Regan's Bed of Roses

Materials

  • A selection of pale pink fat quarters for star centres, plus scraps of pink fabric
  • 25cm (1⁄4yd) dark pink for the star centres and inner border
  • 1.7m (1 7⁄8yds) tan background fabric
  • 3.7m (4yds) total of fabric for star points and outer border – refer to photograph for guidance
  • 50cm (5⁄8yd) binding fabric
  • 180cm (71in) square backing fabric
  • 180cm (71in) square wadding, plus off-cuts for the star centres (the higher the loft the puffier the effect)
  • Threads for piecing
  • Invisible thread for quilting
  • Pencil or erasable marker pen

Finished Size

Approx 170cm (67in) square

Skill Level

Experienced

CUTTING INSTRUCTIONS

  1. From the pale pink fat quarters and scraps, cut strips of various widths between 1 1⁄4in and 4in wide across the width of the pieces of fabric for the star centres. Don’t cut all of your fabric up at once; you can always cut more strips if you need them.
  2. From the dark pink fabric, cut the following:
    • Five 1in wide strips across the width of the fabric (for the inner border)
    • One five-sided shape no more than 4 1⁄2in in any direction
    • Four five-sided shapes no more than 3 1⁄2in in any direction
    • Four five-sided shape no more than 2 1⁄2in in any direction

CUTTING TRIANGLES

When working with triangles it is important to remember that at least one edge will be cut on the fabric's bias. As the bias is stretchy you need to take care not to distort the pieces as you work, and if possible keep the straight grain of the fabric on the outside of the block.

Triangles can be cut as half square triangles by dividing a square in half once diagonally to give two triangles, in which case there will be one bias edge. To cut half square triangles, cut a square 7⁄8in larger than the finished size after piecing.

Alternatively, triangles can be cut as quarter square triangles by dividing a square in half twice diagonally to give four triangles, in which case there will be two bias edges. The tables give you the corresponding square sizes that you will need to use for each size of triangle.

There are four sizes of triangles in the project.

CUTTING THE STAR POINTS AND OUTER BORDER

From the star point/outer border, cut 140 2 1⁄2 x 10in strips plus:

No of triangles required Finished size after piecing Size of square required if cutting two triangles from a square Size of square required if cutting four triangles from a square
32 2 7⁄8 inches 3 3⁄4 inches 5 1⁄4 inches
50 4 inches 4 7⁄8 inches 6 7⁄8 inches
6 5 5⁄8 inches 6 1⁄2 inches 9 1⁄4 inches
1 8 inches 8 7⁄8 inches N/a

CUTTING THE BACKGROUND

From the tan background fabric, cut 23 4 1⁄2 in squares and 9 4 1⁄2 x 8 1⁄2in rectangles plus:

No of triangles required Finished size of block after piecing Size of square required if cutting two triangles from a square Size of square required if cutting four triangles from a square
16 2 7⁄8 inches 3 3⁄4 inches 5 1⁄4 inches
10 4 inches 4 7⁄8 inches 6 7⁄8 inches
21 5 5⁄8 inches 6 1⁄2 inches 9 1⁄4 inches
1 8 inches 8 7⁄8 inches N/a

PIECING THE STAR CENTRES

  1. Take the dark pink five-sided shape no more than 4 1⁄2in in any direction. Right sides together, stitch a pale pink strip to one edge; press open and trim. Working either clockwise or anticlockwise, keep adding strips to build up a crazy patchwork shape until you can cut an 11 3⁄4in square. This includes seam allowances. See Figure 1.
  2. Repeat step one for the four five sided shapes no more than 3 1⁄2in in any direction until you can cut four 8 1⁄2in squares. This includes seam allowances.
  3. Repeat step one for the four fivesided shapes no more than 2 1⁄2in in any direction until you can cut four 6 1⁄4in squares. This includes seam allowances.

 

Figure 1: Star centres

PIECING THE QUILT CENTRE

Note: It is important to plan which fabrics to use for which star points so that the fabrics are evenly distributed throughout the quilt. This is critical where panel 5 meets panel 2 to make the star.

