Aliens, robots, spaceships, and astronauts, oh my!
On Sunday, September 20, my guild had a charity quilt making activity. We were asked ahead of time to donate orphan blocks and coordinating fabric. While rummaging through my shelf of juvenile prints, I found three “outer space” fabrics purchased a year ago in a bundle for boys from equilter.com. After combining them with some stash tonals, here is my fabric pull:
Initially I planned to sew strips together to create some orphan blocks for our guild’s activity, thinking they could be used in a “Stacked Coins” quilt or as a “Piano Key” border. But I became so enthused about the project, I decided to make the quilt myself. Usually the fabric bricks or rectangles are placed randomly in a “Stacked Coins” or “Chinese Coins” quilt. But I wondered how a quilt would look if the fabrics were in the same order in each of the columns. (Click here to see images of other “Chinese Coins” quilts.)
I cut a 2 1/2″ x 41″ strip from each of 8 fabrics and sewed them together pressing the seam to one side after adding each strip.
After trimming off the selvage, I cross-cut in 5″ increments. Since my fabric strip set was over 40″ long, I obtained the 8 segments needed for my quilt. I sewed the 5″ x 16 1/2″ segments together in pairs. This yielded 4 strips of 16 “coins” each.
About a yard of gray spiral fabric from my stash became sashing and borders. I cut 3 gray strips 4 1/2″ x 32 1/2″ and sewed them between the 3 stacks of “coins.” I pressed the seams toward the gray sashing. Next, I cut 2 gray strips, 5 1/2″ x 32 1/2″ for side borders.
Even though I measured through the center of the quilt to obtain the correct length for the side borders, the outer edges of the quilt were longer than the center measurement. This often happens when lots of seams meet the edge of a quilt; the edges tend to flare wider/longer than a center measurement. One trick for easing the difference in fabric length is machine sewing a gathering stitch 1/8″ away from the edge of the longer piece. Gather the piece as shown in the photo below, then smooth out all the gathering. This procedure generally will allow you to ease 1/4″ to 1/2″ difference. If the difference in measurements is too great for inconspicuous easing, adjust the seam allowances of the patchwork so that the borders will fit without puckers.
After smoothing out the gathering and adding side borders, I cut 2 gray strips 5 1/2″ x 30 1/2″ and 4 gray and white print 5 1/2″ squares. I sewed the squares onto the ends of the gray border strips, pressing seam allowances toward the squares. Then I sewed on the top and bottom borders and pressed the seam allowances toward the borders.
After meander quilting “Stacked Coins” with gray thread, I added a scrappy binding, using some of the same prints and tonals that are in the quilt’s interior. I am really pleased with the contrast between the bright colors and the gray borders.
Some little guy is going to love this quilt, filled with aliens, robots, spaceships, and astronauts! And if he is like my grandson, he will rename the stacks to “track” and push his cars and trains up and down the columns ad infinitum.
You will find a link to the printer friendly version of “Stacked Coins” on the “Patterns” page of this blog. Click “Patterns” on the menu bar at the top of this blog post. Scroll through the list of free patterns to find “Stacked Coins Baby Quilt.” Click on “Stacked Coins Baby Quilt” to obtain the document.