Thursday, September 12, 2013

Easy Cheater Block Quilt

Posted by Devin

I am not a quilter. But I can make this quilt. I learned how to make these as a service project at a week-long girls' camp that I was a counselor at for our church. Girls that had never sewn before worked on this project so I figured I could make them too! I went home and gave it a try and now I have made about 6 of these, some for my boys and some for my nieces. I call it an "Easy Cheater" quilt because you use things like spray adhesive and glue sticks to put it together, leave all of the fabric edges raw, and use twin sheets for the top and bottom of the quilt. And to sew it you pretty much just have to sew a whole bunch of straight lines. Even if they're not so straight, it's ok.

What You Need:

- 1 flat twin-sized sheet for the bottom of the quilt (I like to get one with color or a pattern)
- 1 flat twin-sized sheet for the top of the quilt (plain white or off-white is best)
- twin-sized Quilter's batting (it MUST be Quilter's batting, which is thinner and more condensed than other, fluffier battings)
- 160 5" fabric squares* (this is for a quilt that has 10 x 16 rows, sometimes my quilts end up with a few more or a few less depending on how it works out)
- multipurpose spray adhesive (cheaper than craft spray adhesive and works just as well)
- disappearing ink fabric pen
- large glue sticks (2-3)
- clear acrylic quilting and sewing ruler (you could probably figure out how to make the quilt without this, but for me it's a must have)
- rotary fabric cutter (again, you could just use scissors but this saves so much time and energy)
- white thread

(* I recommend buying fabric squares from Fat Quarter Shop. They have high quality quilting fabric that won't fade and they sell charm packs that are already cut into 5x5" squares. Also, the prints are beautiful and come in already matching sets with a variety of patterns. The prices are a bit more expensive than other fabrics you can find, but if you are going to go through the trouble of making a quilt, you should get the best fabrics. And sometimes you can find their charm packs on Ebay at discounted prices. Also, I like to use about 10 different fabrics on the quilt to make the pattern interesting.)

Step 1: Lay Out the Bottom Sheet
Lay your flat sheet for the bottom of the quilt face down on the floor. Smooth it out and tape all of the edges to the ground using masking tape (I only had painter's tape so I used that instead).

Step 2. Attach the Batting
Place the batting over the bottom flat sheet so that it covers the sheet. Fold back one half of the batting and spray everything showing (half of the sheet and half of the batting) with spray adhesive. Carefully fold the batting back over the sheet, smoothing out any wrinkles as you go. The spray adhesive will make it stick together pretty quickly, so try not to accidentally drop it in the wrong place when you are folding it back over. (If you have a friend available to help you with this it's a little easier. You each grab a corner and fold it over at the same time and then get down and press it smooth with your hands.) Now fold back the other half and again spray everything showing with the spray adhesive. Repeat the process of carefully folding the batting back over, smoothing it as you go. You can see there are some wrinkles when you're done, but a few won't really matter.

Step 3. Attach the Top Sheet
Take your plain white top sheet and lay it over the batting. Repeat the process in Step 2 of folding the top sheet over one half at a time, spraying it with the spray adhesive, and smoothing it out as you lay it back over. After you have sprayed it all and smoothed it together there will probably be some wrinkles, but it does not need to be perfect. It won't matter in the end, just make it as smooth as you can get it.

Step 4. Mark the Top Sheet
At one corner, find the point where the bottom sheet, batting, and top sheet all meet to make a corner. This will make more sense when you have it laid out and are looking at it. Take a long piece of yarn and run it from one corner to the opposite corner. Use your disappearing ink pen to mark the line near the middle of the quilt. Now do the same thing with the thread between the other two corners, marking the middle where the lines cross.

Now that you have an X marking the center of the quilt, it is time to draw out a grid of squares which will show you where to place your fabric pieces. Take your ruler and make your first horizontal and vertical lines perpendicular to each other starting at the center. You'll want to keep everything as parallel and perpendicular to the edges of the quilt as possible. Once you have your first 2 lines marking the center (crossed like a T), you begin drawing your lines 5 1/2" apart going both directions until you have made the grid pattern on the whole top of the sheet. Use your acrylic ruler to draw the lines and keep them all perpendicular and parallel to each other. You will want to stop drawing lines when you are no less than 1 1/2" away from the edge of the quilt (the edge being the edge of either the bottom or top sheet or the batting, which ever is closest). 

Step 5: Lay Out Your Fabric Squares
Pick a corner of your grid squares (top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right) and begin placing your fabric pieces in the same corner of each square. This is my favorite step because I get to use my artsy-side and design how I want the pattern to look. I usually go for random which is actually quite difficult to achieve sometimes. But I enjoy the challenge.

Step 6. Glue On The Fabric Squares
Now that you have the squares placed how you want them, it is time to stick them down using the glue sticks. I like to pick up each square, draw a box with an X in it on the top sheet with the glue stick, and then place the square on the glue.

