This plush throw is framed with patchwork and pom poms. Even if you've never done any patchwork, you can make this beautiful blanket. The fun part is picking all the squares: 72 of them in this case. It's like coloring with fabric; you mix and match, combining colors and patterns from square to square. We selected bright, bold options to create a super vibrant border, but you could vary your own choices to create a more subdued outcome... or even more colorful! The jumbo pom pom trim adds a playful touch, and the center of the throw is super-soft, double-sided luxury plush fleece. Colorful, cute, and cuddly in one great project!
This project is easiest to do with fabrics for which there is no distinct directional motif. If you have to worry about keeping stripes or other directional prints going the right way from front to back, top to bottom and side to side; you'll probably drive yourself slowly insane.
Our original patchwork was made with fabrics from Heather Bailey's Pop Garden & Bijoux, an older collection that is no longer readily available. You could work from within one collection as we did or use up scraps from a variety of sources. The squares are simple 6" x 6" cuts so it's a great chance to use some of your favorite small pieces. If you are brand new to blending, take a look at our tutorial: Top Ten Designer Tips for Blending Colors and Prints.
The majority of the cutting and stitching is done with the cotton fabric, but you are also working with a dense plush. If this is a new substrate for you, we have a full tutorial on the best practices for sewing with plush fabric.
You'll enjoy the clever way the patchwork frame is constructed to sandwich the single layer of plush. It's an easy solution to what seems like a challenging technique. We love how it provides a full square in each corner and finished edges all around.
The pom pom trim is optional, but is a whimsical bit of embellishment – especially if your patchwork has a fun motif similar to ours. Want a more "elegant" look, skip the poms altogther or consider a short, dense fringe trim instead.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing machine and standard presser foot
- Walking or Even Feed foot; or use your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system, such as the great AcuFeed™ Flex system we use on our Janome models
Fabric and Other Supplies
- A variety of cotton fabrics for the squares that make up the front and back borders of throw – the exact amount of fabric required will depend on how much repetition you decide upon within your fabric choices. You need 72 squares total (36 around the front, 36 around the back). Each cut square is 6" x 6", so a ¼ yard of 45" wide fabric will yield seven squares.
- Double-sided plush pile fabric for the center panel. The center plush square is 51" x 51", so 1½ yards of 54"- 60" wide fabric will work. Most luxury plush is 58"- 60" wide. It is important you select a plush that is double-sided (plush on both sides) as our instructions are for a single layer of fabric. Here's one option from Fabric.com.
- 6¼ yards of large pom pom trim
- All purpose thread to best blend with your cotton fabrics as well as to match your plush fabric
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pencil or chalk
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- From your plush fabric, cut one 51" x 51" square. Set aside.
- From your cotton fabric cuts or scraps, cut 72 squares at 6" x 6".
- Lay out your squares on the floor or a cutting table, and mix and match until you're happy with your patchwork pattern. The front and back rows can be identical or completely different. You have two rows of ten squares and two rows of eight squares for EACH side. Remember, the rows come together in the corners, so make sure you like how the squares match up in each corner.
- Gather the eight squares that will be one side row. Take the first two squares, pin them right sides together, and using a ½" seam, stitch along one side. Take the next square in your pattern and stitch it to the two-piece unit you just made. Continue to add squares in this same manner to make your complete row of eight squares of sewn patchwork.
NOTE: You'll notice in the photo above that we put a piece of blue painter's tape across the bed of the machine at the ½" guide mark, running it from the back of the machine bed, across the throat plate, and around the front of the bed. This gives a nice, straight, easy-to-see line to follow to keep a consistent ½" seam.
- Repeat Step 4 until you have FOUR rows, each containing eight squares of sewn patchwork. These panels are your four side pieces.
- Gather the four sets of 10 squares that make up your upper and lower rows, and in the same manner as above, create FOUR panels that each contain ten squares of sewn patchwork.
- Press all seams open and flat.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Sewing the front four panels to the plush
- Lay your plush fabric flat on your work surface. Measure and mark (with your fabric pencil or chalk) 5" down from all outer raw edges to make a 41" x 41" inner square.
- Locate one upper panel of patchwork (one of your ten-square rows). Place it right side down on the plush fabric so the top raw edge of the panel is perfectly aligned with your 5" chalk line. Pin in place.
- Stitch the panel in place, using a ½" seam allowance (½" from the raw edge of the patchwork panel). LEAVE THE FIRST AND LAST PATCHWORK SQUARES UNSTITCHED. These squares will be sewn later to the side panels to form the corners.
- Locate one lower panel of patchwork (another ten-square row) and repeat Step 2 and Step 3 along the opposite edge of your plush square.
- Flip up the sewn upper and lower panels and lightly press in place. The raw edges of the patchwork panels and the plush should be even top and bottom.
NOTE: As a synthetic, plush does not like the direct heat of an iron. Press on the cotton or use a pressing cloth.
- Locate one side panel of patchwork (one of your eight-square rows), and place it right side down on the plush fabric so the top raw edge of the panel is perfectly aligned with the side 5" chalk line. Pin in place.
