The bow tie quilt block is one of the very old, traditional blocks and it makes a lovely quilt. I find it great for using lots of fabric from stash – you know those fat quarters that you buy because you adore them but then can’t hink where to use them! I receiv ed a request for a 3d bow tie quilt block tutorial (thanks for the suggestion, Sandra) so I have made this quilt using traditional bow ties in the main quilt and 3d bow tie quilt blocks for the cornerstones.
The quilt measures 70″ by 78″ and I’ve used 1.3/4 yards each of white and dark fabric, 3/4 yard of purple fabric for the bows of the bow ties and for the first border. For the second border I used 1.1/4 yards.
For each block you will need two 4.1/2″ white squares, two 4.1/2″ dark squares and two 2″ squares of the purple fabric.
Making the bow tie quilt block
Place each 2″ square on the corner of a white 4.1/2″ square with right sides together. Sew along the diagonal. Cut the excess fabric triangles (purple and white) about 1/4″ from the seam., then flip the remaining purple triangle so that it completes the square.
Place two dark squares and two white squares with the dark squares diagonally opposite each and the purple corners of the white square in the centre. Sew these together in pairs and then sew the two pairs together. This completes the bow tie quilt block. It really is that simple a block! Make fifty six of these. Although I was working from stash, I did try to make four blocks of similar colours so that they could form a complete ring when sewn together.
Combining the quilt blocks
I’ve shown the layout on the left just so that you can see what it looks like if you place all the bow ties facing in the same direction. For this quilt I have chosen the layout on the right with the bow ties placed in alternate directions forming a zigzag so that the white squares form that circular shape.
Sew the bow tie quilt blocks together in eight rows of seven. Notice that every first row starts with a bow tie pointing up and every second row starts with a bow tie pointing down. This is what gives you the white circle. You will have three and a half circles across the quilt and four circles down the quilt.
The first quilt border is made with 1.1/2″ strips of the same purple fabric used for the bows. Make two lengths 56.1/2″ long and sew them to the top and bottom of the quilt. Make two lengths 66.1/2″ long and sew them to the sides of the quilt.
3D Bow tie quilt block
Now for the 3D bow tie quilt block. I have made four of these for the cornerstones of the quilt and one extra in different fabrics that I hope willmake it more easy for you to follow the instructions.
You will need two white and two black 3.1/2″ squares and one red 3.1/2″ square. Fold the red square in half and place it on a white square with right sides together and raw edges together so that the fold is towards the middle. Don’t crease the red fold as it will lie flat when you are finished. Place a black square on top with right side down so that the folded red square is sandwiched between the white and black squares. Using a 1/4″ seam, sew down the right hand side of the square.
Fold the white and black squares back so that the red folded square sticks out as shown on the left. Place a white square underneath the red with right side up. Place a black square on top with right side down so that you have formed another sandwich the same as before. In case my photos aren’t clear, you need to have the white square on top in one pair and on the bottom in the other pair.
Sew a seam down the right hand side of the square (where my finger is). Fold back the white and black squares and your shape should look like the photo on the right.
Open up the pairs of squares and lay them against each other so that the white of one pair is right sides together with the black of the other pair. The red square in the middle will be slightly scrunched up (technical term!). Make sure that the central seams of the pairs of squares are matching and then gently straighten out the red along the edge of the square.
Pin carefully – you have four layers of fabric near the middle of the seam and two layers at the edge. Sew along the seam to join the two pairs of squares together.
When you open up the squares the red square will have formed a diamond in the centre. The corners are secured in the seams and the edges are free – this is what gives it the 3D look. You can either leave them free, sew the edges down or roll back the seam to give a curved edge similar to cathedral windows. I found it incredibly difficult to describe this simply so I hope that the video will help is this isn’t clear.
The second quilt border including cornerstones
So, finally to the last steps of the bow tie quilt. The second border is made using 6.1/2″ blue strips. Cut two 58.1/2″ long and sew them to the top and bottom of the quilt. Cut two 66.1/2″ long and sew a cornerstone to each end. I have made the cornerstones using four 3.1/2″ white squares with one 3.1/2″ purple square for each of the four 3D bow tie cornerstones. Of course, youcould just as easily use traditional bow tie blocks for the cornerstones if you prefer.
The quilt top is now ready for layering, quilting and binding. Full details of these steps can be found in the beginner quilting section.
Here’s the video: