Square-in-a-Square Table Topper
Inspired by Plaid Tidings from designer Kathie Holland
Quilt Tester: Laura Boehnke
- 1 yard total assorted tone-on-tones in purple, blue, green, orange, yellow, and pink (blocks, outer border)
- 1 yard multicolor print (blocks, outer border, binding)
- 1/2 yard mottled multicolor (setting square, setting and corner triangles)
- 1/2 yard multicolor stripe (inner border)
- 2-3/4 yards backing fabric
- 49" square batting
- Tracing paper or other foundation material
Finished quilt: 40-1/2" square
Finished block: 9" 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 assorted tone-on-tones, cut:
- 40--3" squares cutting each in half diagonally for 80 triangles total (20 sets of 4 matching triangles)
- 20--2-3/4" squares
From multicolor print, cut:
- 5--2-1/2x42"binding strips
- 14--5-7/8" squares
- 16--3-1/2" squares
From mottled multicolor, cut:
- 1--14-1/2" square, cutting diagonally twice in an X for 4 setting triangles total
- 1--9-1/2" setting square
- 2--7-3/4"squares, cutting each in half diagonally for 4 corner triangles total
From multicolor stripe, cut:
- 2--2-7/8x30-1/2" inner border strips
- 2--2-7/8x25-3/4" inner border strips
Prepare Foundation Papers
1. Click on "Download this Project" for Foundation Pattern. Print five copies of Foundation Patterns or use a pencil to trace a Foundation Pattern 20 times on tracing paper or foundation material of your choice, tracing all lines and numbers.
2. Cut out each Foundation Pattern roughly 1/4" outside dashed lines to make 20 foundation papers.
Assemble Square-in-a-Square Units
To foundation-piece, you stitch fabric pieces to a foundation paper with the marked side of the paper facing up and the fabric pieces layered underneath. Resulting pieced units are mirror images of the foundation papers.
1. For one Square-in-a-Square unit, select one tone-on-tone 2-3/4" square and four matching tone-on-tone triangles in a different color.
2. Referring to Diagram 1, place a foundation paper marked side down and center the tone-on-tone 2-3/4" square right side up over position 1; pin.
3. With right sides together, position a tone-on-tone triangle on tone-on-tone square so triangle's long edge extends 1/4" into position 2 (Diagram 2). To check placement, pin on stitching line between positions 1 and 2, then flip purple tone-on-tone triangle open. Make sure it completely covers position 2 and extends into adjoining areas at least 1/4". If it doesn't, reposition and recheck until it does, then pin in place.
4. Turn pinned unit over so marked side of foundation paper is up. Using a short stitch length, sew on stitching line through all layers, extending stitching past beginning and end of line by a few stitches (Diagram 3).
5. Trim seam allowance to 1/4" if needed. Press triangle open, pressing seam toward triangle (Diagram 4).
6. Repeat steps 3–5 to add a second tone-on-tone triangle to position 3 (Diagram 5).
7. In the same manner, add remaining tone-on-tone triangles to positions 4 and 5 to cover remaining areas of foundation paper (Diagram 6).
8. Trim all fabric layers and foundation paper on dashed line to make a Square-in-a-Square unit (Diagram 7). The unit should be 3-1/2" square including seam allowances.
9. Using remaining tone-on-tone 2-3/4" squares and sets of matching triangles, repeat steps 1–8 to make 20 Square-in-a-Square units total.
1. Referring to Diagram 8, lay out five Square-in-a-Square units and four multicolor print 3-1/2" squares in three rows. Sew together pieces in each row. Press seams toward multicolor print squares.
2. Join rows to make a block. Press seams toward center row. The block should be 9-1/2" square including seam allowances. If a temporary foundation material (such as tracing paper, freezer paper, or wash-away foundation paper) was used, remove it.
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to make four blocks total.
Assemble Quilt Center
1. Referring to Quilt Assembly Diagram, sew together blocks, setting square, and setting triangles in three diagonal rows. Press seams toward setting squares and triangles.
2. Being careful not to stretch bias edges of setting triangles, join rows; press seams in one direction. Add mottled multicolor corner triangles to complete quilt center. Press seams toward corners.
3. Trim quilt center to 25-3/4" square including seam allowances. (Depending on the accuracy of your 1/4" seams, the quilt center may "float" slightly in the finished quilt.)
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 30-1/2" square including seam allowances.
Assemble and Add Outer Border
1. Use a pencil to mark a diagonal line on wrong side of each assorted multicolor print 5-7/8" square.
2. Layer each marked multicolor print square atop a tone-on-tone 5-7/8" square. Sew each pair together with two seams, stitching 1/4" on each side of drawn line (Diagram 9).
3. Cut a pair apart on drawn line to make two triangle units (Diagram 9). Open triangle units and press seams toward multicolor print to make two triangle-squares. Each triangle-square should be 5-1/2" square including seam allowances. Repeat to make 28 triangle-squares total.
4. Sew together six triangle-squares to make a short outer border strip (Quilt Assembly Diagram; note direction of seams in triangle-squares). Press seams in one direction. The strip should be 5-1/2x30-1/2" including seam allowances. Repeat to make a second short outer border strip.
5. Sew short outer border strips to opposite edges of quilt center. Press seams toward inner border.
6. Sew together eight triangle-squares to make a long outer border strip (Quilt Assembly Diagram; note direction of seams in triangle-squares). Press first and last seams in strip away from center; press remaining seams in one direction. The strip should be 5-1/2x40-1/2" including seam allowances. Repeat to make a second long outer border strip.
7. Sew long outer border strips to remaining edges of quilt center to complete quilt top. Press seams toward inner border.
1. Layer quilt top, batting, and backing; baste. Quilt as desired.
2. Bind with multicolor print binding strips.