The design for this quilt came from the bundle of fabrics, where the colours and shapes in the prints have the feel of a dark English sea on a stormy day with grey clouds in the sky – very different to a bright aqua Mediterranean Sea on a hot, still day. I divided the sections into three, imagining the view from inside a house overlooking the sea. The sections were then pieced using a very organic approach, randomly cutting wavy strips – just the opposite of the usual precise, geometric shapes in traditional quilts – and this gives the image those fluid, unpredictable shapes you see rippling across the sea and sky on a stormy day.
You will need
• Cream fabric for ‘frame’: one F8th
• Sea-coloured fabrics: twelve to fourteen scrap pieces
equivalent to about four FQs in total and each 22in wide
• Backing fabric: ¾yd (0.75m)
• Wadding: 23in x 40in (60cm x 100cm)
• Binding fabric: ¼yd (0.25m)
• Spray starch
• Suitable piecing and quilting threads
19in x 351/2in (48cm x 90cm) approx.
F8th = fat eighth (9in x 22in approx.)
FQ = fat quarter
WOF = width of fabric
Use 1/4in seams, unless instructed otherwise
Quilt top and binding: Nocturne by
Janet Clare for Moda Fabrics
Quilt back: Robert Kaufman Kona Putty
1 You need approximately twelve to fourteen scraps of seacoloured fabric ranging from dark to light. You will need to cut two strips from each piece. (For more variety, you can use more fabrics but just cut one strip from some of them.) You may need to use more than fourteen fabrics or fewer than twelve for each section of the quilt depending on how wide you cut them. Each piece you cut must be the width of a fat quarter (22in).
2 Press each piece of fabric and then lay each one in turn on your cutting mat. Cut three random wavy lines across the width of each piece, roughly between 1in and 3in wide. This will give you two random strips with curved edges – the top and bottom pieces can be discarded (see Fig 1 below).
3 Cut the cream sashing fabric for the ‘frame’ into five 1in x 22in strips. Sub-cut these strips into four 18in lengths and one 191/2in length.
4 Cut the backing fabric to 23in x 40in (60cm x 100cm).
5 Cut the binding fabric into three 21/2in x WOF strips. Cut one of these strips into two 20in lengths and the other two strips to 351/2in long.
Joining the Strips
6 Divide the fabric strips into two piles with one strip of each fabric in each. Lay out the two sets of strips in order from dark to light. Take the darkest two and sew them together. When sewing these curves, you will need to adjust both fabric pieces constantly as you run them through the machine, so that the edges of both are always aligning with the 1/4in position on your sewing machine or machine foot. If you have not tried this technique before, you should practise first on scraps.
Note from The Sewing Directory: For help sewing curves see this article.
7 Press the seam open after one has been sewn – this will help the bumpy seam to lay flat. Once the seam is pressed open, select full steam on your iron and iron the seam flat, using the steam, the weight of the iron and an ironing movement (as opposed to pressing) to press the fabrics flat. Join the next strip in the same way, pressing after each seam and then ironing flat using the steam to help you. Don’t worry about what the side edges of the fabric look like as these will be trimmed later.
8 Once all strips are joined together and ironed flat, measure the piece you have made and check that it is a minimum of 191/2in wide by 18in tall. If it is not yet tall enough, add an extra strip at the top, bottom, or both, until it reaches 18in.
9 Now use spray starch to make the whole thing lie flat. Lay it out on a flat surface, possibly covered with an old towel. Press flat and then spray liberally with starch and press the whole piece again until it lies perfectly flat. Leave it there for a few minutes to dry – it will become quite stiff, like cardboard.
10 Place the whole piece on your cutting mat and trim to 18in tall. Now cut three vertical strips each 61/2in wide from this piece.
11 Repeat this whole process for the second set of strips.
Adding the Sashing
12 Take the three top pieces and join them together using two of the 1in x 18in strips of sashing fabric, taking care to put the pieced units in the same order as they were cut, so that the pattern continues from one frame to the next to the next. This assembly is shown in Fig 2 above. Press seams towards the sashing. Repeat this for the bottom three pieces.
13 Now add the 1in x 191/2in sashing strip to join the top and bottom of the quilt together. Press towards the sashing to finish.
Quilting and Finishing
14 Make a quilt sandwich of the quilt back (right side down), the wadding and the quilt (right side up).
15 Quilt as desired. The quilt shown was quilted with wavy horizontal lines very close together following the lines of the seams, using navy, blue, grey and cream threads.
16 When all quilting is finished, square up the quilt, removing excess wadding and backing as you do so.
17 Press the two shorter and two longer binding strips in half along the length wrong sides together. Sew the two longer strips to each of the longer sides of the quilt, raw edges aligned, right sides together (Fig 3 above).
Press the binding strips over and topstitch along the edge, approximately 1/8in away from the folded edge. Fold the edge over so that the binding is folded to the back, press and hand stitch in place as you would stitch a quilt binding.