Melissa from Happy Quilting is here with her fun picnic quilt design that incorporates chess and checkers for games on the go. Don’t miss Melissa’s introduction, and visit Happy Quilting for her fat quarter bundle giveaway today. Have fun!
Summer picnics are always top of our families list for summer and why not add a little game time to an already fun family tradition?! This adorable Game Time Picnic Quilt doubles as a checkers or chess board. Now when the food is all gone, out comes the fun!
What You Will Need:
- 1 ¼ yard of white or neutral solid
- 1 ¾ yard of assorted large scraps or 1 ¾ yard of color print or solid
- ¼ yard of black print or solid
- 3 Yards of color print or solid or assorted large scraps totaling 3 yards
- Batting at least 64 x 64
- ½ yard of white print or solid
- 1 Yard of black print or solid
- 1 Yard of white print with color design
- 1 Yard of white print with different color design
- Heat ‘N Bond
- Chess/Checker Template
- Leftovers from white prints with color designs from chess/checkers pieces
- ½ yard of black print for lining
- 1 ½ yard draw string or cording
Making the Quilt
Piecing the Checker/Chess Board
We’ll start by cutting the squares needed to create the playing board. From your 1 ¼ yard white or neutral solid cut (32) 7” x 7” squares. (This is easiest if you cut seven 7” strips first and then cut 6 squares out of 6 strips and 2 squares out of the 7th strip.) From your 1 ¾ yard color print or your assorted large scraps cut (32) 7” x 7” squares.
Now that your squares are cut you are ready to start sewing. Grab a white square and a colored square and lay them right sides together. Pin along the edge. (Any edge will do). Repeat this process until you have 32 pinned sets.
Sew a 1/4” seam along the pinned edge of your first square set, remembering to remove pins as you go. Once you have sewn the first set don’t cut your thread. Just keep feeding squares through your machine. This is called chain piecing and it saves a lot of time.
Once you have sewn all 32 sets go ahead and cut the thread between each set. Then press your seam allowance to the colored print side. Repeat pressing for all 32 sets.
Now you have a 32 sets of two squares and you are going to turn them into 16 rows of four squares continuing the every other pattern. You use the same process as before. Line up 2 sets of two with right sides together (make sure that you always have a white square on top of a colored square or a colored square on top of a white square) and pin along the edge. Repeat for all 16 sets. Sew a ¼” seam along the edge of all 16 sets, clip threads, and press.
And now, one last set of chain stitching. You guessed it– We are turning the rows of four into eight rows of eight squares. Once again, use the same process. Place two sets of four right sides together, insure the white/color mix match, pin along the side, sew a ¼” seam, clip threads and press.
Now you should have eight rows of eight squares. Good job! Now go ahead and lay them out on the floor in the following layout. Feel free to play around with the row order until you get a color layout that is pleasing to the eye. Once you have a layout you like, mark your rows so you know what order they go in. (You can simply take a picture, use post it notes, or just pin it– Whatever works best for you.)
Now it’s on to sewing the rows together. Lay row 1 onto row 2 with right sides together. Do the same for row 3 and 4, row 5 and 6, and row 7 and 8. Now you are going to pin along the entire row. The most important thing to remember when pinning rows is to make the seams match! Don’t worry about the rest, just make the seams match.
Your seams should “nest” together since your seam allowance is pressed in opposite directions. Meaning, if you were to pull one side down you would see that they line up perfect. Pin along the seam of each intersection.
Once your seams are pinned you can go back and pin along the center of the blocks, all the while making sure your edge stays aligned. If you find that pinning on the seam created a bubble, no worries. Simply smooth the bubble downwards with your finger and then put in a horizontal pin just above the pin. This will keep it out of the way.
Once all four row sets are pinned you are ready to start sewing. Sew a ¼” seam along the pinned edge. Once again, remember to remove pins as you go; don’t sew over pins, as it is a hard habit to break. When reaching a seam, I find it best to run my finger underneath quickly and just make sure my seam allowances are still laying the way I pressed them. This just helps to reduce bulk. Sew all four row sets and them press your seams open.
Now you can just continue to repeat this process until you have your whole playing board sewn together. Lay your now pieced row 1 and 2 onto your now pieced row 3 and 4 and your now pieced row 5 and 6 onto your now pieced row 7 and 8. Pin, sew and press. Then lastly, lay your now pieced rows 1, 2, 3, and 4 onto your now pieced row 5, 6, 7, and 8. Pin, sew and press. And your playing board is complete with perfect points! Way to go!
