• Nicola

The Spellbound Sampler...

Welcome to my first Petit Four tutorial: finishing instructions for your Spellbound Sampler blocks. My directions are aimed at those of you making all nine blocks, but there are also notes, at the bottom of the post, for adapting the setting to make a table runner with just three blocks. And next week I'll be posting a tutorial for a cushion which uses just one.

When I designed the quilt I knew that some blocks would need light backgrounds and some would need a dark contrast, which suggested the simple checkerboard layout of the quilt centre. Given that the sampler blocks are full of detail, my first instinct was to have a fairly simple border. But then I found an antique quilt on Pinterest with a sawtooth border and I knew it would echo the zig-zag edges of the dresden fans used in the blocks.

I’ve always wanted to try the four-at-a-time method of making flying geese and as I needed 44 to make my border, this seemed the ideal opportunity. I first saw this method in Material Obsession by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke.

To make a 54" square quilt you will need...

9 14½" sampler blocks

1 yd of dark contrast (dark grey)* fabric

¾ yd of light contrast (white)** fabric

62” square of cotton batting

3½ yds backing fabric

½ yd of binding fabric

* My blocks were pieced with a Layer Cake of 'Sundrops' by Corey Yoder for Moda, so I used a dark grey spriggy print from the same range for my border.

** I chose a text print from 'Paperie' by Amy Sinibaldi for Art Gallery Fabrics - which I used for the Moon and Toadstool stems in my blocks - and mixed in some of the lighter scraps from my Layer Cake.

Please read through the pattern before you begin, assuming a ¼” seam allowance and a fabric width (WOF) of 42”.


1. From the dark grey fabric cut 5 3½" x WOF strips and set aside for the outer border, then cut 2 5½" x WOF strips and subcut into 11 5½" squares.

2. From the white fabric cut 5 1½" strips and set aside for the inner border. Then cut 4 3" x WOF strips and subcut into 44 3" squares. From the trimmings cut 4 2½" squares. {Edited, with thanks to Ginny}

3. From the binding fabric cut 6 2½” strips.

Piecing the Flying Goose units...

3. Mark a diagonal line on the back of 4 white 3" squares and pin 2 on opposite corners of the a 5½" dark grey square - right sides together - lining up the diagonal lines. Your squares should overlap at the centre (a).

4. Stitch ¼" away from both sides of the diagonal line (b).

5. Cut along the diagonal to make two units and press the white triangles 'open'.

6. Pin the remaining 2 white squares on the 'empty' corners and, again, sew ¼" away from both sides of the diagonal line on both units (c).

7. Cut along the diagonal line and press 'open', as before, to make 4 flying geese units.

8. Trim to 2½" x 4½" (d) either using a speciality ruler - like a BlocLoc - or by using your standard ruler, first finding the corner marked with a 45 degree diagonal (highlighted in blue) which will help you to line up your unit, and then marking 2½" x 4½" dimensions with washi (low-tack) tape. The pink dot highlights the ¼" seam allowance at the tip of the triangle.


Piecing the Sawtooth border...

9. Choose 11 flying geese and join, pressing seams open, to make each border section, taking care to match the diagonal seams.

Take a moment every now and then to check that your flying geese units are finishing at exactly 4” wide when they’re sewn together. Each sawtooth border should measure 2¼” x 44¼”. I was a bit slap-dash piecing mine and my seam allowance was a little too small...with the result that my border was quite a lot too long. There was some unpicking and resewing. There may also have been some consolatory chocolate...


Assembling the Quilt...

10. Arrange your 9 sampler blocks to form the quilt centre, alternating the light and dark backgrounds, and join together in 3 rows of 3. Press towards the dark background so that the seams nest nicely when the rows are joined together.

11. Add the 1½” white borders to the quilt centre – sides first, then top and bottom - measuring each side of the quilt centre first and joining strips to make longer lengths where needed. Press towards the border.

12. Add 2 of the sawtooth borders to the sides of the quilt centre - if you’ve been measuring carefully they should fit a treat - pressing towards the inner border. Then join a 2½” white square to each end of the 2 remaining sawtooth borders, pressing towards the squares, before adding them to the top and bottom of the quilt centre.

13. Add the 3½” {EDIT} outer borders as described in step 11.

14. Cut your backing into two WOF x 62” pieces. Trim off the selvages and join together using a ½” seam, pressed open, then trim to 62” square.

15. Sandwich the batting between the backing and the quilt top, baste, then machine or hand quilt. You can find my notes on hand quilting here.

16. Join your binding strips and press in half, wrong sides together, along its length. Trim away excess batting and background - taking the opportunity to ensure your corners are square - and bind the raw edge using your preferred method. You can find mine here.

To make a 26” x 54” Table Runner you will need...

3 14½” sampler blocks

¾ yd dark contrast (dark grey) fabric

½ yd light contrast (white) fabric

34" x 62" piece of cotton batting

1¾ yds backing fabric

½ yd binding fabric


17. From the dark grey fabric cut 2 5½" x WOF strips and subcut 8 5½" squares. You will only cut one square from your second strip so trim this down to 3½" wide to use for your border. Finally, cut an additional 2 3½" x WOF strips for the border.

18. From the white fabric cut 3 1½" x WOF strips and set aside from the inner border. Then cut 3 3" x WOF strips and subcut 32 3" squares. From your trimmings cut 4 21/2" squares.

19. From the binding fabric cut 5 2¼" strips.

Please note that the binding strips are cut slightly narrower than the quilt binding as I think they look in better proportion on a smaller project. But you have enough fabric to cut them 2½" wide if you'd prefer.

Piecing the Sawtooth border...

20. Make the flying geese units for the border as described in steps 3-8.


21. Choose 11 flying goose units and join to make a section for the long border, as described in step 9. MAKE 2

22. Choose 4 flying geese and join to make a short border section. MAKE 2

Assembling the Runner...

23. Join the 3 sampler blocks, pressing the seams towards the darker background, then assemble the runner as described in steps 11-16.

But, of course, as quilters we have a special talent for fretting about projects we haven't finished whilst simultaneously dreaming about - and possibly buying fabric for - the next one. Lets call it multi-tasking. So I can't help thinking how lovely this setting would look on a summery sampler quilt, substituting the 5½" squares of dark grey for a variety of ice-cream-coloured prints to make a pretty bunting-style border. Imagine pastel painted cottages, sailing boats and a Seagull. I'll be publishing separate PDF Patterns for my existing sampler blocks over the coming weeks. But first, the small matter of Christmas...

Nicola xx

#freepattern #tiptoptip #inspiration #PetitFour #tutorial #SpellboundSampler


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