TRIP AROUND THE WORLD QUILT PATTERN

Trip around the world quilt

Trip around the world quilt

This basic trip quilt was designed knowing that summer is here at last – well in the northern hemisphere anyway.  Who doesn’t feel like a trip around the world?  If, like me, you cannot afford the real thing there’s always the option of trying the trip around the world quilted version!  This is one of those quilting techniques that has infinite variations.  The version that I am showing here is pretty well the most basic that you can get.  It is made in four panels and uses six fabrics only.  The lines where the four panels are joined have two squares the same colour next to each other.  All the squares are the same size.  The quilt measures 45″ square.  Like I said, it’s basic – but it does introduce you to the trip around the world quilting technique.  You may be interested in a more complex trip around the world quilt here.




Trip around the world quilts

Sometimes quilts are made special by having a very intricate patchwork design and sometimes they become special through colour placement.  Trip around the world quilt fall into the second category.  They are made using squares only so there are no diagonal edges to worry about.  Using clever placement of the colours you get diamonds of colour spreading out from the centre.  As an added benefit, in trip around the world quilts the sewing is all done using strips of fabric not individual squares.

Making the basic trip quilt

Sew four panels of six fabrics each

Sew four panels of six fabrics each

I wanted the squares in this quilt to be small enough for the design to look intricate but not so small that they were fiddly to work with. So I used 2″ squares.  I used six different fabrics and cut four 2″ strips across the width of the fabric of all six fabrics.  Sew them together along the length so that you have four panels each made of six strips of fabric.  I have alternated light and dark fabrics but I have also seen trip around the world quilts made using gradual shading of colours – using grading of the size of the squares also.  Press these strips with the seam allowance going in opposite directions between each pair of strips.  That way the seam allowances are more likely to lie flat when you sew the strips back together again.

Cut these panels in half across the width so that you have eight panels of six strips about 22″ long.  Place two these with right sides together, making sure that the top panel is reversed so that the colours at the edge aren’t the same as in the bottom panel.  In the photo, that means checking that the blue strip lies against a white strip.

Lay two panels on top of each other

Lay two panels on top of each other

Cut at 2" intervals

Cut at 2″ intervals

Using a 1/4″ seam, sew the two panels together along the length – that’s along the blue strip at the top and along the white strip at the bottom in the photo.  This creates a tube made up of twelve strips of fabric.  Cut this tube across the strips at 2″ intervals so that you end up with ten tubes or hoops of fabric.

 

Sewing the loops together for the basic trip quilt

Unpick the seam between blue and yellow

Unpick the seam between blue and yellow

Unpick between yellow and red in the next strip

Unpick betwen yellow and red in the next strip

Choose one colour to begin with and unpick the seam at that colour.  I’ve unpicked the seam betwen blue and yellow in the first tube of fabric.  This now gives me a strip of fabric beginning with blue as shown in the right hand photo.  For the next row I unpicked the seam between yellow and red so that my next strip begins with a yellow and the blue is up one step from where it is in the first strip.

 

Unpick all the loops of fabric

Unpick all the loops of fabric

The first two panels of the quilt

The first two panels of the quilt

Continue with all ten tubes, unpicking the seam one square further round each time so that each colour is one step up from the same colour in the previous strip as shown on the left.  This is where the name trip around the world comes from.  With right sides together sew these strips together to make a panel of ten strips.  Repeat to make another identical panel.  These will form the top left and bottom right quarters of the trip around the world quilt.

Make two different panels

The four panels of the trip around the world quilt

The four panels of the trip around the world quilt

The panels for the top right and bottom left of the trip around the world quilt top are made in the same way but they are mirror images of the first two panels.  I found it easiest to lay the strips out one by one in place so that I could check that the colours moved down one step at a time.  One mistake that is easily made is to think that you need to unpick at the blue square, for example, but then unpick on the wrong side of the blue square.  You need to be sure if the strip you are unpicking needs to start with blue, white or blue, yellow in that example.  sorry about the shadow in the photo – it was taken on an uncharacteristically sunny day!  When you are happy with the trip around the world quilt layout, sew the panels together in pairs and then sew the pairs of panels together.

