I’ve always loved the three dimensional effect that you can get by placing dark and light fabrics together and the shadow box design is a really good example of this. I’ve made this quilt with both rectangles and squares just to give you ideas. I’m sure it’s possible to do the same with other shapes, but I’ll leave that for another day!
This shadow box quilt measures 44″ by 43″. I have used a 4.1/2″ strip of five different fabrics plus two additional 4.1/2″ squares for the boxes, with about 1/2 yard of black fabric and just under 1 yard of the light blue background fabric.
Making the quilt blocks
From each 4.1/2″ strip of coloured fabric I was able to cut four 4.1/2″ squares and two rectangles 11.1/2″ by 4.1/2″.
To make the shadows cut two 4.1/2″ and one 3.1/2″ strips of black fabric. Sew a 1.1/2″ background strip to one side of each strip. Press and then cut at 1.1/2″ intervals to create a black strip with a light square at one end.
To make the square shadow, sew one 4.1/2″ black/blue strip to the side of the square. Sew one 5.1/2″ black/blue strip across the bottom.
To make the rectangular shadow, sew a 6.1/2″ by 1.1/2″ black strip to the end of a 5.1/2″ black/blue strip. Sew this to the side of the rectangle. Sew a 5.1/2″ black/blue strip across the bottom.
If you’re wondering why I didn’t just use a 12.1/2″ black strip with a 1.1/2″ blue strip to make these rectangular shadows, it was because I thought that this way would use less fabric, but I don’t suppose that there’s really much in it.
Sew a 2.1/2″ by 5.1/2″ rectangle of background fabric between two squares to join them together. The rectangle and the two squares are now the same size. Sew a 12.1/2″ by 1.1/2″ blue strip to the left hand side of each block and a 6.1/2″ by 1.1/2″ strip across the top of each block. Make ten of the rectangle blocks and eleven of the double square blocks.
Making up the shadow box quilt top
Lay the blocks out in rows of three, alternating the squares and the rectangles. The first row needs to begin with squares, the second begins with a rectangle, the third with squares and so on. Take care to keep the shadow in the same place always – it’s on the top right right of each block in my layout. I tried to place the colours randomly, but I have come to the conclusion that random placement needs lots of planning – otherwise I always seem to end up with cluster of one colour!
When you’re happy with your (random) block placement, sew the shadow box quilt blocks together across each row and then sew the rows together.
If you look at the photo on the left you’ll see that there is a 1.1/2″ blue strip on the left hand side and across the bottom, but not on the right hand side and the top. Sew a 41.1/2″ strip across the quilt top and a 43.1/2″ strip down the right hand side. Do check your measurements before cut these strips because there can be variations for all sorts of reasons.
The shadow box quilt top is now complete and ready for layering, quilting and binding. Full details of these steps can be found in the beginner quilting section.
Here’s the video: