Fabulous Here Birdy Quilt

Article Posted 23 April 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 measuring 100 x 139 cms (39.5 x 54.75 inches) which can be used as a toddler bed topper or a large cot quilt. I have made 6 large squares using the “braided” technique, with 6 large squares of appliqued birds from Bunnycup Embroidery. With each square having rows of thin framing strips around each one. I made this to coordinate with the Here Birdy Runner using the same techniques, designs and fabrics. This is a larger project for those wanting to add a bit of embroidery with some patchwork and have a bit of fun learning something new.

When I am making a project I love to use jelly rolls. These are approx. 40 strips of themed fabrics pre cut into 2 ½ inch strips – they are perfect for the sashing in between the blocks on my quilts, and are also handy for a project like this. In this quilt I have used Moda “Confetti”- one of the lovely new ranges out now.

So, starting with the braided blocks (if you google “braided patchwork you will find other gorgeous runners & quilts made using this technique), you will need to get 5 coordinated strips that will be used for each block. (pic 1). The finished size of each braided block is 12 x 14 inches.

1. Picking the colors

Please note: All seams are ¼ inch wide.

You need to cut from each strip of fabric- one strip 2 ½ inches x 8 ½ inches and one strip 2 1/2 inch x 10 ¼ inches. Do this 5 times, and lay them down in the order you be sewing them. (Figure 2). Pick up the bottom 2. Place the longer strip over the small end of the shorter strip, and sew. Then pick up the shorter strip of the next row and sew this to the edge of the previous strip. Then pick up the second longer piece and sew it from the top point to the bottom. Follow the photos below (Figures 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d) You might like to google this for a more comprehensive instruction sheet for this step.

2. Laying the strips in order

When you have the 5 colours sew together, press the seams all in the same direction. Then laying the shape flat on the cutting board, cut the points off the sides. My cutting ruler is 6 inches wide so it is perfect to use for this. I line the edge of the ruler through the centre of the block and cut along the outside edge cutting the points off. I then turn it around and do the other side. (Figures 4, 4b and 4c).

4. Cutting points off

Next, we need to cut off the top point and attach it to the bottom section to make a rectangle. Use Figure 5c as a guide for placing the ruler ¼ inch above the point of the third row down. Use Figures 5, 5b, 5c, and 5d as a guide foe this process. When all the pieces are sewn together, press the seams again so that the work is nice and flat. Measure your square and make sure it is 12 x 14 inches. At this point, I find if I haven’t done the ¼ seams perfect each time that the shape may be a little out. I say, it is ok to cheat a little bit and add thin strips to square off your block (including some corners). Recut if necessary to square the work off, all nice and neat.

5. Trimming the top
5b. Showing quarter inch allowance
5c. Showing the top cut off
5d. Placing the top section at the bottom

Once you have the 6 of the braided blocks completed, put them aside, and pick out your three favourite birds from the Bunnycup Embroidery “Here Birdy” designs. Applique the designs using fabrics that coordinate with the braided blocks you have made.


When I use the applique designs, I use software to resize to over 7.8 inches at the widest/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 doesnt 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).

Press the finished blocks. Then cut the appliqued blocks to size using the 10 ½ inch square template.

For each block you need to cut:

  • 2 of 1 ¼ inch x 10 ½ inch, and 2 of 1 ¼ inch x 11 7/8 inch of one of the jelly roll strips. (I use a jelly roll strip cut in half width wise to make up the two widths of 1 ¼ inch).
  • 2 of 1 ½ inch x 11 7/8 inch, and 2 of 1 ½ inch x 14 inches.

For each block – place the lengths of coloured fabric 10 ½ inches long at the top and bottom of the appliqued block, press the seams away from the white side. Then sew the two longer pieces of 11 7/8 inches down the side seams. Press the seams, and make sure the square measures true. Corners etc can be squared off with the rotary cutter. Then get your two shorter white strips and sew these at the top & bottom of your square. Press the seams. Get the two longer lengths and sew these down the sides of your block. Press the seams, and remeasure. The finished blocks should measure 13 ½ x 14 inches. (Figure 6 and 6b)

6. Sewing the strips around the blocks
6b. 2 rows sewn on

Place your 12 squares on the cutting table and put them in a pleasing order. For the one in the pictures here, I have put them in order for 1st & 3rd rows - Bird, Braid, Bird, and for the 2nd & 4th rows – Braid, Bird, Braid. Also for the 2nd & 4th rows, you need to put a strip 1 ½ inches on the outside edges, as you can in the photos. Close up of this strip (Figure 6c)

6c Showing the strip on the outside edge

Now to put it together and do the redwork designs on the braided blocks:

Cut a piece of wadding (I use 100% cotton) and a piece of backing fabric that is going to be wide enough to cover the top layer 100 x 139 cm (39.5 x 54.75 inches) plus 2 to 3 inches all around to allow to wriggle room. Lay your top layer face down on your cutting table. Place the wadding, then the backing over the top layer, smooth the layers out with your hands. Turn it over with the top layer on the top now, and resmooth your work. Make sure there are no lumps or bumps, pin the layers together, and move the work to your machine. Sew through all the seams, including the thin strips around the appliqued birds.

7. All squares sewing together
7b Quilt squares sewn together

You now need to rehoop your work with all layers sewn together to do the redwork in the centre of the braided blocks (Figures 8a & 8b). I used Bunnycup Embroidery Country Flowers Quilt Blocks. I enlarged the designs to 7.8 inches using my software.

8 Redwork done
8b Redwork done

Once they are done, you can finish off your quilt. With a rotary cutter and long quilting ruler cut through all the three layers to square off and trim the edges all around the quilt. I join five jelly roll strips together, fold in half lengthways and use this strip as binding all around the raw edge of your runner. Put on a label, and you are done! (Figures 9a, b, c)

9 Finished quilt
9b Finished quilt
9c Finished quilt

So, next blog will be another runner combing some embroidery and some patchwork designs. Looking forward to seeing some of your work and your ideas for future “how to” blogs.

Thanks for following us, and go and sew and create……and of course use Bunnycup designs xx

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