Basic trip quilt border

Three strips of fabric for the quilt border

Three strips of fabric for the quilt border

I wanted a good sized border to frame the trip around the world design, so I cut four 2″ strips of blue and eight 2″ strips of white – these happened to be the fabrics that I had most of.  Sew them together in strips of three fabrics – white, blue, white – and cut these strips into two lengths of 36.1/2″ and two lengths of 30.1/2″.  Well, measure your quilt top first but your measurements should be similar to those measurements.

 

 

Trip around the world quilt cornerstones 

Sew the border to two sides of the quilt

Sew the border to two sides of the quilt

Make nine patch cornerstones

Make nine patch cornerstones

 

Sew the 36.1/2″ strips to the long edges of the quil top.  Use the leftover parts of the blue and white strips to make nine patch units for the cornerstones of the quilt.  You will need eight of the white, blue, white strips cut 2″ long.

 

Make blue, white, blue strips from leftovers

Make up blue, white, blue strips from leftovers

Add the last two sides of the border

Add the last two sides of the border

I wanted to avoid cutting into more fabric so for the blue, white, blue strips I unpicked the remaining strips of white, blue, white and sewed them back together as blue, white, blue for the middle row of the nine patch blocks.  You willneed four of these.  Sew one to each end of the two 30.1/2″ border strips.

 

Trip around the world quilt completed

Trip around the world quilt completed

 

Sew these two strips to the remaining edges of the quilt top.

The trip around the world quilt top is now complete and ready to be layered, quilted and bound.

Trip around the world quilt pattern

Trip around the world quilt pattern

PS  Since I wrote this quilt pattern I have received several queries on it, so I have written another (and I think prettier) trip quilt which you can see here.

 

 

Here’s the video:

 

 

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Comments

  1. joan cheney says:

    I just finished making the quilt. It is made with 8 different black and white. I love it . It is beautiful. Thank you for showing me how to do it.

    Joan

  2. You explained this so well. Will follow your instructions next time. Thank you. Eve – oregon

  3. james pilgrim says:

    How much material needed for king size

  4. This website made it so easy!

  5. You need aprox. 6 yards to make the top. I get 1/4 yd. cuts of as many coordinating fabrics I can find!

  6. What is the size of tour finished quilt? Thanks

  7. Carolyn says:

    Love this. Just made a small version. Your tutorial was great. Just curious for fabric requirements for queen size quil.

  8. I’m in the process of making this quilt but only in 5 colors. Do you have to press the seams before you sew the strips into a tube? Also, I was making the tubes with only one set of 5 strips. The problem is that the tube doesn’t lay flat! It seems to want to twist…. What the heck am I doing wrong??

    • Hi Lorraine. Quilting is a very frustrating hobby (as well as being very satisfying!). Yes, you do need to press the seams before the sew the strips into a tube. That should help it to lay flat. The only other thing that I can think of that might be causing the twisting is if the seams aren’t completely straight.

  9. I’ve made this quilt many times, I think you made a mistake, you seem to have double center strips both vertically and horizontally. Beautiful colors though.

    • Hi Joan. This quilt is one that I designed myself so it may well be different from the pattern that you are used to. There are often many different versions of quilt blocks with the same name. The one that I have used is a cross – where you are seeing a double strip may be the border which is in the same fabric as the cross of the block.

  10. Betsy Anderson says:

    I am making a baby size colorful trip around the world. Made two of these king size about 25 yrs ago….only thing I am not sure of is which direction to iron the seams…I recall that was very important.

    • Hi Betsy. My apologies for the delay in replying. Yes, the pressing is important – When making the panels, press each seam allowance in the opposite direction to the one either side of it. That way they will nest together easily when you sew the strips together.

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