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  • Nicola

The Sailing By Sampler...

Welcome to a new Petit Four tutorial: my finishing instructions for the Sailing By Sampler quilt. As before, the tutorial is for those of you making all eight blocks but, of course, you can double up your favourites or substitute other Petit Four blocks to your quilt.

The design for the blocks and the setting evolved together and I loved the idea of the Whale and the Lighthouse 'escaping' from their squares. As I mentioned in my last post, the blocks remind me of happy holidays to Cornwall and the setting was inspired by iconic Cornishware. Made since 1924 by TG Green Ltd, Cornishware is a distinctive shade of blue, which was the starting point for my colour scheme: those crisp blue and white stripes instantly bring back memories of sparkling waves and Mackerel skies.

Photos from the Cornishware website

The graphic setting blocks are very simple to construct and, whilst I hesitate to tell you how to sew strips of fabric together, I do have some tips on cutting your fabric and, of course, how much you'll need.


To make a 56" square quilt you will need...

6 Petit Four blocks

1 Whale block*

1 Lighthouse block*

1 yd light contrast (white)

½ yd dark contrast/ background (blue)

64" square of cotton batting

3½ yds backing fabric

½ yd of binding fabric

*The Whale and Lighthouse blocks are not strictly Petit Four blocks, so you might struggle to use them in some of the Petit Four projects, but they do make lovely mini-quilts or bolster covers.

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


1. Although we will be cutting 2½" strips from our blue and white fabric we won't be cutting them across the width of the fabric, as we might usually do, as this will result in a lot of waste. Instead we are going to make the best use of our fabric by cutting 14½" x WOF strips and subcutting the 2½" strips we need.

2. From the dark contrast/background cut 18 2½" x 14½" strips as shown:-

3. From the light contrast fabric cut 24 2½" x 14½" strips as shown:-

Note: there will be some fabric left, but it’s a very usable piece.

Piecing the Stripy blocks...

4. For each block you will need 4 2½" x 14½" light contrast strips and 3 2½" x 14½" dark contrast strips. Join the strips, alternating the dark and light fabrics and pressing towards the dark fabric. Your block should measure 14½" square.


Assembling the Quilt...

5. Position the Whale and Lighthouse blocks in opposite corners then arrange the remaining 12 blocks - alternating the Sampler and stripy blocks - to form the quilt centre. Join the top right 6 blocks in two rows of three, pressing as directed (>). Then join to the Lighthouse, pressing the seam towards the Lighthouse or open if preferred.

6. Join the three rows together, pressing your seams to the side or open, as you prefer.

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

8. 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 .

9. 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.


If you'd like to make a smaller project, both the Lighthouse and Whale blocks make fun mini-quilts - there are finishing instructions in the patterns - or you could pick out one favourite block and add a summery pop of colour to your home with the cheery Cornish Cushion. Or prepare for your next travel adventure with the Happy Wanderer bag.

I'm looking forward to hand quilting my Sailing By sampler in the simple wave pattern I used on my Cornish Cushion (you can find my tips on hand quilting here). Spring will be here before we know it.

EDIT: You can download a PDF version of this tutorial here.

Nicola xx


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