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  • Nicola

Vintage Circus Sew-along: month 3

Welcome to month three of the Vintage Circus sewalong! This month Richla, from Got Kwilts, and I are welcoming you into the BIG Top...

The Big Top

...where we'll be building on the key techniques from the last two months and combining them in new ways to create the biggest block in our quilt.


It's time for an encore from our placement template technique, which will create the tented sides of the Big Top.

We are using a gentler angle this time, but the principle is exactly the same: mark a placement line, cut an oversized side piece, place it on the line, stitch ¼" away, press in place then turn the unit to the wrong side to trim, as shown below.

We'll then combine placement templates - to make a triangle in a square unit - with snowballed corners to create the entrance to the big top. Pay attention to the seam direction when you piece the stripes and those seams will nest beautifully.

For those of you who asked if there are Foundation Paper Piecing templates for the Big Top: you can now download them by clicking on the links, below.

Big Top FPP Left Side Template
Download PDF • 115KB
Big Top FPP Right Side Template
Download PDF • 116KB
Big Top FPP Entrance Template
Download PDF • 79KB


The balloons give us another opportunity to fussy cut our scraps (which we covered last month). I embroidered my balloon strings using embroidery floss, a chenille needle and a simple backstitch. But, if embroidery isn't your favourite, you could substitute a decorative machine stitch or use bakers twine (whip-stitched in place) or machine applique a mini ric-rac trim. There are lots of options to add a personal touch to your quilt.

And if you want to get ahead for next month, be sure to make an EXTRA balloon ;-)

See you after the interval,

Nicola xx


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