Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tutorial: Step-Up Zig Zag Quilt

This tutorial has been a long time coming.  Twenty weeks to be exact!  Yikes!  How does time just slip away like that??  I don't know, that's one of those questions that just doesn't seem to have an answer.  So how about this, instead of waiting another day to post this, how about I just go ahead and take care of it now?  Seize the moment?  Carpe Diem and all of that?

You might know that I'm a garment sewer first, and a self-taught quilter second.  I've been working on this whole quilting thing for about 6 months now, basically since the beginning of the year.  It was one of my Resolutions for 2013, I wanted to learn how to make a quilt.  So, I tackled it the way I tackle any other project: head-on at full-speed.  I saw a scrappy, zig-zaggy quilt online somewhere and loved the way it looked.  The problem was, there was no tutorial or link or how-to.  I had to break it down and figure it out for myself.

First, I did some math and made a practice square (which I now can't find a picture of) and since it worked out so well, I just went for it.  I went and bought some fabric, took it home and turned it into my third ever quilt top, yippee! 

If you're at all interested in trying your hand at quilting, you should totally give this one a try.  It's fast, easy and pretty darn spectacular when it's complete.  

(Shoot, it's pretty darn spectacular along the way, too, I just want you to finish it.)

Grab yourself 2 1/2 yards of two different fabrics, one light and one dark for a really good contrast and let's get going!

**Make sure to iron your fabric before cutting** 
*Seam Allowances are 1/4"*

-Fold your fabric in half, with wrong sides together and matching the selvage edges; square the end before cutting into strips.
-Cut each length of fabric into 2 1/2" strips.
-With right sides together, stitch one light and one dark strip together down the entire length.
-Place sewn strips right side down on ironing board and press seam to one side.
-Now let's get ready to cut...

Cut strips into 4 1/4" squares; keep each strips squares in their own stack.  This will help keep your project organized later. 

(One row equals one 4 x 4 square.)

Lay your squares right side up, using the above picture for a guide; the first square with the dark strip on the right, the second with it on the bottom and repeat.

**Start with the opposite for the second/every other row, light on the right and bottom**
(does that make sense, I hope??)

(sew seams with a 1/4" seam allowance)

 Press seams to the side as you go.

Continue sewing squares into one long strip; stitch strips together as you get them finished.

Pretty soon, you will start to see your quilt top grown and evolve right before you!
Exciting, isn't it?       

Keep going until you have stitched all of your squares into strips and your strips into rows.  Pretty soon you'll be all done:

Approximate finished size 68" x 68"

So, that was pretty easy, right?  I'm thinking that I might have to come back and update this tutorial with better pictures and step-by-step instructions, but for now I hope this will work.  I'd love if you pinned this/made it/tagged me in a photo etc.  Let me know what you think!

Happy Quilting!


  1. Looks great! Ya done good. I never would have guessed you were a newer quilter.

    1. Thank you! It helps that quilting is in my blood, I suppose, and I've had a lot of inspiration amongst my friends, too :)

  2. Great job! And we love having you in our quilting bee, too!

  3. I have been thinking about making a quilt for a fund raiser raffle. This is IT!!! Thank you for sharing!

  4. Really pretty and easy instructions.. I made a table runner.

  5. You mention buying "2 1/2 yard of two different fabrics". Does that mean that you buy 2 1/2 yards total or 2 1/2 of each fabric making 5 yards total?

    1. Hello! Yes, you will need to buy 2 1/2 yards each of two fabrics. If you look on my newest blog post for a whole list of fabric shops and discounts. Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Hi! I am a newbie ...do I cut the squares 4 1/4 or 4 1/2 to get the finished 4 inch block? Thank you!

    1. Hi Deblynne, You need to cut them 4 1/4". It's been a few years since I made the quilt, so I had to zoom in on the picture to check where my ruler was. If you're nervous, maybe you could make a scrap fabric sample to check. Thanks for checking out my blog and this tutorial!

  7. If you sew two 2 1/2" strips using a true 1/4" seam allowance the new strip will measure 4 1/2" and therefore to create a square, you must cut at 4 1/2" mark. Apparently these strips were cut with a too generous seam allowance, thus changing the mesurement to 4 1/4".... With that your finished block is less than 4". Hopefully those who attempted to this realized the error and compensated.

    1. Thank you very much! You are absolutely right. This was done three plus years ago on a machine that didn't have a 1/4" foot. Now that I've made five or six dozen quilts, I know a lot more! It's been awhile since I've looked at this tutorial, it looks like I need to update! Thank you again for taking the time to correct my quilt math!