  3. Take each coloured square and place a cream square on one corner, RS together. Match the raw edges and make sure the drawn pencil line goes across the corner of the square as shown in Figure 1. Stitch, following the drawn line as your guide. Trim the corner about 1⁄4in from the seam.
  4. Sew a second cream square on the opposite corner in the same way as centre. Repeat these steps for the other squares.
  5. Lay out the squares into groups of four with four cream corners meeting in the centre. Your colours may well be different to the ones shown here. Stand back and view the fabric groups from a distance. Alternatively try using a reducing glass: peering through the wrong end of a door spy hole, available from hardware shops, works too. Move the blocks around until you are happy with the layout.
  6. Sew each group of four in pairs, matching the seams where the cream corners meet. See Figure 2. Pin the finished block into place on your design sheet before starting the next group, in case you forget your layout.
  7. Sew the blocks together in rows according to your design. Complete the quilt top by sewing the rows together. Press after each stage.

TIP! Take pictures using a digital cameral to compare layouts, and you also have a record of your layout choice

Figure 1: Piecing the Blocks
Figure 2: Piecing the Blocks
Figure 1: Sewing the Jewels
Figure 1: Sewing the Jewels

Borders, Quilting and Binding

  1. Measure the length of your quilt centre and cut two border strips to this length. With the raw edges level and RS together sew a strip to each side of the quilt.
  2. In the same way, sew the borders to the top and bottom of the quilt, only this time measure the quilt width including the side borders you have just attached. Press the border seams toward the blocks.
  3. Make up the quilt sandwich by laying the backing WS uppermost on a flat surface then smooth the wadding on top. Finally add the quilt top RS up and tack or pin to secure the layers for quilting, starting from the middle. Turn over and check there are no pleats or tucks on the back.
  4. Quilt in the ditch (i.e. just away from the seam) around the cream shapes and around the outline to emphasise the shape of the jewels. Trim the wadding and backing level with the edge of the quilt. Secure the edges of the quilt ready for binding by sewing a narrow seam close to the edge using a zigzag stitch.
  5. Fold the binding strips in half lengthwise, WS together and matching the raw edges, and press each one carefully using a dry iron. Attach the binding by aligning the raw edges of the folded and pressed binding strip to the side edges of the quilt. Sew through all the layers, marginally beyond the zigzag (or overlocked) seam. Turn the folded edge of the binding to the back of the quilt and hand stitch in place with a slipstitch along the folded edge.
  6. Before sewing the binding to the top and bottom of the quilt, trim the binding so that it measures 1in longer than the length of the quilt seam. The short (raw) edge of the binding should be opened out and folded in (about 1⁄2in) at each end of the seam, so as to conceal the raw edges. Sew the binding as before, but stop sewing a short distance from the end. Adjust the folded edge to meet the edge of the quilt exactly and then finish stitching the seam. Turn the binding to the back of the quilt as before and slipstitch in place.
  7. Attach a label to the back of the quilt, giving details of the title of the quilt, the name and address of the quilter, and the date of completion. (The date of presentation may be used if the quilt is to be given to someone for a particular occasion, in which case it is nice to include a suitable dedication on the label.)
Figure 3: Quilt Layout
Figure 3: Quilt Layout

First published in Popular Patchwork Volume 15 Number 6 -June 2005