~A Streak Of Sunshine~
What can one quilter do with
1/2" X 44" strips and very little time? Follow these strip
piecing directions to create a child's charity quilt or laprobe in
Quilt measures 42" X 46" including
Cut EIGHT strips 4
1/2" wide by WOF (width of fabric) which should be
between 42" and 44" long.
can choose 4 different fabrics, and cut 2 strips of
each, or you can do all eight strips different. Experiment to get
If you are
using up leftovers, and your fabric strip doesnt
measure 42" long, simply sew more length onto the end, and treat it
like one strip. Press the seams open where you joined them to reduce
strips 2" wide X WOF.
strips 4" wide X WOF.
pattern is originally called "Streak of
I thought that might be a bit frightening for kids. Since our guild is
making these for "The Children's Garden," a non-profit daycare
for the children of homeless parents, I thought "Streak Of Sunshine"
was a much more fitting name, as we work and sew to bring some sunshine
to the lives of these children.
If you have ever made a
pieced "Trip Around The World" quilt, or have made my Scrappy Bargello
quilt this technique will be familiar to you.
Arrange your fabric strips
in a manner that pleases you,
attention to contrast and value. In my example here, I have 2 teal
strips, 2 cream strips with doll-babies on them, 2 different peach
strips, and two different light/mediums.
Sewing the strip panel:
Place the second strip, on
top of the first strip and stitch them
together along one long edge. Add the third strip and so on in the same
manner until you have all 8 strips sewn into one big panel.
Pressing is important! Look
at the pictures above and below. Can you
see how the seams alternate directions? Every other strip will have the
seams pressed towards the inside on both sides of the strip, the other
strips will have the seams pressed away from them. This is crucial for
the next sewing step, so the seams will butt up against eachother
instead of going in the same direction.
"Tubing" the panel:
Now the fun part! fold the
panel in half, aligning the first strip with
the last strip with right sides together. Stitch from top to bottom,
sewing this whole panel into a "tube." You don't have to press this
last seam in any direction...just leave it for now.
Sub-Cutting the Tube:
Lay the Tube-Panel on your
cutting board, folding it in half and
aligning the top edges straight. Square off the edge, and then cut nine
cross sections each 4 1/2" wide. You will have 9 loops that look
Now, Let the Magic Happen!
Remember this and repeat after me:
THE SEAM RIPPER IS MY FRIEND!
Decide which square you would
like to be in the top left corner. With
your seam ripper, rip out every 3rd or 4th stitch leaving the square
you want at the top. The other square becomes the bottom as you open
the loop into one long strip.
To get the "Streak of
Sunshine" effect, our quilt squares are going to
have to 'stairstep'. Lay your first long open strip to the left
of your machine. Now take the second loop. What was the top
square in the first strip, is going to become the bottom square in the
second strip. This is going to move each square UP a stair-step. Decide
where you need to unpick the second loop. Lay it next to the first
strip after unpicking to be sure it is right.
Place the strips right sides
together and stitch. Because you
alternated the direction in pressing the seams, they will interlock and
butt together. YAY! Press well. These secondary seams can all go in
direction from this point on. I like to press toward the strip I just
Here I am adding the third
stairstep. Starting to look really great,
isn't it?Sew all nine of your pieced
strips this way, pressing after each new
stairstep is added.
Here is my finished quilt center!
We are going to add the
long sides of the inner border
first. I like to join my narrow border strips on the diagonal the
same way I do for making binding. The only exception to this is if the
fabric is a stripe...I have better luck just stitching them end to end.
It is less noticeable that way.
I form an "L"
end of two strips with right sides together, and sew from corner to
corner. If you look at the diagram above, you will see that the
top strip is moved inside the end of the bottom strip, and just a bit
up from the edge of the bottom strip...this leaves you two little "V"
areas. You want to stitch from the exact V at the top to the exact V at
the bottom. I position mine just a bit 'off' this way so that I have a
target to shoot for when stitching the seam. Then I trim the excess and
press the seam open.
For small quilts like this, I
like to lay the quilt top on my ironing
board. I center the quilt top lengthwise on the ironing board, and
smooth it out. Not stretching or pulling, just flat. Then I take the
border strip that I have just stitched and pressed, and lay it also
down the center of the quilt top. Smoothing with your fingers and not
stretching....be sure that the left edge is right at the left edge of
the quilt and it hasn't crept away on you. I cut ALL my borders this
way, using the border strips to measure across the center of the quilt,
instead of using a measuring tape which may stretch or lay differently
than the fabric I am using. My borders always turn out square and
straight this way with no ripples.
Cut 2 strips the length of
the quilt top. Pin the border to the quilt,
matching the center and top and bottom. Stitch the
two sides in place, one on the left, one on the right. Press seams
towards the borders.
Now you are going to do the
same thing for the top and bottom inner
border. Lay the quilt top on the ironing board centering the quilt on
the board, with the borders you have just sewn on your left and right.
Smooth. Lay the border strips down across the quilt (including the
first borders you just added) and cut two pieces, one for the top, one
for the bottom. Pin them to the quilt top with right sides together,
matching centers and ends. Stitch. Press seams towards the borders.
For the outter borders, you
are going to follow the same proceedure,
only using the four 4" strips. When strips get wider than 3.5", I like
to sew them together straight end to end instead of on the
diagonal or bias. This is mostly due to the fact that a bias seam is
going to be longer than a straight seam, and because the strip is wide,
it will be even more noticeable. There is also alot of waste when you
are joining wide strips on the bias. The choice is up to you! Sew
the outter borders to the long sides of the quilt first, then
add the final top and bottom borders.
Here is the finished result, ready for quilting!
or Comments? I would love to hear from you!!
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