I Dance in Circles

Making this quilt felt a little bit like dancing.  It is full of color and movement, and just the right touch of sexy.  But don’t be scared of all those curves; I assure you — not a single pin or template was used in their construction.

In case you don’t remember me, I’m Tracey; I blog at traceyjay quilts. And for this quilt, I dance in circles.

1 Fandango Layer Cake
4 yards backing
1/2 yard binding
At least four – 5/8 yd. pieces of coordinating Basic Grey Grunge solids
Grunge Basics  Poplin 30150 20
Grunge Basics  White 30150 58
Grunge Basics  Sateen 30150 18
Grunge Basics  Sweetie 30150 72
Grunge  Winter Mint 30150 85
Grunge Basics  Chiffon 30150 15
Grunge Basics  Rum Raisin 30150 13
Grunge Basics  Blue 30150 60

(You need at least twenty-eight 10″ squares – you can get four squares from one 10″ x WOF strip)

Though not necessary, an 8 1/2 inch square ruler comes in handy for this quilt.



  • Cut at least seven 10″ x WOF strips from your Grunge solids.  Sub-cut these in to at least twenty-eight 10″ squares  (I had extra, because I wanted lots of freedom in selecting my colors).


  • Open up your layer cake and combine two layer cake squares with one Grunge solid to make three fabric squares all together.  Stack these together.  (*You can also use two Grunge squares with one Fandango square, and will need to do this at least once in order to make enough blocks).  Have fun selecting your color combinations; the only thing you need to do is include some contrast.
  • Make your first cut about 1/3 of the way in, creating roughly the arc of one quadrant of a circle.  You do not need a template; just let your rotary cutter do the work.  It’s OK if it’s not perfect.
  • Move the top piece of fabric to the bottom of the stack.
  • Using this video as a demo, position your inside piece of fabric (with the convex curve), right-sides together on top of the piece of fabric with the concave curve.  (You don’t need to pin!)  Because we are not using a template that includes the 1/4″ seam allowance, you will need to position the start of your inner piece of fabric about 1/4″ of the way from the base of your lower piece of fabric (the brown piece shown pictured above).
  • In the picture below, you can see both how my starting edges are not lined up, and also that I am lifting the top piece.  Using one hand to guide your base fabric, and the other to guide your top fabric, sew that curve together.  You will hold the top piece of fabric up slightly; remember — the only place the edges need to line up are right where they are feeding in to the machine!

  • Sew your first seam together on all three pieces of your set.  Press seams either direction (I went toward the center on most of them).  There will be an off-set on the edges — don’t worry about that!

  • Stack these blocks together, and make your second cut a couple inches (ish) away from your first.

  • Move two pieces to the bottom of the stack so that each piece of fabric is represented in each block.
  • Using the same method as above, off-set your edges by about 1/4″, and with the convex curve on top, and concave (outside) curve on the bottom, sew together, resulting in three similar blocks.  (You don’t need to trim your threads)

  • Once you get the hang of it, you can make both your cuts at once — as pictured below.  Move the top piece of the furthest inside to the bottom, and the top two pieces of the middle section to the bottom in order to evenly distribute your pieces.  Have fun with varying the widths of your cuts… this is improv after all!

  • Using your 8 1/2 inch square ruler, or another ruler of your choice, trim block to 8 1/2″ square.  I trimmed three blocks at a time.

  • To make the quilt top, I sorted my blocks in to “cool” and “warm” colors — and distinguished between a solid or print in the outer ring.  

  • This quilt uses an 8 x 8 block lay-out.  Arrange your blocks as desired, and sew in to rows.  I chose to off-set every other set of rows by starting it with a half-circle, rather than all four quadrants.  Just because I liked it that way.
  • When joining rows, remember to press seams in every other direction.
Your quilt top is complete!


A gorgeous throw measuring just over 60″ square after it’s all washed and crinkly.

When you try this, please remember to show me pictures!  You can add them to the Moda Bake Shop and traceyjay quilts groups on flickr.  For back story on this quilt, and more pics, come visit me; I’d love to hear from you.

Oh!  If you want to make this with fat quarters or yardage, instead of a layer cake, I’d recommend using 8.5″ or 9″ squares instead! 🙂

Tracey Jacobsen