Polka Dot Palooza
Inspired by Ta-Dot! from designer Mabeth Oxenreider
Quilt tester: Laura Boehnke
- 2⁄3 yard total assorted prints and dots in red-orange, black, white, and gray (blocks)
- 1⁄3 yard black polka dot (blocks, Four-Patch and side units)
- 1⁄3 yard white polka dot (blocks, Four-Patch and side units)
- 1⁄4 yard red-orange polka dot (inner border)
- 1 yard black swirl print (outer border, binding)
- 1-1⁄4 yards backing fabric
- 36x45" batting
- 1 yard 20"-wide tear-away or cut-away lightweight stabilizer
- Clear monofilament thread (optional)
Finished quilt: 28x37"
Finished blocks: 9" square
Yardages and cutting instructions are based on 42" of usable fabric width.
Measurements include 1⁄4" seam allowances. Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.
Cut pieces in the following order. Click on "Download this Project" above for patterns. Be sure to transfer dotted lines onto templates; these guidelines are necessary to mark stitching lines on stabilizer pieces.
From assorted prints and dots, cut:
- 50--8"-long strips in widths ranging from 1" to 2-1⁄2"
From black polka dot, cut:
- 3--9-1⁄2" squares
- 12--2" squares
From white polka dot, cut:
- 3--9-1⁄2" squares
- 12--2" squares
From red-orange polka dot, cut:
- 2--1-1⁄4x27-1⁄2" inner border strips
- 2--1-1⁄4x20" inner border strips
From black swirl print, cut:
- 4--2-1⁄2x42" binding strips
- 2--4-1⁄2x29" outer border strips
- 2--4-1⁄2x28" outer border strips
From lightweight stabilizer, cut:
- 6--9-1⁄2" squares
- 2--3-1⁄2" squares
- 6--2x3-1⁄2" rectangles
- 4--2" squares
Assemble Strip Sets
1. Sew together enough assorted bright print or solid 8"-long strips to make a strip set about 8" square (Diagram 1).
To join strips with the improvisational curved seams shown here, overlap two 8"-long strips. Rotary-cut a gentle curve within the overlapped portion. Discard narrow excess piece from each strip. Join remaining pieces along curved edges with 1⁄8" seam. Open strips and press seams in one direction.
2. Repeat to make six strip sets total.
1. Fold each stabilizer 9-1⁄2" square in half horizontally and vertically. Finger-press to make placement guidelines; unfold. Aligning template guidelines with stabilizer guidelines, trace Pattern A circle on a stabilizer square. Repeat with remaining stabilizer 9-1⁄2" squares.
2. Layer a marked stabilizer square on right side of a black polka dot 9-1⁄2" square. Sew on traced circle. Cut away both layers 1⁄4" inside stitched circle (Diagram 2). Clip into seam allowance so seam can lay flat after it is turned. Turn stabilizer through opening so it faces wrong side of black polka dot square. Press a few inches of seam allowance at a time until entire circle edge is pressed under. Pin or baste stabilizer and black polka dot square together at corners to make a block unit (Diagram 3).
3. With right sides up, layer block unit atop a strip set with strip seams running diagonally (Diagram 4); pin in place. Using clear monofilament or black thread and a narrow machine zigzag or blind-hem stitch, sew along edge of black polka dot circle. Trim excess stabilizer and strip set on wrong side, leaving 1⁄4" seam allowance, to make a black block. The block should be 9-1⁄2" square including seam allowances.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to make three black blocks total.
5. Using white polka dot 9-1⁄2" squares, repeat steps 2 and 3 to make three white blocks.
Assemble Quilt Center
1. Referring to Quilt Assembly Diagram, lay out blocks in three horizontal rows, alternating black and white blocks. Rotate blocks so strip set seams run in alternating directions.
2. Sew together blocks in each row. Press seams toward black blocks. Join rows to make quilt center. Press seams in one direction. The quilt center should be 18-1⁄2x27-1⁄2" including seam allowances.
Assemble and Reverse-Applique Remaining Units
1. Referring to Diagram 5, sew together two black polka dot 2" squares and two white polka dot 2" squares in pairs. Press seams toward black polka dot squares. Join pairs to make a Four-Patch unit. Press seam in one direction. The unit should be 3-1⁄2" square including seam allowances. Repeat to make a second Four-Patch unit.
2. Join a black polka dot 2" square and a white polka dot 2" square to make a side unit (Diagram 6). Press seam toward black polka dot square. The unit should be 3-1⁄2x2" including seam allowances. Repeat to make six side units total.
3. Center and trace Pattern B circle, including guidelines, onto each stabilizer 3-1⁄2" square. In same manner, trace Pattern C half circle onto each stabilizer 2x3-1⁄2" rectangle, and trace Pattern D quarter circle onto each stabilizer 2" square.
4. Layer a marked stabilizer 3-1⁄2" square atop a four-block intersection on quilt center, aligning marked guidelines with seams (Diagram 7). Referring to Reverse-Appliqué Blocks, Step 2, sew on traced circle, trim through quilt top and stabilizer, then clip seam allowances. Turn stabilizer through opening and press as before. With right sides up, center a Four-Patch unit under opening, aligning seams and positioning white polka dot pieces in black block corners and vice versa (Diagram 8). As in Reverse-Appliqué Blocks, Step 3, machine-appliqué layers together and trim on wrong side.
5. Repeat Step 4 to appliqué a Four-Patch unit in remaining four-block intersection.
6. Using marked stabilizer 2x3-1⁄2" rectangles and side units, repeat Step 4 in two-block intersections along quilt center edges (Diagram 9). If necessary, trim side units even with quilt center edges.
7. Using marked stabilizer 2" squares, remaining white polka dot 2" squares, and remaining black polka dot 2" squares, repeat Step 4 in quilt center corners (Diagram 10). If necessary, trim squares even with quilt center edges.
1. Sew red-orange polka dot 1-1⁄4x27-1⁄2" inner border strips to long edges of quilt center (Quilt Assembly Diagram). Add red-orange polka dot 1-1⁄4x20" inner border strips to remaining edges. Press all seams toward inner border.
2. Sew black swirl print 4-1⁄2x29" outer border strips to long edges of quilt center (Quilt Assembly Diagram). Add black swirl print 4-1⁄2x28" outer border strips to remaining edges to complete quilt top. Press all seams toward outer border.
1. Layer quilt top, batting, and backing; baste. Quilt as desired.
2. Bind with black swirl print binding strips.