Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cathedral Window Tutorial

While getting things organized for completing my UFO's I realized that I had sewn my last cut out square for my cathedral window quilt.  Which meant that I had sewn my "pattern square size example" into the quilt already.  I had to hunt high and low to find my handwritten figures for the quilt.   whew........

After finding these figues I decided that it would be a good thing if I put the instructions into my blog so that I would not have the problem of losing this information in the future.  So a cathedral window tutorial has evolved.  I hope that if you have never tried a cathedral window project before that you will at least attempt a block or two and make a pillow or pincushion out of this pattern.  Who may even decide to do a long term project and make a bed size quilt for yourself.

Here goes:
We will start with a 9 1/2 inch square of your background fabric.  This is the fabric that you will need large amounts of yardage depending on the size of the quilt you are making.  I am using 28 yars of this background fabric.
Next you will fold the square in half with right sides together and sew a 1/4 inch seam up both sides.
Next you will, keeping right sides together, bring the two side seams that you just sewed together in the middle, matching seams and pin. 
This now makes the next side that you will sew together using a 1/4 inch seam.  Do NOT completely sew the seam.  You will need to leave about a 1 1/2 inch opening in the seam to turn the block inside out.
 Below you can see the opening I left for turning.
 Next you can stick your finger inside the opening and begin turning the block inside out.
Make sure you completed turn the block.
 After getting the block turned inside out you can use a cuticle stick or this "purple thingy" to make sure you get your points crisply turned.
After you have gotten your points crips you will have the block below.  Now it is time to press the block.  Taking care to keep the block square while pressing.  I PRESS, not iron back & forth.  This keeps you from distorting the square.
You can also use some spray starch to assist with this part.  Now fold two adjacent corners into the middle forming a point.  PRESS into this shape.
 Repeat the folding and pressing with the third and fourth corners.  You now will have the block below.
 This is the above block with the pressed points opened so you can now see what will be your STITCHING lines when assembling the blocks.
This below is the pressed block from the back.  This will be the back of your quilt.
 Once you have at least 4 blocks turned and pressed it is time to make a window block.  Lay two of your four pressed blocks side by side and pull up one tab from each block, making sure to keep the points together and the "pressed seam lines" matching up.  Pin this into place.
 I've laid the purple thingy below to show you where your seam line will be. 
Now take this to the machine and sew a straight seam directly on the pressed line.
Repeat this process with the other two blocks.  You will now have 2 twosies.  We will now repeat the above process with the twosies to make a window block which consists of 4 of the pressed blocks.
 I always pin my edge tabs of the blocks to keep them out of my way while I hand whip the windows in.  Just my little thing, but it sure does help keep them from flapping around and to me gives it a more "together" look.
 After the twosies are together you can press open your center windows on each block.  You will now have 4 windows to put your accent fabrics.
 I am using "brights" as my accent pieces.  So now center a 2 1/2 inch square into each window.  I usually stick one pin to keep these in place.
 Below is the window block with the four window accent fabrics pinned into place.
 The next step in the process is to gently turn back each of the edges around the window fabrics and hand whip into place.  I am using a beige thread that blends in with the background fabric.  This is the process that you can have ready to take with you where ever you need some handwork to do.  I have been working on this project since 2000 as a travel project.  I have collected bright fabrics from all over the continential United States, Hawaii, Cancun, Canada, Nassau, Cosumel, etc., as we have traveled.  So many memories are connected to these beautiful fabrics.
 Photo below shows the four side pinned and ready to be sewn down.
 Next is a close up of a completed window.
 When you have completed the four windows your block will look like this.  You continue adding "window blocks" until you get the project to the size you are planning to make.  Each time you sew this window block to another window block you make two new window areas in addition to the four in your block.
 This is the back of your completed block.  When you finish your last block you will have completed the quilt as this project is not quilted.  It is very heavy due to the amount of fabrics and all of the folded pieces so don't worry about not having any actual quilting.  Due to the heaviness also this will not be a "hanging quilt".  It will be a quilt that is draped or kept on a bed.
 Steady progress on your window blocks will give you the following.....a beautiful cathedral window quilt.
I hope that this tutorial has made sense to you and that you will some day attempt this project.

Happy quilting,


Debbie said...

Great job on the tutorial. Your project is looking good.

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