Quilt-As-You-Go is so much more than just log cabins! Try this new Bloomin’ QAYG technique for a fun effect.
I’ve been asked a number of times for a tutorial on how I created the Newtown Auction pillow. I finally got my act together and created this little how-to. I’m calling it Bloomin’ Quilt-As-You-Go, as it looks a lot like a flower starting to bloom. If you have any questions, just leave them in the comments and I’ll try and help you out and/or modify the tutorial so it makes more sense.
I learned the basic scrappy quilt-as-you-go via a great tutorial over at Oh, Fransson! Her version is lovely and straight, like a log cabin block. It was the perfect introduction to QAYG, and I’d highly recommend giving something small like this a shot to get comfortable with it.
I’ve taken the same process and made it wonky. The technique is the same, but it sort of requires a bit of mental geometry — the ability to see where you’re headed before you get there.
I’m participating in the Pretty Little Pouch 6 Swap, so I thought I’d create the front panel of the pouch using this method, and write up this tutorial as I went! I hope my partner loves the pouch I’m creating.
- Backing fabric
- Scrap fabric
- Cutting mat
- Fabric scissors
- Ironing board
- Spray basting
- High-quality thread
- Sewing machine
- Walking foot
- Rotary cutter
There will be three layers to this panel. A backing fabric, the batting, and the scrappy top. Unlike a normal quilt sandwich, the back of your panel will be not so pretty. So it’s perfect for making things with a lining — pouches, bags, pillows, etc. It doesn’t work so well for an actual quilt.
You’ll want your iron and cutting mat close by, as well as your scissors. I lower my ironing board and put it right next to my table, as well as put my small cutting mat right next to my machine. This saves me from walking over to my big cutting table after each step.
Choose your fabrics. You can do this with any fabrics, but I find that a gradation of color works particularly nicely, as well as a range of values — dark to light. For this pouch, I chose a selection of pinks, purples, and grays. Cut strips between 1″ and 2″ wide, or pull from your stash. It’s perfect for scrap-busting.
Cut a piece of batting the size of the panel you want. My panel is 8.5″ x 8.5″. Back the panel with a utility fabric. For this pouch, I used an inexpensive cotton from JoAnn (seriously, like $1.99 a yard) since it will be inside the lining of the pouch. I cut it a little wider than the batting, just in case it shifts. You can spray-baste them together if you’d like.
Set up your machine to quilt. Lengthen your stitch a bit, and use high-quality thread. This is a thread-intensive project, so you might want to wind an extra bobbin or two, depending on how big your panel is, or how many you’re making. Just to make this small square I used nearly an entire bobbin!
I didn’t use my walking foot — my machine quilts fine without it. But if you’re more comfortable quilting with it, go for it. Pick the fabric you’d like as the center of the “flower,” and quilt it, right-side up, straight to the batting. I like to start it a bit off-center, but you could start it anywhere on the panel.
I used simple straight-line quilting, but you could do some FMQ or use other patterns. To save thread, when I came to the end of the fabric, I turned the panel, stitched three stiches down, and then stitched back the other way across the fabric. It actually goes pretty quickly once you get the hang of it.
Here’s a quick video I made of how to do the turning: QAYG Video Tutorial. Can I figure out how to embed it? Of course not. Does it have a bit on the end where I pick up the camera to turn it off? Indeed. Are my thumbs blocking the camera half the time? You betcha. But the fact I even made a video in the first place should be cause for celebration. Hip, hip, hooray!
Here is what should have:
In a traditional log cabin, you’d lay the next piece perpendicular to the first piece. Instead, lay your second piece face down at an angle, so the two pieces are right-sides together. Sew along the edge of the piece with 1/8″ seam.
Open up the two pieces and press the new piece away from the first piece. Quilt that one using the same technique you used on the first piece.
Add another piece across from it using the same method. Basically, instead of making a square, you want to make more of a pentagon, with five sides instead of four. So every piece will be angled. I use each fabric (except the first fabric) two or three times as I work my way out from the center. You’ll see this more as it starts to come into form.
Continue adding pieces at an angle. You want to make sure to cover up all edges and seams with the pieces you’re adding. You’ll see below that the light purple piece (right-side down in the photo) covers the two ends of the darker pink pieces, so that when it’s opened, those ends are hidden.
