V&A Museum Floor Tile Quilt Pattern

V&A museum floor tile quilt

V&A museum floor tile quilt

I have based the V&A museum floor tile quilt on the corners of a floor tile design in the museum.  There are many beautiful things to see in the museum, but I can’t help looking down at my feet wherever I go because there is so much inspiration down there on the floor.

I have simplified the design and also added some red to give some pop to the design.  I’m  hoping that I have achieved the aim of showing the blue square frame in the middle weaving over and under the grey and black strips.

You’ll be pleased to hear that this quilt is made with 2.1/2″ strips only – not a half square triangle in sight.

Original tiles

Original tiles

The quilt measures 50″ square, using sixteen 10″ finished size blocks.  Fabric requirements are 1/4 yard of red, 3/4 yard each of blue and black with 1 yard of grey fabric.  You can buy these fabrics at a discount in this week’s special offer.

Cutting requirements for the V&A museum floor tile quilt

Completed blocks

Completed blocks

The fabrics are all 2.1/2″ wide strips, so I have just specified the lengths of the pieces below.

Red fabric:  seventeen 2.1/2″ squares, sixteen 4.1/2″ strips

Blue fabric:  sixteen 2.1/2″ squares, sixteen 4.1/2″ strips, sixteen 8.1/2″ strips, sixteen 10.1/2″ strips

Black fabric:  sixteen 2.1/2″ squares, sixteen 4.1/2″ strips, thirty two 9.1/2″ strips

Grey fabric:  sixteen 2.1/2″ squares, sixteen 6.1/2″ strips, four 22.1/2″ strips, two 46.1/2″ strips, two 50.1/2″ strips

V&A floor tile quilt block layout

V&A floor tile quilt block layout

Make the individual blocks

Lay the strips out as shown.  The 10.1/2″ blue strip is across the top of the block, with the 8.1/2″ blue strip down the left hand side.  8.1/2″ black strips are placed horizontally above and below the central area.  The central area is made with a 4.1/2″ black strip on the left, a 4.1/2″ red strip above a red square.  To the right of these are a black square and a 4.1/2″ blue strip.

Sew the central area first

Sew the central area first

Sew the central area together first:  that’s the red strip with a black square in one row and the red square with a blue strip in the other row.  Join these two rows as shown on the right of the photo.

Add the black strips

Add the black strips

Now you can sew the black strip to the side of the unit and then black strips to the top and bottom.  Finally sew the blue strip to the left hand side and then the blue strip across the top of the block.

It really is a very simple block to make!

Make the sashing strips

Make the sashing strips

Make the sashing strips

For the sashing, sew together a 6.1/2″ grey strip with first a blue square and then a grey square.

You need to make sixteen blocks and sixteen sashing strips.

One quarter of the quilt

One quarter of the quilt

Assemble the V&A museum floor tile quilt

Make the quilt in four quarters, using four blocks for each quarter.  Form one row with two blocks and a sashing strip between them.  For the second row sew together two sashing strips with a red square between them.  In row three place two blocks with a sashing strip between them.

Rotate the blocks so that the blue is always on the outside.  This is how you form the blue square frame weaving over and under the black and grey strips.

Sew the pieces together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.  Make four of these sections.

Sew the four quarters together

Sew the four quarters together

For the the sashing between the quarters use the 22.1/2″ grey strips with just the one red square in the middle.  So rows one and three consist of two blocks with a grey strip between them.  Make the second row with two grey strips and a red square between them.

Sew the sections together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.

Add the border

Add the border

Add the quilt border

Finally, for the border I have basically continued the sashing.  You’ll need two lengths of 46.1/2″ across the top and bottom and two lengths of 50.1/2″ for the sides.

That completes the V&A museum floor tile quilt top.  It is now ready for layering, quilting and binding.  Full details of these steps can be found in the quilting for beginners section.

Here’s the video:

Queues of people!

Queues of people!

Birmingham Back to Backs

Yesterday I went into Birmingham centre and was rather surprised to see crowds of people just around the area that I was visiting.  It turned out to be the auditions for Britain’s Got Talent.

There were huge numbers of people waiting to get in to the theatre – they were very good natured and every now and then there was a huge roar of approval, presumably when someone well known arrived.


Back to backs

Back to backs

The reason that I was there was to visit a place called Back to Backs, which was absolutely fascinating.  These are houses set around a courtyard, but each house had another one attached to the back of it.  They had re created the interiors of the houses to show how they would have been at various times.  For this they had used actual families that had lived in the houses.

The earliest was set up as 1870, when the houses were built.  So much attention had been paid to making the details accurate that it was a real treat to see them.  In the most modern house – around 1970 – a tailor had been the tenant and there was evidence of his sewing all over the house.  I really wish that I had been able to take photos inside the house to show you.  I saw two sewing machines – one the treadle type which I’m sure you have seen, but the other was even older than that.  It looked very big and bulky and really interesting.  Apparently this tailor was so good that people used to come to him from London to get their suits made.

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  1. I love this quilt, so imaginative and inspiring. Thank you for sharing, I would love to give it a go some time.

  2. Sandra Barnett says:

    Oh Rose
    Another great design. Always look forward to Friday’s even though I am reading this on a Saturday. We went out yesterday for our anniversary, even though our anniversary is today.
    Thank you for all your adventures. I always learn something new. Have almost finished a Christmas quilt that I was working on last year I will be ready for this Christmas.
    Love the design of this quilt and it looks like it will go together quickly.May have to make this after I finish the 2 that i have pinned already.
    Have a great weekend with your daughter. Hope the weather clears for you. Right now the sun is out and it is 33 F.
    Have a great weekend and Happy Quilting.

