A quick side note before we start. I tried to make this tutorial very beginner friendly. If you are not a beginner feel fee to simply skim the instructions for what you need. If you are a beginner and you happen to have questions please don’t hesitate to ask. You can email me at happyquiltingmelissa (at) gmail (dot) com. I will try to answer all of your questions asap.
We are going to start by cutting out the sashing for each of the 25 blocks and a few of the small squares. Pull the following pictured 25 prints out of your layer cake. There are 2 of each print except for the pink print on the side. You will only need one of the pink small flower print for the center block.
So do you have your 25 cake slices? (I am going to keep referring to them as that, just so you know) Great, use the diagram below to cut them. Now don’t go and cut all 25 stacked together. You will never end up with straight lines. In the same sense, cutting one at a time will take you all day. I would suggest cutting around 3-5 pieces at a time, depending on how confident you are with your cutting skills.
Now that the biggest cutting part is done, the rest will be “cake” (tee hee hee). Next we are going to cut the fabric needed for our binding strip. Go ahead and pull out the following pictured 6 slices of cake. That’s 2 prints, 3 of each.
Cut the 6 prints using the following guide. This will be simple compared to what you have already cut.
Now this next cutting might seem a little silly but I always feel the larger the scrap piece the better. So we are moving on to the small squares and so that we have the exact amount we need you are only cutting one piece of cake right now. So pull out one small pink flower print.
Go ahead and cut it according to the following diagram. (Or just look at the picture above, I forgot to take a picture of it before I cut it, oops 🙂 Isn’t it nice to have a big scrap piece?
Now we are going to cut the remaining small squares needed for our quilt top. You should have the following 10 pieces of cake left, 2 of each print.
Cut the 10 pieces of cake using the following diagram. Once again, don’t cut them all at once. Taking a little extra time to cut always saves time down the road. And yes, now you have a few more lovely scraps.
So that’s it. All of the cutting is done. You should have the following stacks: binding pieces, long sashing pieces, short sashing fabrics, and small squares (or 2 stacks of small squares if you don’t want one super tall stack).
STEP 2 – PIECING THE BORDERS
So I can hear you asking already, why are we starting with the borders. I will tell you why. Because when you finish putting all of your blocks together you will be super excited. Your quilt will be practically finished and you are just going to want to see it all laid out and nice. This is not the time to be sewing a bunch of 2 1/2″ squares together. So we do it first so they will be waiting anxiously for you.
Take all of your 2 1/2″ squares (you should have 184 of them) and mix them up. You want to make sure you get a good random look on your borders. I like to do this by putting them in a zip lock bag, blowing some air in it, sealing it, and then shaking it up. Like the following picture. This is what works for me, if you can randomly pick from a pile, go right ahead. Whatever way works for you.
We will begin by chain piecing the 2 1/2″ squares for the border pieces together (note, you will have extra squares). To do this, pick 2 squares out of the bag, if they are the same, throw one back and pick again. This might be cheating the random factor but I just don’t like the same print next to itself. Place the 2 pieces right sides together, and sew a 1/4 seam down one side. It doesn’t matter which. Note, I don’t use pins on small squares but if you are just starting feel free to use pins. Don’t cut your thread, this is where the chain stitching begins. Just keep feeding the sets of squares through your machine until you have stitched 42 sets.
This is what it should look like: 42 squares all linked together in a fun little pile.
Now go ahead and cut the threads between each square. I always find it is easiest to lay them out in a long row and then cut. I just figure there is less chance of me accidentally cutting the material.
Take 2 sets of 2 squares and set them aside for future use.
Now take your remaining 40 sets of 2 and chain stitch them into sets of 4. Meaning take a set of 2 and place it right sides together onto another set of 2 and then sew 1/4″ seam so you create 4 blocks in a row. Continue this process with all 40 sets. Once again, I try to make sure that I am not putting similar prints next to each other. Just my personal preference 🙂
Go ahead and cut your threads again. Now you should have 20 sets of 4 squares. Set aside 4 sets of 4. We will use them in a few minutes. (Well I guess that depends on how fast you sew.)
Bet you can’t guess what is next. Chain stitch your remaining 16 sets of 4 into 8 sets of 8.
Cut and you now have 8 sets that are 8 squares long. I stopped taking pictures here as I figured you were getting the hang of it.
