Hi! I’m Sarah of SarahB Designs and I’m so happy to bring you another fun Moda precut recipe! The classic pinwheel pattern is one of my favorites and my Windy Days Quilt is a fun twist on the classic! Small and large pinwheels spin around the entire quilt top in a tilted but symmetrical design!
I didn’t add a border, but if you would like to add a border to the quilt, you’ll need an extra 1/2 yard of coordinating fabric.
If you have a design wall, you’ll get to put it to use in this step! Before sewing, you need to choose if you want a scrappy look for the larger pinwheels or if you prefer each of the 4 triangles to be made of the same fabric. Not all fabric line charm packs will contain duplicate squares, but Just Wing It! has several, so that’s another design option you can consider. I prefer a scrappier look, so I chose a different charm square for each triangle of the large pinwheel.
Choosing fabric placement
The Just Wing It! charm pack includes duplicates of several of the narrow stripe prints, so you can choose do the large pinwheels all in the same print, or you can mix the narrow stripes in and make the pinwheels scrappy. Play with the design and see which look you prefer. I was placing all my pieces on the floor and you can see I stacked a white charm square under each print so I would have it handy when I picked everything up to sew. If you are using a design wall, you can simply pick up the background squares in the next step. (I had 6 printed charm squares and 3 solid charm squares left over.)
Once you are satisfied with the arrangement and have snapped a photo of it (to remember where the fabrics are placed), make and label the following 3 stacks:
• large pinwheels – 1/2 square triangles (there are 16 solid-print pairs for the scrappy look I show)
• small pinwheels – 1/4 square triangles (there are 20 solid-print pairs)
• background squares (there are 45)
You will either have 8 (single-print pinwheel) or 16 (scrappy look) ½ square triangle units.
If your cutting mat has a diagonal line in addition to the grid, place 1 unit with the diagonal line running from one corner to the opposite corner. Place your ruler approximately 1/16” from the diagonal line (or where the diagonal line would be if one isn’t printed). This will allow room for your pencil or marker and allow you to mark an accurate line. I found it easier to mark from the center to the corner, then again from the center to the opposite corner to avoid stretching the fabric on the bias.
Repeat this marking process on 1 layer of all your ½ square triangle sets.
Your solid charm squares don’t have a right or wrong side, so with the right side of your printed charm square facing a solid, sew 1/4” on one side of your marked line, chain piecing as shown below.
Leaving your pieces attached, sew 1/4″ on the opposite side of your marked line of all the 1/2 square triangle sets. Take care not to stretch the fabric, as you are sewing on the bias.
Clip the threads between all the sets, then set the seams by pressing flat. With your ruler, rotary cut on your marked line. Press each triangle set open. Repeat.
Square up the 1/2 square triangle units to 4 ½”, taking care to keep the diagonal seam running corner to corner. To “square up” a block, trim just enough from two adjacent sides to make a perfect right angle, then turn the block to the opposite two adjacent sides where you will make sure the block measures 4 ½” and all corners are right angles.
Don’t create the large pinwheels yet! The quilt top construction will be a lot easier if these triangle blocks are left separate.
This is a quick and easy trick! It might not follow the “old school” quilt rules, but it works, and it’s a handy way to make the most of your charm squares!
With the right side of your printed charm square to the inside, facing a solid, sew along all 4 sides of the square with a ¼” seam as shown below.
If you prefer to chain piece, as I do, use this method instead. With the right side of your printed charm square facing a solid, sew along one side of the square with a ¼” seam. Continue to sew one side of all the ¼ square triangle units, chain piecing. Without clipping threads between the pieces, sew along the opposite side of all the pieces, again chain piecing with a ¼” seam.
Now clip the threads between the squares and sew along another side of each, chain piecing. When you are done, sew along the other sides, again chain piecing.
