Anne & Will

Wherein we talk about projects, life, and other things.

Braided Stripe Quilt Tutorial

I'm flattered that a few folks have asked for a tutorial on how I made the braided stripe quilts for Myla, Junior and Ian. I have to say that you should approach this "pattern" with an adventurous spirit. I've made three of these quilts so far and have learned something new each time.

quilt

It all started when I saw this print on Etsy and thought, "I could do that with fabric." And now you can too!

Check Mark Art Print by twoems

Fabric

Quilt size: 45" x 60"

Fabric for the front: 8 colors, 20" x 45" (or 43")
Fabric for the back & binding: 2 yards-ish

To pick out the quilt colors I take over the aisle of solid color fabric. I pull out bolts of fabric and line them up against the opposing shelf and mix & match until I like the final fabric selection. I'm that person. I also bring my husband, Will, to the fabric store with me for a second opinion since he's got a great eye for color combos.

For the quilt back fabric I use a pattern with complementary colors or something very subtle that echoes one of the colors from the front.

Prepping for the quilt front

Cut your 8 solid color fabrics into 4-1/2" x 45" strips. You should get 3 strips out of each color. You'll have some leftover fabric for the scrap bag, but I like having a bit too much than too little.

This plan below shows the general outline for the quilt with the stripe intersections running vertically down the quilt. You could follow the same process for a horizontal orientation (and in fact that was my first pass at the quilt). I like the vertical orientation though because there are more connecting points for the stripes.

quilt_diagram_1

Due to geometry & angles, at the edges the horizontal stripes end up at 4-1/2" and the vertical stripes at the edges will be around 7". Think of this pattern as a series of triangles and it starts to make sense.

Assembling the quilt front

Okay, this is where the adventure begins. Are you ready?

Start by laying out 8 strips of fabric in a pleasing color arrangement (1 strip of each color). I like greens and oranges, but I don't like them next to each other. And I try to space out things like multiple shades of blue so I don't end up with one extra bluesy blue spot in the quilt. Once I like the colors, I start cutting and sewing.

Start with the middle strip (A in the outline) and cut a 7" piece. Then use strip B from the outline and cut a 12" piece. Center the 7" piece (A) on the 12" piece (B), sew with a 1/4" seam allowance, and press (I'm a press open kinda gal). Center your two colors on your cutting mat and use a 60 degree angle to cut the stripes into an equilateral triangle. The sides of the triangle should each be around 10-1/2." Since we're being adventurous though, don't worry if they aren't exactly 10-1/2" as long as they are each equal.

Quilt Step 1

Tilt the triangle so the seam is at the "top" of the quilt and pull out your next two colors (C and D in the outline). Lay them out in order next to the triangle and eyeball where to trim them. Keep in mind where the quilt "top" will hit so that your stripes are large enough. Sew strips C & D together and press.

Quilt Step 2

Sew your equilateral triangle to the stripes and press open.

Quilt Step 3

Trim off the excess fabric. Be very careful about keeping the top line straight. It will be the top edge of the quilt and you'll square everything else off of this line. Life is better if you take care to keep it as straight as possible. Also, equilateral triangles are your friend.

Quilt Step 4

Repeat the process on the reverse side with fabrics E & F.

Quilt Step 6

And then just keep on keepin' on. Think of the pattern as expanding the triangle using strips of 2 colors. Follow the pattern sewing 2 strips together and then adding those to the triangle (G-b in the pattern).

Once you get to some of the longer stripes (like K) you will need to sew together strips to make them long enough. This is where some of the pieces that were cut off from the shorter strips come in handy.

After you work through the first 8 strips (one of each fabric color), lay out the next 8 (1 of each color) against what you've already sewn. I like to alternate which "side" of the triangle the colors fall on so there's a tiny sense of symmetry to the quilt.

The idea is to get 10 stripes across, and 8-1/2 stripes down, but add in extra fabric at the edges to make it easy trim the edges square.

quilt_diagram_2

The first few quilts I made I tried to square the edges as I went along and it didn't work well. I finally wised up to making the edges wider/longer than necessary and then squared up the quilt at the very end. I had much better results. The pictures below show me squaring as I went along. Do as I say, not as I show. You'll be a happier camper.