Now that your board is complete you are ready to add some borders to it. We’ll start by cutting out our border pieces. Grab your ¼ yard of black and cut it into five strips that are 1 ½” wide by the width of fabric. Subcut the 5th strip into 4 pieces. Two 9 ½” x 1 ½” and two 11 ½” x 1 ½”
Now grab your remaining assorted scraps or your remaining solid color yardage. If you are using the solid yardage go ahead and cut six strips 3 ½” x the width of fabric. Subcut two of those strips in half so they are 3 ½” x 22ish”. If you are using scraps, cut 16 pieces that measure 15” x 3 ½”.
Now you are ready to sew your pieces together to make your border strips. Start with the black. Place a subcut piece (the small ones) onto a width of fabric piece with right sides together. Sew a ¼” seam along the edge. Press. Repeat for the other three strips and subcut pieces. You will now have two strips that are 55ish” long and two strip sets that are 53ish” long.
Now we can move onto your colored border pieces. If you are using the yardage, use the same process you did with the black matching the width of fabric strips with the subcut strips to make 4 strips that are 66ish” long. Press.
If you are using the scraps, go ahead and place one scrap rectangle onto another with right sides together. If you want to pin go ahead but it isn’t necessary as you are working with smaller pieces. Sew a ¼” seam along the edge. Repeat for the other seven sets. Press
Now place your set of two onto another set of two with right sides together. Once again, sew a ¼” seam along the edge. Repeat for the other three sets. Press. You should now have four strips that are 59”ish long.
And now that your borders are all sewn you are ready to add them to your quilt. Lay your black borders along the sides of your quilt. The 53ish” long pieces should be along the sides and the 55ish” long pieces should be along the top and bottom.
Now lay your side borders onto the edge of your quilt top with right sides together. You can pin these along the side if you like. I prefer to just align as I sew.
Sew a ¼” seam along the entire side of your quilt. If you pinned, remove pins as you go. If you are just joining as you go make sure to keep it aligned and try not to stretch your border. There will be a small amount of excess at the bottom of your strip, just trim it even to the quilt bottom. Repeat this process on the other side. Press your seam allowance towards your black border.
Repeat for the process for your top and bottom. Now your black border is complete and you are ready to add your color border. These are a little longer than needed so if you like center your border along the side. For a scrappier look just start on one end and then trim off the extra at the end. You will put these borders on the same way you did the small black one. Lay your first two strips along the sides of the quilt with right sides together. Sew a ¼” seam along the edge, trim the excess, and press.
And then of course, repeat the process with the top and the bottom borders. And your quilt top is complete! Way to go! Isn’t it just adorable?!
Finishing Up the Quilt
Now all you have to do is finish up your quilt. Start by making your quilt back. If you are using yardage, simply cut and sew your three yards according to the diagram below. It will be a little larger than needed so you will have some scrap when completed.
Or, if you like, you can choose to do like I did and use up your remaining scrap pieces and sew an improv quilt back. If you choose this option you want to make sure that your finish back measures approx. 63 x 63 (the bigger it is, the less worry when quilting).
Once your quilt back is finished you are ready to make your quilt sandwich. Lay your quilt back right side down (or touching the floor) onto a flat hard surface. Tape your quilt back pulling it tight to ensure there are no bubbles. Now lay your batting on top of that and then your quilt top. Starting in the center and moving out, pin baste your entire top.
Now your sandwich is done and you are ready to quilt your top. I choose to do some straight line quilting to highlight the game board theme. You can do this, or free motion quilt, or even tie your top. Whatever you prefer.
You are almost done. Last, it’s onto the binding. Use your ½ yard of binding fabric to cut 6 width of fabric strips. (I prefer 2 ½” strip width.) Then use them to create your binding strip. Attach your binding. I machine attach my bindings because I don’t like hand sewing but, once again, you do what you prefer.
AND COMPLETION! You Checker/Chess Board Picnic Quilt is complete. Yippee Skippee! Now, onto the pieces you need for play.
Making the Chess/Checker Pieces
Start by printing out the Chess/Checker Template. I print this out on cardstock as it makes it a little easier to trace the images. Cut out all of the pieces from the template.
Grab your 1 Yard of black print or solid, your 1 Yard of white print with color design and your 1 Yard of white print with different color design. Fold all three in half with right sides together. Using your circle template draw eight circles on each of the white prints (totaling 16 circles as it is doubled) and 15 circles on your black print. (Totaling 30 circles– You need 32 but we will get to that in the next direction.)
Cut your circles out being careful to keep your two layers of fabric even. You will need two more black circles but when I laid mine out there wasn’t enough room. So I cut along the bottom of my row and then unfolded my fabric to get this. There is enough room in this leftover to cut the remaining two circles.
Now using the same circle template, cut out 32 circles of batting. I choose to double up my batting when cutting so that I would have some really “plump” pieces. You can single layer or double. Whichever you prefer.
