Improv back of the quilt tutorial and self machine binding – Textured 4-patch quilt

Quilt back

Quilt front


Some points before I start.

For the back I decided to do some improv patchwork again after my Père-Noël zigzag quilt improv patchwork back of quilt because it is a good way to free yourself after finishing a structured quilt. It’s the back after all, you don’t have to see it if it doesn’t turn out well. But if it does it is an added bonus.

For the back of the quilt’s I made a strip of “pretty much anything goes”. I added fabric scraps with some failed textures and blocks as well as other fabric scraps I used on the front.

You will need about 3 yards of white fabric and fabric scraps for the improv patchwork.

Quilting through the bulk added by the extra textures in the back may be a challenge for some machines.

Improv patchwork visual process

As I said before, this is a very much anything goes process. The only rule that applies is that your seam allowance must be 1/4 in or less.

Start by stitching two pieces together. As you can see, they’re not the same length but it does not matter.

Just trim the excess after the pieces are stitched together. Do not throw the trimmings away as they may be useful later on.

Pick up another piece of fabric, the same length or longer and stitch to the previous piece.

Now get a different piece. It does not matter if it is a triangle or a rectangle. Even a curved piece though curved pieces need a different stitching method and I did not use any this time.

Stitch and trim off the excess fabric.

As you can see the point is to square every piece as much as possible after adding a new piece. Squaring out the piece will make it easier to keep adding pieces.

Same as before.

Just keep adding and trimming.

I even added pieces of blocks that didn’t work.

And textures I decided not to use.

Keep stitching away until you reach the length of the quilt and a bit over to allow for self binding.

The next step is to place your strip where you want it to go on the back of the quilt, either on a side or in the middle, and then cut two pieces of white fabric for each side. I can’t give you the exact size of the side rectangles because your finished improv piece will be different to mine but I used about 3 yards of white fabric.

If you intend to use self binding, make your quilt back square at least 2 inches longer than the top all around.

As you can see in the picture below I added a bit of black to the improv patchwork because I thought it added some extra interest.

Self machine binding

This one minute video shows how to self bind a quilt.

Once you have quilted the quilt sandwich, trim the quilt back fabric leaving a 1 1/4 in allowance.

Now fold the fabric as per picture.

And fold again. Pin.

Continue to do as described above until you reach a corner.

To do a mitered corner, fold the corner at 45 degrees as per picture.

And then fold the fabric again like before.

Pin and continue.

Then just top stitched as close to the edge as possible.

Self binding may not be as durable as regular binding but it’s quick and suitable for some projects that won’t have as much wear and tear.

Textured 4-patch quilt tutorial

This quilt has 16 x 10 1/2 in blocks.

Each block is a 4-patch block in greens and reds. The fabric manipulation is made in a cream fabric.

See all Textured 4-patch quilt tutorials.

See also my first Textured quilt sampler tutorial.

Share your pictures

Are you making this quilt? Share your pictures on Flickr’s TeresaDownUnder group.

Assembling the quilt top – Textured 4-patch quilt

Have a close look at the quilt:

Buy all the tutorials for this quilt in one single download

Step by step instructions with colour photos in a 68 page booklet:

Textured 4-patch quilt tutorial

This quilt has 16 x 10 1/2 in blocks.

Each block is a 4-patch block in greens and reds. The fabric manipulation is made in a cream fabric.

See all Textured 4-patch quilt tutorials.

See also my first Textured quilt sampler tutorial.

Share your pictures

Are you making this quilt? Share your pictures on Flickr’s TeresaDownUnder group.

Five Valentine’s day free tutorials

Groovy heart mug rug

This mug rug uses an easy fabric texture that can be used as well on larger pieces such as quilts or baby blankets.

Pigeon pair placemat set

This placemat set can make a lovely St Valentin’s gift.

Love is the answer… hot water bottle cozy tutorial

Zig zag pattern hot water bottle cover with embroidery and ribbon gathering.

Scrappy heart potholder tutorial

If you have never done paper piecing this is the project for you. Very easy and quick to make.

Patchwork heart pincushion tutorial

This pin cushion has two different sides to it. It was made with the heart cutout from the hot water bottle (tutorial below).

