We are at the end of the quilt top tutorial. We have just a few more things to do. Unfortunately, with the exception of Elsa herself this last border is the most time consuming.
Pinwheels are little you know whats, things start out so good and quickly turn sour. Seam allowance and trimming are uber important to get right. I had some wonky ones come along that I ended up having to deal with. Even so, they are SO worth the effort.
When I finished my pinwheels, I started second guessing myself (a habit I am prone to). I layed them all out, lining them up and thought I had really messed up using sort of low volume fabrics for the backgrounds on them, instead of just a nice light solid. Why do I always do that? Why can’t some things just be white? Well, because I like to use scraps, like really really like to use them and if I can use all scraps for the pinwheels and save myself my yardage of white then why not. The pinwheels would have really popped on a white background.
They would have. But when I got the pinwheels attached to the rest of the top, I just smiled to myself. I had done good. The pinwheels are my favorite part of the quilt. I feel like they add so much.
So lets get to it shall we…..
What you need:
1/2 yard of background for border (I used a pin dot like I did for one of the other borders)
144 3.5-inch blocks (I used 72 bright colors and 72 low volume prints.) Keep separated in light stack and bright stack.
On your 3.5-inch blocks you want to make sure that you
have at least 2 of each fabric so that you can get a full pinwheel from it. For example, 2 of the same florals, 2 pink solids, 2 yellow butterflies, etc. Some of them I used 4 of them or even 6 of them, but always make sure you have at least 2.
Use a 1/4 inch seam allowance throughout.
First, we are going to add the border to your current quilt top.
From you background fabric, cut 5 3.5-inch strips.
Sew 3 of those strips together, end to end and then subcut those in 3.5×48.5-inch strips. You’ll have a little leftover for your scrap bin.
The other 2 strips, trim to 42.5 -inches.
Sew your 42.5-inch strips to each side of your quilt top. Then sew the 48.5-inch strips to your top and bottom.
For some reason, I didnt take a pic of this, but it’s such an easy step that you should be fine.
Press to the outside of your quilt top (away from Elsa).
Time to make half square triangles.
Prep work first. Take all your light 3.5-inch blocks and draw a line diagonally across each one. You should do this for 72 blocks.
I used a pen, but you use whatever you want. It gets cut over so as long as it’s narrow it shouldnt matter.
Now place your light block on top of your brighter colored blocks, right sides together. Sew 1/4 inch on either side of your drawn line.
Do this for all of your blocks.
You do want to make sure you keep the same blocks together on your pairs. So, if I used a green solid on a floral white background. I did that for both of my green solids since you started with 2 of each fabric. Giving you 2 sets of sewn blocks with a green solid and a white floral. This way your pinwheels match up. This might make more sense in the coming steps.
Take all 72 of your block sets to your cutting board and with your rotary cutter cut directly on the line you previously had drawn.
Once you’ve trimmed all of them, you should now have 144 half square triangles.
I like to trim mine up before I press, but use the method you like best. They need to measure 3.5-inches.
sorry about the blur!! I used the half square triangle ruler from Quilt in a Day to trim mine up.
Once trimmed, press open. I don’t press open often, but I do when working with half square triangles. This is actually a new change for me, but it makes quilting on top of them and just piecing them together so much easier without all that bulk.
Be sure to trim off the little wings.
Lay out your half square triangles like above, making the pinwheel block start to come together. Notice here that I have 4 of the same half square triangles. This was what I was talking about make sure you had 2 of the same fabric paired with 2 of the same.
Sew the top two together, and then sew the bottom two together, press seams open. They sew the bottom to the top.
Do this for all 144 blocks. You should end up with 36 pinwheels that measure 6.5-inches.
I had a few pinwheels that were wonky and I know what my mistake was and always seems to be. When I press I stretch them. I’ve tried to train myself not to do this and I will continue trying to do a better job with that step. I am a work in progress.
I ended up using my wonky pinwheels and on the finished quilt they are actually kinda hard to spot. Some of the seam allowances ended up a little short, so I quilted over them a little tighter than I normally do. I have in past quilts when my seam allowances were short due to wonky blocks, zig zagged stitch them to make them a bit stronger. So far, that has worked for me. I am not perfect and neither is my quilt, and that’s okay. We do the best we can and always try to get better, but give ourselves some slack too. I know where my weaknesses are. That darn iron!! 🙂
Now you are going to sew a row of pinwheels together. For the sides, sew 2 rows of 8 blocks. For the top and bottom, sew rows of 10 pinwheels.
Press open again.
Sew a row of 8 to each of your sides. When sewing rows, you want to first fold your quilt top in half and finger press in the center, like this.
Can you see the line my finger press made above in the middle of the pink square? Do the same for your row of pinwheels. Now pin the two finger presses together, right sides together.
This way you are getting the center of the pinwheel row onto the center of the quilt top and not worrying about if you stretched it. Sew your two sides on. Press away from the pinwheels. Do the same thing for your top and bottom.
Your quilt top is done!!!
It should measure 60.5 inches squared and look something like this.
Later this week we will cover backing and binding and stew over things we would change.