Figure 2: Block and quilt assembly

  1. The quilt is made up in panels, numbered 1 to 10 on Figure 2. Make up the panels and then join as indicated below. Press as you work to ensure that your seams lay flat and so that the pieces can be joined precisely. Note: take care when constructing panel 10 as it is more complicated than the other panels as the seams are not all in straight lines. Referring to Figure 2, piece sections A to K and then join the sections together in alphabetical order. When it is necessary to turn at an angle on a seam line, stop stitching 1⁄4in before the end of the seam line and secure; when you join the next piece, start stitching at that point. Whenever you have a choice, line up the 90 degree angles first and pin securely, checking that the triangles are in line.
    • Join 1 and 2
    • Join 3 and 4
    • Join 1/2 and 3/4
    • Join 5 and 6
    • Join 1/2/3/4 and 5/6
    • Join 7 and 8
    • Join 7/8 and 9
    • Join 7/8/9 and 10
    • Join 1/2/3/4/5/6 and 7/8/9/10
    • Press the finished quilt centre carefully.

BORDERS

  1. Take the five dark pink 1in wide strips. Join the strips at right angles, pressing the seams open to reduce bulk and trimming the ‘ears’. Stitch to each edge of the quilt centre except at the bottom round the left hand star; this part of the border will be appliquéd in place later. Press a 1⁄4in turning under each edge of the remaining border in the bottom left hand corner.
  2. Take the 140 2 1⁄2 x 10in strips and, ensuring the fabric is distributed evenly, piece four strips of 35 pieces each,joining the strips on the long edges.
  3. Stitch the borders centrally to each side of the panel, stitching up to 1⁄4in from each end; the borders should only just touch. Ensure the pressed seams face in the same direction on each side as this will help the mitred corners lay flat once completed.
  4. At the corners turn to the back and fold the quilt at 45 degrees, right sides together and edge to adjacent edge. Align the border strips carefully and pin in place. Then mark the quilt using a pencil and a ruler following the line of the folded quilt edge. Stitch along the pencil line to give a perfect mitre. Trim the seam to 1⁄4in and press.
  5. At the bottom left of the quilt, make up the border mitre underneath the small star in the same way. Take extra care that the panel is lying flat and then pin and appliqué the small star and the deep pink border into place over the mitre as shown in Figure 3. Trim the excess border away from underneath the star using a 1⁄4in seam allowance, press again. 

Figure 3: Appliqueing small star and inner border in place

QUILTING THE STAR CENTRES

Note: If you don't want to create the padded effect in the centre of the stars then ignore this section.

  1. Take your wadding off-cuts and tack a piece to the wrong side of each star centre, making sure the wadding is bigger than the star centre.
  2. Set your machine for free machine quilting and then quilt as follows. Start with a small swirl in the middle of the dark pink centres and then create a small rose pattern in the middle of each square.
  3. At the back of the quilt top, carefully trim away the wadding to 1⁄4in around each rose design.

HEALTH AND SAFETY: The rose centres of the star have extra wadding to create a puffed effect and create a little extra warmth. However, please note that this method is only suitable for an adult quilt and must never be used on a babies or a child’s quilt as they can overheat.

QUILTING AND FINISHING

Handy hint For a quicker quilting result, you could use just the theme of roses and perhaps have one leaf pattern with wandering stalks across the tan background.

For a simpler quilting pattern, you could stitch in the ditch around the stars and triangles with a meandering spiral across the pink squares.

  1. Layer the quilt by placing the backing fabric wrong side up on a clean flat surface, followed by the wadding and then the quilt top, centrally and right side up. The backing and wadding are slightly larger than the quilt top. Pin or tack in place.
  2. Working from the centre of the quilt, free-machine as follows: a vermicelli pattern over the tan background fabric; a different leaf pattern in each point of the star and triangle; the rose design once more in each square. Stitch in the ditch around the small border on both edges and then down each seam line of the main border.
  3. To bind the quilt, trim the excess backing and wadding level with the quilt top edges. From the binding fabric, cut seven 2 1⁄2in strips across the width of the fabric; join at right angles, pressing the seams open to reduce bulk. Trim the 'ears' and fold the strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press. Match the raw edges of the binding to the raw edges of the quilt and sew in place, folding a mitre at each corner. Fold the binding over to the back of the quilt and neatly slipstitch in place by hand. Finally sign and date your work

First published in Popular Patchwork May 2009