- Stitch the panel in place, using a ½" seam allowance (½" from the raw edge of the patchwork panel, just as you did for the ten-square panels). LEAVE ½" UNSTITCHED AT THE BEGINNING AND END OF YOUR SEAM. In other words, start your seam ½" from the raw side edge of the panel and stop your seam ½" from the opposite raw edge at the end. This ½" will be sewn later to the squares of the of the upper and lower panels to form the corners.
- Locate another side panel of patchwork (another eight-square row) and repeat Step 6 and Step 7 along the opposite side of your plush square.
- Flip up the side panels and lightly press in place. The raw edges of your panels should be flush with the plush (hey .... that rhymes!). Remember, keep the direct heat of the iron away from the plush.
Making the corners
- Leave the two side panels flipped up with raw edges flush. The upper and lower panels should be flipped back down – the same position they were in just prior to stitching at the chalk line. The first last last squares of the upper and lower panels are overlapping the side panels, so the panels are right sides together at the corners. You will notice that the ½" you left at each end of the side panels lines up perfectly with the first and last loose squares of the upper and lower panels.
- Fold the plush out of the way, and working from the wrong side, pin the loose ½" edge of the side panel to the loose bottom of the upper/lower panel. You are creating the corner. Repeat at each corner.
- Take the whole piece to your machine, and carefully insert just the panel fabric under the needle. Keep the plush out of the way. You want to insert this under the foot so the raw edges are facing to the left. This may feel a bit backwards to how you would normally stitch a seam, but it allows you to keep the bulk of the plush away from the bed of the machine.
- Stitch from the outer edge toward the existing seam line, remembering to back tack at the beginning and the end of your seam. Make sure you go a couple stitches over your existing seam so there isn't any hole at the corner. Most machines have seam markings to both the right and the left of the needle. So, use the left markings to line up and make a ½" seam.
- Repeat for all four corners.
- With all four corners stitched, flip up your upper and lower panels and marvel at the cute corners you made. Press in place all around. Remember, all outer raw edges should be flush.
- Pin together your raw edges and baste around all sides. This step is to keep the layers from shifting during the rest of the project. You can baste by hand or by machine.
- Lay out your newly completed patchwork and plush square on a flat surface with the patchwork panels facing right side up.
- Find the pom pom trim. Pin it on top of the patchwork, aligning the insertion tape of the pom pom trim with the raw edges of the fabric. Baste around all sides of the outer square. Yes... you are basting again. This is because, for a beginner, it's much better to work with trim that is basted in place rather than pinned – much less chance for shifting during your final seam. If you are more advanced and confident, you can certainly just baste once through all layers.
- Set aside your plush, patchwork, and pom pom square.
Creating the back panels
- Find the remaining two ten-square patchwork panels and the remaining two eight-square patchwork panels.
- Turn under and press ½" along one lengthwise edge of each panel.
- Sew each end of the upper and lower panels to the side panels to make a square patchwork frame. Make sure your folded and pressed edges are all facing the inside of the frame.
- Find the plush, patchwork, and pom pom square and lay it out nice and flat, right side up.
- Place the patchwork frame you just made on top, right side down, sandwiching the pom pom trim between the layers. All raw edges should be flush. Pin in place through all the layers.
- Stitch around all four outside edges, using a ½" seam allowance. Go slowly and make sure your pom poms stay out of the way of the needle. Remember to remove pins as you go. At each corner, pivot: stop with your needle in the down position ½" from the edge, lift your presser foot, pivot your fabric 90˚, line up for a ½" seam, lower your presser foot and start stitching again.
- Grade the seam allowance around all sides to reduce bulk and clip the corners. Whenever doing any kind of trimming, be very careful not to cut into your seam.
- Turn the patchwork frame right side out, flipping it all the way over to the back side of the plush square. The inner square of your frame (the square with all the folded and pressed edges) is now laying right side up against the back side of the plush square. Your pom poms have also popped out around all the sides. You can tug on them slightly to straighten if necessary. Lightly press all the edges of the throw. Press from the back side so you are sure to keep that pre-folded and pressed inside edge nice and neat.
- Pin the patchwork frame to the plush around all sides of the inner square.
- Thread the machine with a thread color that is the best blend for the patchwork and the plush fabric. Use this thread for both your upper thread and bobbin. The thread will disappear into the plush. We used white.
- Set up the machine for a wide zig zag. Stitch the inner patchwork frame to the plush all around the inner square.
NOTE: Your zig zag stitch is attaching the frame to the back, but of course it will also be seen on the front side. When you are pressing and pinning above, be aware that the front and back patchwork panels should be aligning with one another with the plush sandwiched in between. You want the inside edges of the front and back panels to line up as perfectly as possible. This also insures that the final zig zag stitch catches the front panel evenly and looks nice and neat. The thread will disappear into the plush, but you will see it on the patchwork, and an even stitch is a pretty stitch.
- Clip all loose threads on both sides.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Dianne LeBlanc