The Midsummer Sampler Finishing Tutorial
Updated: Jun 23
Welcome to my latest Petit Four tutorial: finishing instructions for the Midsummer Sampler quilt. As before, the tutorial is for those of you making all eight sampler blocks and seventeen Folk Flower blocks, but by all means feel free to double up your favourites or substitute other Petit Four blocks: it's your quilt.
To make a 61" square quilt you will need...
8 sampler blocks
17 Folk Flower filler blocks*
1½ yds of cream fabric
52 2½" x 4½" various print pieces for the 'bunting'
4 2½" print squares for the cornerstones
69” square of cotton batting
4 yds backing fabric
½ yd of binding fabric
* The Folk Flower block pattern can be found here.
Please read through the pattern before you begin, assuming a ¼” seam allowance and a fabric width (WOF) of 42”.
1. From the cream fabric cut 6 3" x WOF strips for the outer border and 5 2" x WOF strips for the inner border. Finally, cut 7 2½" x WOF strips and subcut 104 2½" squares.
2. From the binding fabric cut 6 2½” strips.
Piecing the Bunting units..
Our bunting is constructed from classic Flying Geese blocks. We will be using the 'snowball' technique used in many of the blocks. To refresh your memory, start by marking a diagonal line on the back of a square of fabric; pin it, right sides together, to a corner of the base fabric; stitch on the line and then press as directed in the pattern...
3. Snowball one end of a 2½" x 4½” print piece with a 2½" cream square, but instead of flipping ‘open’, turn the unit to the wrong side and flip the print piece ‘open’, which will push the seam allowance towards the print.
4. Snowball the other end, this time flipping the square 'open' towards the neutral. Pressing the seam allowances in opposite direction will mean that your units will nest beautifully when they’re joined together.
The diagram shows the back of the block. MAKE 52
5. Choose 13 units and join them together to form a border section, pressing your seams open to avoid bulk. Take a moment every now and then to check that your bunting units are finishing at exactly 4” wide when they’re sewn together. The border should measure 2½” x 52”.
If you won't be attaching the border sections to the quilt straight away, stop it stretching by stay-stitch along the long sides of 1/8” from the edge.
Assembling the Quilt...
6. Lay out the quilt blocks, distributing the filler blocks in the gaps between the sampler blocks.
7. Join a pair of filler blocks and then add to the side/top/bottom of a sampler block as requited.
8. Join two of the units made in step 7 together to create each 'corner' of the quilt centre.
9. Join a corner of the quilt to the central Folk Flower filler block WITH A PARTIAL SEAM leaving the last inch open (the open portion is marked |) and then back-stitching. Finger-press the seam towards the centre square.
TIP: I mark a line in the seam allowance with a water-soluble pen to remind me.
9a. Continue adding the remaining corners, working clockwise.
10. Sew the last seam, closing the partial seam on the filler block.
TIP: start sewing from just before the end of the partial seam to avoid any puckers.
11. Add the 2” cream inner borders to the quilt centre – sides first, then top and bottom - joining strips to make longer lengths where needed. Press towards the border.
12. Add 2 of the bunting 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” print square to each end of the 2 remaining bunting borders, pressing towards the squares, before adding them to the top and bottom of the quilt centre.
13. Add the 3” cream outer borders as described in step 11.
14. Cut the backing fabric into two WOF x 69” pieces. Trim off the selvages and join together using a ½” seam, pressed open, then trim to 69” 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 the binding strips to make one long piece and press in half, wrong sides together, along its length. Trim away the excess batting and backing - taking the opportunity to ensure your corners are square - and bind the raw edge using your preferred method. You can find mine here.
My wonderful quilter Jayne suggested a design called A Tisket A Tasket, I mean the name alone was perfect. And so is the delightfully romantic design.
This quilt is really special in so many ways. When I first sent a tentative email to my friend Andrea just over a year ago suggesting the crazy idea of a block of the month club I couldn't possibly have known what was in store: creating packaging from scratch, sourcing custom accessories, crazy timelines and even crazier international postage delays. And, of course, we couldn't have imagined that we'd be finishing our quilts in lock-down while the world was rocked by a health pandemic. It certainly put everything into perspective and made me grateful that I have a creative outlet that lets me quietly think difficult things through while I sew. I know I'm not alone in that.
So I want to thank my partner in crime, Andrea, and all of our lovely block of the month participants. Your kindness and support for one another has been such a tonic. My nerves are in tatters but it's been the BEST fun sewing with you. Until next time,