Friday, September 11, 2015

Charming Stripes Quilt Tutorial

Baby Quilt Tutorial

I recently made thirteen quilt tops using this simple design, and thought that others might like to see my method for making them.

20 quilt tops donated for Cheetah's Eagle Scout Project.  13 use the tube method in this tutorial.

I used the tube method which I learned when making my Colorsplash Trip Quilt in 2007. It is also the method used by Bonnie Hunter with her Scrappy Trips Quilt.   If you are already family with the tube method, be sure to check out step 10.  That is what I learned to do to make sure I unpick the correct seam.

For this simple baby quilt top you will need:

  • 10 fabrics in sixth yard cuts ~or~ 5 fabrics in third yard cuts
  • Half yard fabric for the border
This tutorial was an afterthought, so I don't have pictures for every step.  However, I hope you still find this helpful.  :)

Step 1:  Cut ten 5 inch strips by the width of the fabric.  Cut five 3 inch strips from your border fabric, set those aside for now.  

Step 2:  Lay the 5 inch strips out in the order preferred.

Step 3:  Sew all ten strips together so they line up on one side.  Do not press any seams as you sew them together.  

Step 4:  Press seams toward the even rows, but do not press the seam between rows 5 and 6.

Note:  I pinned Post-it notes to the even rows with arrows showing pressing directions.

This is what it will look like on the back after the strips are pressed.

Step 5:  Fold the strip set in half and sew row 10 to row 1 making a tube.

Optional:  Press seam between rows 5/6 and 10/1 flat.

Step 6:  Lay the tube on your cutting mat and cut off the selvages on the side where they line up.  (I walk to the opposite side of my cutting table to do this.)  My 24 inch Omnigrip ruler was perfect for this tube.

Step 7:  Cut four 5 inch strips/columns.

Note:  I like to line up the horizontal lines/dots with the edges of the strips as I cut to make sure it stays square.

Step 8:  After cutting four columns, slide the strip set over on the cutting mat and square up the edge again.  (Once again I square up the edges from the opposite side of my cutting table.)

Note:  It is very important to keep the columns square or they will bow once unpicked.

Step 9:  Cut four more 5 inch columns for a total of eight columns.

Step 10:  Turn your tube columns right side out and determine a layout.  You will only see half of the quilt top at this point because they are all in tubes.  **I find this step extremely helpful because it can be so easy to unpick the wrong side of a square when the columns are in tubes.**

Note:  If you are only using  two each of five different fabrics, place a pin in row 1 of your original strip set after cutting the columns.  I learned the hard way that one of each fabric will end up in an even row, and one of each fabric will be in an odd row.

Then when you lay out the tubes make sure the pinned squares are in a diagonal row.  This will keep your seams nesting together nicely.  

Step 11:  Unpick the top seam from the layout in step 10.

Optional:  After unpicking quickly press the seams in each column so they are pointing towards the even rows (especially between rows 5/6 and 10/1).  Also press the top and bottom of each column where the tube was unpicked.

Step 12:  Line up each column on the design wall to double check the layout.

Note:  I like to use numbered flower pins which I leave in the top square of each column to keep the columns in order as I sew them together.

Step 13:  Sew columns together in pairs.  The seams should all nest as you are going.  I did not even pin and still achieved great points.

I pressed the seams toward the bigger column number (the right in this picture)

Step 14:  Continue sewing the columns together and pressing to complete the center portion of the quilt top.

Step 15: Take three of your 3 inch border strips (from step 1), cut off the selvages, and sew them end to end to form one long strip.  (The sides of your center section should measure about 45.5 inches, so one width of fabric strip will not be long enough for your side borders.)

Step 16:  Add your side borders.  Both of the side borders will come from the long strip sewn together in step 15.  Remember to measure your center section and cut the border strips to the correct size.  Pin the borders, sew, and press toward the border.

Step 17:  Add your top borders in similar manner using the other two 3 inch strips from step 1.  Remember to measure your quilt top and cut to the correct size.

Now you have a completed quilt top which will measure about 41.5 by 50.5 inches.  I love this method for sewing them together and love how all of the seams nest together.  This is what the back of the quilt top looks like.

And just for fun, here is the quilt top with light shining through.  I love the stained glass look.

Note:  I do think that a wider border looks better with the 4.5 inch finished squares, but I chose 3 inch cut borders because I could just use the width of the fabric for the backing.  I made a similar quilt with two borders last year.

It was a little larger and required me to piece the back.  (Not the prettiest backing because I was just using up stash fabrics.)

I named this design "Charming Stripes" because the diagonal stripes are made with 5 inch squares.  Please let me know if you have any questions.


P.S.  I will be linking up with some of the fun parties on my sidebar.  Check them out to see what other quilters are doing.


  1. Thanks for such and informative and thorough tutorial.

  2. Great tutorial! Love that blue quilt - looks so much like winter.

  3. One of my favorite techniques.....great tutorial. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thanks for taking the time to whip up this tutorial. Great detail.

  5. Great tute-I'll have to try it someday on a charity quilt too.

  6. Thank you so much...what great ideas for pressing and keeping the tube cuts straight. Your Colorsplash quilt is absolutely gorgeous...stunning and beautiful just aren't descriptive enough. I've gone through your older posts but don't remember seeing it. Thank you for sharing...(that sleigh bed is pretty awesome as well!).

  7. I really like this tutorial! You might not have a photo for every step, but you have a lot of photos. I think it was very smart to keep the width of the top to a width of fabric for the backing, but it does look great with a larger border.

  8. Very nice. It's basically a bargello, which I have made! =) Thanks for sharing. Oh, I'm going to be starting up a Thursday linky party w/in the next month called "WHOOMP There IT Is!" I'd love for you to link up!👍

  9. Great tutorial, Jasmine! I would have never thought to use this method with bigger squares - this is genius!!

  10. I love the icy blues - and the pieced backing too!

  11. Great tutorial and I enjoyed seeing your Trip quilt again. It's so pretty (I may or may not have told you that before ;)

  12. 20 donated quilt tops! That is so amazing Jasmine! Bravo to you!
    I love the tube method too - a real work saver.

  13. Fabulous tutorial for a baby quilt. They are so cute.


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