Thanks to the pre-cut 10" squares of a pretty layer cake bundle, we whipped-up this cute and cozy lap blanket in a single afternoon. If you are brand new to sewing or are teaching someone to sew and/or quilt, this is a very beginner-friendly project. The patchwork is about as basic as you can get, and the quilting is done with hand-sewn buttons.
Our throw finishes at 57" x 57" and uses 42 layer cake squares. Layer cake bundles range, most often, from 24 - 42 squares, which means you might need more than one bundle to complete our throw. However, 42-piece bundles are by far the most common.
You could also fussy cut 10" x 10" squares from larger fabric scraps, centering a cute motif within each square.
Six of the 42 squares are used as an accent row along the back of the throw. This is optional, but does make the back of the throw more interesting, and as explained below, helps to disguise a seam that allows you to more efficiently cut the yardage for the backing fabric.
Rather than traditional quilting seams to hold together the layers, we opted to hand sew buttons at the main intersections of each square. Using a random selection of ⅜"-½" buttons is a great way to add some interesting color, embellishment, and texture to the top of the throw. And because the buttons are quite small, they're not a detriment to the overall softness. If you want to make the throw for a very young child, buttons are not your best option. Instead, consider hand-tying with yarn or floss at each corner point.
Our original layer cake bundle was from Circa 1934, a vintage collection by Cosmo Cricket for Moda. It's no longer available, but nearly every quilting cotton collection that debuts offers a 10" x 10" layer cake bundle. Any collection, including the three bundles we're giving away, would give you equally lovely results.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Quarter-inch Seam foot; optional but helpful as all the seam allowances are ¼"
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 42 Layer Cake pre-cuts for the printed squares on the front and back (we used all 42, 10" x 10" squares from a standard 42-piece layer cake bundle; if you choose not to use a Layer Cake, you'll need to cut 42, 10" x 10" squares)
- 2¼ yards of 44"+ wide coordinating solid fabric
- 25 mismatched buttons, each about ½" in diameter
- 58" x 58" square of lightweight batting
NOTE: Batting comes in a multitude of sizes and shapes. We had a queen size roll (90" x 108") from which we cut our 58" square, leaving a nice remnant for another project. You could also buy a 60" wide piece off the bolt or a smaller packaged size.
- All purpose color coordinating thread: we used natural
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Tape measure
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Hand sewing needle
- Straight pins
- Decide which 10" x 10" patterned squares you want where on the FRONT of the throw BEFORE you begin to sew. Do this by laying them out on a flat surface. We've found it's easiest to use the floor to do this; make sure it's clean. Mix and match until you have a layout you find pleasing. Remember, you have 36 squares to work with on this side. It's best to avoid placing similar colors side by side and it looks better when you alternate small and large motifs. You can follow a pattern similar to ours or design your own. There's no 'wrong' design; it's all based on what you like best.
- Using the same method, decide in what order you want the remaining SIX 10" x 10" patterened squares that will run down the BACK of the throw.
- From the fabric you are using for the solid quilt panels on the quilt back, cut the following:
ONE 38½" wide x 57½" high rectangle
TWO 10" wide x 29" high rectangles
NOTE: If your fabric is wide enough, you could cut one 10" x 57½" strip rather than two at 10" x 29", but that is not the best use of fabric for the narrower widths. It's more efficient to cut two pieces and splice them together. This will create one additional seam on your quilt back (as shown in the drawing above), but will save you from buying a lot of extra fabric. If you line up this extra seam with one of the patchwork seams in the patterned strip on the quilt back, it will hardly be noticeable.
- From the batting, cut ONE 57½" x 57½" square
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Assemble the front of the throw
- If you are brand new to quilting, even though this project is super simple, you may want to review our Quilting Basics Series, a five-part series with lots of great getting-started information.
- This quilt uses a traditional ¼" quilting seam allowance throughout. We used our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot to help maintain a perfectly straight line.
- There are a lot of pieces to keep track of, so work in a specific order, like a grid. We worked from top to bottom and left to right.
- Starting with the six squares in the first patterned row, pin the squares together into three pairs: one and two, three and four, five and six. Each of the pairs should be placed right sides together and pinned along one side. Keep track of any directional prints to make sure everything is going the right way. Our Circa 1934 collection had number and letter motifs, which we needed to keep careful track of.
- Stitch each of the pairs together, using a ¼" seam allowance. Press the seam allowances together and to the right.
