Wavy Kaffe Tiles Quilt
Every time I make a quilt with Kaffe Fassett fabrics, I declare “OK, THIS is my favorite Kaffe quilt!”. And then I make another one.
This colorful quilt is a great way to use your favorite Kaffe Fassett fabrics. Of course, you can use another fabric collection or make it totally scrappy. Read this tutorial, and learn about
- Machine applique – fusibles and stitching down the edges
- Mitered Borders
- Stitching in the Ditch (before FMQ)
- FMQ with rulers
- FMQ with Pounce and Stencils
Supplies you’ll need:
- Pattern: Moroccan Tiles by Gina Reddin (ask for it at the register)
- Ruler: Wavy Squares Quilt Template by Gina Reddin (ask for it at the register)
- 18mm Rotary cutter (or 28mm cutter if you already own one) OR (The Shark Applicutter)
- Heat-n-Bond Lite (be sure its “sewable”) – 1 yard
- Stitch-n-Tear stabilizer – 1 yard
- Fabric: ½ yard of 10 different fabrics (consider using a batik for the wavy tiles, as the edges of the fabric are less likely to get shreddy)
The pattern calls for 12” finished blocks, but I made them smaller (8 ¾” square). I cut the wavy tiles using the 6” wavy template. Having the smallest sized rotary blade really helps get around those waves. I used what I had, the 28mm blade, but could tell that the smaller blade would have been better.
I tested using fusible web on the entire wavy tile, and then just on the edges. I found that with the entire wavy tile backed with fusible web, the block was heavy and stiff. So instead I cut a bunch of 1” wide strips of the Heat-n-Bond Lite and just fused the edges of the wavy tile.
I overcut the wavy squares at 6.5”, then applied the web to the perimeter, and THEN cut with the wavy ruler:
Audition the tiles on the 8 ¾” background squares. Here I’m auditioning the wavy tiles and also possible borders:
Once I peeled off the Heat-n-Bond release paper, I took the big (8 ¾”) background square and folded it in half both ways, lightly pressing folds on the four sides at the halfway mark to help with centering the applique. Now lay out the background square on your ironing board and carefully position the applique so it is centered, using the fold marks on all four sides. (I figured this trick out about 10 blocks in, and some of those off-kilter blocks ended up on the back of the quilt. Off to the store for more fabric, lol)
Press those wavy tiles down onto the background squares. Now to stitch all these wavy tiles down. I wanted a little extra help stabilizing the back of the blocks while I stitched, so I cut strips of tear-away stabilizer
And sewed a pretty buttonhole stitch down around the edges of wavy tile.
At this point, I cut away the excess background fabric in the center that wasn’t fused to the wavy tile. This makes the final quilt that much lighter. I also tore off the stabilizer paper on the back.
I sorted the blocks by the color of the tiles, so I could keep the top thread the same thread color on the machine as long as possible (eg: sew all the pink ones with pink thread, then the blue ones with blue thread, etc)
Buttonhole stitch: Test out stitch width and length on scraps of fabric to find what looks good. I narrowed my stitch width as I got to the points, then widened again after turning the corner points.
Its time to lay out your blocks. I like to play with the layout, taking photos as I go. I try to distribute colors and designs as much as possible. Use your camera/phone to get a bird’s eye view; you don’t even need to snap the photo, just look. If you can get the black-n-white filter on your camera to work, that helps you to distribute color values evenly.
Sew the blocks together. Here’s a good tutorial on “Webbing the Quilt Top”, a technique I use all the time.
I used all the scraps leftover from making the blocks to create my “piano key” border. The strips are cut all sorts of widths, and they all started at 6.5” long.
I’m including my handout for my “Easy Schmeasy Mitered Borders” in case you want to miter your borders instead of sewing them on left/right/top/bottom.
Easy Shmeasy Mitered Borders
By Mary-Jeanine Ibarguen
First, you must decide if a quilt actually needs mitered borders. Not all quilts do. If a quilt has lots of 45º triangles, it’s a good bet the mitered corners will add to the quilt’s appeal.
