Dancing mice

Materials

  • 25cm (1⁄4yd) of pink mice fabric
  • 25cm (1⁄4yd) of pink floral fabric
  • 25cm (1⁄4yd) of pink trellis fabric
  • 25cm (1⁄4yd) of pink ballet shoes fabric
  • 25cm (1⁄4yd) of pink stripe fabric
  • 30cm (3⁄8yd) purple marble fabric
  • 40cm (3⁄8yd) purple trellis fabric
  • 1.25m (1 3⁄8yd) purple mouse border fabric
  • 117 x 117cm (46 x 46in) wadding
  • 1.5m (1 5⁄8yd) backing fabric

Finished Size

Approx 117 x 117cm (46 x 46in)

Skill Level

Intermediate

This is a fun quilt to sew and what a great gift for a budding ballerina. Judy's construction techniques use lots of quick piecing and short cuts, to help you achieve perfect points!

FRAMING THE SQUARES

  1. From the pink mice print cut a 4 1⁄2in strip across the width of the fabric. Carefully cut this into nine 4 1⁄2in squares.
  2. From the purple trellis fabric cut five 2 1⁄2in strips across the width of the fabric. Chain stitch one strip to the pink mice squares, leaving a tiny gap between each of the squares as shown in Fig 1.
  3. Press the seam allowance towards the squares. Trim the purple trellis to the width of the squares. Sew the opposite sides of these squares to a second trellis strip as in Fig 2. Press and trim as before.
  4. Sew trellis strips to the remaining two sides, as before. See Figs 3 and 4. Press and trim to make a total of nine mouse print squares framed with purple trellis strips as shown in Fig 5.
  5. Trim the white selvedges from the purple mouse border fabric. Measure 5 1⁄2in from each side edge and cut down the length to remove both borders. Cut a further two 5 1⁄2in strips along the full length of the fabric. Put all these to one side for use as the final border later.
  6. From the purple mouse fabric cut four 41⁄2in squares. Cut three 1 1⁄2in strips from the pink floral fabric and cut four 1 1⁄2in strips from the pink trellis fabric.
  7. Frame the purple mice squares in the same way as the pink mice squares, using the pink floral fabric for the inner frame, then the pink trellis fabric for the outer frame. See Fig 6.

SETTING TRIANGLES

  1. From the ballet shoe fabric, carefully cut one 5 1⁄4in square and four 4 7⁄8in squares. From the purple marble fabric cut four 2 1⁄2in strips. Frame the ballet shoe squares with the purple marble fabric as before.
  2. Cut the framed square with the larger 5 1⁄4in centre into four triangles, by cutting across the two diagonals as in Fig 7. These will form the four outside corners of the quilt top. Label these carefully and set them aside.
  3. Cut the four smaller squares with 4 7⁄8in centres in half along one diagonal as in Fig 8. This will make eight larger triangles, two for each side of the quilt. See Fig 9. Label these so that they do not get mixed up with the smaller corner triangles, and put to one side.
  4. Using the quilt layout diagram in Fig 10 as a guide, arrange all of the blocks with the correct triangles at the end of each row. Sew together in diagonal strips and stitch the strips together.

BORDERS

  1. Cut four strips 1 1⁄4in wide across the width of the pink stripe fabric. Sew a strip of pink stripe fabric to the top and bottom edges of the quilt centre, as in the quilt layout diagram, Fig 10. Trim off excess fabric. Sew a strip of pink stripe fabric to the side edges of the quilt top. Trim off excess fabric.
  2. Taking the border strips cut earlier, sew two mouse print strips to the sides of the quilt top, as in the quilt layout diagram, Fig 10. Trim off excess fabric. Sew the remaining mouse border strips to the top and bottom, using the border design strip. Trim away the excess fabric.

SIMPLE FINISHING

  1. Press the quilt top and backing. This is your last chance to do this so make sure it is all smooth. To finish the quilt edges without binding, lay the backing right side up, then the quilt top right side down, with the wadding on top of that. Tack or pin the three layers together with quilter's safety pins. Taking particular care that the edges are square.
  2. Stitch 1⁄4in in from the edges all the way around the quilt sandwich, leaving about a 4in gap for turning. Remove the pins and turn the quilt through to the right side. This is sometimes called 'bagging out' your quilt. Hand sew the gap closed carefully using a small slip stitch.
  3. It is best to keep the quilting quite simple on a bagged out quilt like this, to avoid puckering the fabric. A sewing machine walking foot is also very useful. We suggest simply quilting in the ditch around all the mouse blocks and borders. Quilt slowly and carefully, and check frequently for tiny creases in the front and back of your fabric. If they appear, just smooth them out with your hands as you progress. Alternatively you could hand quilt this top quite easily as it is small; you would be able to add extra details if wished.
  4. Finally, add a label with your name and the date to the back of your quilt, and who it was made for and watch for a little face to light up with joy!

First published in Popular Patchwork January 2008