Lastly, you are ready to move onto the chess appliqué pieces. Cut your remaining pieces of white in half. This should be a piece around 17 x 22. Set the remaining two pieces aside as they will be used later to make the storage bag. Using the manufacturer’s directions attach Heat ‘N Bond to the wrong side of each of the two squares. Now, using the templates, draw your pieces onto the Heat ‘N Bond. There is a list at the top of the picture of how many you need of each piece, just in case you haven’t played chess in a while. And last but not least, cut out your pieces along the outer edge of your drawn lines.
Piecing the Playing Tokens
Now you have done your prep work and you are ready to sew your pieces together. Start by removing the paper Heat ‘N Bond backing from your first appliqué piece. Center it on one of your black circles. Press according to the manufacturer’s directions to adhere your appliqué to the black circle. Repeat for the remaining 31 appliqués.
Now you want to secure your appliqué to your black circle. To do this, stitch around the edge of your appliqué. I choose to do a blanket stitch but you also have the option to do a raw edge straight stitch, or a zig-zag stitch. Choose your preference. Secure stitch all 32 of your appliqué circles.
Now you are ready to start putting the circles together. Grab a white print circle, a batting circle (single or double) and a black appliqué circle. (Make sure that the white print circle matches the same print on the appliqué.) Stack them up starting with the batting circle on the bottom, followed by the white print circle right side up, and the appliqué black circle right side down. Pin your stack together around the edge with about four pins. Repeat making 32 circle sets.
Sew a ¼” seam around the outer edge of your circle stack leaving a 2” – 3” opening. Make sure to backstitch at the beginning and ending of the opening as you will be pulling on these. Repeal for all 32 circle sets.
Grab the white print circle and the batting circle and turn them right side out through the opening you left. Use a pen or sharp tool to smooth out the edges. These can be a little stiff to turn but work with them, they will go.
Lastly, turn the edges of the opening under and pin closed. Sew around the entire edge of the circle closing the hole as you go. I tried to do this as close to the edge as possible, so about an 1/8”. Repeat for all 32 circles.
And you are done with your Checkers/Chess Playing Tokens! Aren’t they just super fun?! (My kids have also found they work great as a Frisbee.)
Making the Storage Bag
Alright, now that you have all those adorable checker/chess playing tokens you need a storage bag to tote them around in. So let’s get going. Grab the remaining piece of the two white prints and the ½ yard of black lining print. Out of the two white prints trim them each down to a 16” x 19” square. Out of your black lining print cut two 16” x 19” squares.
Sewing the Bag
Start by laying your two white squares rights sides together and your two black squares right sides together. Pin along the two sides and the bottom of both sets. Sew a ¼” seam along the two sides and bottom, backstitching at the beginning and end, and pivoting a ¼” away from the corners.
Turn the white square pieces right side out. Slide the black lining pieces into the white squares.
Now line up the raw edges along the top of the two “pockets” and pin along the entire raw edge. Sew a ¼” seam along the raw edge of your two pockets, removing pins as you go and backstitching at the beginning and end. Now your lining should be secured inside your bag.
Lay your bag flat and on one of the two white sides measure in 7” from the side and down 1” and make a mark with a water soluble pen. Measure down another inch and make another mark. Now measure over 8” from the side and down 1” and make a mark. And then once again, measure down one more inch and make a final fourth mark.
Now sew two button holes in between those marks. Try to center them as best as possible (obviously, I need to work on this). Make sure to only sew through one layer of the bag when making these button holes and not two.
Now, go ahead and fold your bag over the top ½” so that you see ½” of lining on the outside all around your bag. Press this with your iron.
Now, once again, fold your bag over the top 2” so that you now see 2” of the lining and have hidden that previously folded edge. Press this with your iron as well.
Now to secure your folded over edge. Sew ¼” from where the lining meets the white print all the way around your bag. Then sew ¼” from the top of the bag all the way around your bag. Now your top folds are secure and you are almost done.
Lastly, grab your 1 ½ yards of cording. Attach a safety pin to one end and feed it through the button hole. Continue feeding it around the entire bag and out the other button hold. Tie knots in the end of the cording so it won’t slip back through the button holes.
And your bag is complete. Stuff all of those cute, little playing tokens inside, cinch the bag and tie a bow. Now you are ready to go to the park!
And you are done! Way to go! You have a beautiful 60 x 60 Game Time Picnic Quilt and you and your family are sure to have some wonderful times at the park.
Thanks so much for joining me for this tutorial. I hope you enjoyed it and find it easy to follow. If you have any questions regarding this tutorial, please don’t hesitate to email me at happyquiltingmelissa (at) gmail (dot) com. I would be happy to help in any way I can.
Have a Happy Quilting Day!
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