If a quilt has more than one border, I like to sew the long pieces together, and then do one miter in each corner, as opposed to mitering each border as you add it to the quilt top. With my technique, it’s not difficult to do.
- ¼” wide Steam-A-Seam on a roll (SaS)
- Any ruler with a 45° line on it.
- Border strips that measure the length of the quilt side plus 2x the border width
Sew the border set onto the quilt top, stopping ¼” before the end of the seam, on all 8 corners. Use a pin to mark that place if you need to.
Press the seams as sewn, then hand press open, then iron/press open. Allow to cool completely before lifting the fabric off the ironing board.
Work on one top-left corner at a time. Lets call the left side ‘A’ and the top side ‘B’. Straighten B out flat. Tuck/fold the end of A into a 45º angle, using your ruler to check that the angle is good. (a great second check is that your excess border fabric should match up perfectly in the back, A on top of B.) Press the angle with the iron and let cool.
Pull back A a bit to see the underside of the angle. Tear off a piece of SaS tape and finger press it (paper side up) to the underside of the angle, about 1/8” from the fold. Press with the iron and let cool. Peel off the paper.
Put A back where it belongs (check again with the 45° line on your ruler) and then press again with the iron and let cool.
Do this for all 4 corners. Trim off the extra fabric.
Sew the miters for extra strength. When you turn the quilt top over, you will see that pressed angle. That is exactly where the stitching goes.
If you have several borders mitered at once, this is such a great way to see from the front that all the borders match up with each other perfectly. Didn’t I tell you this would be easier?
“Quilt as Desired” – what does THAT mean?
Yes, of course, do what makes you happy.
All over design? Check
Quilt by credit card? Check (there’s a list of Longarmers on my website)
Hand quilt or tack the corners? Check or Check
But here’s what I did:
To get started, I stitched-in-the-ditch (SITD) around the inner border, then horizontal and vertical lines between all the blocks. I’ve learned recently that SITD really helps with a neater overall look, plus it helps the spray basting hold on a little longer. I use a walking foot and Wonderfil’s Invisifil thread. This is a 100 weight, very thin poly that we carry in the store. I’ve stocked up with lights, medium and dark “shadow” colors, and am so happy with how they just disappear in the ditch!
Now, I always quilt the borders of my quilts first. Gasp! The quilt police will be knocking on my door any moment now! [insert sarcasm here].
Here’s why I do it and why it works: if the quilt is well basted, you can start anywhere you want to start. So why start on the edges? Well, too many times I’ve had a corner of the excess backing fold back on me, getting caught in the stitches. What a pain.
So if I FMQ just the border first, I can really pay attention to that excess batting and backing, making sure its out where I can see it. Plus it makes a good handle as I FMQ the borders. I keep smoothing the top border with my gloved hand to smooth out any last minute wrinkles.
Once I’ve finished FMQing the borders, I take the whole quilt off my machine, rotary cut off all the excess backing and batting, and go back to finish the FMQ on the rest of the quilt. There, now you know my secret.
For the borders, I did some “ruler work”, which means I used specialized FMQ rulers pushed up next to my ruler work machine FMQ foot. (I quilt on a Juki sit-down longarm machine.) I’m looking forward to many happy hours playing with my starter set of rulers:
Did you notice the little orange suction cup handle? This really helps to hold the ruler down, and then move it to the next part of the quilt. I stole it from my 8.5” Creative Grids ruler, where it usually lives. I may have to get a few more (from The Sewing Studio, natch).
For the 1.5” inner border, I used a little 1” stencil I picked up to use with my Pounce chalk dispenser. Fast and effective.
For the wavy tiles as well as the corners of the blocks, I used my “MJ Flower”, which consists of a doubled circle, and then 5 squiggly petals. I went around the flower twice to give the petals some dimension.
Sleeve, binding and DONE!
I hope you picked up a few new ideas with this tutorial.