Wednesday, July 9, 2014

the Purge Quilt tutorial

Purge buttonIt's been great to hear your plans for participating in the purge-along this summer.  There's no time like the present to get started!

For my Purge quilt, I'm making simple 4-patch blocks with 2" finished squares.  Small cuts like these are a great way to take the focus off a not-so-loved print.  I chose this block style since fabric repetition gives the 4-patch a pretty bit of pattern, while requiring only (2) 2.5" cut squares for any given fabric used.  When I want to use unloved yardage, I can also make the 4-patch blocks quite efficiently by strip piecing.  Bottom line - this plan works equally well for sewing from smallish scraps or yardage!

first Purge concept

At first I planned to use only prints in my Purge quilt, but very quickly I started feeling loss in all that action.

The Purge quilt tutorial

My current version alternates prints with solids.  I happen to have plenty of solids scraps, so this fits my stash nicely.  As you can see, I'm combining the 4-patch blocks into groups of 4, since these 8.5" unfinished squares are easier to keep organized.  Not sure how many of these I'm making or how big the quilt will turn out, but I'll keep making blocks throughout the purge along.  I think I'd need to churn out about 8 per week to make a nice throw sized quilt!

Here are some other ideas for making a really scrappy 4-patch design work well:
  • In every 4-patch block you could use (2) white squares or (2) of any fabric (even a print) that you have in bulk.  This would create a strong unity in the quilt, regardless of the other fabrics you use.
  • If you are interested in working with value, you could make a value pattern in the layout of your 4-patch fabrics.   
  • You could make 4-patch blocks that are somewhat monochromatic and then layout blocks in color order across the quilt.  When diverse fabrics are grouped in color families, they tend to blend and harmonize beautifully.
My own layout and color scheme is intended to be rather bright and chaotic, kind of a crazy quilt vibe!

{Purge Quilt Tutorial}

Step 1:  Cut Squares or Strips

If you're working from scraps, cut (2) 2.5" squares in each fabric you'd like to use.  Arrange in a 4-patch like so.

Purge quilt tutorial

If you're working from larger pieces, cut a 2.5" wide strip in each fabric you'd like to use.  The strip must be at least 5" long to yield one 4-patch block.  To make multiple blocks at once (and increase efficiency) cut strips longer, in 5" increments.  For example, a 2.5" x 10" strip yields 2 blocks, a 2.5" x 15" strip yields 3 blocks, and so on.

Purge quilt tutorial

Step 2:  Join as Pairs

If working with squares, sew them together in pairs, creating the two "rows" of a 4-patch bock.  Press seam to one side, pressing towards the same fabric in each pair.  Here I've pressed towards the print each time. 

Purge quilt tutorial

Save time by chain-piecing lots of square pairs for multiple 4-patch blocks at once!

Purge quilt tutorial

If working with strips, sew strips together side-by-side.  Press seam to one side.  Place one long edge of the strip along a horizontal line on your cutting mat.

Purge quilt tutorial

Cut across the strip in 2.5" wide intervals.

Purge quilt tutorial

These are your 4-patch "rows".

Purge quilt tutorial

Step 3:  Join as 4-Patch

Arrange rows as shown, with same fabrics on diagonal.

Purge quilt tutorial

Flip rows right side together and match seams.  The seams should be pressed to the side in such a way that they are pressed opposite one another and sort of "lock" together with seams matched.

 Purge quilt tutorial

Sew to join rows and press seam open.

Purge quilt tutorial

Step 4:  Combine Blocks

If you like, you can also join 4-patch blocks to create larger, more manageable 8.5" unfinished squares.  To do so, first join block pairs to create rows and then join rows to finish.  This is the same process as making a tiny 4-patch block, but with larger pieces!

Purge quilt tutorial

I suggest you do all sewing with scant 1/4" seams.  After creating the larger combo-blocks, trim to 8.5" square and set aside.

The Purge quilt tutorial

And then... make some more!

20 comments:

  1. You gave so many inspiring suggestions here. I want to jump in but first I have to get through 4-h projects.

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  2. ::gasp:: architextures ledger print is in your purge pile! I love scrappy quilts so I can't wait to see how this turns out. The solids seem to balance the prints really well :)

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    1. I actually love Ledger, but the multicolor version can be hard to use... So I am also using up fabrics that are just not so versatile. =)

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  3. this could be really fun! such a good way to use up my 'what was i thinking' fabrics.

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  4. I usually do not like to use solids in my quilts but you are so right that adding them makes the blocks stand out a bit more.
    I chose to donate a bunch of my unloved fabrics to the local thrift shop. It felt 'freeing' just to move past the mistake of purchasing them and make room for better fabric choices in the future.
    Thanks for encouraging me to create room on my fabric shelves!

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  5. I've been purging some fabrics to give to a charity quilt group. I have some cute prints I plan to make pillowcase dresses to donate. Now I may also

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  6. Got interrupted. I'm thinking some 4 patch blocks for Soy Amado blocks! It's so freeing to get those fabrics used up or given away!

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  7. It's amazing how some prints just look better cut into 2.5 inch blocks.

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  8. I might have to do this.... I also have some ugly solids I could throw in from when I bought ALL the colours! (did I really need so many BROWNS?!)

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  9. I have so many scraps, maybe I need to sit on the floor, open that box and check what can I do. Thanks

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  10. I am moving and i only have 3 shoe boxes full of scraps. I am going to cut them up to eliminate some bulk. (Sure, I really need a packing break)

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    1. That's a great idea! Nice, cut scraps will definitely pack lighter and be more enticing when you can sew again =)

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  11. Great idea! I like the addition of the solids in the 4-patch blocks ... :) Pat

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  12. Rachel, thanks for delving into this topic! As you guessed in November, I do not have a modern fabric stash, and truth-be-told, I hate a lot of the fabric I have now! Being the thrifty sort, though, I can't do anything but plan to use it, for charity or other, scrap projects. I love this project you've started on, and although I would need to buy more solids, (YAY! Buying fabric!!) this would be certainly doable! I appreciate you!!

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    1. Awww... I feel loved! So glad to hear this purge-along is what some of us need.

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  13. Thank you for the nudge to purge our less than favorite fabrics! I have recently started cutting fabric scraps in 2.5" squares, 2.5 strips and 5" squares.

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  14. Love this idea (and your fabrics!). I plan to start making one with 2.5" strips very soon. I have lots of 2.5" squares already cut and stacked in a little box waiting for a project. Using my purge fabrics with these squares would be a great idea.

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    1. I'm so excited to hear several of you are on board with The Purge quilt. I know it's so simple, but I figured something straightforward was in order!

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  15. Love this idea of creating out of scraps.

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  16. thank you so very much for such wonderful inspiration. I absolutely love scrappy quilts they are by far my favorite. I'm a wing it kind of girl and have just throw anything together for scrappy pet blankets and such. Love your tutorial and ideas here.

    Heather in WI

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