Check It Out


  • 0.5m (20in) in total or two fat quarters of light coloured brushed
    cotton fabric
  • 0.5m (20in) in total or two fat quarters of dark coloured brushed
    cotton fabric
  • 1m (40in) in total or four fat quarters of medium coloured brushed cotton fabric
  • 1.5m (1 3⁄4yd) backing fabric
  • 107 x 138cm (42 x 54in) wadding
  • Top stitching thread for hand quilting
  • Jeans thread for the machine quilting; Stephanie used random
    coloured thread
  • 12 traditional style four-hole brown trouser buttons, or buttons
    of your choice

Finished Size

Approx 102 x 132cm (40 x 52in)

Skill Level



You could use floral, pastel or even Christmassy brushed cotton fabrics for a completely different look. This quilt also looks good made from scrap fabrics; just mix the tones of your fabrics evenly across the quilt.

Three methods of quilting are used in this project: hand quilting on the large blocks, machine quilting on the borders, and finally the quilt is tied and embellished using buttons.

Note: The lap quilt is very warm and snuggly, but it is not suitable for
a baby or small child because of the buttons.

Cutting Instructions

  1. From the two fat quarters of light coloured brushed cotton fabric, carefully cut four pieces measuring 9 x 10in. From each of the remaining six fat quarters, carefully cut two pieces measuring 9 x 10in.
  2. You should have a total of twenty blocks. Put the remaining fabric aside for the borders and binding.

Assembling the Blocks

  1. Arrange the blocks so that the light, medium and dark fabrics are evenly distributed across the design. Number the blocks and the rows so that the order you have chosen will not be lost when you start to sew them together.
  2. Stitch the blocks into rows keeping the 1⁄4in seam allowance throughout. Be careful to press the seam allowances in
    each row in opposite directions. Figure 1.
  3. Stitch the rows of blocks together, butting up the seam allowances for a neat finish at each block join. If necessary,
    pin with long pins at each block join to hold
    in place whilst stitching. Figure 2.

Figure 1: Pressing the seam allowances

Figure 2: Join the blocks

Adding the Borders

  1. From the leftover medium and dark fabrics, cut strips 3 1⁄2in wide. Cut these dark and medium toned fabrics into strips about 10in long. Arrange the strips randomly and stitch together across the short ends: ensure that you use a 1⁄4in seam allowance at all times.
  2. Mix the colours and tones of the fabrics and arrange the pieces so that the border fabrics do not clash with the main quilt fabrics. You will need about six pieces for each of the long side borders and four or five pieces for each of the top and
    bottom borders. Figure 3.
  3. Measure across the centre of the quilt from side to side and adjust the top and bottom borders to fit to these
    measurements. Stitch the top and bottom borders onto the quilt top and carefully press the seam allowances out towards the border fabric.
  4. Measure down the centre of the quilt top from top to bottom and adjust the pieced borders to fit accordingly. Stitch
    the side borders to the quilt top and press the seam allowances out towards the border fabric.

Figure 3: Quilt Layout


Handy hint Hand quilting requires the layers to be tacked in a grid so that a quilting hoop or frame can be used. With machine quilting, often safety pins are used to hold the layers firmly together. If you wish, you can tack the whole quilt and then replace that with safety pins when you come to machine quilt the borders.

  1. Your quilt top is now complete and needs to be layered with the wadding and backing fabric ready for quilting. It is important to make sure that your quilt is layered properly to get good results when quilting.
  2. Measure your finished quilt top and cut the backing fabric 2in larger all round: e.g. if the quilt top measures 40 x 52in then cut the backing fabric at least 42 x 54in.
  3. Press the backing fabric and place it right side down on a surface. Pin or tape the backing fabric in place, making sure that the fabric is secure but not stretched at all. Gently lay the wadding on the backing fabric, again making sure that the wadding is not stretched, and trim the wadding to
    the size of the backing fabric.
  4. Give your completed quilt top a final press and place it carefully on the wadding, right side up. Smooth the top gently over the wadding taking care not to stretch the fabric.
  5. This quilt has a combination of quilting methods; it is hand quilted within the main rectangles, machine quilted on the borders and has a final addition of tying.
  6. Using a top stitching thread, quilt on the inside of each of the rectangles, 1⁄2in from the seam line. Curve the stitch line at the corners and echo the quilt line with a second stitch line 1⁄2in in from the first. See the pattern sheet for your hand quilting design template.
  7. A double row circle is stitched in the centre of each of the rectangles. These circles can be marked with any suitable marker pen or pencil, or a Hera marker, before stitching. Stephanie used a large jar lid for the inner circle and echoed this line with a second quilting line 1⁄2in outside of the first. You can do the
    same, or make a circle template with a diameter of 3 1⁄2in to draw around for the inner circle.
  8. The borders were simply machine quilted using a random coloured Jeans thread. Stitch three rows
    around the border.

Binding and Finishing


  1. To bind your quilt, cut all the leftover fabrics into 2 1⁄4in widths and an assortment of lengths. Keep these fabrics totally random and stitch them together on the short edges until you have enough
    binding fabric to go around your quilt.
  2. With right sides together, stitch the binding fabric onto the front edge of your quilt, sides first and then the top and bottom. You may prefer to mitre the corners of the quilt but with the thicker brushed cotton fabric it is easier to bind the quilt in this way.
  3. Turn the binding fabric to the back of the quilt and turn under a hem. Pin in place and with a neutral thread, hand stitch to the back of the quilt.
  4. To finish, the quilt is tied with buttons at the seam joins of the large rectangles. Brown trouser buttons, the old-fashioned type with four holes, were used on this quilt, but you can add any button or decoration of your choice.

First published in Popular Patchwork October 2007