Take your 8 sets of 8 and chain stitch them into 4 sets of 16. Cut your threads and you now have 4 sets of 16 squares.
Now this is where those blocks that we set aside come in. Chain stitch a set of 4 squares to each row of 16 squares. Cut your threads. Now you have 4 rows of 20 squares.
Last but not least, you are going to retrieve your 2 sets of 2 you set aside. Sew them onto 2 rows of 20 squares. Now you have 2 rows of 20 blocks (your short borders) and 2 rows of 22 blocks. (your long borders.)
Easy enough right. Go ahead and press your borders now. I find it is easiest to just press them all in one direction. Go ahead and set your borders aside to wait patiently for your blocks to be done.
STEP 3 – PIECING THE FOUR PATCH SQUARES
Go back to your bag of squares. Once again, you are going to be chain stitching into sets of 2. Just in case you need a reminder, right sides together, and try to avoid putting similar fabrics together. Go ahead and stitch the remaining 100 squares to make 50 sets of 2squares. Oh ya, you got this chain stitching thing down!
Here is your pile of 50 sets of 2. Go ahead and cut them so they are ready to press.
I am going to tell you how I like to press. I like to press my seams to one side. This way when I make the 4 patch square I can “nest” my seams nicely. If you prefer to press your seams open please do so. It will work just as well.
Now you should have a stack of 50 sets of 2’s nice and pressed. Don’t they look pretty!
Next we are going to create your center blocks of 4. Now your first tendency is going to be to line up the edges, but fight that, remember that in this case, lining up the center seam is far more important than the ends. Now that that has been said, on to the blocks. Place 2 sets of 2 right sides together and “nest” your seams. Meaning, the two should rest right together, side by side, so that when you sew, you get a beautiful perfect point of 4 blocks in the center. Pin your blocks together at the seam. I like to pin all 25 sets of blocks first and then sew. This way my chain stitching goes faster. Chain stitch your 25 sets using your 1/4″ seam. Oh, and don’t sew over pins, it is a bad habit, and a hard one to break, believe me, I know!
Go ahead and cut your threads and then press your seams. I like to press these seams open so that I don’t get bulk issues in the center.
Continue this process with your 25 blocks. Now you have 25 adorable 4 square blocks. Way to go!!
STEP 4 – PIECING THE SASHING’S
We will start the sashing by sewing on the short sides first. These are the short sides, the 4 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ rectangles.
Line up one sashing, right sides together, along the side of a 4 patch block and sew a 1/4″ seam. Set the matching sashing in a pile next to you. Continue chain stitching all of the first sashings for the 25 blocks.
You should have a pile of 4 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ rectangles and then a long line of 4 patch blocks with one sashing on, attached to the side. Go ahead and cut the threads of your chain stitching.
Now we are going to repeat the process on the opposite side of your four patch block. Take care to make sure you are matching up the same sashing prints. Otherwise you are going to get a much more random look 🙂 Chain stitch your 25 blocks and then cut your threads.
Once again, I like to press my seams out here. If you have a different preference, go right ahead and press them as you prefer.
Now we will add the longer sashing aka the 8 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ rectangles. And once again, make sure to match your print 🙂 …Unless you like random, who am I to squash creative genius? Repeat the same process as the short side sashings, adding one side first to all 25 blocks and then the second side to the 25 blocks.
Okay, this is where I have I wish I could alter a picture. I pressed these seams out but I wish I would have pressed them open. So Press them OPEN. It will avoid bulkiness.
So now you should have 25 amazing blocks, with amazing center points, and amazing beautiful prints! By the way, you are pretty amazing too, and the rest of this you will fly through! Your getting close! … and I use exclamation points too much 🙂
STEP 5 – PIECING THE BLOCKS TOGETHER
Lay out your blocks according to the following picture. I know it is kind of hard to see the prints but look closely. Or, if you don’t want this exact layout, play around with it until you get the perfect layout for you. Oh how I wish I had one of those nifty felt walls so I didn’t always have to do this part on my floor. Oh well, some day . . .
Now, this is where I abandon chain stitching. Mostly because I really, really, liked this layout and didn’t want to have to try and figure it out again, and once you start picking up several blocks it is easy to forget where they go back. Go ahead and lay the first block in the first row on top of the second block. You’re just basically going to flip it over on top of the second block. Don’t spin it or anything. Stitch a 1/4″ seam along the side where the pen points.