Step 7. Cutting Out the Quilt
Take your acrylic ruler and measure and draw a line 1 1/2" away from the edges of your fabric squares all the way around the edges of the quilt. For this quilt I actually measured 2" all the way around the edge, just to make it slightly larger since I had the room to do it. Once your lines are drawn all the way around, cut out the quilt following your lines.

Roll your quilt up to prepare to sew it together. At this point, you may want to give your floor a good cleaning since it is probably covered with spray adhesive and batting fuzz.

Step 8: Sew Your Quilt Together
So finally it's time to sew. This is pretty simple. You sew lines along the edges of the fabric squares, making a line all the way down each edge of the row of squares. I usually start with the short width of the quilt and sew all of my lines along the two edges of each of the rows of squares. After I have finished sewing in the short direction, I turn my quilt and begin sewing all of the lines in the long direction, making sure to sew lines on both edges of each of the rows of fabric squares.

I like to keep my quilt rolled up while I'm sewing so it's easier to maneuver. Also, I fold the blanket up on my lap like an accordion while I'm pushing it through so the weight of the quilt is not hanging off of the table and pulling on the needle. The hardest lines to sew are in the middle of the quilt because of the bulk of rolled up fabric and batting on either side. But keeping the quilt rolled in this way really makes it as easy as possible to get those middle lines sewn.

Step 9: Bind the Edges
Now every fabric square on your quilt should be sewn down on all 4 edges, with numerous thread lines running the length and width of your quilt. To bind the edges, begin by cutting out 2" strips of fabric. It really doesn't matter how long the strips are, just cut them as long as you can get them. Iron the fabric strips in half, lengthwise. Then simply fold them over the edges of the quilt and sew them on. When you run out of a strip of fabric, overlap another one about 1/2" and begin sewing it on. When you reach a corner, cut the strip off and turn it to start the next edge. Go all the way around until it's done!

Step 10: Wash & Dry the Quilt and Cut Off Hanging Threads
The very last step. Put your finished quilt through a cycle on your washing machine. You do not need to use soap. Dry it in the dryer. When it comes out, the raw fabric edges will be raveled and frayed and you will need to take scissors and cut off all of the hanging threads. The raw edges and wrinkly fabric give it a really great antique look, I love it!



At September 12, 2013 at 12:15 PM , Anonymous Debbie Martin said...

Devin, you did a wonderful job of posting this. We call them 'Blonde Quilts' but Cheater Quilt is probably more pc. Love it. Can't wait for more posts.

At September 13, 2013 at 7:05 AM , Blogger Tara and Devin said...

Thank you Debbie! I guess I AM a blonde so it's kind-of fitting, lol! -Devin

At September 13, 2013 at 9:57 AM , Blogger Ana Lopes said...

Amazing work! Love it! Thanks so much for sharing the great tutorial! Would love to have you visit my blog sometime.
Have a fabulous weekend!
Hugs from Portugal,

Ana Love Craft

At September 13, 2013 at 11:47 AM , Blogger Nici @ Posed Perfection said...

This is amazing! I think I could even accomplish this one! Thanks so much for sharing! I'm pinning it. I'd love for you to link this up to our All Things Thursday Blog Hop when you get a chance. Have a wonderful weekend!

At September 13, 2013 at 1:11 PM , Blogger Tara and Devin said...

Just linked it up! Thanks Nici! -Devin

At September 13, 2013 at 1:20 PM , Blogger Tara and Devin said...

Thank you Ana! Hope you have a great weekend too! -Devin

At September 13, 2013 at 3:38 PM , Blogger Jessi @ Practically Functional said...

I love this quilt! What an easy way to make a block quilt, pinning for sure! Thanks for sharing this tutorial at my link party!

At September 13, 2013 at 5:39 PM , Blogger Janine LaTulippe said...

Totally Awesome! A perfect project for beginning sewers. Thanks so much for sharing! Pinned.

At September 13, 2013 at 10:14 PM , Blogger Marianne said...

What a great idea! Too bad my arthritis won't let me kneel on the floor. :-(

At September 16, 2013 at 10:55 AM , Blogger Tara and Devin said...

Thanks Jessi! And thanks for hosting! :) -Devin

At September 16, 2013 at 10:55 AM , Blogger Tara and Devin said...

Thanks for stopping by and pinning Janine! -Devin

At September 16, 2013 at 10:57 AM , Blogger Tara and Devin said...

Mayeb you could make a deal with someone who doesn't like to sew: You get two put together, I'll sew them, and we each keep one. I'd take that deal! ;) Thanks for stopping by! -Devin

At September 16, 2013 at 1:13 PM , Blogger Jessica said...

This absolutely gorgeous!! I'm so inspired because I don't quilt either, so I'm super excited to find step by step instructions like this on how to make a quilt, thank you!

At September 17, 2013 at 8:30 AM , Blogger Tara and Devin said...

Thanks Jessica! They really turn out beautifully every time. Good luck! -Devin

At July 8, 2014 at 12:03 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At July 8, 2014 at 12:04 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

I love that! But I am curious. How does it look after a wash, being the the edges are raw?


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