I’ve been working on the Catkin quilt for the past few days. (The free pattern for this quilt is here.) Panel prints can be a little tricky. I always prewash my fabric before sewing, and while the two cat panels shown below are designed and printed as squares, once I’d washed and dried them they were slightly rectangular.
Luckily, this quilt pattern is designed to compensate for size variations in the panel. I needed to cut out the panel shown on the left, above. I didn’t worry about the finished dimensions of the panel…I focused on getting the same amount of border design on each side of the panel. Note: The ruler below is not placed for cutting. It is showing that my cuts on each side of the panel were one inch from the edge of the white stripe. You can see it better in the photo following this one.
The detail below shows that the panel was trimmed one inch from the edge of the white stripe. It’s important when you’re cutting to not only align the ruler with a (hopefully straight) motif, but to also make sure that you’re cutting each side squarely to the adjoining sides. (This doesn’t mean that your cut panel will be a square, but that each corner will be a 90 degree angle.) If your chosen motif (the stripe in this case) wavers in straightness, go ahead and fudge that part…it’s more important to make sure that your corner angles are all square to one another. In this case, I found the stripe motifs to be consistently straight. My cut-out panel measured 21″ wide, and 21-1/4″ long.
Since the center of the quilt needs to be square, the pattern calls for spacer strips. These are wider-than-needed strips that are sewn to the panel. The panel-with-strips is then trimmed to the correct size. You can see in the photo below that the strips on the sides are slightly wider than the top and bottom strips. But this piece is now a square. Yay!
Next, I strip-pieced a bunch of strips, and cut them into slices.
The slices were then sewn together into blocks.
And, jumping a couple steps ahead, I’ve got the center of the quilt done. The spacer strips around the center panel worked perfectly.
I’ll be using spacer strips again on the border. The results will be posted next week!