Malka Dubrawsky from a stitch in dye joins us with this fun Supersize Shoo-Fly Quilt Tutorial. Read her introduction here, and look for more from Malka later in Quilting Month II when she shares tips for improvisational quilting!

A friend once said, “The problem with subtlety is that nobody really notices it.” When you’ve gone to the time and expense of crafting a quilt, you probably want that quilt to have impact and catch people’s attention. One easy way to create big impact with your quilts is to play with the scale of simple, graphic blocks. To illustrate this point, I’ve super-sized a block pattern from my book, Color Your Cloth: A Quilter’s Guide to Dyeing and Patterning Fabric.

In this version of the quilt, each of the four blocks measure about 35” x 35”, with the whole quilt measuring 70” x 70”.

For the purpose of comparison, I laid both the original quilt and its super-sized cousin out on my driveway so that their scale differences would be apparent. I like both versions, but the super-sized blocks definitely make a powerful impact.

If you’re interested in making the smaller scale version, that pattern can be found in my book, but, if the larger scale quilt is calling out to you in a loud, booming, and beautiful voice, keep reading as I walk you through the process of making your own Supersize Shoo-Fly Quilt.

Super-size Shoo-Fly Quilt Tutorial:
Finished Size: 70” x 70”

Materials:
Fabric:

  • 4, 1 yard lengths of 4 different cotton prints
    Note: This is the perfect project to explore using large-scale prints.
  • 2 yards neutral cotton or linen fabric
    Note: For variety, I used 4 different neutrals.
  • 4 yards of coordinating cotton backing fabric
  • 1/2 yard of neutral colored cotton fabric for binding
    Note: For variety, I used 3 different neutrals.

Other Supplies:

  • Air erasable fabric marker
  • Coordinating hand sewing thread
  • Coordinating machine or hand quilting thread
  • Coordinating machine sewing thread
  • Cotton batting measuring at least 80” x 80”
  • Fabric scissors
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Iron
  • Pins
  • Quilt basting materials
  • Quilter’s clear, acrylic ruler
  • Rotary cutter
  • Self-healing mat

Cutting the Fabric:
From cotton print fabrics, cut 8, 12” x 12” squares and 16, 11 5/8” x 11 5/8” squares.
From cotton or linen neutral fabric(s), cut 8, 12” x 12” squares and 4, 11 5/8” x 11 5/8” squares.
From cotton or linen neutral binding fabrics, cut strips measuring 1 1/2” wide.
From backing fabric, cut 2, 2 yard pieces.

Making the Blocks:
Note: All seam allowances are 1/4″. Press seams to one side, alternating sides where seams intersect.
1. Place one 12” x12” cotton print square and one neutral 12” x 12” square, right sides together.

2. Using a quilter’s clear, acrylic ruler and an air erasable fabric marker, mark a diagonal line from top left-hand corner to bottom right-hand corner of neutral fabric.

3. Pin fabrics together.
4. Using the marked line as a guide, sew a seam 1/4″ away from marked line.

5. Sew a second seam line 1/4″ away from marked line on opposite side of marked line.

6. Your block should look like this:

7. Using scissors or a rotary cutter cut block in half along marked line.

8. Open out both halves to reveal 2, half-triangle squares. Press seams toward neutral fabrics.

9. Repeat steps 1-8 to make a second pair of half-triangle squares.
10. On a flat surface such as a design wall, table, or floor, lay out 4, half-triangle squares, 1, 11 5/8” x 11 5/8” neutral colored square, and 4, 11 5/8” x 11 5/8” cotton print squares to create pattern as illustrated below.

11. Pin block 1 to block 2, right sides together, along common edge.
12. Sew together. Press seam.
13. Pin block 3 to sewn blocks 1 and 2 along common edge.
14. Sew together. Press seam.
15. Working with blocks 4,5, and 6, repeat steps 11-13 to sew middle section.
16. Working with blocks 7, 8, and 9, repeat steps 11-13 to sew bottom section.
17. Pin top section consisting of sewn blocks 1, 2,and 3 to middle section consisting of sewn blocks 4, 5, and 6, right sides together, along common long edges, matching seams.
18. Sew together. Press seam.
19. Pin bottom section to sewn top and middle sections, right sides together, along common long edges, matching seams.
20. Sew together. Press seam.
21. Repeat steps 1-21 to make a total of 4 super-sized blocks.

Sewing the Blocks Together:
Note: All seam allowances are 1/4″. Press seams to one side, alternating sides where seams intersect.
1. Pin two blocks right sides together, matching seams.
2. Sew together. Press seam.
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to sew together second pair of blocks.
4. Pin block pairs, right sides together, along long edges, matching seams.
5. Sew together. Press seam.

Quilting the Top:
1. Pin 2-yard pieces of backing, right sides together, along long edges.
2. Sew together. Press seam open.
3. Layer backing, wrong side facing up, batting, and quilt top, right side facing up, on a flat, hard surface.
4. Baste layers together according to your preferred method.
5. Using a coordinating thread, hand or machine quilt layers, removing basting as you work.

Finishing the Quilt:
1. Trim quilted layers even.
2. Using diagonal seams, sew together binding strips.
3. Bind quilt.

(For batting, binding & quilting resources check out these Quilting Month archive links.)

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