Ties from Grandpa. Beautiful silk neckties.
Wonderful tactile silks with intricate designs.
Much time was spent deciding just what quilt pattern would highlight the fabrics from these beautiful ties and pay homage to the man they belonged to.
Pinwheel was the pattern of choice, and after two size-related false starts, 4″ squares seemed to work just right!
This quilt pattern uses Half-Square triangles (HST) and foundation piecing methods.
To make a quilt like this, one will need:
- ties (16 or so)
- rotary cutting “stuff”
- fine point ink pen or thin lead pencil
- foundation fabric (Stash ivory batiste)
- background fabric (I used light grey oxford cloth – reminded me of the shirts he wore the ties with)
- a 4″ square (clear plastic commercial quilt tool with diagonal line)
Although not immediately apparent, ties are constructed of quite a bit of fabric. They are typically cut on the bias.
Open the ties by snipping the inside threads. There will be some “thickener” fabric inside. That and any labels may be removed (and discarded).
The points of the ties are typically faced. I discovered that they are typically sewn with a chain stitch. Pull from the right end and the stitching will undo itself! (Of course, it took more than a few tries to figure out which is the “right” end!) Other seams in the length of the tie also seem to be chain stitched and were easily undone.
Lay tie flat and iron….and then iron again. Those folds are fairly well established.
Cut foundation fabric into 5.5″ squares. This fabric will be marked for the HST seams: Using the pen (or pencil) draw a diagonal (from corner to opposite corner) line across the foundation fabric. Then draw two more line 1/4″ on either side of that line. The latter two lines are stitching lines, the first line is a cutting line.
Lay the tie fabric right side down on the rotary cutting board and lay the foundation fabric square on top of the tie fabric – line side up. Pin in several locations.
Cut the tie fabric the approximate size of the the foundation fabric (there will be much trimming later).
Cut a 6″ square of the background fabric. Lay the tie/foundation fabric combination, line side up, on top of the background fabric square . Pin through all layers.
Move to sewing machine and sew through all layers along the sewing lines.
Cut down the middle between the stitching lines along the cutting line.
Open triangles and press seam open. These are often referred to as HST squares or HST units.
Voila! The first (of many) Pinwheel sets is complete.
Turn squares over to wrong side. Place the 4″ square on top, aligning the diagonal line with the seamline.
Using pen or pencil, draw the square onto the back of the fabric. (I can hear my mother now – “Drawing on fabric! Just unheard of!”
I realize it is a bit non-traditional, but it helps keep corners and seamlines straight!) Trim each square to 3/8″ from the lines. (Yes, Mom, I know everyone else uses 1/4″, but the extra width in the seam allowance helps prevent stretching – besides you told me not to do something just because everyone else does!)
Each Pinwheel Block requires two sets of HST squares.
Ties may contain considerable fabric, but it is often too narrow to cut additional whole squares. To incorporate the narrow pieces of fabric (which means fewer ties are required to make the quilt), foundation piecing is used to create pieced pinwheel sets. In the photo to the right, the red and blue HST are pieced.
Cut a 5.5″ square from the foundation fabric. Draw diagonal lines as for the first pinwheel set. Then using the perpendicular marked line on the rotary ruler (90 degree line), draw a few perpendicular lines as guides for the piecing sewing lines.
Using the perpendicular lines as guides for seaming, foundation piece the square.
Once pieced, the HST is created following the same process used for the whole square set – even drawing the square on the back (and trimming to 3/8″!)
Lay out HSTs to ensure they are sewn together correctly.
Those squares drawn on the back of the units are very useful when combining them into the Pinwheel Block.
Poking a pin straight down through the corners in both pieces will ensure the corners line up when seamed (although hard to see in the photo – the vertical pin is there!)
Seam two squares together by sewing along the line to form rectangles, press seams open.
Then sew the two rectangles together. Again poking a pin straight down through corners will help align those points!
And easy at that, the first Pinwheel Block is completed!
Only 41 more to go!
Each Pinwheel Block in this quilt combines one “whole” square set and one pieced square set.
As best I can tell, no two pieced sets are the same.
Off to the Long Arm Quilter!
Requires a lot of work.
It was not as much work as I thought it would be.
Using the Half-Square Triangles and the foundation piecing helped, but I think drawing the squares on the back of the fabric was the real time saver – line the points up and sew!
What a wonderful tutorial–one of the best I’ve ever read. It’s clear, well-ordered, with great photos. You should write sewing books! The quilt will be lovely. I hope you post photos of the final result.
What a nice comment! Thank you!
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Was searching images of pinwheel quilts and this quilt just jumped out at me, the colours are so nicely balanced. This quilt is just stunning, such a clever idea to use ties.