- Pin the left and right pairs (one/two and five/six) to either side of the center pair (three/four) - still right sides together, still along just one side each.
- Stitch together, using a ¼" seam allowance, to create the first complete six-block row. Press the seam allowances together and to the right.
- Repeat to create the remaining FIVE rows, but alternate the direction you press the seam allowances. Press row two towards the left, row three towards the right, etc. This will help you nest your seams together and best match your corners. More on this below.
NOTE: Because the patchworking on this throw is so basic, there are no intricate or tiny angles, you can also simply opt to press all the seam allowances open and flat, as shown in the photos below. This can be a faster and easier option if you're just beginning.
- When your six rows are complete, you can stitch them together. Working from the top row down, pin the first two rows right sides together. The most important thing to remember is to keep your seams in line with one another. It helps to place a pin in the seams, then line up the pins to keep everything matched up.
- Using a ¼" seam allowance, sew the rows together. Press the seam allowances flat.
- Continue in the same manner until all six rows are sewn together from top to bottom.
NOTE: When we assembled the rows, you'll remember we pressed the fabric in certain directions above. This now allows us to ‘nest' the seams of the pieces. One seam is pressed in one direction, the opposing seam is pressed in the opposite direction, and they lay easily against each other. In addition to the pinning technique mentioned above, this will help you to line up the corners so you get sharp intersections on the front, called ‘perfect points' in quilting.
- When all the rows are stitched in place, if necessary, trim any excess from all sides of the top so the raw edges are flush and square.
Assemble the back of the throw
- Following the same steps as above, pin the remaining six 10" by 10" printed squares right sides together along their bottom edges.
- Stitch together with a ¼" seam allowance. Press all of these seams open. You now have one vertical strip of six patterned squares.
- Sew this vertical accent strip to the large solid back panel (the 38½" x 57½" piece). To do this, place the two pieces right sides together along one 57½" side. Looking down at the back panel, it should be the left side of the accent strip and the right side of the solid piece that are being sewn together. Pin in place.
- Stitch together with a ¼" seam allowance. Press this seam allowance open and flat.
- Place the two 10" wide x 29" solid pieces together along one 10" side. Pin in place. Stitch together with a ¼" seam allowance. Press this seam allowance open and flat.
- Pin this completed solid strip (which is now 10" x 57½") to the remaining 57½" raw edge of the vertical accent. Carefully align the seam of the solid strip with the middle patchwork seam of the accent strip (see our diagram above). Pin in place.
- Stitch together with a ¼" seam allowance. Press this seam allowance open and flat.
Quilting the panels together
- Lay the completed back panel right side down and flat on your work surface.
- Place the 57½" x 57½" batting square on top of the back panel, lining up all four raw edges.
- Pin around all four edges, and machine baste the batting square to the quilt back, staying very close to the edge - ⅛" or less. Basting these two layers together helps keep them from shifting during the final layering.
- Roll up the back/batting panel and set it out of the way for a minute.
- Lay the completed front panel right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Un-roll the completed quilt back/batting panel and place it right side down on top of the front panel. They are now right sides together.
- Take the time to make sure the layers are flat and smooth. Also, line up the accent strip on the back with the corresponding strip on the front. If necessary, trim the edges of the back/batting panel so that it's are square and flush with the quilt top.
- Pin around all four edges, leaving an 8-10" opening along the bottom edge for turning.
- Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch around all four sides, remembering to pivot at each corner and to leave that 8-10" opening for turning. Lock your stseamitch at either side of this opening.
- Clip all four corners at a diagonal, but be careful to not cut through your stitching.
- Turn the throw right side out through the opening.
- Push out all four corners with a long blunt object, such as a large knitting needle, chopstick or point turner.
- Press around all four edges of the quilt, so the corners are sharp and the layers are flat.
- Slip stitch the opening closed along the bottom edge.
- Lay the throw right side up and flat on your work surface. Again, smooth the top and bottom layers flat with your hands so there are no large folds or wrinkles.
- At each of the 25 four-corner intersections of the quilt front, pin through the front and back layers about ½" away from either side of the intersection point. You will be sewing a button to each of these intersection points and the pins will help prevent any shifting and insure the button sewing stitches on the back side are lined up and even.
- Hand sew a button at each of these 25 intersection points, leaving the pins through the top and bottom layers of the quilt until the button is sewn. Remove the pins after each button is sewn
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Gregory Dickson