FRENCH BRAID QUILT PATTERN

French braid quilt

French braid quilt

Another month passes ….  This month will be extra special as it’s the Queen’s diamond jubilee celebration and the Olympic torch continues to tour the length and breadth of the UK.  I’ve made a french braid quilt to show you this month.  I became carried away because the braids were so easy to make and I’ve ended up with a quilt measuring 78″ by 114″.  It is quite easy to change the measurements, though, by using fewer fabrics in each braid or by using fewer braids.




A range of eleven fabrics for the french braid quilt

A range of eleven fabrics for the french braid quilt

There is no set size for the strips making up a french braid quilt and I have chosen to use strips 2.1/2″ by 9.1/2″.  This is mainly because s.1/2″ is an easy width to work with and you can cut four 9.1/2″ strips from each length without too much waste.  I have used eleven different fabrics, ranging from almost white through yellows and browns to a dark red.  For the sixteen braids that I made, the fabric requirements are 19″ of each of these fabrics with 3.1/4 yards of the black floral fabric (known as the accent fabric).

 

Making the french braid quilt

Cutting the french braids

Cutting the french braids

One braid with a square of accent fabric

One braid with a square of accent fabric

I have cut two 9.1/2″ strips of each braid fabric.  One of these is cut at 2.1/2″ intervals to give 2.1/2″ by 9.1/2″ strips.  Sew a 2.1/2″ strip of accent fabric across the top of the other 9.1/2″ panel of braid fabric and cut this at 2.1/2″ intervals to give 2.1/2″ by 11.1/2″ strips which include a square at the end.  Do this for all eleven braid fabrics.

 

Cut starting triangles

Cut starting triangles

Sew the left hand strip to the triangle first

Sew the left hand strip to the triangle first

Each french braid begins with a starting triangle to anchor the first braids.  I have made mine from 14.1/2″ squares of the accent fabric cut across both diagonals to give four triangles.  Begin by sewing one 9.1/2″ braid fabric to the left hand edge of the triangle and then sew an 11.1/2″ strip of braid fabric plus square to the right hand side of the triangle.  Make sure that you have all the braid fabrics sorted into increasing or decreasing colour so that you use them in the same order for each braid.

Continue adding strips to the french braid

Continue adding strips to the french braid

 

Continue sewing strips to the left and then the right of the braid.  Match the fabric strips from the centre each time – as you can see the other ends of the strips form a sort of zigzag that will be trimmed later, so you can’t begin the seam there.

 

 

Ending triangles for the french braids

Use ending triangles to finish the french braids

Use ending triangles to finish the french braids

 

Make sixteen of these french braids, eight of them beginning with the light fabric and moving towards dark and the other eight beginning with the dark fabric moving towards the light.  At the end of each braid you will need two ending triangles to square off the end of the braid.  These are made by cutting 7.3/4″ squares of the accent fabric in half and sewing one triangle to each side of the top of the braid.

 

Line up your ruler edge with the centre of the braid

Line up your ruler edge with the centre of the braid

Mark a line at the other edge of the ruler

Mark a line at the other edge of the ruler

The sides of the french braids now need squaring up.  My ruler is 6″ wide which proved to be perfect for this french braid quilt.  Place your ruler so that one edge is lined up along the middle of the squares at the centre of the braid.

 

 

Cut the sides of the braid

Cut the sides of the braid

 

Mark a line along the other edge of the ruler to give you a cutting line.  Move the ruler to the other side so that it has one edge in the middle and one edge on the right side of the french braid.  Mark another cutting line.  Cut along both these lines to give straight sides to the braids.

 

Assembling the french braid quilt

One layout for the french braids

One layout for the french braids

My preferred option for the french braids

My preferred option for the french braids

The french braids at this stage are just under 20″ long.  They need to be sewn together in pairs to make eight full length braids.  I tried the left hand option with red and yellow on opposite sides of the central square but decided that I preferred the right hand option with each central square surrounded by one colour.

 

Sew sashing strips to the braids

Sew sashing strips to the braids

 

Cut eighteen 2.1/2″ strips of the accent fabric and sew them together in pairs to make nine long lengths.  Sew one length along the right edge of each french braid and then sew the braids together so that there is a sashing strip between each braid.

 

 

Alternate the colours at the centre of the braids

Alternate the colours at the centre of the braids

 

Alternate the braids so that you have one with a yellow middle then one with a red middle and so on.  The first braid will then need a sashing strip on its left hand side so that the braids are all enclosed by sashing.  There is enough accent fabric at the top and the bottom of the french braid quilts so a sashing strip at top and bottom isn’t required.

 

That’s the french braid quilt top complete.  What has really pleased me about this french braid quilt is that the fabrics were chosen from my stash rather than bought specially to give the increase in colour from light to dark and yet it still looks really eyecatching.  The quilt top can now be layered, quilted and bound.

Here’s the video:

 

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Comments

  1. Dear Rose,
    I love your quits! I just finished “Aunt Sukey” & it’s beautiful! However….I am having a problem with the french braid?? I think by you pictures, I have just figured out that you used the same 11 fabrics on each braid. Is that right? I wrote the comment above & was hoping you would answer me. I know you must be terribly busy. If this is what you did, then mine will be totally different! Not a bad thing, just different! Thanks for your help in advance! Sandra

    • Hi Sandra. I did reply. You sent two similar comments and I answered one of them asking you to email a photo so that I could see what you were doing. If that didn’t appear, then my apologies. Yes, the French Braid is made using all eleven fabrics on each side of each braid. That’s how you get the colour fading across the fabrics, but as you say it’s possible to make it differently. Hope that helps. rose. PS – I’ve just found your original comment – it was on the About page and that was where I replied to you.

  2. I am going to give this quilt a try. It is only my 2nd quilt but I think I can do it. I am making one 70 by 78 inches I have figured the design with 5 rows. I know you said 11 colors I was just wondering how much of each color did you need? so I know how many yards of each I need (or partial yd/meter)

    • Hi Carol. My apologies for the delay in replying. For my French braid quilt I used 19″ of each of the eleven fabrics (just over 1/2 yard) with 3.1/4 yards of the accent fabric (the black floral). That sounds like a lot of accent fabric now that I look at it, but that’s obviously what I thought I used at the time.

  3. Gorgeous quilt & very clear video & tutor. Thx so much!!

  4. I love your site and you have so much talent. I am a new quilter. I hope I can have some good outcomes with my quilts.

  5. if i was making his with black and whiteand silver grey for the braids how much material would i need quilt 80 x90

  6. Hi Rose! Thank you so much for sharing this video tutorial – I’d been looking for a pattern that would be suitable for a variety of batiks that I have, and I came across your French Braid Quilt Pattern. This video was wonderful!

  7. Claire Ann Buckley says:

    Just happened too find your French Braid pattern while browsing as a new member of Just Us Quilters. I am from Ludlow PA and am wondering which Ludlow your are from.

  8. Sobana Sundar says:

    I am a little confused about the final size. You said at the beginning that your quilt was 98*114 but while sewing up the braids you seem to be saying that one half of a braid would be 20 inches. So if one follows the direction the breadth would be just 40 inches?

  9. Weeser1 says:

    Thank you so much, Rose! It’s beautiful!

  10. This is so beautiful. I’m wondering if the rows could be made “quilt as you go” style and then put together via the sashing strips, if that makes any sense 😉

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