Hi! This is Jess from The Elven Garden with my first recipe for Moda Bake Shop. I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could make a quilt using just a jelly roll (Sphere by Zen Chic), and I came up with the Beach Ball lap/baby quilt. It does use a fat quarter of background solid as well, but other than that a jelly roll is all you need!
This quilt is made using large equilateral (60 degree) triangles, arranged so they form hexagons across the quilt top. The layout options for the hexagons are unlimited – if you would like to have a play with some other layout options, you can download and print triangular graph paper here. This quilt measures 45″ x 50″, but you could easily make it bigger by using additional jelly rolls.
One Jelly Roll of Sphere by Zen Chic
One Fat Quarter (or quarter yard) of Bella Snow
1/2 Yard Binding fabric
2 1/2 Yards backing fabric
50″ x 55″ piece of batting
All seam allowances throughout the tutorial are a scant quarter inch, and I have pressed my seams open at all stages.
Begin by sorting the jelly roll into colour sets, separating the lighter value prints (in this case the grey and white based prints) from the darker ones.
Next, split each colour into sets of three strips. Some of my strip sets included one strip with a contrast in colour or value.
Sew each of these strip sets together along the long edge. For the strip sets with one contrasting strip, make the contrasting strip the central strip in the set, as this will form a continuous ring within the hexagons. Press your seams open.
Each strip set should measure 6.5″ wide by width of fabric.
Cut each of the strip sets into equilateral triangles using either a 60 degree triangle ruler:
Or using the 60 degree line on your ruler, lining up the line on your ruler with the bottom or top of the strip set.
Continue down the strip set, flipping the strip set or ruler as you go. You will end up with 9 triangles from each strip set.
To avoid trimming off the sides of the quilt, and losing some of the width of the quilt, I added setting triangles at the end of each row. To make these, cut strips the same width as your strip sets (6.5″) from your fat quarter of background fabric. Make a 60 degree cut with your ruler, and then make a vertical cut, 4″ in along the long edge, and 1/4″ from the shorter side (see below). If you would prefer to give yourself more wiggle room when squaring your quilt, you can make the setting triangles a little wider (4.25″ in from the long side).
Continue along the strip, cutting a total of 16 setting triangles.
At this stage, you could lay out your pieces and start piecing the rows together. I found it easier to piece together my darker coloured triangles into half-hexagons first, as it was much easier to switch them around on my design wall until I found a layout I liked. It also makes it easier to keep your triangles in the correct order as you are sewing the rows together.
Do not sew the light value (grey and white) prints in this way.
When sewing these half hexagons together, match up the seams along one edge and pin at each seam (I pin the side of the seam that will be sewn first).
You will end up with three half-hexagons from each strip set. Do not trim off the little triangles formed at the outer corners, as these are very useful when aligning your triangles when sewing the rows together.
Lay out your pieces into rows according to the photo below, or as desired (here I have 8 rows of 12 triangles, plus a setting triangle at the end of each row). If you place them carefully, the light value triangles will form partial hexagons that appear to be sitting behind the coloured hexagons.
When sewing the triangles into rows, you will need to offset the pieces slightly to account for the seam allowance and produce a straight row. It is helpful to use the little ‘tags’ of fabric produced by pressing your seams open when lining up your pieces. In the photo below, you can see these ‘tags’ on the bottom left and top right of the half-hexagons.
When the pieces are placed together ready to be sewn, they will cross each other at an angle like so (the seam to be sewn is at the right of the photo):
If we look more closely at these pieces, you can see how the ‘tags’ where the seams have been pressed open allow you to line up the two pieces.
Once your rows are sewn, sew your rows together in pairs, carefully pinning each of the points where your seams meet, so that your points will meet up. Because there are a lot of bias edge in the quilt top, it is possible to ease (or slightly stretch) some of your pieces to make the points meet.
Continue sewing the rows together in pairs, until you have a complete quilt top.
Baste, quilt and bind as desired! To make your backing, cut two 15″ by width of fabric strips from one end of your backing fabric. Join these end to end to make one long 15″ wide strip. Remove the selvedges from the remaining backing fabric, and join the long strip you just made to one side of the backing fabric using a 1/2″ seam.
One lap quilt, 45″ x 50″