You can already see the flower starting to take shape.
Keep adding pieces. It’s hard to go wrong — I’ve had whole pieces I’ve ended up covering up. Just make sure that the pieces you are adding are covering up the ends of the strips as you go — you don’t want frayed edges showing.
When I start to get to the edge, I like to trim as I add pieces. I trim after I open up a piece and iron it, but before quilting it. That means I’m not quilting anything extra.
Keep going around in a circle, adding pieces. You’ll be surprised. You’ll cut a large piece of fabric, and by the time you’ve added others on top of it, only a small triangle is showing in the end.
It’ll take some getting used to, but as you see the shape take form, where to put the next pieces will become more clear. It’s difficult to visualize at first, but after a while it should make more sense (I hope!)
Keep on adding. You’ll use more fabric strips than you’d expect.
Soon you’ll be finished! Trim down your edges and square up your block (if you’re making a square). You’re ready to use this panel when you make a bag or pillow or mug rug!
Let me know if you give this Bloomin’ Quilt-As-You-Go a shot — I’d LOVE to see what you create with it!
More Quilt as You Go Fun!
- Learn Quilt-As-You-Go: Easy Big Stripes Panel
- Bloomin’ Quilt-As-You-Go Tutorial
- Seaside Boardwalk Quilt-As-You-Go Tutorial
- Scattered Geese Quilt-As-You-Go Tutorial
- Go Fly a Kite Quilt-As-You-Go Tutorial
- Step It Up Quilt-As-You-Go Tutorial
- Bear Mountain Quilt-As-You-Go Tutorial
- Scottish Thistle QAYG Block
Comments & Reviews
I absolutely LOVE this – I’m going to try it this spring!
Thanks Jess! Let me know how it turns out!
diana alexander says
Thanks for sharing this! I can’t wait to go home and try it…you make it look so easy :)
Let me know how it goes! I hope the tutorial makes it as easy as I think it is…
I really love the colours you’ve used this time (I love the original one too, but I’m a sucker for purples). Your instructions are so clear, I might just give it a go!
And good work on making a video!! Congrats on your new “clogging” skill.
Thanks so much! I rarely use purple, but I really love how this one turned out.
Marcia R. says
Oh My Goodness! This is my favorite tutorial ever! If I wasn’t sitting at work, I would go grab some fabric right this minute and give it a try! I loved your pillow, and you are so gracious to share your secrets. In fact, I started following you because of that pillow. ;-)
Definitely take pictures of what you make! I’d love to see it :)
I love, love, love this and cannot wait to try it! I think you did splendidly with the video – you inspire me to stretch my technical skills! Thank you for your wonderful Christ filled blogs, I am grateful to be in the company of other believers. G-d bless you!
Yay! It was definitely exciting to make my first-ever video :)
I loved this when I saw it on Flickr, thanks for the tutorial. My mum loves Mackintosh roses, and this reminds me of one, so I think I will make it for her.
Awesome! I’d love to see what you make :)
Fantastic thanks for sharing! So pinning it :)
Thank you Jenniffier!
brigitte mauthner says
Thank you for your generous free tutorial. I love it a lot and it will be my first attempt to give it a try with the “quilt as you go” method. Have a nice sunday. Here it is snowing in a nice way.
Thanks for stopping by, Brigitte! I’m going to Austria in August. :)
Thank you so much for posting this tutorial, I would have never figured this out on my own! I love the technique.
You’re welcome! Let me know if you make anything with it :)
Thanks so much for the tutorial. I LOVE this! Your pouch was gorgeous. Great work. Off to try my own…
Thanks Lynne! I would love to see what you come up with!
Karen S. says
Thanks for posting the tutorial! I’m looking forward to giving this a try. Your pillow and pouch both turned out beautifully!!
Thanks Karen! Please come back and leave a link so I can see what you make! :)
Cori – Thank you so much for the tutorial and the inspiration! The first time I saw your pillow, I knew EVENTUALLY I would attempt to make something similar. Today is that day. When my pillow is complete, I’ll post a picture.
OOOH! I can’t wait to see what you make!!
