Inner City

Materials

Quantities given are sufficient to make one table centre and two place mats. Based on 112cm (44in) wide fabric:

  • 50cm (1⁄2yd) of plain cream for the background
  • 50cm (1⁄2yd) of plain dark green for the background
  • 25cm (1⁄4yd) in total of assorted light cream prints
  • 25cm (1⁄4yd) in total of assorted medium green prints
  • 25cm (1⁄4yd) in total of assorted dark green prints
  • 30cm (3⁄8yd) of plain medium green for binding
  • 75cm (7⁄8yd) of natural American muslin (light weight calico) for lining
  • 75cm (7⁄8yd) of 2oz cotton wadding

Finished Size

Table Centre 51 x 34cm (20 x 13 1⁄2in) Place Mat 41 x 29cm (16 x 11 1⁄2in) The set consists of one table centre and two placemats

Skill Level

Intermediate

Where to Buy

The fabrics used in this project are available from all good quilt shops. This is an ideal project to use up some of your scraps. Why not make each Inner City unit from different fabrics from your rag bag? To test if a fabric is dark or light you can buy a ruby beholder (red plastic) although the editorial team here recommend translucent sweet wrappers as a cheap alternative. If you have access to a photocopier, then photocopying fabric will easily show which is light and which is dark, although the copy shop owner might think it a bit strange!

You can download a copy of the original magazine pages for this project here, Inner City Table Set

This type of patchwork is always pieced by hand over paper templates and has been popular in England since the nineteenth century; therefore, it is usually called the English Method. If you look closely at the Inner City pattern you will notice that it is made up of three V-shaped units which when pieced together make a Y-shaped unit made from half hexagons.

With consistent use of dark medium and light fabrics, an optical effect occurs which makes the design look something like an inner city landscape. To achieve this effect, dark fabrics must always be used in one position, mediums in another and lights in a third. Pauline has used a limited colour scheme of greens and creams. The same effect can be achieved by using multi coloured scraps of fabric provided care is taken to sort them into darks, mediums and lights and they are pieced together according to the above guidelines.

Preparation

  1. Cut five 2in wide strips from plain medium green for the binding. For the table centre, cut one piece 22 x 15 1⁄2in from natural calico for the lining and one piece 22 x 15 1⁄2in from wadding. For the place mats, cut two pieces 18 x 13 1⁄2in from natural calico for the lining and two pieces 18 x 13 1⁄2in from wadding.
  2. For the table centre, cut the following from paper and fabric (the templates are shown full size on the pattern sheet):
    • One hundred and eleven hexagons using template A from paper
    • Fifty eight hexagons using template B from plain cream
    • Fifty three hexagons using template B from plain dark green
    • One hundred and fifty half hexagons using template C from paper
    • Twenty five pairs of half hexagons using template D from assorted light cream prints
    • Twenty five pairs of half hexagons using template D from assorted medium green prints
    • Twenty five pairs of half hexagons using template D from assorted dark green prints
  3. For each place mat, cut the following pieces from paper and fabric:
    • Seventy seven hexagons using template A from paper
    • Forty hexagons using template B from plain cream
    • Thirty seven hexagons using template B from plain dark green
    • Ninety six half hexagons using template C from paper
    • Sixteen pairs of half hexagons using template D from assorted light cream prints
    • Sixteen pairs of half hexagons using template D from assorted medium green prints
    • Sixteen pairs of half hexagons using template D from assorted dark green prints

Handy Hint You may find it less daunting to cut just a few patches and paper templates at a time. If you are careful, you may be able to reuse the paper templates from the table centre for the placemats.

Recycling Tip

Cut paper templates from good quality used envelopes.

Basic Method

Tacking the fabric over the templates
Figure 1: Tacking the fabric over the templates.
  1. Before you sew all the pieces, read to the end of the instructions, as not all the hexagons are tacked on every side: some need seam allowances for the edges of the quilt.
  2. Centre and pin the paper templates to the wrong side of each patch.
  3. Tack the fabric to the paper by turning the seam allowance over the edge of the paper and holding it securely to keep the shape accurate. At each corner, fold the fabric over the point, making sure it is a tight fit and put the needle through the fold to keep the fabric in place. See Figure 1.
  4. Place two patches RS together, making sure that the corners match accurately. Make a knot at the end of your thread and put the needle in at the corner underneath the fabric turning, as shown in Figure 2. Pull the thread until the knot lodges at the corner. Sew the two patches together along the edges with small, even, firm oversewing stitches making a double stitch at each corner. Try not to sew through the paper templates as these can be used again.
Oversewing the patches
Figure 2: Oversewing the patches.

Inner City Units

The Inner City unit
Figure 3: The Inner City unit.
Some edges are left untacked to give a seam 
allowance
Figure 4: Some edges are left untacked to give a seam allowance.
  1. Pin and tack the half hexagon papers, template C, to the WS of the half hexagon patches, template D.
  2. Arrange the pairs of patches in Y shaped units keeping the dark green on one side, the medium green on another and the light cream on the third.
  3. Sew the half hexagons together to make whole hexagons sewing one light cream to one dark green, one light cream to one medium green and one medium green to one dark green. Then sew the three hexagons together to make the Y shaped unit shown in Figure 3.
  4. Make twenty five Y-shaped units for the table centre.
  5. Make sixteen Y-shaped units for each of the place mats.
  6. Tack the plain cream and plain dark green background hexagons, template B, to the papers, template A. Omit tacking the seam allowance of the hexagons which will form the outside edges of the mats as shown in Figure 4. You will need the seam allowance that you are leaving untacked to attach the binding.
  7. Refer to the photograph and arrange the Y-shaped units with the cream and dark green hexagons to form the mats. The table centre has a five by five arrangement of the Y units and the placemats four by four. If you have some spare fabric or wadding, you can pin each one in place and then remove and sew one section at a time. Pin back in position at the end of each sewing session. This makes it easier as you don’t have to think so hard to check you are sewing the right pieces together all the time.
  8. Oversew the Y-shaped units together first and then fill in the background hexagons until the mat is the desired size.

Quilting and Finishing

  1. Press the table centre and place mats from the wrong side.
  2. Remove all tacking threads and carefully remove the paper templates. If you haven't torn the papers you may be able to press them and use them again.
  3. Layer and tack the place mats with the wadding and natural calico.
  4. Quilt a V-shape, 1⁄4in from the seams, along each pair of half hexagons. Quilt diagonal lines across the background cream and dark green hexagons.
  5. Trim all outside edges level and bind with plain medium green double fold binding. Well done, your mats are now finished

First published in Popular Patchwork February 2007