Monday, January 17, 2011

Patchwork Tutorial

As so many people like my little patchworks I thought I'd show you how I make them and maybe you can try one for yourselves!

You will need
Glossy magazine
Metal Ruler
Sharp Knife
Needle - the finest you can manage to sew with
Scissors for fabric
Cotton Fabrics - 100% cotton fabric works best, preferably closely woven and not too thick. 
Matching threads
Contrasting Thread for tacking
Cork Board

First you need to cut out your paper squares.
I do this using a magazine with glossy pages, not a good quality one as the paper will be too stiff. You can of course use graph paper, although the paper normally tends to be a bit too thin.

Open the cover of the magazine and rule lines on the first page. For your first patchwork I suggest you make your lines 1/2" apart. Do this in both directions, therefore making 1/2" squares.

Start cutting across the page from the spine to the edge. Press quite hard in order to cut through several pages at once.

Next cut down from top to bottom, holding the ruler very tightly to make sure the sliced paper does not move underneath. And presto! You have 1/2" squares of paper!

A useful size quilt to make is 4 1/2" x 4" as it can be used on either a single or double bed. This will use 8 squares by 9 squares, so you will need to make 72 squares in paper and 72 squares of fabric.

Decide on your fabrics and draw lines 3/4" apart in both directions so you have 3/4" squares of fabric. This gives you 1/8" turning all round each square. Carefully cut them out.
Take a breather! Have a cup of tea or coffee!

Pin each paper to the centre of each square of fabric.
Then tack the fabric to the paper, wrapping 1/8" over each edge. This is where having the right weight of paper counts. If it is too thin it will fold with the fabric and you will not have a straight edge.
Now you will have a pile of squares ready to sew together.

It's been a lot of work so go and make yourself another cup of coffee - or tea, I'll have Earl Grey please!

Now, this is where the cork board plays its part. Lay out your design onto the cork, move the pieces around, decide on the design you like best.

You want the design to stay where you put it so stab every square down with a pin, then you can sneeze,  leave it over night, let the family in, and open the windows, you will not lose your design! You can even carry it outside and sew it in the garden and the breeze will not move it!

Begin to sew the squares together.
Take the first two squares from the end of a row and with right sides together, over sew the edges taking the smallest stitches you can manage. Take the third square and sew it to the second in the same way. Continue until you have one row of squares stitched together.
Put the stitched row back on the cork and secure it with a pin at each end.
Continue in this way until all rows are stitched.
You are ready to join the rows together.
With right sides facing, sew the strips together, keeping all the squares in line.
When you have finished, the quilt will seem quite stiff as the papers will still be attached, you can see them on the reverse.
Lightly press the patchwork, then carefully snip all the tacking threads and remove. You will now be able to gently remove the papers.
Time to attach the backing!

The easiest way is to put the right sides together and stitch around the edges, leaving a small gap for turning.

You can experiment with wadding which will make the cover thicker, and you can quilt it but this will make the cover stiffer.
If you enjoy making a little patchwork, try making one with smaller squares, then experiment with different shapes, 1/4" hexagons look lovely.
Please ask me if I haven't made the instructions clear enough.
Most of all - have fun, I find it very relaxing.

This is a 72 square patchwork on a double bed.


  1. A very good way.
    I will try like this.
    Thank you for this tutorial.

  2. Que fantastico tutorial!!!!
    Que preciosa colcha.
    El problema viene tengo ni idea de coser y menos tan chiquitito, pero lo voy a probar.
    besitos ascension

  3. This is a fantastic tutorial, thanks a lot for the explanations, they are clear along with the photos.
    I take it, and put one of my favorites!
    thanks again!

  4. Me ha encantado el tutorial, creo que voy a probarlo. Gracias

  5. Increible, parece imposible que se pueda hacer tan chiquito, felicidades

  6. I'm glad you like the tutorial. Don't forget to send a photo of your quilts when you have finished them! Gill

  7. ooooooo Gillian!!! fabulous!!! i've done this in real size before and now keen to try it in mini...thank you!!! i'm mini inspired again at last...have put the link on my FB page and blog too :D Linda x

  8. Thank you so much Gillian for sharing this. I never figured how you made the lovely quilt you send for me. I'll try to do one of my own with this tutorial. I'll let you know if I succeed :)

  9. Magnifico tutorial ! muy bien explicado ... y con una preciosa combinacion de tejidos ! Mucha paciencia y buena vista. Muchas gracias por enseñar como haces los mini-quilts. Un beso .Mariajo

  10. Preciosa colcha, muy buen tutorial, de momento no me atrevo, pero el dia que lo haga te necesitas ayuda con las flores solo tienes que preguntarme e intentare ayudarte, mi mail es

  11. Preciosa colcha y buenisimo tutorial!! A ver si algun dia me atrevo a ello, pero lo veo muy difícil. Me he hecho tu seguidora, y asi no me perderé nada de tus trabajos. Saludos. Olga.

  12. Estupendo tutorial y una colcha preciosa

  13. Gracias por compartir la forma de hacer tus bonitas colchas. Seguiré tus trabajos. Un saludo, Eva

  14. Me encanta este tuto!!!!
    Muchas Gracias
    Un abrazo

  15. Un fantástico tutorial y muy bien explicado.

  16. Fantásticas as tuas peças! Parabéns

  17. Muchísimas gracias por este magnífico tutorial!! lo intentaré. Besitos

  18. Muchisimas gracias por tu tuorial.

  19. Estaba buscando un tutorial como este. Magnifico. Lo pondre en practica. Seguro. Y me tomare unas cuantas tazas de café. Gracias

  20. fine way to do this I do this for many years now and I love my mini quilts

  21. Wonderful tutorial, thank you.
    All the best

  22. Fantastic tutorial Gill! I will definitely try this. Ilona of minimumloon brought me here via a link on her blog.

    Sarah x

  23. It's lovely to see that my patchwork tutorial continues to be viewed after 3 and a half years! Thank you for all the nice comments, Gill x

  24. Just found this tutorial via Pinterest. Great tutorial. So glad to have found your site as I am about to make a miniature quilt shop/retreat/studio??

  25. Hi Sharee, so pleased you found your way to my blog and really happy you're going to make a mini quilt! Do send a photo when you're finished. Gillx

  26. Thank you. Your quilts are beautiful. I'm going to give it a shot. If your making one for a twin bed and crib size how many squares do you need?

    1. Hi Tami, thank you for the nice comment. If using 1/2" squares I usually make my quilts 7 squares by 9 squares and they just lie on top of the blankets. You can then adjust the size of the next one accordingly, add for a double bed or reduce for the crib.