Serendipity

Materials

  • 2.5m (2.75yd) floral blue batik
  • 1m (1 1⁄8yd) light pink batik for background to smaller stars
  • 2m (2 1⁄4yd) cream/pink batik for remaining light backgrounds
  • 1.5m (1 3⁄4yd) dark green batik for setting strips and binding
  • Approximately 20 batik fat quarters or eighths in four different greens, deep pinks, oranges from bright to dark, deep yellows, turquoises, purples and deep reds
  • Approx 10m (11yd) in total of a large selection of patterned batik scraps
  • Backing fabric 235 x 235cm (92 x 92in)
  • Wadding 235 x 235cm (92 x 92in); Anja recommends cotton wadding
  • Foundation piecing medium of your choice
  • Template medium of your choice
  • Sewing thread for piecing
  • Metallic and invisible thread for quilting

Finished Size

Approx 25cm (10iApprox 229 x 229cm (90 x 90in)

Skill Level

Advanced

We're delighted to be able to share Anja’s wonderful Serendipity quilt design with you, and to show you how to make this spectacular quilt. Some of you may have been lucky enough to see this quilt at Quilts UK 2007, Malvern, where it deservedly won a Judge's Merit.

FROM SMALL BEGINNINGS

Follow Anja's step-by-step instructions to create your own Serendipity quilt using rotary cutting, and traditional, foundation and template piecing techniques. Stage by stage you will create and build a quilt to be proud of. If you're feeling a little less ambitious but would still like to have a go, why not select smaller sections of Anja’s quilt to make? This month's centre star would be a great beginning. You can still take part month by month and create a smaller quilt, a wallhanging or cushion cover, exploring and enjoying new techniques or improving your previous skills.

PIECING TECHNIQUES

Rotary cutting your fabric results in accurate shapes for piecing, which are usually square or rectangular in shape. Template piecing allows you to incorporate more unusual shapes into your quilt. The template is traced onto plastic or thin card and can be used several times to cut out a number of identical fabric pieces. Foundation piecing involves sewing fabric pieces onto a thin paper or fabric foundation to form a quilt block. This technique helps you to make complicated patterns quickly, easily and accurately, and it is a great way to use up small scraps of fabric.

CHOOSING YOUR FABRICS

This is an ideal quilt for using lots of fat quarters and even fat eighths of fabric. Try to stay close to the overall tones as used by Anja or the flowers won't stand out. But you could totally change the colours or fabrics and make, for example, a quilt with a cream background and realistic flower colours. A general guide is also given in the following instructions and on the templates. The greater the mix of colours, the better the quilt will look. In fact there are about 100 different subtly patterned batiks in Anja's Serendipity quilt. These are linked by a floral blue batik background, which gives a beautifully coordinated, joyful watercolour effect to the quilt. So come with us over the next four installments, using lots of colour and lots of scraps, joining in the fun with fabrics from your stash, scouring your local quilt shops for beautiful batiks and swapping spare pieces with your friends.

FOUNDATION PIECING INSTRUCTIONS

In foundation piecing, the pattern is drawn on one side of the foundation medium and the fabrics stitched to the other side, one by one. The stitching is done from the drawn side, flipping and pressing the stitched fabrics until the design is complete.

Foundation piecing is done on a base of thin paper, lightweight fabric such as muslin or very lightweight interfacing. Special foundation piecing paper is also available from quilt shops. Printer or copier paper is not recommended because it is very thick. A see-through tracing will help with placement and minimise mistakes.

Read through the following instructions carefully before beginning. The pattern sheets are here pattern 1 and pattern 2, please be very careful to check measurements when printing from a home computer.

  1. First trace the foundation piecing pattern onto the medium of your choice, including all the numbers provided. Photocopying, scanning and printing can distort pattern measurements, so if you do use this one of these methods then re-measure the pattern carefully before use.
  2. Write your colour choices on the tracing in the relevant patches. Refer to the colour picture and remember that the pattern tracing is a mirror image of the actual quilt.
  3. Anja suggests that you pre-cut your chosen fabrics by making an extra tracing to cut apart. You then use the numbered templates for pre-cutting, adding 1⁄4in seam allowances. Remember to place the templates on the back of your fabrics.
  4. Always foundation piece in number order: so first find number 1 on the pattern. Cut a piece of fabric large enough to cover number 1 plus a generous seam allowance.
  5. Pin the fabric onto the un-drawn side of the paper, right side of the fabric face up. Turn the pattern to the drawn side and hold up the paper and fabric to a light source to check for adequate seam allowances beyond the lines of number 1. Re-position the fabric if necessary.
  6. Find number 2 on the pattern drawing. Cut a piece of fabric large enough to cover number 2 plus a generous seam allowance. Place number 2 fabric right sides together on top of number 1 fabric.
  7. You will be sewing on the line between 1 and 2 on the drawn side, so check that you have placed the patch correctly to catch this line. Also check that the patch will cover number 2 on the paper after sewing and pressing over, with seam allowances going well beyond the lines. Once you are happy with the placement, put pins in to hold in place if needed.
  8. Turn the pattern to the drawn side and sew on the line between 1 and 2 through all layers, i.e. paper and both fabrics 1 and 2. Sew with a shorter stitch than usual and start and finish three or four stitches beyond the start and finish of the line. Trim the seam and press the fabric patch 2 over to cover the paper patch 2.
  9. Continue in the same way with fabric number 3 and so on, following the numbers in sequential order. As you proceed, make sure that you also leave a seam allowance around the outside edge of the tracing.
  10. When the foundation piecing is complete, stitch through all the layers with a long machine stitch around the pattern just beyond the outside seam line. This secures the edges and makes it easier to join the blocks, or partial blocks
  11. Join the blocks, or parts of blocks, by pinning them right sides together and sewing on the solid outside line.
  12. Remove all the paper when the quilt top is completed. If you are using a lightweight fabric or interfacing, you may wish to leave this in to add extra weight to your quilt.

SMALL INNER STAR

Figure 1: Piecing diagram for small inner star

  1. Carefully copy template A from the pattern sheet onto your foundation piecing medium. Select your fabrics, using the colour scheme on the template and the colour picture for guidance.
  2. Following Foundation Piecing Instructions, foundation piece the block from number 1 to number 17, in that order.
  3. Carefully copy templates B, C and D from the pattern sheet onto your template card or plastic and cut out. Using the templates, cut the following: four purple Bs, eight turquoise Cs, eight light pink Ds and four dark orange Ds.
  4. Lay out all the pieces to form the block and check your colour placement.
  5. Following Figure 1, sew a B piece to a C piece. Next sew a light pink D piece to a second C piece. Now sew BC to DC. Make four of these BCDC units.
  6. Sew two of the BCDC units to the top and bottom of foundation pieced A, matching the seams. You will have a BCDC-A-BCDC unit. Figure 1.
  7. Sew a light pink D to a dark orange D. Make four and sew these DD units to either end of the two remaining BCDC units. Figure 1. Sew these DD-BCDC-DD units to the sides of BCDC-A-BCDC to make the small inner star.

LARGE CENTRE STAR

Figure 2: Piecing diagram for large centre star

  1. Carefully copy template S from the pattern sheet onto your foundation piecing medium. Select your fabrics, using the colour scheme on the template and in the colour picture for guidance.
  2. Following Foundation Piecing Instructions, foundation piece the block from number 1 to number 17, in that order. Make four of these S blocks.
  3. Carefully copy templates D, E and T from the pattern sheet onto your template card or plastic and cut out. Using the templates, cut the following: four dark orange Ds, eight floral blue batik Es and four cream/pink Ts.
  4. Lay out all the pieces to form the blocks and check your colour placement.
  5. Following Figure 2, sew an E piece to a D piece. Next sew a second E piece to a T piece. Now sew ED to ET. Make four of these EDET units.
  6. Sew two of the EDET units to the top and bottom of the inner star block, matching the seams. You will have an EDETinner star-EDET unit. Figure 2.
  7. Sew a foundation pieced S block to either end of the two remaining EDET units as in Figure 2. Sew the S-EDET-S units to the sides of the EDET-inner star-EDET unit to make the large centre star.
  8. Cut two green strips 1 1⁄4 x 25in; stitch these to the top and bottom of the large centre star. Cut two green strips 1 1⁄4 x 26 1⁄2in; stitch these to the sides.

FLOWER BORDER

Figure 3: Piecing diagram for flower border

  1. Carefully copy templates F, FB and FC from the pattern sheet onto your foundation piecing medium. Select your fabrics, using the colour schemes given below and the colour picture for guidance.
  2. Following Foundation Piecing Instructions, foundation piece block FB from number 1 to number 7, in that order. Make four FB blocks with pieces 1, 4 and 5 in one shade of green and four FB blocks with pieces 1, 4 and 5 in a second shade of green, or mix the shades as you prefer. Pieces 2, 3, 6 and 7 are in cream/pink.
  3. Next foundation piece block F from number 1 to number 13, in that order. Make four F blocks with pieces 2, 3, 6, 7, 10 and 11 in mainly oranges, and four more F blocks with pieces 2, 3, 6, 7, 10 and 11 in mainly pinks. Pieces 1, 4, 5, 8, 9, 12 and 13 are in cream/pink.
  4. Now foundation piece block FC from number 1 to number 15, in that order. Make four FC blocks with pieces 2, 3, 6, 7, 10 and 11 in yellows and bright oranges, and pieces 14 and 15 in two shades of green. Pieces 1, 4, 5, 8, 9, 12 and 13 are in cream/pink.
  5. Carefully copy templates FS, FT and FTR from the pattern sheet onto your template card or plastic and cut out. Using the templates and cream/pink fabric, cut eight FS pieces, eight FT pieces and eight FTR pieces.
  6. Lay out all the pieces to form the borders, taking care with colour placement.
  7. Following Figure 3 carefully, stitch an F block to an FB block. Stitch an FT block and an FTR block to the F sides. Sew an FS block to the FB side. Repeat for the other half of the border. Join the two halves diagonally. Make four of these flower borders.
  8. Sew two borders to the top and bottom of the large centre star, taking care with the flower colours.
  9. Sew an FC block to either end of the two remaining flower borders. Figure 3. Sew these borders to either side of the large centre star to complete the centre panel.
  10. Cut two green strips 1 1⁄4 x 37in; stitch these to the top and bottom of the centre panel. Cut two green strips 1 1⁄4 x 38 1⁄2in; stitch these to the sides of the centre panel. Part 1 of your Serendipity quilt is complete

The series

In part 1 we have given you the instructions for the centre star and the flower border, which is a stunning project in itself. In part 2, we will show you how to make the star border, and in part 3 you will add the flower border and an outer border. In part 4 we will complete the series with quilting and binding your own version of Serendipity, including advice about using metallic and invisible threads.

First published in Popular Patchwork September 2007