Quilt Square Corners
Top edge corner getting squared up

Quilt Square Corner 2
Bottom corner getting squared up - a better example of what I recommend doing

I was able to use the excess from squaring up the quilt for the back, so hang on to those off cast pieces - we'll revisit them!

Quilt Back

All you really need for the quilt back is a piece that is 55" x 65" - so feel free to accomplish that however you see fit. However, my favorite quilt back was one where I used the excess pieces so I'm going to share that.

quilt_diagram_4

I squared up the edge cut-offs from the vertical sides of the front and sewed them together to make a 10-1/2" x 60-ish" strip. To flesh out the size I added 2-1/2" pieces to the top & bottom and ended up with a 10-1/2" x 65" strip.

I took my two yards of the quilt back fabric and cut it down to 65" in length. I then cut that piece vertically so I had a 15" x 65" piece and a 30" x 65" piece. I sewed my excess fabric strip in between the two pieces of the quilt back fabric for a final quilt back size of 55" x 65".

back

Quilting the Quilt

I wanted to echo the triangles in the quilt front with the quilting and I've become a big fan of fairly dense, straight lines.

To keep the triangles tidy and lined up, I needed to create a consistent line down the front of the quilt for the quilted triangle points. I took a very long ruler and lined it up with the fabric points and then marked that line with tailor's chalk. If you look at the detail shot below you can faintly see the remnants of the chalk line.

detail

To start the quilting lines I put my needle about 1/4" to the right of the "line" between fabrics C & D and sewed to the chalk line. I adjusted the quilt to complete the second side of the triangle, following the line between C/D & E/B . I set my quilting guide to 1" and quilted the lines from there. Each stripe had 3-4 quilted lines running through it. If there was a discrepancy between where the quilting guide thought the line should go and where the quilting line would look best (usually in the points), I would go with what looked best.

quilt_diagram_3

Binding

I use the same fabric from the quilt back for the binding. Oh, and I'm a total binding cheater who doesn't make the binding on the bias. Mwahahahahaha!

Here's a link to a good tutorial on binding.

End

This is my first how-to/tutorial. So, what say you? Is this helpful? Any questions? Did my phone pictures and their wacky colors throw you off?

leave a comment

47 Comments

Robyn
# Apr 2, 2013 at 12:57pm

Thank you so much! I am headed to the fabric store on Thursday to get started! I am in love!! :-)

Anne
# Apr 2, 2013 at 1:00pm

Good luck - and send us pictures of your quilt!

Ann White
# Apr 4, 2013 at 8:31am

This is great. I'm going to read it about 100 more times before I feel confident enough to try it. :)

Anne
# Apr 4, 2013 at 9:40am

I love your name, Ann! If you have any questions as you read through let me know and I'll clarify. Good luck!

Paula
# Apr 6, 2013 at 9:18am

Thank you for doing all the hard work for us and sharing your knowledge. I have this bookmarked and hope to make something similar at some point in time. Who has time for ALL of their "want-to-do" quilt projects? I do have a lot of Kona cotton solids though that will be perfect in this quilt.

Lindsey @ HTaBQuilts
# Apr 7, 2013 at 10:03pm

Thanks so much for the tutorial! It is such a clever quilt!

Robyn
# Apr 11, 2013 at 5:16pm

I just finished my quilt top and LOVE the pattern! Thanks so much for sharing! I can't wait to quilt this one!

Anne
# Apr 11, 2013 at 11:19pm

So glad to hear the pattern worked for you, Robyn!

Jenny Squawk
# May 29, 2013 at 5:21am

Two babies to make quilts for and this is a great pattern for it. Thanks for the Tutorial. At first glance, I thought it was a one to one, like a log cabin, but the two strips really have more emphasis for the braiding.

Regan Rothery
# May 31, 2013 at 5:45pm

This is gorgeous. Your tutorial makes the extremely straightforward and clear. Great job and I cannot WAIT to make this puppy!!

