3.24.2012

Four Square Contruction


A couple folks have been asking me how I put together the Four Square quilt that I recently published on the Modern Quilt Guild Facebook page. I thought I'd put together some quick instructions for how I constructed it.

I'll break the instructions down into the following parts:

Design & Color Choices
Breakdown of Design for Piecing
Piecing
Quilting
Binding

Note that the finished size of this quilt is ~60x60.


Design & Color Choices

I designed this quilt on Corel Draw on my Mac (which I no longer use because it's pretty buggy on the Mac and the Mac version is no longer supported by Corel). If you are interested in learning how to design your own quilts using an inexpensive software package that you probably already have on your computer, checkout the Fresh Lemon's tutorial for using Adobe Photoshop. I now use Adobe Illustrator because I was able to get an inexpensive version through my job.



In this design, I basically have one pattern repeated four times separated by white lines. I chose to use analygous colors for this quilt and because I'm still obsessed with lime green, I decided to use that as my starting color. (Analygous colors are simply colors that are next to each other on the color wheel). Then I chose blue as my second color. The rest of the colors in the design are gradations from the lime green to the blue, adding white to round it out. There are only a total of six (6) basic colors in the design. I used these colors as a guideline for choosing my fabrics. You certainly do not need to stick to the same colors that I used, but I recommend picking two analygous colors and building the rest from there.


I ended up using one fabric line - Robert Kauffman's Monochromatix - for my quilt. You can see that though I chose six colors to use, I acutally have eight fabrics. Two of the fabrics will be used as background (BG), while the remaining six will be used to build the graditating squares. I chose the background fabrics from two of six color choices.




I bought 1 yd of each of the background colors and 1 1/4 yd for the white (I used the white for the binding) and a fat quarter of the other five fabrics.


Breakdown of Design for Piecing

The next step was to breakdown the design so that I could piece it. The first thing is to break down the major square that repeats four times.

As you can see, this broke down into 19 subparts, A through S. My basic rule for breaking down the design was to break it down such that the edge of one subpart was the same length as the edge of an adjacent subpart - this way it's super easy to piece once you have all the subparts sewn. For example, the horizonal edge of subpart C (which contains four pieces) is the same length as the edges of subparts B and D. Once subparts B, C, & D are pieced together, they will have the same vertical length as subpart A and E and should be easily sewn together.

If you are ready to begin, here are the dimensions for cutting out the fabric to build each subpart. When you are cutting each fabric, keep in mind the direction of any directional print. Since there are a lot of different sized pieces, I suggest cutting out and piecing each subpart one at a time.



Piecing

This is the easy part! Just build each subpart. One note: because we are using a mixture of squares and rectangles, it is important that once you sew and press the pieces together, you are getting exactly 1/4" inch seams. Though I love my Bernina, each time I piece, I have to move my needle position over one in order to get pressed seams of 1/4" - even though I'm using my Bernina 1/4" foot. This was not the case with other machines I've had, including another Bernina, so just make sure that you understand how to get a perfect pressed 1/4" seam on your particular machine. I believe Elenor Burns has to do the same thing with her machine as I do with mine.

Also, in order to get perfect squares, I pressed all the seams OPEN. I usually hate to do this, but because some of these pieces are so small, I was not able to get square squares without pressing the seams open.


Piece Each Subpart

Sew all the subparts together as instructed below. For each pieced subpart, I've listed the corresponding numbers for each color. BG-B equals Background-Blue.

Subpart A - Simply cut out - no piecing required.
Subpart B - Simply cut out - no piecing required.
Subpart C - Piece all four pieces together as below.




Subpart D - Sew all pieces together as below. Piece the left blue-white-blue strip together first, and then attach the large blue background piece.















Subpart E - Sew all pieces together as below.























Subpart F - Simply cut out - no piecing required.
Subpart G - Sew together as seen below.


Subpart H - Sew together as seen below. Piece the right blue-white-blue strip together first, and then attach the large blue background piece.


Subpart I - Simply cut out - no piecing required.
Subpart J - Piece together as below



Subpart K - Simply cut out - no piecing required.
Subpart L - Sew all pieces together as below. Piece the left blue-white-blue strip together first, and then attach the large blue background piece.


















Subpart M





Subpart N - Simply cut out - no piecing required.
Subpart O - Sew all pieces together as below.




























Subpart P - Sew all pieces together as below. Piece the right blue-white-blue strip together first, and then attach the large blue background piece.




















Subpart Q - Sew all pieces together as below.





Subpart R - Simply cut out - no piecing required.
Subpart S - Simply cut out - no piecing required.


Piece the Subparts Together

Sew together Subparts B,C,D to make {BCD}
Sew together Subparts F,G,H to make {FGH}
Sew together Subparts L,M,N to make {LMN}
Sew together Subparts P,Q,R to make {PQR)

Sew together Subparts A, {BCD}, E, {FGH}, and I
Sew together Subparts K, {LMN}, O, {PQR}, and S

You should now have a total of three pieces to sew together, including Subpart J. Sew all these pieces together. Now you are finished with the first the four repeating squares!

Build the remaining Three Squares

Repeat the process above for the remaining three squares - one more blue and two green. Use the following as a guideline for cutting and piecing the green squares. Use the BG-Green color for all the background pieces.



Quilting

Check back later for more details about the quilting!

Binding

I've been using a 1" wide finished binding on many of the recent quilts I've been making. I think it gives the quilts a bit more of a modern look to them. And for this quilt specifically, the 1" binding matches the 1" white strips that separate the four main squares. You will end up needing more fabric than if you were to do a traditional  1/4" finished binding. Stay tuned for more details about how to do this wider binding.

3 comments:

  1. Laura, this is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing!! :)

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    1. I hope it all makes sense - let me know if you find any issues with the instructions!

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  2. I just popped over form the sewing summit google groups. I love this quilt and the colors are amazing! Thanks so much for sharing how you did it. I'm going to check out the rest of your blog and will be following you now as well! I hope your having a great day!!
    January T

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