Thursday, July 10, 2014

RJR Cotton Supreme Solids - A Summer Sunrise Quilt (free pattern + GIVEAWAY)

RJR Fabrics contacted me and asked if I wanted to try out their line of Cotton Supreme Solids. OF COURSE I DID. And it took me a few weeks to figure out how I wanted to use them--I had the most beautiful stack of solids I've ever seen just sitting on my shelf for a solid month with no clue how to utilize them. I've been participating in #theplacematproject swap on Instagram, and used triangles for my first placemat. I loved the way they looked, so I doodled up a much larger triangle pattern for these solids.

-Rotary mat, ruler, and rotary cutter.
-Fabric scissors
-Template plastic*
-optional: glue + {glue basting tip}

*When I replaced all my rulers a month ago, I went searching for a huge triangle ruler. I couldn't find one ANYWHERE that was bigger than 8" equilateral. What I did manage to find, though, was {template plastic}. After a lot of measuring and marking with Sharpies, I used my dull rotary blade (the one that is used for everything but fabric) to cut the template out. I wanted 14" tall triangles, so my template is 14.75" tall. To find the side measurement, I cheated and used {this website}. All you have to do is put in the height of your triangle and it gives you side lengths--which this non-math major REALLY LOVES.

-1/2 yard cuts of 11 different fabrics--5 of those should be low volume/lighter solids and 6 should be darker/more vibrant colors.
-Between 1/2 and 3/4 yards of fabric for the binding (amount depends on how you do your binding, which I'll explain in a little bit)
-4.5 yards of fabric for the backing.

Cut a 14.75"x width of fabric strip and save the excess. They can be used for a scrappy binding, accents on the backing, etc, but you will need them for one of the triangles.

With your strips, use the triangle template you made (or just cut triangles if you have lots of spare time and you're good with rulers--I am always busy and terrible with rulers, so the template worked very well for me). You will lay it on the strip (which is NOT folded in half) and cut.

At the ends, you'll end up having two halves of triangles. You will need some of these later on! Don't throw them out or sentence them to living in the scrap bin just yet.

You'll end up with a pretty stack of triangles.

Once I had the triangles cut, I made a too-small makeshift design wall with some of my Quilter's Dream batting. The problem lies entirely in the fact that my batting is 60"x60" and my quilt is a finished 72x82… Poor planning on my part. The picture isn't great, but it's important to lay all of your triangles out to make sure none will be too close to similar colors.

While you are planning the design, you also need to make your accent block. I cut scraps and sewed a bunch together, then used my triangle template to cut it to size and place it in the layout. I find that it's easiest to take pictures of your layout on a phone or camera, that way when you've sewn multiple pieces together, you can look back and see where they belong in the quilt top.

As I was finishing up the binding, I came across a tutorial for glue-basting the triangles to make them easier to sew. If you're into glue-basting, I say GO FOR IT! I'm still waiting for my first tips, but I definitely plan on using glue the next time I make triangles. Bias cuts aren't so great for getting the points to be nice and sharp.

Sew each triangle together with your standard 1/4" seam, press toward the darker color, and line your strips up.

Sew each strip together.

Ta-da! You have a quilt top that probably took less than a couple of hours to put together. I found that the most time consuming part was definitely cutting and finding the perfect layout. The triangles are so large that it's a quick, easy finish.

What I love about this layout is that usually, your triangles all have to meet perfectly in the points. With the way these rows are designed, with the half triangles on the side edges, there's not as much stress involved. No need to worry about points matching perfectly if there are no points to match!

If you have the patience to  piece a back, by all means DO IT!

But I am the laziest quilter.

I started doing this a while back to make easy, quick backings. Take your backing fabric, fold it in half (right sides together), then sew about an inch from the edge of your white selvedge. When you get to the fold, use your rotary cutter and ruler to cut the entire fold off. Then use it to cut off the selvedge (and you can save it for crafts and such!. Now unfold, press, and you have a huge quilt back that took less than ten minutes to assemble! Yay!

Now find yourself a good, quality batting and baste!

Here's where I got entirely too involved. I'm new to free-motion quilting, and I wanted to experiment a little bit. I also wanted to incorporate straight-line quilting. I made the incredibly time-consuming decision to quilt each triangle individually. I do love how it turned out, but it was very time-consuming. The lighter colors (the shades that point downward) are quilted with straight lines, and the darker/brighter colors have free-motion quilting. I experimented a little bit by quilting cursive into five of the blocks--I used lyrics from my favorite songs by The Avett Brothers.

Sorry in advance for the photo spam.

(Ignore the marker...It will come right off in the wash)

My cousins were visiting for the week, and they wanted to help me FMQ. We drew designs, then I traced them.

I have so many more pictures I'm restraining from showing y'all.

My binding tutorial is the laziest/quickest tutorial I've ever experienced. If you have one that's even quicker, by all means, let me know!! First, cut your fabric into strips 2 1/4" wide (you'll need 8 of these strips if you use the full width of quilting cotton). Then sew them together on the bias and trim scraps. Press seams, then fold in half. No need in ironing your binding--you're going to fold it over and wash the quilt anyway! Seems like a waste of time to me to press it in half. Leave a 5" tail, then start sewing the binding down onto your quilt with a 1/4" seam allowance. If you sew the binding down to the front, you'll need to hand sew it down to the back. If you sew the binding down to the back, you'll need to either hand sew it to the front or pin/clip the binding down and machine sew to the front.

I like hand sewing the binding, I find it very relaxing. So I usually sew to the front then turn it over and hand sew to the back. It helps if you follow the line of stitches 1/4" from the edge, where you sewed the same binding on the other side of your quilt.

I really wanted to try new quilting designs on this. I am definitely a beginner when it comes to FMQ (I need to take a class but I really am the laziest/poorest college student quilter) so I needed the practice. I'm going to be completely honest with you--this fabric was AMAZING to quilt with. Last summer, when I hadn't yet realized how amazing quilt shop quality was compared to the cheap "fabric" store quality, I had more problems than I could list, but these solids are so amazing. OH and the best part about these solids? I screwed up when I cut a couple triangles, so I went to the store to buy more of one color--AND THEY WERE THE EXACT SAME SHADE. I had so many problems with other solids because the dye lots can be so incredibly different.

 And the best news about this fabric? You can win a fat quarter bundle of all the colors I picked out! I call this bundle "Summer Sunrise" (and the quilt pattern is the Sunrise quilt).

To enter the giveaway, there are two different ways to enter.
  1. Leave a comment on this blog post!
  2. Repost my original post on Instagram. Must follow @hayleysews as well as @rjrfabrics. Use the tag #rjrsummersunrise

Giveaway will open Friday, 7/11 at 8am and end Tuesday, 7/15 at noon EST. Open to residents of the US and Canada only.