Hey there, y'all! This tutorial was originally posted last year on Benartex's blog, Sew in Love With Fabric, but I thought that is was the perfect time to revisit it here!
This is the time of year when Christmas trees are Adorned with beautiful ornaments of all shapes and sizes, and that's just what I'm calling this design. 'Tis the season for gift giving and house decorating, and the pretty Christmas fabrics and ornament blocks in this quilt are perfect for both. This quilt is quick and easy to put together, which is also a big help as things get hectic!
I used the gorgeous Santa's Here fabric collection in this quilt. These fabrics stick with traditional Christmas motifs without feeling cartoonish. They feel fresh and modern, and were a joy to work with. One of my favorite things about the collection is the color variation. Sometimes when working with a fabric line that is centered around only two or three colors, the colors don't have enough depth, and even if you use several different prints, it is difficult to achieve enough contrast in the quilt. Not so with this line. The reds range from the deepest cranberry, to a lighter, more antique-ish red; and there are several distinct green hues to play with as well, from dark hunter to light sage.
Any of your favorite Christmas prints will work great for this quilt. Just be sure to have plenty of variation in color and value for good contrast.
*9 fat quarters- I love lots of fabric variety in my quilts, so I used 17 fat quarters, and just used the leftovers in the binding and backing. As long as you start with the correct number of strips (125) for the ornaments, you're good!
*2 1/4 yards white background fabric
*1/8 yard solid gray (ornament caps)
*1/2 yard binding fabric
*3 yards backing fabric
Press your fat quarters to be sure your cuts are accurate, and cut each fat quarter into 14 strips, measuring 2.5" x 10.5" each. Please note that the cutting diagram below is not perfectly to scale, and all strips are cut the same size. This yields 126 strips with virtually no waste. You need a total of 125 strips for the Adorned blocks, so if you want to use a wider variety of prints as I did, go for it! Just make sure you end up with 125 total strips.
From background fabric, cut
*(50) 5.5" squares- cut 8 strips, WOF (width of fabric) x 5.5," subcut to yield (50) 5.5" squares
*(50) 2.5" squares- cut 4 strips, WOF x 2.5," subcut (50) 2.5" squares
*(50) 2.5" x 4" strips- cut 5 strips, WOF x 2.5," subcut (50) 2.5" x 4" strips
*(25) 1.5" x 3.5"strips- cut 1 strip, WOF x 3.5," subcut (25) 1.5" x 3.5" strips
*(20) 1.5" x 12.5" strips- cut 7 strips, WOF x 1.5," subcut (20) 1.5" x 12.5" strips
From solid gray, cut
*(25) 1.5" x 3.5" strips, cut 1 strip, WOF x 3.5," subcut (25) 1.5" x 3.5" strips
Now, onto sewing the blocks! Sew with a 1/4 inch seam, and either press your seams open or to one side as you prefer. Start by mixing up your strips to create strip sets of five different strips in each set. Take one strip set and sew the strips together to make a 10.5" block.
It's also important to note that I prefer to sew my blocks in stages. That is, I like to sew and press all of my strip sets, then sew and press the corners for all blocks, etc. I find that it is a little bit faster for me, but I know that some quilters make a single block from start to finish before moving to the next. Either way works; it just depends on your personal preference!
Sewing the corners is up next! This block is really just a simple variation on a traditional snowball block. By varying the corner square size, the ornament has an interesting shape that is rounded at the top and pointed at the bottom, like so many of the old fashioned ones I love. A simple snowball block with uniform corner squares would yield more of a ball shaped ornament.
To create the ornament shape from your strip set, sewing corner to corner is required. You can do this with a couple of different methods. Either-
*Draw a diagonal line on the back of each corner square and sew along that line OR
*Use a piece of painter's tape as a guide. Align the edge of the tape with your needle and extend it several inches on your table. Keep the corners of your squares lined up with that edge, and you'll have no trouble keeping your seam straight and accurate!
For the corners of each block, you will need two 2.5" squares, and two 5.5" squares.
Sew the 2.5 inch squares to the top two corners of your block, and sew one 5.5" square to a bottom corner. Don't sew the second 5.5" square just yet! Trim the 5.5" corner to 1/4" seam allowance.
Press it open, and then sew the remaining 5.5" square to the last corner. Again, trim to 1/4" seam allowance. While you're at it, you might as well go ahead and trim those top ones too!
Press all four corners open, and voila...a lovely ornament shape! Trim this portion of your block to 10.5" square.
Doesn't that ornament look lost without it's little cap? The next step is to remedy that. The cap portion of the block requires (2) 2.5" x 4" white strips, (1) 1.5" x 3.5" white strip, and one gray strip. Lay them out and sew them together like this-
And then sew your ornament cap piece to your block. These blocks are rectangular, finishing at 10" x 12" in the quilt, so trim your block to 10.5" x 12.5" if needed.
You'll need 25 blocks for this quilt. Of course, this tutorial is written for a throw sized quilt, but if you want to use this block for smaller projects, it would be just as cute. I'm thinking a few of these would make an adorable table runner or table topper.
Just keep in mind that since the blocks are rectangular, you can't orient some of them horizontally and others vertically, and have them still fit together. To do that, you would need to add additional sashing to the sides, making it square (and of course, if you wanted to do that, you probably wouldn't want the additional sashing listed). **This is a break from the tutorial, and would require a little extra fabric math on your part, but I'm just trying to point out some options if you want to branch out a little bit.
I decided on a straight layout for my quilt though. So, sticking with the tutorial as written, just lay out your blocks in a 5 x 5 arrangement (my design wall isn't quite big enough, so the last row of my blocks are laid out on the floor underneath).
Notice the gaps between the blocks? That's where your sashing strips go. Sew your blocks together with sashing strips between (do not sew sashing to the beginning or end of the row, only between the blocks). Then sew your five rows together. Because of the way the ornament caps are constructed, you don't need sashing running horizontally between the rows.
Then just baste, quilt, bind, and snuggle! As I mentioned earlier, I used way more prints than necessary. I love to do that, because I enjoy pieced backings in my quilts. Since I use the leftovers in the backing and binding, I can use tons of variety, but without creating a hoard of scraps.
I rounded out the leftover fabric on the back with one of the darkest green fabrics in the collection, and I even made a scrappy binding.
This quilt was fun from start to finish. It measures 54" x 60," so it is a very generous throw size for covering even an adult. The traditional colors paired with more updated, modern prints in this fabric line look right at home in my living room with my other holiday decor.
Of course, it's not going to stay under the Christmas tree, but it looked so perfect, I couldn't resist taking the photos there.
If you need a quick gift, or a new quilt to brighten up your own holiday decor, I hope you give the Christmas Adorned quilt a try!