Beautiful Rainbow Quilt To Make

Article Posted 22 January 2018

Marilyn Parker - Lindylou Kidsworld

Hi there, this is Marilyn Parker from Lindylou Kidsworld.

This blog is going to be a “how to” for a quilt that I got a lot of accolades for. Lots of people wanted to know my “recipe”. Hopefully it will inspire you to have a go yourself, if you are not already hooked on doing machine embroidery on larger items.

I used Bunnycup “What a Hoot” applique designs for this Rainbow quilt. I have used these designs previously (quite a lot actually, as owls have been very popular for nursery décor for a few years now.)

The quilts are rainbow quilts, so I followed the colour bands of a rainbow (with a little bit of artistic licence!) I have made a 12 square and a 16 square, and have shared photos of both here for you.

For the 16 square quilt (made for a girl), you will need 2 pink owls, 2 red owls, 3 yellow/orange owls, 4 green owls, 3 blue owls and 2 purple owls. (Figure 1)

1. 16 Square Quilt - 130 cm square (51 inches)

For the 12 square quilt (made for unisex), you will need 1 orange owl, 2 yellow owls, 3 green owls, 3 blue owls, 2 purple owls and 1 red owl. (Figure 1)

2. 12 Square Quilt - 100 x 130 cm ( 39 1/4 inches x 51 inches)
TIP: When I use applique designs, I use software to resize the designs to suit the effect I want. I use designs that fit into an 8 x 8 inch hoop, so make them 7.8 inches at the wider/longest point.

For ALL of my embroidery blocks I cut the background fabric to 12.5 inch squares. I find that by not skimping that the hoop has a better grip on things and the design doesn’t move too much. I also use a medium to heavy weight cut away interfacing to help stabilise the work (the stuff you would use in clothing).

So, you will have either 12 or 16 background blocks 12.5 inches square – which will be cut back to 10.5 inches once finished and pressed. (Figure 3 & 4)

3. Cutting squares to size
4. Squares Ready

These quilts are a really good way to use up your scraps – or a good excuse to buy some more fabrics in nice bright colours. For the 16 block quilt, you will need to cut out 200 x 2 ½ squares. For the 12 block quilt, you will need to cut out 155 x 2 ½ inch squares. Sort out the colours into piles that reflect the above colour selections. (Figure 5)

5. Collecting different colours

For the sashing (the strips of 5 x 2/12 inch squares) you will need:

For the 16 block quilt –

  • Pink 6 x 5 = 30 squares, cut from at least 8 different patterns
  • Red 6 x 5 = 30 squares
  • Orange/yellow 8 x 5 = 40 squares
  • Green 8 x 5 = 40 squares
  • Blue 6 x 5 = 30 squares
  • Purple 6 x 5 = 30 squares

For the 12 block quilt –

  • Red 4 x 5 =20 squares
  • Orange 4 x 5 = 20 squares
  • Green 7 x 5 = 35 squares
  • Yellow 6 x 5 = 30 squares
  • Blue 6 x 5 = 30 squares
  • Purple 4 x 5 = 20 squares
Click to download printable colour pattern

Once you have cut out all your little squares, it is time to sew them together in groups of five. Use your ¼ inch foot on your machine to get the seams fairly even and accurate. (Figure 6) Press the seams to the side.

6. Strips sewn and ready

Put your large appliqued blocks in order as per the photos. Put vertical strips of coordinating colour to the left of each block, and one at the end. Pick each block with matching strips along each row and sew together. Don’t forget to press the seams as you go. (Figure 7)

7. Strips and squares sewn together vertically

Following the photos, place the strips that are going to be the horizontal rows, coordinating the colours directly under each block. I use white 2 ½ inch squares in between each group of 5 colours squares to break the colours. (Figure 7) Sew the long horizontal strips together, then press the seams, then join each strip one at a time to the blocks above, pinning them so that the corners of the white squares fit perfectly in between the coloured squares. (Figure 9)

7. Lining up the strips to match the squares above
9. All strips and squares sewn together
TIP: Pressing all seams to the side away from the white helps with placement later on, and with pretty accurate points.

I was taught: measure twice, cut once.

If you are interested in how I put a quilt together and finish it off, please ask and we can discuss this another day.

Once the quilt top is finished, the 3 layers of the quilt need to be put together – the top layer, the wadding and the backing fabric. If you need help with this, please ask and we can run a “how to” for this part.

I sew through the three layers down each seam to hold the squares securely. I then hoop the quilt through the centre of the join between the owls and do a quilting design to add a bit of embellishing. Then I add my label, bind the edges, and make a label with a personalised message for the back (if requested by the customer) (Figure 10)

10. Binding and label to finish off

Disclaimer: The methods I use are methods I have developed over many years of practice and making endless errors. They work well for me and I am glad to share. They in no way either reflect or are affiliated with any professional teachings. Thank you.

PLEASE do share what you make here at Bunnycup Embroidery or at either the new Bunnycup Embroidery Facebook Group or at Lindylou Kidsworld Facebook Page. Looking forward to seeing your version of this theme xx.

Sets used in this article