Do you know, I had always though of cathedral windows quilts as totally handmade – something to work on during the train journey or when curled up by the fire. So I was really surprised when I found out that cathedral windows quilts can be partly machine sewn. I’m amazed at how much more quickly I can now sew my cathedral windows quilts.
In order to introduce the basics of cathedral windows quilts I have made a simple quilted wall hanging using only four quilt squares. for each of these I began with a 14″ fabric square. The size was chosen so that I could get three squares from one width of fabric with minimal waste.
four black 14″ squares
four coloured 4″ squares (the two blues in the photo)
eight red 4″ squares for the triangular edges
Making the cathedral windows quilt blocks machine sewn
Fold the 14″ square in half with right sides together and sew up each side to make a pouch. I’ve used a different fabric here for illustration because it’s impossible to tell right side from wrong side with the black fabric.
Bring the two seams together at the open end of the pouch and smooth the two pieces of fabric together across the top of the pouch.
Sew across the top of the pouch, leaving a gap of at least 2″ for turning the pouch right side out. I know it makes it more fiddly to sew, but it is best to leave the gap half way across one of the sides rather than at either end.
Turn the pouch right side out, gently pressing the corners from the inside. Press.
Fold each corner in to the middle and press to mark the folds – watch out for scorched fingers at this stage! This is the basic cathedral windows quilt block. The contrasting fabric for the glass part of the cathedral window cannot be added until you have joined several windows blocks together.
Joining the cathedral windows blocks together is simple but requires care. Place two blocks together with the flat sides facing out. Unfold the flap on the edge that you wish to join of each square. Match the two folds exactly and sew along the fold line to join the two flaps togeher.
For this cathedral windows quilted wall hanging I needed only four blocks so I joined them together in pairs and joined the pairs together to make a panel four blocks square. At this stage you can fold all the flaps back in to the middle and slipstitch them in place. You will see how a square has formed across the join between two squares. This is where you will place the contrasting fabric.
Measure the length of the side of this square. The books say to use this measurement to cut the contrasting fabric, but I find it easier to use a square 1/8″ smaller all the way round. That means cutting a square 1/4″ smaller than the size of the square you are matching. Place the contrasting fabric in the middle of the square. Beginning in one corner, roll down the edge of the background square over the contrasting fabric and slipstitch in place.
Making the cathedral windows quilt border
To fill in the triangles at the edges and create a border, fold the eight 4″ red squares in half along the diagonal and press. Place each triangle with the folded edge along the bottom (on the edge of the cathedral windows wall hanging). Roll back the background fabric over the edge of the triangle and slipstitch in place.
As this is for a wall hanging, I haven’t stitched across the bottom of the red triangles, but if I was making a cathedral windows quilt I would stitch the triangle bases to secure them.
Here’s the video: