CATHEDRAL WINDOWS MACHINE SEWN


Cathedral windows quilts machine sewn

Cathedral windows quilts machine sewn

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.

Cutting requirements

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 square in half

Fold the square in half

 

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 seams together

Bring the seams together

Smooth the fabric pouch

Smooth the fabric pouch

 

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.

 

 

Leave a gap in the stitching

Leave a gap in the stitching

Turn the pouch right side out through the gap

Turn the pouch right side out through the gap

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

Fold each corner in to the middle

The corners meet at the centre

The corners meet at the centre

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.

 

Join the two cathedral windows blocks together at the flap

Join the two cathedral windows blocks together at the flap

 

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.

 

 

Place the contrasting fabric in the square

Place the contrasting fabric in the square

Add the contrasting fabric

Add the contrasting fabric

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.

 

Roll the fold over the contrasting fabric

Roll the fold over 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

Roll the black fabric over the red fabric

Roll the black fabric over the red fabric

The red triangles form a border for the cathedral windows

The red triangles form a border for the cathedral windows

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:

 

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Comments

  1. Sherri Conard says:

    My mom worked on a cathedral window quilt for my brother off and on for thirty years. After she passed away this past summer, I found the quilt – she only had one row left to go! I added that row. Since we live in Pa, I’d like to actually use batting and backing on this beautiful quilt, so it has some insulating quality to it. I’m sure my brother would want to use it that way, too. Everything I’ve read tells me that this quilt wasn’t really designed to be quilted. Is it wrong to do so? I’m feeling a little guilty about adding the batting and backing.

    • Hi Sherri. It sounds like you have a wonderful quilt to remember your mother by. I would agree that it is unusual to use batting and backing on a cathedral windows quilt, but my personal feeling is that this is your quilt and if that’s what you want to do then go for it. It would obviously make the quilt more functional for you so that makes it the right thing to do.

    • Seeing the date this was posted it’s a bit late for Sherri, but you could make a duvet cover with the quilt. It’s basically a giant pillow case with a comforter inside. It would ,make it easy to remove for cleaning if needed.

  2. Thank you so much for the easy, simple instructions on how to make this quilt block. I’ve been wanting to make quilts for two people for some time and I have beautiful fabric but could not settle on a design. This has decided it for me. Thanks for making it easy for a novice quilter to understand.

  3. Hi Rose,
    Great video. I’ve been toying with the idea of a cathedral windows quilt for sometime and very much like your presentation. I was wondering where you stand on machine sewing the contrasting window in place instead of hand sewing it.
    Thanks

    • Hi Lanie. I have never tried it, but it would certainly speed things up – I must try it some time. I thik that the answer is probably to hand sew one and machine sew another and then put them side by side and see what you think. In fact, I think I’ll do that some time soon.

  4. Jean Burke says:

    I have been given a lot of Remnants of beautiful bright brocades and wondered if I could use these as the windows & perhaps a black cotton for the rest would it still work with the brocades being so shiny?

  5. I would like to make a cathedral window quilt with the windows plain, like you did in your video, and a print for the base. I want to make a queen size, but not sure how much material I will need for the base and how much I will need for the windows. like the one in your video. Hope you can help. Thanks

  6. Kathleen says:

    So I was wondering, instead of putting a full backing and batting on the quilt, would it be possible to cut squares of batting and put those in each ‘envelope’ square? I would think you could secure them with a tacky spray so they would stay in place while you worked on the windows. Has anyone ever tried this?

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