Small Scale Blues

Materials

All fabrics used are 45in (115cm) wide and 100% cotton

  • 40cm of blue/grey fabric for centre block
  • 1m of dark blue fabric
  • 40cm of medium blue fabric
  • 40cm of blue fabric
  • 70cm of cream fabric
  • Four fat eighths in different patterned cream fabrics
  • Small piece of patterned beige fabric
  • 25cm of pale blue fabric for butterflies
  • 25cm of Bondaweb or Heat & Bond (for securing the appliqué)
  • 90cm square of 2oz low loft wadding
  • 90cm square of a fabric suitable for the backing
  • Invisible/monofilament machine thread
  • Pale quilting thread
  • Small amount of embroidery thread
  • White fine crochet thread (for quilting the outer border)
  • Twelve small beads (for use on the butterflies)
  • Four long bugle beads (for the small butterfly bodies)

Finished Size

33in square (81cm)

Skill Level

Experienced

Suppliers

The materials used for this project are available from all good quilt shops.

Accuracy is very important when working to this small scale. Try making test samples from your fabrics as some fabrics with a slightly looser/coarser weave are less successful for miniatures. Use a smaller machine stitch than usual and be patient, a miniature quilt can take almost as long as a full size version.

Preparation

Cut:

  • Four strips 12 1⁄2 x 3in from dark blue for appliqué border
  • Four 3in squares from dark blue for appliqué border
  • Four 4in squares from dark blue for quilted border
  • Four strips 25 1⁄2 x 4in from dark blue for quilted border
  • Four bias strips 17 x 1⁄2in from cream for appliqué border

Centre Block

Figure 1: Colour plan for centre foundation sections
Figure 1: plan for foundation sections
  1. Nine completed 4in foundation blocks are required to make the centre block of the quilt. For each block, assemble four F1 and four F2 foundations, using the diagrams. The fabric colour sequence is as shown in Figure 1.
  2. When completed, join together each F1 to an F2. Now join two of these together to form half of a 4in block. Repeat the above to make the second half of the block. Join the two half-blocks sewing from the centre out to each side. The first block is now complete and should look as shown in Figure 2.
  3. Make eight more identical blocks. Join the nine blocks to make three rows, each of three blocks. Now join the three rows together to complete the centre block which, with the seam allowance, should measure 12 1⁄2in square.
  4. Draw the shapes for the small butterflies onto Bondaweb. Cut them out and press them in place on the pale blue fabric. Cut out the fabric shapes, remove the Bondaweb backing and press them in place on the central dark blue blocks. Zigzag the shapes with invisible thread. Stitch a long bugle bead along the centre of each for the body, with a bead at the top end for the head.
Figure 2: Completed block
Figure 2: Completed block

Appliqué Border

This border is pieced and appliquéd. Take the border strips cut previously and join two strips to the top and bottom of the centre block. Add a square to each end of the remaining two strips. Then add the two pieced strips to each side of the block. You should now have a complete centre block, surrounded by the dark blue fabric border which can now be appliquéd.

Appliqué

  1. Take cream bias strips cut previously. Fold the fabric under to make a bias tape. Place the bias tape on each side of the first border and tack.
  2. Draw the flowers, leaves and birds onto Bondaweb using the templates provided. Cut them out and press them onto the assorted cream fabrics. Cut out the fabric shapes, remove the Bondaweb backing and press them in place on or near the bias tape.
    Detail
    Applique Detail

    You will need eight birds, 12 bellflowers, four flowers (A), eight flowers (B) and several leaves.

  3. Zigzag all the appliqué by machine with invisible thread using a small stitch width. For the flower centres cut 3⁄4in circles in the beige and dark blue fabrics. Make Suffolk puffs and hand stitch them to the centres of the flowers.

Floating Pinwheel Border

Figure 3: Making the Pinwheel Border corners
Figure 3: Making the Pinwheel Border corners

This border is pieced with large butterflies appliquéd in the corners.

  • Twenty four 1 7⁄8in squares from medium blue
  • Twenty four 1 7⁄8in squares from blue
  • Forty eight 1 7⁄8in squares from cream
  • Forty P1 triangles from cream using template
  • Sixteen P2 triangles from cream using template
  • Eight strips 17 1⁄2 x 3⁄4in from blue/grey
  • Four 4 1⁄2in squares from dark blue
  1. Place each 1 7⁄8in cream square on either a medium blue or blue 1 7⁄8in square, RS together. Draw a pencil line diagonally across the cream square. Stitch 1⁄4in away from either side of the pencil-drawn line. Cut along the diagonal pencil line to yield two squares when unfolded.
  2. Lay out four pieced squares with the blue triangles pointing to the centre and alternating the colours. Stitch them in pairs and join the pairs to make a Pinwheel unit. Repeat to yield 24 Pinwheel units.
    Figure 4: These units complete the border as shown
    Figure 4: These units complete the border as shown
  3. To make the first corner unit join a P2 triangle to one side of a Pinwheel. Then join a P1 triangle to the other side of the Pinwheel. (Note the overlapping ends needed to give the floating effect.)
  4. Add a P2 triangle to a third side. Make the second corner unit as a mirror image of the first one. Repeat each three more times to give four of each corner unit. See Figure 3.
  5. To make the remaining units join a P1 triangle to one side of a different Pinwheel and a P1 to the opposite side. Make four of these units for each border strip. Join the four units together with one of each corner unit at either end. See Figure 4.
  6. To complete this border, add the narrow blue/grey strips to both long edges. Make three more identical units to complete the four sides needed.
  7. Join one of these Pinwheel borders to the top and another to the bottom of the quilt. Add a dark blue 4 1⁄2in square to each end of the remaining two Pinwheel borders and sew them to the sides of the quilt.
  8. Draw the shapes for the large butterflies onto Bondaweb. Cut them out and press them in place on the pale blue and beige fabrics. Cut out the fabric shapes, remove the Bondaweb backing and press them in place on the large dark blue blocks near the corners. Zigzag as before. Backstitch the antennae with crochet thread and sew a bead at the end of each antenna.
Pinwheel Border
Pinwheel Border

Quilted Border

  1. Take the border strips cut previously and join two strips to the top and bottom of the quilt.
  2. Join a 4in square to each end of the remaining two strips. Then add these strips to each side of the quilt.
  3. You now have a completed quilt top. Press carefully taking care not to flatten the appliqué flowers.
  4. Make a quilting design by replicating the pattern of the appliqué border. You can use the same bird, flower and leaf templates as patterns for the quilting.

Quilting and Finishing

  1. Layer the quilt with wadding and backing. Quilt round the appliqué on the first border. Couch small tendrils near the flowers with fine crochet thread.
  2. Quilt round the outside of the Pinwheel blocks. Quilt the outer border with fine crochet thread or something similar, so that it shows against the dark fabric.
  3. Cut several strips of 2 1⁄2in wide dark fabric for binding the quilt. Join together, fold in half, WS together, press and sew all round the quilt edge. Fold back this binding and hand stitch the fold to the back of your quilt top.
  4. To complete the decorative effect, embroider the leaves, bellflowers, birds etc to your taste, using a slightly darker thread than the fabric used.
  5. Finally, after all this work don’t forget to sew your label onto the back of the quilt!

First published in Popular Patchwork Volume 12 Number 5 - May 2004