Mary Pat Van Schyndel
# Jun 2, 2013 at 9:17am

Love this tutorial…..I must try this. I wonder if it would look as good in prints as to solids? Thanks for sharing.

Anne
# Jun 3, 2013 at 9:56am

Good luck with the quilting, Jenny & Regan. Would love to see photos!

Mary Pat, I think the pattern would look great with prints mixed in with the solid colors or simply a set of prints. It could be really cool to try with a line of coordinating fabric. Good luck!

Susan Perry
# Jun 3, 2013 at 2:04pm

Love the idea of the stripes and I made it in sherbet colors for granddaughter. It is a fun pattern and I will probably make another soon.

Juli McMillan Bolden
# Jun 12, 2013 at 7:39pm

I have been quilting for 40+ years, and I absolutely love this quilt. I have been quilting more contemporary quilts of late…this is going to be my next project. I love working with solid color fabrics or very bold fabrics…I plan to use solid modern color choices for this quilt! Your tutorial was wonderful also, you did very well.

Deborah
# Jun 16, 2013 at 2:41am

I make quilts to donate to the hospital and shelter -so I like patterns that are quick -yet pretty. Thank you so much for this one, I cannot wait to make it!!

Anne
# Jun 18, 2013 at 2:02pm

Welcome new folks from the Craftsy blog rounding up ideas to bust through your fabric stash. If I had known how much folks would like this quilt I would have taken a better photo!

Susan - so glad the pattern worked for your granddaughter's quilt.

Juli & Deborah - good luck!

Cetta
# Jul 12, 2013 at 2:08pm

Wow. That is gorgeousn

Kathy
# Aug 6, 2013 at 11:26pm

I really love solid colors in quilts I'm definitely going to try this, but after my trial run I would love to make it bigger as in double/gueen size. Could you suggest a way to increase size while keeping the pattern? Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks Kathy.

Anne
# Aug 7, 2013 at 11:46am

Kathy - funny you should mention a larger size as this has been on my mind.I have a few ideas that I'll put a bit more thought in and will add them in the comments.

Jessica
# Aug 10, 2013 at 8:21am

This quilt is stunning. Thanks so much for taking the time to post a tutorial for it! One day I'm going to need to go to the quilt shop and go crazy in the solids aisle to pick up some fun colors to make this :-)

Gramz
# Aug 15, 2013 at 5:46am

Love this idea. Thanks for the pattern and tutorial. I have just the person in mind to make it for.

Kathleen Mathews
# Aug 15, 2013 at 2:03pm

I shared the link for this on my Quilting facebook page and people went wild for it, they love you! And so do I!

Lori
# Sep 9, 2013 at 9:10am

I, too, would like to know how to make a larger size of this pattern. Thanks!

Lucille
# Sep 18, 2013 at 2:25pm

This is so cool. Can't wait to make it! Thanks so much for the tutorial.

Naomi RuthAnne
# Sep 21, 2013 at 10:46am

This is really fabulous. It would make a great baby quilt on a smaller scale. I am putting it on my list of quilts to make!

susana
# Sep 27, 2013 at 10:17pm

como seguir a Anne y Will?

viviane
# Sep 30, 2013 at 3:13am

super le tuto je pense que je vais realiser cet ouvrage.
bonne journée.

Dre
# Oct 6, 2013 at 8:52pm

I'm making this now and following your tutorial. I'm on lines k and L but both are too short. I would think lines O & P will be too short too. Did you add strips together to get the proper legnth? I love this quilt and am almost halfway through and finding this problem. Please help. Thank you.

Anne
# Oct 6, 2013 at 9:12pm

Hi Dre - yep, just piece strips together to make them long enough.

Also, team, I'm working on a larger pattern to share. Sorry it has taken so long to address, but I promise it will be worth it!

Lora
# Oct 17, 2013 at 8:48pm

I LOVE this, thank you for sharing the tutorial!

Heather
# Oct 18, 2013 at 4:37pm

Anne - this is a great graphic quilt. I am wondering if our quilt guild can use your instructions for a fun day of quilt-making. Please e-mail me.

