We’re thrilled to have been selected to be part of this spring’s Amy Butler Alchemy Fashion Look Book and Trunk Show. Rowan Fabrics put together this fantastic idea to promote Amy’s Alchemy Studio Collection. They tapped ten prominent designers and asked each to come up with a special project using one of the new Alchemy substrates. Some of our amazing Look Book partners-in-design include Betz White, Amy Barickman, Cal Patch and Linda Lee. Sew4Home was awarded a home décor project, and we chose to work with voile and Amy’s brand new cotton linen. Our resulting Sofa Throw features a wonderful zig zag patchwork technique and lusciously long bullion fringe. It’s reminiscent of the popular furniture covers of the 1930s and ’40s, which tended to be longer and thinner than what you find today. One or more of these heavy throws adorned the back of a couch or chair in nearly every home of the era as a prominent decorating accent. The combination of colors and textures in the Alchemy fabrics we selected have a beautifully vintage feel, but with a modern infusion of pattern and design.
If you’re a regular follower of Sew4Home, you know we’ve already had the opportunity to work with Alchemy, featuring it during our Happy Holidays with FreeSpirit & Rowan series. We created seven projects in cotton, velveteen, sateen bliss, cotton laminate, and rayon/linen (see the full list and links below). It truly is a beautiful and varied collection.
The zig zag technique on the front of our throw looks much more intricate and complex than it really is. We think you’ll be genuinely pleased with how simple it is to create. Also, if you’re a quilter, you’re probably used to only working with traditional cottons. We had a lot of fun dabbling in different substrates. It’s great to expand your horizons and bring these beautiful textures into quilting, home décor, garments and crafts.
One of the things that made the stitching easier was our decision to use a fusible batting. By adhering the more slippery, stretchy voile to a fusible batting, there was virtually no distortion when the final quilting was done.
Our thanks again to Rowan Fabrics and Amy Butler for picking Sew4Home to be among such a wonderful group of designers for this special Fashion Look Book and Trunk Show. Contact your local independent fabric retailer to find out if and when this great event will be coming to your area. Attendees of Trunk Show events get a copy of the Look Book to inspire them to new heights of wonderfulness!
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900 QCP)
- Quarter Inch Seam foot (optional, but helpful since all seams are ¼”; it is a standard accessory for the MC8900 QCP)
- Walking foot (the Janome MC8900 QCP has the built-in AcuFeed Flex™ fabric-feeding system; if you do not have this option, use a Walking foot or similar)
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: Ingredients shown below are generous to allow for fussy cutting as needed; in our sample, this was particularly critical for the cotton linen.
- 1 yard of 54″ wide voile for the lighter zig zag; we used Fairy Tale Voile in Vanilla from the Alchemy Studio collection by Amy Butler for Rowan Fabrics
- 1¼ yards of 54″ wide voile for the darker zig zag and back horizontal highlight strips; we used Fairy Tale Voile in Pistachio from the Alchemy Studio collection by Amy Butler for Rowan Fabrics
- 1⅝ yards of 54″ wide cotton linen for the back and the front horizontal highlight strips; we used Memoir Cotton Linen in Leaf from the Alchemy Studio collection by Amy Butler for Rowan Fabrics
- 1⅝ yards of 45″ wide low loft fusible batting; we used Pellon’s 987 one-sided fusible fleece
- 2¼ yards of 5-6″ deep bullion fringe; we used a 5½” variegated bullion fringe – deep green with spring green highlights, purchased locally
- All purpose thread to match fabrics
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Tape measure
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Large safety pins to hold the layers together
NOTE: As mentioned above, take the time to carefully cut the fabric for the front horizontal accent strip and the backing. The Alchemy Memoir features a beautiful medallion motif, which we cut to perfectly center for the front horizontal strips. We were also very careful to make sure the back was cut to keep the rows straight. If you are new to fussy cutting, check out our tutorial.
- From the fabric for the lighter zig zag (Fairy Tale Voile in Vanilla in our sample), cut TWENTY-FOUR 7½” x 7½” squares. Then, cut these squares into 48 half triangles.
- From the fabric for the darker zig zag and back horizontal highlight strips (Fairy Tale Voile in Pistachio in our sample), cut the following:
TWENTY-FOUR 7½” x 7½” squares. Then, cut these squares into 48 half triangles.
TWO 2½” x 39½” strips
NOTE: If you are new to quilting, see our Quilt Basics tutorial on rotary cutting.
- From the fabric for the back and the front horizontal highlight strips (Memoir Cotton Linen in Leaf in our sample), fussy cut the following:
ONE 39½” wide x 53½” high rectangle
TWO 2½” x 39½” strips
SPECIAL NOTE: We recommend you WAIT to cut this main back rectangle until you complete the quilt top. When the top is complete, measure it to be sure your finished dimension is the same as ours (39½” x 53½”). If so, cut to match; if not, adjust as needed.
- From the fusible batting, cut ONE 42″ wide x 56″ high rectangle. This size is a few inches larger than necessary to allow for shrinkage when fused to the back of the quilt. The excess will be trimmed away.
- Cut the fringe into TWO 39″ lengths.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Stitch triangles into sets and then rows
- Pair up the half triangles into 48 sets of two – one light and one dark triangle in each set.
- Flip the dark triangle in each pair and align the inside edges to create a skinny diamond shape.
- Pin the triangles right sides together. The tips of the triangles will overlap by ¼”. This is correct and insures that when seamed, the points will be perfectly matched.