    • Hi Sandra. Happy Anniversary for yesterday. Glad to hear that you’re starting (very) early for next Christmas! Our weather was much milder yesterday and we saw the sun so that was a real bonus. Samantha arrived around lunchtime and we spent a quiet afternoon chatting.

  3. Rosemary harding says:

    Hi Rose
    Sounds like you had a great time in Birmingham, and your quilt is lovely.
    I too love looking at different floors and Architecture seeing what could I design from them.
    How long did take you this time to make this one? I love the colours you have used.
    I want to make a quilt for a cot but not sure what size is a “cot quilt ” this is for a little girl I have pieces of pink fabric that I can use for it, but have no idea what to do. Can you help me? I would be very great full if you could.
    Thank you so much for sharing your work and your day trips out and about so interesting.
    Lots of love Rosemary x x x x????

  4. Love the quilt and pics. You seem to have so many fun adventures!

  5. You really do have a good eye for what would make a good quilt and this is so appealing. You’ve started me looking at floors in a different way now, haha!

    Birmingham seems to be a very interesting place and I appreciate being able to learn about some of it on your website.

    • Hi June. I can’t stop myself looking at floors – they can be so inspirational. Yes, Birmingham is interesting – I’m so glad that I moved here.

  6. Shirley McCormick says:

    Good morning Rose, I have photos of floors that I have seen in a series called Escape to the country, plus windows with their leadlight designs. I would like to thank you for all your lovely
    designs for quilts which you come up with every week. It’s amazing. Kind regards from Shirley, Western Australia.

    • Thanks Shirley. Some of those photos would no doubt make lovely quilts. Stained glass windows are always beautiful, aren’t they.

  7. Bonnie Jenkins says:

    Hello Rose,
    When we were travelling around Europe Bob and I kept taking pictures of the floors in various grand houses and churches. People must have thought we were a bit daft until I explained I was learning to quilt and hoe inspirational the patterns were. You are amazing at reproducing the tiled patterns as quilts. Absolutely fabulous..
    Bonnie Jenkins South Australia

    • Hi Bonnie. You must have a real treasure trove of design ideas now. Some places have lovely combinations of difficult and simple designs, so you could make several quilts from them.

  8. Dear Rose, I look so forward to your quilt tutorials, and shake my head as to how you find time to produce a new one every week and give away your pattern to all who are interested. I personally appreciate your hard work and then you invite us on a bit of a tour of your lovely country sharing your excursions, fascinating ! Your family and friends are so fortunate to have you. Wishing you and yours a lovely weekend visit with many more to come. Take are Lou

    • Thanks for your comments, Lou. I think that I’m lucky to be able to share both my quilting and my sightseeing. Birmingham and the surrounding area seem to have an endless supply of lovely places to visit. As to the quilting – I feel restless if I can’t get my teeth (or my sewing machine) stuck into a new project.

  9. Now isn’t this an interesting pattern? I really like it and of course the no 1/2 square triangles. I’m with you as far as the swastika is concerned. What you saw is what I saw.

    The Backs to back entryway looks like one you would see in a Charles Dickens movie setting.
    I’ll be looking forward to next Friday.

    • Thanks, Claire. Yes, it definitely looked like a Charles Dickens setting. They even had candles, gas lighting or electric lighting, depending on which era they were re creating. The houses are tiny, but in one of them there had been a family with ten children and two lodgers!

  10. Rose, This pattern is really nice. You are definitely aware of what would
    make a nice quilt. Thanks for writing about the “Back to Backs”.
    I find information like that very interesting.
    I would love to see where the tailor lived and of course the old sewing machines.
    Thank you Rose.
    Enjoy your daughter’s visit.

    • Thanks, Mary. The tailor was still alive when they created the museum, so he gave them all his old stock – fabrics, templates, buttons and it’s all on display now in the house. I forgot to mention in the article that one of the tenants had made glass eyes – both for stuffed toys and for humans. They were also all on display.

  11. Doreen Robin says:

    Amazing!! You are very talented to be able to create a quilt pattern from floor tiles, etc. I look forward to your newsletters, your creations and reading about your travels. I hope you have a sunny weekend.

  12. Sue Yasinsky says:

    I am a long time quilter, but I never would have thought of a floor tile pattern. Brilliant! Thank you Rose for all of your fantastic ideas.

  13. I like the quilt and the colors. Thank you for putting in the sight seeing tour as I love seeing and hearing things British! So unique the back to back houses!

    • Thanks, Louise. The way that the houses had been set up for different ages was very clever. The staff even put fresh food on the tables each day for the visitors to see.

  14. Kathryn Burgess says:

    I like the colors but not the secondary design of a swastika like design. Why not a more balanced design. Thank you for all the. Pictures. I always enjoy hearing about your travels.

  15. Carolyn McAllister says:

    Rose, I love your Friday quilts. The “Back-to-Back” homes look very interesting. Must go on my ever growing list of things to explore. Thank you, Carolyn

  16. Jo Seller says:

    Lovely, I must give it a try. Thank you 🙂

  17. Hi I loved your quilt and enjoyed the instruction they are very easy to follow ,I was very impressed with the way you managed to copy the tiles this way and your coloures were spot on well done and thank you for sharing that with us

    • Thanks for your kind comments, Inas. I sometimes think that I must look as if I have very low self-esteem – wandering everywhere with my eyes firmly fixed on the flooring!