Quilts · Tutorials

How to put together a 484-piece quilt top (without going insane)

So, you’ve decided to make a quilt. Maybe a friend is having a new baby soon. Maybe you want to use up some of that fabric stashed in your closet(s).

Maybe you are bored and feel like torturing yourself with some geometrically precise and time-consuming arts & crafts.

Or maybe making that other quilt for your friend’s baby last week taught you that if you want to have a chance of finishing your own baby’s quilt before the baby graduates from high school, you better get that bugger done fast before you become too large and unwieldy to be cutting out quilts on the floor and still expecting to stand up again.

But whatever your reason for attempting this madness, this time around you decide to make your own design. After fiddling around with 70+ different variations, you finally settle on your favorite. (Actually, you can’t pick a favorite, because they all look the same at this point and your eyes are spinning round and round, so you randomly pick one of the top four.)

baby quilt pattern 17d-- Rebecca Górzyńska 2014

Trippy, ain’t it? And yes, it hurts my eyes too.

While designed on the same exact template as last week’s quilt, this one requires much more planning and organization. For comparison, here is last week’s quilt:

Liam's baby quilt-- Rebecca Górzyńska 2014

You can see that there are only four block designs (from the top, left to right): A, B (solid), upside-down A, and C. (Rotations of the same pattern count as separate block designs.)

The new quilt has 32 block designs. Hahahahahaha.

baby quilt pattern 17d-- Rebecca Górzyńska 2014

Now, the reason why rotations of the same pattern count as separate block designs, and I make them individually, is because in order to sew blocks together easily, the seams must all be pressed in the same direction. So they can all go through the machine together, nice and smooth. Believe me, this is important.

baby quilt pattern 17d-- Rebecca Górzyńska 2014
Do I even have enough yardage to attempt this monstrosity? Yes I do! Yay!

So, after determining that I do, indeed, have enough yardage, I cut out all those squares and rectangles.

baby quilt pattern 17d-- Rebecca Górzyńska 2014
Behold. 484 pieces.

And begin assembling them into blocks and labeling them according to The Plan.

baby quilt pattern 17d-- Rebecca Górzyńska 2014
The Plan.

Here is how I put together one block, with minimal thread waste and without losing which side is up.

baby quilt pattern 17d-- Rebecca Górzyńska 2014
1. Line up the squares in formation.
baby quilt pattern 17d-- Rebecca Górzyńska 2014
2. Fold the top squares onto the middle squares. Pin on the top edge, pins pointing left.
baby quilt pattern 17d-- Rebecca Górzyńska 2014
3. Fold the middle squares onto the bottom squares. Pin on the top edge, pins pointing left.
baby quilt pattern 17d-- Rebecca Górzyńska 2014
4. Sew each pinned edge. Do not cut the thread between each square– simply feed the next one through. Remember to backtrack your stitches at the beginning and end of each square!
baby quilt pattern 17d-- Rebecca Górzyńska 2014
5. Line up the sewn strips and determine which side is up. Iron all seams downward.

6. Fold middle strip onto left strip. Pin on the right edge, pins pointing up. (Sorry, no picture.)

baby quilt pattern 17d-- Rebecca Górzyńska 2014
7. Fold right strip onto middle strip. Pin on the right edge, pins pointing up.
baby quilt pattern 17d-- Rebecca Górzyńska 2014
8. Sew pinned edges together. The previously sewn seams should all be facing the same way, and go through the machine easily. You should be able to pull pins out toward you.
baby quilt pattern 17d-- Rebecca Górzyńska 2014
9. Put the finished block on the table and determine which side is up. Iron seams to the left.
baby quilt pattern 17d-- Rebecca Górzyńska 2014
When the block is held up to the light, you can see all the seams are pressed down and to the left, nothing twisted or bumpy or weird.
baby quilt pattern 17d-- Rebecca Górzyńska 2014
10. LABEL THAT BLOCK! You do not want to lose which side is up. Then some other block might steal its identity and they will both get sewn into your quilt in the wrong position!!!

Sew all the blocks in this manner. It should only take a very long time.

When all the blocks are done, line them up on the floor according to The Plan. Underneath each, place a horizontal bar of the color specified in  The Plan.

baby quilt pattern 17d-- Rebecca Górzyńska 2014

Fold each horizontal bar upwards onto the block over it. Pin on the bottom edge, pins pointing right. (Alternately, you can turn the blocks around when pinning, so you would be pinning to the now top edge, with pins pointing left.)

Stack all the pinned blocks in a nice big pinned-block stack, and move on over to that sewing machine. If you have pinned correctly, all the previously sewn seams will go through the machine easily, all in the same direction, and you will be able to pull the pins out toward you.

baby quilt pattern 17d-- Rebecca Górzyńska 2014

After they are all sewn, and the seams pressed downward toward the horizontal bars, lay them out on the floor again. In the meantime, being industrious and very, very clever, you have sewn the vertical bars to the tiny little squares, using The Plan as guide, and pressed the seams down toward the little squares, so they are all good to go.

Arrange the vertical bars between the blocks.

baby quilt pattern 17d-- Rebecca Górzyńska 2014

Fold each vertical bar over the block to its left, pinning on the right edge, pins pointing up. Take your load over to the sewing machine. You know the drill.

Press all seams to the left.

baby quilt pattern 17d-- Rebecca Górzyńska 2014

All the seams will still be facing the same way as they go through the machine, and you will still be able to pull the pins out toward you.

baby quilt pattern 17d-- Rebecca Górzyńska 2014
Beautiful order, huh?
baby quilt pattern 17d-- Rebecca Górzyńska 2014
So, so beautiful.

Sew all blocks together in the same way, making sure to pin and press in logical directions. And don’t take those labels off until it is completely done! 🙂

baby quilt pattern 17d-- Rebecca Górzyńska 2014
The End.

*Edit: there is at least one block in the wrong place!!! Oh no!!! Can you spot it?

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6 thoughts on “How to put together a 484-piece quilt top (without going insane)

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