London Underground Quilt Pattern

London Underground quilt

London Underground quilt

The London Underground quilt pattern is based on the fabric used in the seating on a lot of the carriages.  While sitting there waiting to reach my destination I couldn’t help noticing what a good quilt design the seating would make.

Original seating design

Original seating design

The rectangular quilt measures 63″ by 83″, using 1.1/4 yards of white fabric, 2.1/2 yards of red and 3.1/2 yards of blue.  The quilt uses two different but very simple blocks and I’ve used twelve of the first block and six of the second.  They all measure 14″ square.

London underground quilt blocks completed

London underground quilt blocks completed

Cutting requirements for the London underground quilt

2,1/2″ squares:  ninety six blue, fifty four red, ninety six white

10.1/2″ by 2.1/2″ strips:  twenty four blue

14.1/2″ by 2.1/2″ strips:  twelve blue

6.1/2″ by 14.1/2″ rectangles:  twelve blue

2.1/2″ by 6.1/2″ strips:  twelve blue, forty eight white

10.1/4″ squares:  one red

14.7/8″ squares:  five red

For the border you will need to cut seven 2.1/2″ blue strips across the width of fabric.

Make the first block

This first block contains four red squares and a broken white frame while the second block is just one red square on a blue background.

First block layout

First block layout

The first block contains seven rows.  In rows one and seven place a 6.1/2″ white strip on either side with a blue square in the middle.

Rows two and six are made with a white square at each end and a 10.1/2″ blue strip in the middle.

For rows three and five you need alternating squares:  white, blue, red, blue, red, blue, white.

Finally row four, the central row contains just a 14.1/2″ by 2.1/2″ blue strip.

Sew the patchwork pieces together across each row and then sew the rows to each other to complete the block.  It measures 14.1/2″ square at this stage and you need to make twelve of them.

Second quilt block layout

Second quilt block layout

Make the second block

The second block is even more easy to make.  Place a 14.1/2″ by 6.1/2″ blue rectangle at top and bottom.  For the middle row place a 6.1/2″ by 2.1/2″ blue rectangle either side of a red square.

Sew the pieces of the middle row together first and then sew all three pieces to each other.

The block also measures 14.1/2″ square at this stage and you need to make six of them.

Cut the triangles

Cut the triangles

The triangles

In addition to the quilt blocks, this design also needs red triangles in the corners and at each end of the rows.

For the corners I have used a 10.1/2″ red square cut across both diagonals to make four triangles.  At the ends of each row a bigger triangle is needed:  I have used 14.7/8″ squares cut along one diagonal only.  I know that the red squares look the wrong size relative to each other, but that’s for the simple reason that I miscalculated and used half size squares before I realised my mistake.

Rows 1,2 and 3

Rows 1, 2 and 3

First 4 rows of the London underground quilt

I have used a diagonal setting for this quilt.  That means that the layout begins in the top left hand corner of the quilt, rather than being made up of horizontal rows of blocks.

I am counting row one as the red corner triangle at the top of the photo.  This comes from a 10.1/4″ red square.  Make row two with a 4 square block beneath the corner triangle and a red side triangle (from 14.7/8″ squares) on either side of it.  Check the photo to be sure of the placement of these triangles – the right angle (square) corner of the triangle is placed against the bottom of the quilt block.

Make row three with three blocks and a red side triangle at each end.  Now you can see the sides of the quilt beginning to form – the red triangles are forming straight lines away from the corner triangle.

I find it safest to sew the blocks together across each row and then sew the rows to each other as I go rather than waiting until I have laid out all the blocks.  That way I can be sure that the blocks are alternating both across the rows and down the columns.

Add row 4

Add row 4

Lay out three of the first block alternating with  two of the second block alternating for the fourth row.  On the left hand end of the row place a red side triangle.

Corner triangle on row 4

Corner triangle on row 4

At the other end of the row place a red corner triangle.  This corner triangle forms the top right hand corner – the next row will start to form the right hand edge of the quilt.

Row five

Row five

Last 4 rows of the London underground quilt

Make row five also with three of the first block alternating with two of the second block.  This time you need to place a red corner triangle at the left hand end of the row.

End of row five

End of row five

On the right hand end of row place a red side triangle.  Note that this time the square corner of the red side triangle is placed against the top of the block beside it.

Row six

Row six

Now the rows of the quilt are reducing in size, forming the bottom right hand section of the quilt.  So row six contains only three quilt blocks with a red side triangle at each end.

Rows 7 and 8

Rows 7 and 8

Rows seven and eight are very similar to the first two rows.  For row seven you need one single block with a side triangle at each end.  Row eight is the final corner triangle.

