Miniature Trip around the World


  • Six fat eighths of fabric. Check the scale carefully as large prints don’t translate well to miniatures
  • One fat quarter (includes binding)
  • 50cm square of lightweight Vilene
  • 50cm square of wadding
  • 50cm square of backing fabric
  • 1⁄4in graph paper (if metric then take 5mm to be a 1⁄4in)

Finished Size

Miniatures are traditionally 1⁄12 scale, these instructions enable you to fit any size

Skill Level

Advanced only because of the small scale, not the techniques used

You can download a copy of the original magazine pages for this project here, Miniature Trip around the World

Although small, to make these quilts perfectly formed can take as much time as piecing a full sized bed quilt. However, these little quilts will repay the patience required to make them

Working Out

  1. Start by measuring the bed. Divide these measurements into 1⁄4in squares. For example, a 5 x 6in bed would be 20 x 24 squares. Add the required drop at the sides of the bed. This will depend on the height of the bed and the thickness of the mattress. For a 1 1⁄4in drop you add 5 squares each side. Finally, add one square to each measurement to give an odd number of squares for both the width and length. This gives one centre point.
  2. Confused? As you are working small scale, you can draw it out full size on squared paper. It should make it a bit clearer.
  3. Draw the outside of the quilt on the graph paper checking the number of squares carefully. Find the centre square and mark it with a 1. Working in rings around this number, label each round increasing to 7 and then starting again at 1 as shown in Figure 1.
  4. Carry on marking the quilt design until your quilt plan is full. It is safest to work in pencil so mistakes can easily be amended. If you want to use more than six colours, adjust the numbers accordingly. we have coloured our plan to make it clearer but you can work just with numbers or just with colours whichever you prefer.
Figure 1: Drawing the quilt layout
Figure 1: Drawing the quilt layout

Miniature Trip around the WorldMiniature Trip around the World

Foundation Piecing

Figure 2: Example of foundation strip
Figure 2: Example of foundation strip
  1. Draw each strip onto the Vilene, making sure there is a good 1⁄2in each side of the strip for seam allowances. Do not rush this stage, as accuracy is very important with miniature quilts. See Figure 2. You may choose to cut the Vilene strips wider to give you something to grab onto when you are sewing.
  2. Cut 3⁄4in strips from each fat eighth and the fat quarter, then cut into 3⁄4in squares, keep them sorted by number so there is no chance of mixing them up. Pin or glue a square of each fabric to the chart design next to the number for reference.
  3. Place the first square at the end of a strip RS up and place the next RS together on top. Using a small machine stitch, sew along the marked line.
  4. Flip the square over and press open with your finger nail and carry on adding squares until on strip is completed. Make all the remaining strips in this way.
  5. Trim off the excess fabric using a ruler and rotary cutter leaving a 1⁄4in seam allowance all round. Again accuracy is very important.
  6. Lay out the strips making sure the design is correct. Sew together with 1⁄4in seams. It is worth taking time with this, as you want all the seams to intersect nicely at the corners.

Quilting and Finishing

  1. Layer with the wadding and backing. Quilt as desired. As the top is foundation pieced you don’t really need much quilting. If you do attempt some quilting it is important to try and keep the stitches in keeping with the scale of the quilt blocks. Practise first on some spare fabric and wadding to judge the right stitch length for your quilt.
  2. Cut the binding fabric into 1in strips. Apply as binding round the edges, fold to the back and turn the edges under and slip stitch in place. 1⁄8in seam allowance on the binding creates a nice narrow edge but can be fiddly. You may need to trim some of the binding away once it is sewn to the front or have a wider band on the back of the quilt it depends how much you can turn to the back before folding and stitching.

Blue Version

The design is laid out on point starting with groups of three in the centre a shown in Figure 3. When you have pieced all the strips and joined them you will have to trim off the excess points on each edge before adding the binding.

Figure 3: Layout for blue version
Figure 3: Layout for blue version

Bonus Large Version

Perhaps you like the pattern but not the scale. Jean and Gerald also make full size quilts using almost the same method.

Materials for 93in square quilt
  • 2m of five different fabrics
  • 2.5m of one fabric includes sufficient for a narrow binding
  • Approx 2.4m (95in) square of wadding
  • Approx 2.4m (95in) square of backing – can be pieced if needed
  1. Draw out the design and number the squares as shown in Figure 1. This quilt is 31 squares across and down (3in finished size). Only six colours are used in the large version but you can of course use as many as you wish and adjust the fabric quantites.
  2. Cut the fabric into 3 1⁄2in squares. You can first cut across the width into 3 1⁄2in strips and then cut again into squares. This size quilt does not use the foundation or sew and flip method.
  3. Join the squares together, one row at a time following the chart you have drawn. Press the first row to the right and the next to the left and continue pressing rows in alternate directions.
  4. When all the rows are completed, lay them out and check that the pattern is correct and then join into pairs, keep joining the pairs until you have one piece. The alternate pressing of the seam allowances should mean that the seams nestle together nicely.
  5. Layer with the wadding and backing and quilt as desired. Jean and Gerald recommend a diagonal grid though the corner of all the squares in both directions.
  6. Trim the quilt square and bind the edges. Add a label giving the date and your name and admire your finished quilt.

Note: There are many ways of sewing a Trip around the World quilt. For example you could sew the strips into groups in order 1,2,3,4,5,6 and then cut into segments 3 1⁄2in wide these segments can be used in different positions on most rows and you would only have to piece the extra squares in place. Another method is to sew the fabric into strips. The strips are then sewn into a tube. By cutting the tube into segments and then unpicking one seam in a different place in each row you can get larger segments quickly. However, the method described by Jean and Gerald is the most straightforward construction method to use.

First published in Popular Patchwork June 2006