Tuesday, July 10, 2012

DIY Project: Tradewinds Quilt

Update: I added a double binding on this quilt. See the updated project here!

I'm sure nobody missed how much I loved the backing fabric on my last big quilt.

Tradewinds South Pacific Empress Yardage Lily Ashbury for Moda Fabrics

The rich colors, the exotic, vintage travel inspired print... all of it was perfect. In fact, I loved it so much, that I decided to make another quilt using this, and the other prints in the same series.

My 5th quilt - big thanks to the husband for playing quilt hanger.

This time I tried to not put a single print into the quilt that I didn't love on its own. I also wanted to try charms packs, so I decided to go with a simple square patchwork for the quilt top, and placed an order for a few charms packs containing the entire Tradewinds line. In each pack I got 42 ready-cut 5x5 inch squares, and I kept that size in the quilt. I mixed in some jewel tone solids, and as I had some of the backing fabric left over from the last quilt, I threw that in as well.

By the time I realized that I didn't really like the look of just the squares, I was pretty far into piecing the quilt top. I split a few seams and added the white stripes on a whim, and I'm glad I did, because I like it so much more this way. In fact, I LOVE it!

I was going to lay the quilt out on my lawn to take pics, but the though of all the neighborhood dogs constantly warring to be the last canine to mark my front yard kind of killed that idea. So, awkward tree branch it is. Rest assured, I will not actually be using the quilt in a tree.

This time, the process was not even close to as much of a PITA as the first time I made a quilt this size on my little sewing machine. The square patchwork invited a much simpler quilting pattern, which saved me loads of blood, sweat and tears. I went with a double grid, with gaps for the white lines, which was really easy. I was stoked it allowed for me to roll the quilt while working. It made getting this much fabric through my small machine infinitely easier. I also used lighter batting, which helped a lot as well. I really like the feel of the lighter batting, so I'll definitely be using a similar batting again.

The backside looks really similar to the last quilt, but sadly without the gorgeous diamond lattice quilt pattern!

Just as my last non-baby quilt, this one is queen-size. While the smaller blocks took longer to piece, I saved so much time on the quilting, the whole thing was faster. When it came to the binding, I decided to try an idea I had the other night. Instead of cutting all 3 layers to the same dimensions, I left an extra 1.5" on the backing fabric, and an extra .5" on the batting, compared to the quilt top.  Then to close the raw edge, I just rolled the backing fabric over the batting, and top stitched it to the frontside of the quilt. I did this for durability, and I'm planning on adding a bias-cut tape binding on top of this fake binding, having the bottom layer peek below the top one, but I haven't gotten to it yet. I'll update the post as soon as that's done.

 I'm still loving my new project labels!

Even though this technique involved binding the quilt twice, I will definitely use it again. The first binding, using the backing fabric, was super easy, and it made applying the top binding much easier as well. Hopefully the bottom layer will improve the durability of the top binding. And even if it does not, I would still do it this way again, because I absolutely LOVE the way it looks!

Now that both these quilts are done, I feel like I've made two sister quilts;  similar enough to be family, but each one unique enough to be beautiful in its own right.

Top: Busy Diamonds Quilt
Bottom: Tradewinds Quilt


Quilt top:
Tradewinds Empress Yardage, in South Pacific, Malabar Green, Tea Rose

Tradewinds Palace Garden Yardage, in Vanilla, Macaw Blue, Persian Rose, South Pacific, Malabar Green

Tradewinds Jaipur Yardage, in Tonal Macaw Blue, South Pacific, Tea Rose, Lemon Grass, Macaw Blue

Tradewinds Cambay Yardage, in South Pacific, Persian Rose, Malabar Green, Moroccan Red

Tradewinds Star Flower Yardage, in Macaw Blue, South Pacific, Malabar Green

Tradewinds Ornament Yardage, in Macaw Blue, South Pacific, Persian Rose, Malabar Green, Tea Rose

Tradewinds Kimmei Yardage, in South Pacific, Persian Rose, Tea Rose, Macaw Blue, Malabar Green

1 fat quarter Cotton Couture by Robert Kaufmann, Jewel tones

1 yard Cotton Couture by Robert Kaufmann, white

8 yards x Tradewinds South Pacific Empress Yardage Lily Ashbury for Moda Fabrics


bottom binding: from backing fabric
top binding: bias-cut binding strip


  1. I have seen that binding technique on Pinterest. I was going to try it the next time I made a quilt and I'm so glad to see it worked for you!

    P.S. I am going to come and steal that quilt in the night. ;)

    1. I had no idea people did this, but I can happily report that it does works. I'm hopeful that adding a ready-made binding strip on top will be easier than doing just the strip on its own, but I really came to think of it after I heard single layer binding gets worn out so much faster than double layer ones. Since I really like using the bias-cut, ready-made binding a needed a work-around the durability issue :)

      Oh, please don't! It's my favorite quilt yet :D