Robyn
# Nov 4, 2013 at 10:41am

I have no idea if these links will work, since they are to facebook, but I realized I never posted links to my quilts after your tutorial.
http://tinyurl.com/kbjsblm

Then I made two for my kid's teachers as end of the year gifts, so one side had handprints with a "busy" fabric and the other side was this pattern
http://tinyurl.com/m5mhpy8

Thanks again!

Cathy Kirk
# Dec 5, 2013 at 11:12am

I am making this quilt 84" square. I used one yard each of 8 colors and am following your method. I found my initial triangle measured 9.75". It is working out well. Simply added more strips across the top to get the width I wanted, then added strips on the sides to get the length. A very bold statement at this size!

Jeannette
# Dec 17, 2013 at 5:15pm

I just made this with prints and love it! Thanks for sharing the tutorial!!

Michael
# Dec 26, 2013 at 3:14pm

Love this quilt will make a larger version for sure !

HappyNess
# Dec 31, 2013 at 6:14pm

I’m looking forward to making this one. Thank you for sharing. HNY!!

Rebecca
# Jan 15, 2014 at 12:39pm

Thanks for the excellent tutorial. I made the top in one day, quilted it, and it is destined for a hospice.
The pattern is very easy to make.

Tricia
# Jan 17, 2014 at 1:10pm

Great job for a “first tutorial”. And you quilt is very unique. I love the simplicity of the solid colors…..and your happy color choices. Hope I am as successful making one of these!

sharon Flaherty
# Jan 20, 2014 at 11:03am

I love this quilt, know several people that would love one of these.

Amanda
# Feb 12, 2014 at 11:11pm

Hey there! I’m totally perplexed. I L.O.V.E. this pattern and have started with crappy fabric before I delve into my good Kona. I’m getting a little tripped up on how long the strips need to be after “A” & “B”, (so the tip of the strips match going “into” the quilt)? I’ve never used a 60degree ruler before, but successfully cut the angles correctly. I measured the first 2 strips, but was unclear on the rest of the strips for the remainder. Help pretty please! Please and thank you!

Anne
# Feb 13, 2014 at 8:49am

Hi Amanada, so glad you love the pattern. If you look at the 5th, 6th & 7th images you can see how I figured out how long to make the next set of strips. I didn’t make any exact measured cuts after the first two, I simply laid out the strips and cut slightly larger than it looked like I needed when laid out. Hope that is helpful!

Deirdre
# Feb 17, 2014 at 2:02pm

This is beautiful! I’ve been looking for a pattern for my daughter’s first baby, she’s an adventurous sort so I think this will suit her. I’ve got prints, blacks, reds mostly, with lilac and green.
Is it possible you’ve used at least ten colours in this quilt and not 8?
Also, If I made this a bit smaller, would I need to start with a smaller triangle and then build to specs?
I’m feeling a bit daunted but I think I can make this.
Gorgeous and thank you.

Anne
# Feb 17, 2014 at 2:29pm

Deirdre - your daughter is so lucky! I think you can use as many colors as you like - you are right, it does look like 10 shades of colors, though that might be the camera. I’ll have to go back & look at my fabric stash!

If you want to go smaller you could definitely start with a smaller triangle. You also keep the same sizes I used, but include fewer strips so that it fills out the smaller size you are shooting for. Maybe 8 strips across the top and 6-ish or so vertically.

Good luck!

Janet
# Mar 1, 2014 at 7:38pm

Do you sell any of your quilts? I would love to buy this. Thanks! Beautiful work.

Anne
# Mar 1, 2014 at 7:43pm

Janet, I don’t currently sell quilts, sorry. Maybe one day though!

Pamela
# Jun 30, 2014 at 7:35pm

I think your pattern is what I’ve been looking for. I have two half yard each pieces of six stunning striped fabrics that coordinate. The colors are bright and stunning. Perhaps I should buy two more pieces of yardage in solid colors to coordinate. I’m really excited about this project. Suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

Anne
# Jun 30, 2014 at 10:23pm

Pamela, while I don’t necessarily think you need 8 total colors I do think you’ll need additional fabric because my fabric math says you’ll be a bit short. Interspersing a solid amongst the stripe patterns could be a phenomenal look so I encourage you to go for it!

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