Scrappy Strip-Pieced Squares
If you're hooked on the look of crochet, here's how to get it with fabric rather than yarn. Craft each scrappy block from strip-pieced squares in six 1930s reproduction prints from Darlene Zimmerman's Paper Doll collection for Robert Kaufman Fabrics.
Inspired by Granny Squares from designer Lissa Alexander
Quilt Tester: Laura Boehnke
3/8 yard solid white (blocks, sashing)
1-1/4 yards light blue print (blocks, borders, binding)
1 yard total assorted 1930s prints in yellow, pink, green, blue, and red (blocks, middle border)
1-1/8 yards backing fabric
39" square batting
Finished quilt: 30-1/4" square
Finished block: 8-1/2" square
Quantities are for 44/45"-wide, 100% cotton fabrics.
Measurements include 1/4" seam allowances. Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.
Cut pieces in the following order.
From solid white, cut:
1-2x19" sashing strip
2-2x9" sashing rectangles
From light blue print, cut:
4-2-1/2x42" binding strips
2-1-3/4x30-1/4" outer border strips
2-1-3/4x27-3/4" outer border strips
2-1-7/8x21-3/4" inner border strips
2-1-7/8x19" inner border strips
From assorted 1930s prints, cut:
Pay attention to pressing directions so pieces nest in finished blocks.
1. Sew together a solid white 1-3/4x35" strip and a light blue print 1-1/2x35" strip to make strip set A (Diagram 1). Do not press seam yet. Cut a 7"-wide Unit A from strip set A; press seam in unit away from solid white strip. Cut Unit A into four 1-1/2"-wide A segments.
2. Referring to Diagram 2, add an assorted 1930s print 1-1/2x28" strip to bottom edge of remaining strip set A to make strip set B. Do not press seam. Cut a 7"-wide Unit B from strip set B; press seams in unit toward solid white strip. Cut Unit B into four 1-1/2"-wide B segments.
3. In the same manner, sew an assorted print 1930s 1-1/2x21" strip to bottom edge of remaining strip set B to make strip set C (Diagram 3). Cut a 7"-wide Unit C; press seams in unit away from solid white strip. Cut Unit C into four 1-1/2"-wide C segments.
4. Join an assorted 1930s print 1-1/2x14" strip to bottom edge of remaining strip set C to make strip set D (Diagram 4). Cut a 7"-wide Unit D; press seams in unit toward solid white strip. Cut Unit D into four 1-1/2"-wide D segments.
5. Add an assorted 1930s print 1-1/2x7" strip to bottom edge of remaining strip set D to make Unit E; press seams in unit away from solid white strip (Diagram 5). Cut Unit E into four 1-1/2"-wide E segments.
6. Referring to Diagram 6, sew together one solid white 1-3/4" square and one each of segments A, B, C, and D to make a block quadrant. Press seams away from D segment. Repeat to make four block quadrants total.
7. Referring to Diagram 7, lay out block quadrants, E segments, and one assorted 1930s print 1-1/2" square in three rows. Sew together pieces in each row. Press seams away from E segments. Join rows to make a block; press seams away from center row.
8. Trim block to 9" square including seam allowances (Diagram 8). Handle block carefully to avoid stretching bias edges.
9. Repeat steps 1–8 to make four blocks total.
Assemble Quilt Center
1. Referring to Quilt Assembly Diagram, lay out blocks, solid white sashing rectangles, and solid white sashing strip in three vertical rows. Sew together pieces in each block row. Press seams toward sashing rectangles.
2. Join rows to make quilt center. Press seams in one direction. The quilt center should be 19" square including seam allowances.
Add Inner Border
Sew short inner border strips to opposite edges of quilt center. Add long inner border strips to remaining edges. Press all seams toward inner border. The quilt center now should be 21-3/4" square including seam allowances.
Assemble and Add Middle Border
1. Referring to Diagram 9, sew together two light blue print 1-3/4x10" strips and three assorted 1930s print 1-1/2x10" strips to make a border strip set. Press seams in one direction. Repeat to make 10 border strip sets total. Cut border strip sets into 60-1-1/2"-wide border segments.
2. Referring to Diagram 10, sew together one light blue print 1-3/4" square, three light blue print 1-3/4x1-1/2" rectangles, and six assorted 1930s print 1-1/2" squares in four rows. Press seams in one direction, alternating direction with each row. Join rows to make a border corner; press seams toward light blue print 1-3/4" square. Repeat to make four border corners total.
3. Referring to Diagram 11, sew together 15 border segments in a row, rotating every other segment so seams interlock. Add a border corner to left-hand end of row; press all seams toward border corner.
4. Centering the assorted print squares, trim long edges of Step 3 row so it is 3-1/2" wide including seam allowances (about 3/8" beyond points of assorted print squares) to make a middle border strip.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 to make four middle border strips total.
6. Align midpoints of a middle border strip and one edge of quilt center. Pin at center, then pin rest of border to quilt center; ease border strip to fit if necessary and handle it carefully to avoid stretching the bias edges. Sew together, beginning and ending seam 1/4" from corners of quilt center.
7. Repeat Step 6 to add a middle border strip to opposite edge of quilt center. In same manner, join remaining middle border strips to remaining edges of quilt center, mitering corners. Press all seams toward inner border. To miter each corner, begin with a backstitch at the inside corner and join ends of middle border strips with a 1/4" seam. Press seam open. The quilt center now should be 27-3/4" square including seam allowances.
Add Outer Border and Finish Quilt
1. Sew short outer border strips to opposite edges of quilt center. Add long outer border strips to remaining edges to complete quilt top. Press all seams toward outer border.
2. Layer quilt top, batting, and backing; baste. Quilt as desired.
3. Bind with light blue print binding strips.