Now it’s time to cut! Align your ¼ square unit on your cutting mat just as you did with the ½ square unit. I don’t mark my lines here, but if you are more comfortable cutting on a marked line, go ahead and draw it before cutting. 🙂 You will make two diagonal cuts to create 4 triangle units, as shown below.
Set your seam by pressing the triangle units before opening, then open and press flat. Square up each unit to 2 ½”, taking care to keep the diagonal seam running corner to corner.
Create the pinwheels by placing the small triangle units all in the same manner. Each pinwheel should have the same background/print arrangement. Chain piece unit pairs, clip each pinwheel set and press toward the print.
Next, sew the matching pairs together to complete the small pinwheel block.
Press the small pinwheel units open. If you unsew 1 or 2 stitches on the back of the block you will be able to press the block nice and flat, getting a mini-pinwheel in the back.
Trimming Background Blocks
Trim the solid charm blocks you’ve set aside to 4 ½” square. You can trim ½” from 2 adjacent sides or remove all the pinked edges, whichever you prefer.
Arranging the Blocks
Using the photo you took before you started sewing as a placement guide, arrange your small pinwheel blocks, the large pinwheel triangle units and the trimmed background blocks on your design wall or and large flat surface.
For the 1st column of blocks, press seams down. For the 2nd, press seams upward. Continue sewing pairs of block columns together and alternating the you direction you press so seams will lock together nicely in the next steps.
Once the 4 column pairs sets are stitched, sew the edge column (set 5 in the photo) to the adjacent set and stitch all the sets together in the same manner. Pin adjacent columns together to ensure seams match up. The bias edges on the small pinwheels will stretch a bit, so that can help you match the corners.
The final step to finish the quilt top is sewing all the horizontal seams. All the blocks are already attached, so just use pins where necessary to ensure nicely matched seams. Sew the rows together and your quilt top is done!
If you want to add a border, cut the coordinating fabric you’ve chosen into four 3½” strips, removing the selvages. Add to your quilt top.
This quilt top is small enough that you can certainly use a single length of fabric as the backing (if you aren’t using a longarm machine to quilt it). However, I love the look of a pieced back, and we have a nice stack of leftover ½ square triangle units just begging to be used!
To ensure your backing is large enough for longarm quilting or to accommodate the optional border, use the remaining solid charm squares and your choice of leftover printed charms. Sew a few additional ½ square triangles, and trim those down to 4½”. (I used a few of the printed charms that were almost white as solids, and placed them at either end since I wanted to make sure my back was large enough for the longarm quilter to work with. I was able to trim those scrap/filler pieces off after quilting.)
For my back, I chose to split the backing fabric vertically down the center and use the large ½ square triangle units to form a zigzag pattern. If you didn’t trim all the leftover ½ square triangles to 4½” earlier, do so now, just as in the quilt top step.
Arrange the ½ square triangle units in a pleasing pattern and chain piece by sewing down the vertical line. Press the center seam alternately to the left and right. Then sew each pair set together, taking care to match the seams. (The pressed seams will help lock the points in place.)
Center one piece of the backing fabric on the pieced zigzag strip and sew it on with a ¼” seam. Attach the other piece of the backing fabric on the pieced strip, taking care to align it with the first. (It’s fine if the pieced inset isn’t the same length; after quilting it will be trimmed down.)
I centered my zigzag pieced strip, but an off-center pieced strip would make for a really interesting quilt backing too!
Finishing the quilt
Layer your quilt top, batting and quilt back. Quilt as desired. I chose to send mine to be professional longarm quilter, Paula Stout of Porch Quilts. She quilted it with “angel wings” that matched the butterflies you can see in the Just Wing It! print I chose for the backing. I am so pleased with the result!
You can use straight-of-grain binding to finish the quilt, but since I chose a stripe I decided to make the most of it and cut it on the bias.
I truly love the back of this quilt as much as the front!
One 36-1/2″ square quilt, perfect for a baby quilt or child’s lap quilt. (If border is added, quilt will be larger.)