Now lay the first and second block (that are sewn together even though they aren’t in the picture, sorry, my bad) onto the third block and sew a 1/4″ seam where the pen points.
Continue this process with the fourth and fifth blocks until you have the entire first row sewn together. Go ahead and press your seams one direction. But remember which direction because the next row you will press in the opposite direction. This helps to get rid of bulk issues and also makes it so you can nest your seams when you sew your rows together.
Oh, and just a side note, I like to put a pin in my first block of each row. This is just something I learned along the way and it really helps to keep me straight when I get things turned around with sewing and ironing and such.
So go ahead and continue this process with the remaining 4 rows. Make sure again to press each row the opposite way of the row before. So basically left, right, left, right, left. (Do you feel like you are in the army now?)
Now you are ready to sew your rows together. Oh, this is getting exciting! Go ahead and lay row 1 over onto row 2. Do the same with row 4 onto row 5. You are going to pin the top of each row so that when you open it, row 1 will be on top of row 2 and row 4 will be on top of row 4. (Sorry, I should have put the pen in there again, I hope this makes sense.)
You are going to pin these like crazy! Once again, focus on your seams and not on the sides. I like to nest the block seams first (where the 2 blocks are sewn together) and then go back and pin the rest of my seams second. If you have extra bulk go ahead and smooth it down and then put in a vertical pin. This will help take care of those little bulky issues.
Sew the rows together. Make sure to take your pins out as you go. I like to take them out, just before I would run over them. This way my seams don’t shift.
Press your seams (I pressed them open, but you can press them any old way you like). Lay your quilt back out again, use those pins in the first block to help. Now lay row three up onto the now sewn together row 1 and 2. This time you are going to pin the bottom (or the intersection of row 2 and 3). Once you got it all pinned, sew your 1/4″ seam. I know it is tempting to fly right over those pins but trust me. It takes less time to pull them out than to replace your needle.
Press again. Lay your quilt out again. Now fold rows 4 and 5 that you sewed previously onto rows 1,2, and 3. Pin along the intersection of row 3 and 4. Sew and press.
And there it is!! Your 25 blocks all sewn together. Aren’t you happy now to know that your borders are already done and you don’t have to go back to chain piecing?
STEP 6 – ADDING THE BORDERS
Lay out your borders: short rows on the top and bottom and long rows on the sides. Make sure that none of your corners end up being the same. It would be a pity to avoid that the entire time and then miss it on the last step.
Lay your short rows onto your pieced blocks on the top and bottom of your quilt. Once again, pin like crazy. I pinned along each seam making sure it matched up with the seams of the blocks. Stitch 1/4″ seam. Press towards your border. (I know, less pictures and more directions, but you are a pro by now, you are probably skipping these words all together 🙂
This is where you are now. Only 2 sides to add and then you are done!! Attach the long sides the same way as the short sides. Pin like crazy, sew, and press towards the border.
Now give the entire quilt top another nice pressing on the top. Stand back and admire!
STEP 7 – FINISHING YOUR QUILT
First you are going to make your binding strip. I know, backwards again. But like before, I find that once I finish quilting my quilt I just want to get it finished asap and I hate having to go back and create the binding strip. So I do it first. Go ahead and pull out those binding pieces (the 2 1/2″ x 10″ rectangles) and create your binding strip. I know that isn’t a whole lot of help if you have never made one but if you don’t know how, check out this amazing tutorial here on the Bake Shop to learn: http://www.modabakeshop.com/2010/08/binding-with-jelly-roll.html
Now you are ready to baste, quilt, and bind. Once again, I know that doesn’t really help if you don’t know how. Unfortunately, it would be a tutorial in itself to teach the techniques. So go ahead and surf around for free motion quilting tutorials. Believe me, there are hundreds, that’s how I learned 🙂
You’re done!! You should have something that looks along the lines of this. Now just sit back and enjoy your Snuggly Squares Baby Quilt!
One adorable quilt measuring 42 x 42 (Baby not Included). Happy Quilting!!
Thanks to Madeline for being such a perfect little model and thanks to her mom for being willing to let me take pictures of her beautiful little girl.