- Stitch together, using a ¼” seam allowance.
- Repeat to create 48 sewn pairs of triangles.
NOTE: We waited to press until we got the entire strip sewn together because the voile tends to stretch, especially as a bias cut triangle. Waiting to press minimizes distortion.
- Place the 48 pairs on your work surface in eight rows of six pairs each, making sure the pairs alternate (light, dark, light, dark, etc.).
- In each row, take the first two pairs of triangles and place them right sides together. As above, you are aligning the inside edges, placing light against dark. Also as above, the points will overlap by ¼”. Pin in place.
- Stitch together, using a ¼” seam allowance.
- To each of the eight two-pair units you just created, follow the same steps to add one additional triangle pair (the third pair in each of your eight rows).
- You now have eight sets of three sewn triangle pairs.
- Repeat these steps, using the remaining three triangle pairs in each row to yield sixteen sets of three sewn triangle pairs – eight rows of two sets of three.
- To complete each row, sew together the two sets of three, always remembering to make sure you are alternating light to dark.
- Press all seams toward the darker triangles. As we mentioned above, be very gentle when pressing the voile so it does not stretch and distort.
- You should have have eight completed rows.
- You’ll now stitch the rows together to create the zig zag effect
- Place the rows on your work surface. Flip and shift the rows so the triangles are matched up light to light and dark to dark. For example, the intersecting light triangle points of row one should be at the exact center of the bottom of the matching light triangles of row two as shown below. On either end of each row, one half of a triangle with extend and will not line up. This is correct. We will trim off this excess when the rows are all sewn together.
- Stitch the rows together, using a ¼” seam allowance.
- Continue in this manner to add additional rows. You will be alternating colors as you work across. As you see below for row three, we are aligning the intersecting triangle points of the darker triangles of row two with the exact center of the bottom the darker triangles on row three.
- Also notice how the triangle points line up and overlap.
- This piecing technique, in combination with a ¼” seam allowance, creates a ¼” free edge on each row so you do not lose the point of the triangle in the seam as shown on our finished seam below. This is important for a clean zig zag.
- When all eight rows are sewn together, carefully press the seams from the back.
- And, press again from the front. There are all those pretty triangle points.
- As promised above, use your see-through ruler and rotary cutter to trim away the excess triangle fabric along both sides.
- Measure your finished quilt top and cut your back fabric panel to match. Our quilt top measured 39½” wide x 53½” high.
Add the horizontal accent strips
- Find the two 2½” x 39½” fussy cuts strips of cotton linen.
- Pin one strip right sides together along the top raw edge of the quilt top and one strip right sides together along the bottom raw edge of the quilt top.
- We were careful to align the center of our medallion motif with the quilt top seam.
- Pin each strip in place and stitch together, using a ¼” seam allowance.
- Press the strip away from the voile quilt top.
Fuse the batting to the quilt top
Find the 42″ x 56″ batting rectangle. Place it flat on your work surface with the fusing side UP.
Place quilt top wrong side DOWN on top of the batting, centering the quilt top side to side and top to bottom. There should be an inch or two of batting extending beyond the quilt top on all sides.
Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the quilt top to the batting.
NOTE: As mentioned above, we are using fusible batting to hold the delicate voile stable during the final quilting process.
Use your see-through ruler and rotary cutter to trim away the excess batting on all sides.
- Find your recently cut back panel and the two 2½” x 39½” dark voile horizontal accent strips.
- As you did on the front, stitch one strip to the top of the back panel and one to the bottom, using a ¼” seam allowance.
Attaching front back and turning
- Place the quilt top flat on your work surface, batting side down and right side up.
- Place the quilt back right sides together with the quilt top. Align the raw edges all around, being particularly careful to line up the seams of the front and back horizontal accent bands.
- Pin in place all around, leaving a 10″ opening along one side for turning.
- Find the two lengths of fringe.
- Unpin the bottom edge of the top/back just enough to allow you room to pin the fringe in place.
- Place the trim in position. It should start and end ¼” from the raw edges of the fabric. Pin in place.
- Fold the backing back in position over the top of the fringe and re-pin to secure the fringe and both the layers of fabric.
NOTE: We are pinning in this manner because it is VERY important that the main body of the quilt doesn’t shift. You’ve lined everything up carefully so your patchwork and your back motifs are wonderfully straight and aligned. You don’t want to mess that up. So, you are peeling back just enough of the back to place the fringe, then “closing” it back up to avoid any shifting.
- Repeat to add the remaining length of fringe to the top.
- Very carefully carry the project to your sewing machine. The fringe is heavy, so support both ends as you move to the machine. It will help keep everything moving smoothly through the machine if you can support the layers on all sides. Sewing on a large table or a sewing cabinet with a back extension leaf is great.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch around all sides of the quilt. We recommend a Walking foot.
- On the sides, this means you will stitch right next to the trim but will not be catching the trim with the side seam. Instead, the fringe is completely secured with the seams along the top and bottom. This allows it to hang down correctly.
- Remember to pivot at all the corners and to lock your seam on either side of the 10″ opening left for turning.
- Turn the quilt right side out through the opening.
- Press the quilt well.
- Fold in the edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Pin closed.
- Slip stitch the opening closed.
- Place safety pins across the quilt about every 6″ to hold the layers together.
- If possible, attach a Walking foot.
- Quilt diagonally along all the front zig zag seams. On the back this will create a pretty diamond pattern. You are see this pattern quite clearly on the drawings at the top of the page.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild