Tuesday, October 10, 2006

5" Square Pattern Quilt

By Brandi M. Seals

The 5 inch square pattern is quite possibly the easiest quilt to make. If you can cut a straight line, cut strips into squares and sew a straight stitch, you can make this quilt. The only tricky part is keeping the color sequence going in the right order.

The finished quilt measures 90 inches by 95 inches and should fit a queen sized bed. A typical queen size quilt measures 86 inches by 90 inches, I increased the size only to better accommodate this particular quilt design.

There are several basic supplies that you will need to create this quilt. If you have ever made a quilt before, chances are you will already have many of these supplies:

Sewing Machine
Rotary Cutter
Fabric in 4 coordinating colors for the quilt top
Fabric for the backing
Self-healing mat
Large Ruler
Straight Pins
Safety Pins

The only thing you may need to go out and pick up is the fabric, batting and possibly some thread. This pattern can be altered to use as many colors as you want, but I think at least three colors are needed to give the quilt some depth.

Start by selecting your colors. Get them all at once so you can see them together or take sample of what you already have when you go out to buy coordinating fabric. I like solid colors, but feel free to experiment with the use of prints.

Once you have your fabric, be sure to wash, dry and iron it before you begin cutting. Wash only similar colors together as the dye in the fabrics may run. This step is necessary since fabrics usually shrink in the laundry. You would not want to finish a quilt only to have it look puckered after its first washing.

Take each piece of fabric and fold it in half so that the manufacturer's finished ends are together. Trim the sides so that you are starting with a straight edge and begin cutting 5 inch strips. Once the strips are cut out, cut them into 5 inch squares. Keep a running tally of how many squares you have. For this quilt you will need:
77 - 5 inch pink squares
77 - 5 inch green squares
76 - 5 inch black squares
76 - 5 inch purple squares
4 - 90 inch by 2.5 inch strips for the border (pick whichever color you want for the border)

Once all the squares are cut out, you can start sewing them together. Sew the squares into rows first, and then sew the rows together to form the quilt top. Each row will hold 17 squares and there will be 18 rows when you are done. It can be confusing to keep track of where each row will fall. You could either refer to the quilt pattern frequently or use a water-soluble fabric pen or pencil to mark the rows.

Once all the rows are sewn together, the only thing left to do to the quilt top is to add the border. Start by sewing the strips on the long sides first, and then sew the strips for the top and the bottom. Now the entire quilt top is done.

Next it is time to create the backing. The backing fabric can be one of the colors from the front or another coordinating color. The backing is much easier to make then the quilt top. For the backing you will probably have to sew at least two pieces of fabric together. Try to keep the seams to a minimum but make sure the backing is at least slightly bigger than the top. Generally there is one vertical seam or if the fabric is run the other way there are two horizontal seams. Do whatever you decide works best for your quilt.

Now to finish the quilt, lay out the backing, the batting, and the quilt top. Make sure all the layers are lined up and pin them together. You will quilt the pieces together or have someone quilt it for you. Then trim the batting and backing so it is the same size as the top. Add the binding to cover the exposed edge.

The quilt is now complete and can be enjoyed by you and your family.

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