“Never Been Stitched: 45 No-Sew & Low-Sew Projects” is out!

This is quite exciting for me.

Yesterday I received a complimentary copy of Never Been Stitched, a crafts book with 45 no- and low-sew projects to which I contributed the Merry no-sew ornament and the suggestion of a quilted Christmas ball, both made only with folded fabric pinned to a polystyrene shape (see pictures of the projects above).

From the Barnes and Noble site:

Imaginative, inventive, and filled with beautiful things to make, Never Been Stitched is the ultimate collection of no- and low-sew projects. Thanks to fusible webbing, fabric glue, grommets, and other fun materials and techniques, crafters barely need a needle. Forty-five fast and simple items range from a folded market bag to a cute kid’s apron to a plush pillow. A short basics section plus templates help even beginners create quick and stylish garments, home décor, and other accessories.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book a quick search will take you to Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

The publisher, Lark Crafts, is also giving away free downloads from Never Been Stitched.

Pigeon pair placemat set

I collect most scraps from every project, even the tiny ones and from time to time they come in handy for project like this one.

The two placemats in this projects are mirrored images of each other.

Materials

  • fabric scraps for the improv patchwork
  • 12 1/2 x 17 1/2 in  rectangle of linen fabric plus a bit more for the heart appliqué
  • 2 fabric rectangles measuring 12 1/2 x 17 1/2 in  for the back of the placemats
  • 2 rectangles of medium weight fusible interfacing measuring 12 in x 17 in
  • black thread

Download Heart shape pattern (pdf).

Improv patchwork placemat number one

You can watch this 2 minute tutorial to see how I do improv patchwork. Using paper as stabiliser is optional:

Improv patchwork visual process

This is a very much an “anything goes” process. The only rule that applies is that your seam allowance should be 1/4 in or less.

Start by stitching two pieces together. As you can see, they’re not the same length but it does not matter.

Just trim the excess after the pieces are stitched together. Do not throw the trimmings away as they may be useful later on.

Pick up another piece of fabric, the same length or longer and stitch to the previous piece.

Now get a different piece. It does not matter if it is a triangle or a rectangle. Even a curved piece though curved pieces need a different stitching method and I did not use any curved pieces for this project.

Stitch and trim off the excess fabric.

As you can see the point is to square every piece as much as possible after adding a new piece. Squaring out the piece will make it easier to keep adding pieces.

Same as before.

As you can see here, I started from scratch again. Later I will join several improv pieces to make a larger piece.

Keep doing this until you get to a rectangle that measures between 13 and 14 in x 18 and 19 in.

If you have a look at the picture below (click to enlarge), you can see how I assembled the rectangle.  Mine grew from number one and it expanded around it for the left part. Then the right side (not numbered) was done separately and added later to make a larger rectangle.

Assembly

Once you have your piece, trim it to 12 1/2 x 17 1/2 inches.

Now cut a piece of linen in the same size. I used the trimmed patchwork for measure.

Print the Heart shape pattern (pdf).

Cut out shape and centre on the back of the patchwork piece.

Draw around the cutout.

Cut the piece out carefully.

Now place the heart shape on a piece of linen and draw around it leaving at least 1/4 inch allowance all around.

Cover the hear hole in the patchwork piece with the linen heart.

Placemat number two

Now take the 12 1/2 x 17 1/2 in rectangle of linen and centre the patchwork heart in the linen fabric.

Pin it to the centre of the linen fabric.

Stitch both shapes using a decorative machine stitch.

You can use stabiliser or just a piece of paper.

Here are both pieces.

Take the medium weight fusible interfacing and iron it to both rectangles following manufacturing instructions.

Now thake the 12 1/2 x 17 1/2 in fabric for the back of the placemat and pin to the front with both right sides facing together.

Stitch all around the rectangle leaving a 3 inch opening to turn inside out.

Trim the corners to remove bulk when turning inside out.

Turn inside out and press well.

Top stitch as close to the border as possible all around the rectangles. When you get to the opening, fold the fabric in and top stitch over it.

Here you have both placemats!