If you haven’t been doing this as you go along, sew the blocks and triangles together across the rows and then sew the rows to each other.

Use blue for the border

Use blue for the border

Add the quilt border

As there are so many triangles along the edges of the London Underground quilt there’s quite a danger of the fabric stretching a little.  So it’s a good idea to add the border as soon as possible.  I’ve used 2.1/2″ strips of blue fabric.  Do measure your own quilt, but for my quilt I used two lengths of 59.1/2″ for the top and bottom, with two lengths of 83.1/2″ for the sides.

That completes the London Underground 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:

View from Frankley Beeches

View from Frankley Beeches

Although I have lived in Birmingham for a few years now, I am constantly coming across places that are completely new to me.  Last week I was told about a place called Frankley Beeches, just a few miles from here.

At the very top of the hill there’s a small area of beech trees and the view from there is stunning.  You can see down the fields to Frankley Reservoir with Brimingham spread out behind it.  The wood is run by the National Trust.  Apparently on a good day you can see right across to the Berwyn Range in Wales, 70 miles away.  I was also told that the next point to the east as high as Frankley Beeches is in the Ural Mountains in Russia!

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  1. Carol Tambourine says:

    Love getting your posts every week. Thanks.

  2. You are observant – well done making a totally original quilt pattern! I have an hilarious picture of a man sitting on a London underground train wearing a t-shirt that matches the seat pattern – will dm you on Facebook. We’ll be watching the rugby this weekend as well.

  3. Were or was? Which is correct?

  4. My boys went to Rugby school so I remain a fan !! Enjoy.

    The quilt pattern works for me, thanks.

  5. Sandra Barnett says:

    Oh Rose,
    Love the quilt and the colours. Looks fairly easy to make and quick. Have not been quilting yet. The day will come soon.
    Our wedding anniversary is on Sunday, so we are celebrating the whole weekend. It will be 34 years.
    Love that you have so many great things to see around you. Love seeing the pictures. Our weather is cold and grey. Suppose to get more snow Sunday night. Hope Spring comes soon.
    Have a great weekend and enjoy your games. Relax and Happy Quilting

    • Hi Sandra. Have a lovely weekend – 34 years together is a major achievement. I hope the celebrations go well. Like you, I am longing for spring to arrive. I have snowdrops flowering in the garden so I feel spring can’t be too far away.

  6. I can picture you now sitting with your camera taking a picture of the seat. If I was sitting next to you I would have rolled my eyes and wonder. “Why is that lady taking a picture of a seat?” Worthwhile because it’s a nice pattern.
    I was talking to my niece (the baby’s grandmother) and it’s back to making the owl and pussycat quilt. She’s into cats now and says “meow.”

    Your English countryside is beautiful.

    • Hi Claire. Yes, I did get some strange looks when I took the photo. Luckily everyone was far too polite to tell me what an idiot I looked! Lucky you found out about the cats before you’d finished the quilt with owls only.
      The first time that I flew to England from Africa I was struck by how the landscape seemed to be so green and the fields so small – I was used to the large brown areas of the African countryside.

  7. Sue Wolfe Craighead says:

    I like this quilt, Rose. It’s simplicity in color and design make it a good gifting quilt. We closed on our house in Tennessee this past Wednesday, the 31st. Moving day is set for the 38th. It’s a fourteen hour drive, with six dogs and a small trailer. Lol With the back of the SUV full of dog crates and dog beds, we are packing luggage and items we will need immediately at the new house. I am just hoping for good weather, with no rain, snow , ice nor wind during the move and arrival .
    It’s a farmhouse on 3 acres, with a small river running along side the perimeter . So, it will be a hectic chaos for the next two months but it’s worth it. Going home to family, old friends and the beautiful Great Smokey Mountains. It will be a sweet blessing.
    Have a happy weekend and hope your weather is nice to you. ????????????

    • Hi Sue. My very best wishes for your move – what a major task that’s going to be! Your new property sounds absolutely wonderful – I hope you’ll be really happy there.

  8. I went to Nottingham with my husband who lived in a village near by when he was evacuated during WW2. Thank you for your constant supply of interesting quilting stuff, lovely photographs and awakening memories

  9. Love the design, really pretty Rose. Hope you are well, and wishing you a good weekend.

  10. Love the quilt Rose. And your photo. There are many beautiful. Views in England have many memories i love the Derbyshire and Nottunghamshire. Area as i was born in Nottingham. Have fond memories.

    • Hi Irena. I didn’t realise you were born in that area. My daughter, ex husband and I all went to Nottingham University – like you we have many fond memories of the area.