Sew a quilt top in a day with my super fast new method!
Okay, to be totally honest - I’m borrowing a few techniques from Bargello quiltmaking which can be fantastically complex and beautiful.
But I’ve simplified the process down to the very basics.
Did I mention that this is a strip quilt?
That means you’ll cut strips, sew them together, cut, sew again, and be done!
By the way, the seams will nest at every single intersection. I’m an OCD quilter and I didn’t use a single pin so that might be my favorite part, lol.
That’s why this quilt is so very fast. And beautiful too.
The finished size of my Color By Number quilt is 54 1/2’’ x 63 1/2’’ - a perfect snuggle quilt.
And to make designing your quilt even more fun, I’m giving you some printables that include a coloring page (so no guessing about what your finished quilt will look like) plus number slips to ensure perfectly organized fabrics along the way.
You can’t go wrong!
Are you ready to sew a Color By Number Quilt??? Let’s get started!
Color By Number Quilt - Free Quilt Pattern with Printables
You will need:
1/3 yard each of 14 different fabrics (this quilt is also possible with 14 fat quarters - see the alternate FQ instructions in the cutting section)
3-4 yards of fabric for the backing
a 60’’ x 69’’ piece of quilt batting
1/2 yard of fabric for making binding
get the printable Color By Number planning sheet here
get the printable number slips for organizing your fabrics here
The 14 fabrics I chose were all from Tula Pink’s Pinkerville Collection.
Arrange your fabrics in a pleasing order and test it out using the Color By Number planning sheet. Feel free to print the sheet as many times as you need and color away until you have the perfect combination and order of fabrics for you!
Then use the printable number slips to pin a the corresponding number to each fabric. This will help you keep them organized as you sew.
After cutting my fabrics, I pinned a number to a scrap from each print so I could refer to them as needed.
You can also take a picture with your phone to refer to. :)
From each of the 14 fabrics, cut:
1 strip 5’’ by the fabric width (42-44’’)
1 strip 5’’ by 1/2 the fabric width (21-22’’)
Alternate FQ cutting instructions… from each of the 14 FQ’s, cut:
3 strips 5’’ by the FQ width (21-22’’)
Sewing Strip Sets:
1. Arrange your 14 long strips in order from 1-14, and sew them together with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.
As you can see, I didn’t cut off my selvages until later.
Don’t worry about pressing until all of your strips are sewn together.
Important Tip: use a short stitch length, such as 1.5 - 2. This will help your seams to not come undone when you cut the strip sets into columns later.
2. Arrange your 14 shorter strips in order from 1-14 and sew them together the same way.
FQ instructions: Sew together 3 shorter sets of 14 strips, instead of 1 large strip set and one half-size strip set.
3. Take your sewn strips to the ironing board. Press them with the seams going in alternating directions. This means that every other strip will have both seams pressed inward (toward the strip).
Press the half-size strip set the same way.
FQ instructions: press all 3 strip sets with the seams going in alternating directions.
4. Fold each strip set in half (right sides together) and sew the long edge of fabric #1 to the long edge of fabric #14. This will make a big loop and a half size loop.
Or 3 half size loops if you cut your fabrics from FQ’s.
Press the seam in the correct direction following your pressing pattern.
Cutting the Strip Sets into Columns
1. Lay out your loops of fabric as flat as you can. You will have 2 layers, with 7 strips showing
Then fold them over one more time (lengthwise along the middle strip so you have 4 layers of fabric and 3 1/2 strips showing.
2. Trim off the selvages, or if you already removed the selvages, trim away the ends to make them even.
3. Then cut 8 columns from your large strip set, each 5’’ wide.
You will have a few inches of fabric left over - so don’t hesitate to trim the edge of the strip set in between cutting columns if you feel you need to straighten up.
4. Fold the half size strip set the same way. Trim off the selvages, and cut four 5’’ columns from this strip set.
FQ users will have 3 half size strip sets and cut four 5’’ columns from each one. Refer to the photo above.
Un-Pick one Seam in Each Column:
Now comes the fun part!
1. Refer often (for each column!) to your Color-By-Number chart to determine which seam to unpick.
Side note: I can hardly sew a day without my surgical seam ripper. It changed my life.
For example, for the first column, unpick the seam above fabric #1.
For column 2, unpick the seam above fabric #14.
For column 3, unpick the seam above fabric #13.
And so forth… but the pattern does not continue in that order (after column 5 the numbers start going up, not down) so refer to the chart for before unpicking one seam in each column.
2. Hang your columns on a quilt design wall or lay them out on a large workspace to make sure your pattern is correct.
Tip: If you mess up and unpick the wrong seam, just sew it back together and unpick in the right place. I unpicked the wrong seam in one of the columns above, but then I discovered that I could use it in a different place!
3. Now sew all of the columns together and you are done!
Enjoy the genius of your pressing: that each and every seam allowance nests with the one under it to ensure that your seams match up.
I know exactly how I want to quilt this top, but so many of you wanted the pattern ASAP, that I didn’t wait to finish it before I shared my tutorial.
Be sure to tell me what you think in the comments and share pictures with me on instagram. Just tag me at @sewcanshe so I can take a look!