Hey Cori! Just wanted to let you know that I just completed a pillow using this tutorial. It came out awesome and I am so happy with it! Your tutorial was so thorough and very helpful. Here’s the link to my post:
Thanks again for posting this!!
Soooo cute! I’m glad my tutorial worked for you!!
I love this! Thanks for the great tutorial! I found your blog through the giveaway.
Glad you found your way here!
Inspired a blue version today in my studio – there will be many more as teachers gifts!
Thanks for such a wonderful tutorial!
You’re welcome Anna! Your pillows are gorgeous :)
Wow, I really love it and could see it becoming a great looking bag or pillow! Thanks for sharing, I pinned so I would not forget to try this sometime.
Lorinda Davis says
I love this! Thank you for the tutorial!
Thanks Lorinda! If you make something, please share! I love seeing what people make using the tutorial :)
Debra Neiman says
Love this for a tote pattern
After seeing it on Pile O Fabric, I love it for a tote pattern too!
Thanks so much for sharing your tutorial for this pillow! I pinned the blue/yellow one awhile back and I really want to get going on one maybe for a gift, or for myself, or both!! You are really gracious to share this for free! I have a question… When you’re making a quilted pillow cover, do you make it 1 inch smaller than the pillow form? Or do you use a fill? Thanks!
I do make it slightly smaller than the pillow form, but not too much smaller since it’s pretty stiff and doesn’t give a lot. Start out with a square that’s about an inch bigger than the final size pillow you want — you’ll lose some as you square it up as you go along. Let me know how it goes!!
JANICE WEIR says
I HAVE JUST STARTED QUILTING ,SO MANY DIFFERENT THINGS TO LEARN, WOW!!!!
Hi Janice — it’s never-ending! So many things to try! :)
Bev Floden says
Does the quilt block become thick after adding over the ends?
Will try it soon to see for myself.
thanks for the directions.
Hi Bev — the quilt block is definitely thicker than a standard quilt block. That’s why it’s better to use it for pillows or a bag instead of an actual quilt.
This looks like such fun. Can’t wait to try it after the Christmas rush! Thanks so much for sharing!
Thanks Lisa! Once you make something, please share! I’d love to see what you’re making!
This is really unique! I was wondering if a person couldn’t just sew several of these for a lap size quilt? Being there is, or appears to be, a good inch lap at the edges of each square? Or is this only good for a pillow pattern being you’re adding your batting on in the beginning? It is beautiful…love the colors you have chosen as well.
Because you quilt as you go, the back is UGHLY. So you’d have to add another layer of backing fabric and then quilt again — but I think that would ruin the look on the front. Make sense? It’s also incredibly dense — not very pliable and comfy. That’s why I think it’s so good for pillows or panels for a bag. If someone does make a quilt, I’d LOVE to see it!!
Noreen Kasman says
I mostly do quilts based on Sharon Pederson’s Reversible Quilts, 2 At a Time, and if you choose interesting fabric for the ‘back’, this tutorial can make a very nice reversible quilt with one side quite busy and the other side calmer (maybe with two fabrics alternating like a checkerboard.
I want to know what you do with your thread ends, especially near the centre of the block.
Cori George says
At this point, I just leave them all hanging with threads. There are far too many for me to bury — that’s why I am always turning these panels into something with a lining.
Kathy F says
I love the finished product! Question, is there a lot of bulk with all the layers? Thanks
It’s definitely heftier than pretty much anything else I sew — that’s why it’s perfect for a pillow panel or a for making a bag :)
i love this tute! any tips for making it into a mug rug without an ugly back? should i try quilting as i go just to the batting and then adding the backing with some very simple quilting? thanks again!
I made a mug rug here: http://letseatgrandpa.com/2013/01/12/seeing-red-a-mug-rug-for-becky/. I actually QAYGed both the front and the back (so there were two layers of batting) and then just bound them together. Because it’s a little mug rug, it was OK to be a little thicker than normal :)
I can’t wait to try this. Place mats and maybe a funky quilt using Christmas fabrics. Thanks for sharing.
Love this pattern. Gonna make it 6 1/2 inch square and will make three to form into a hanging pocket panel for bills,, cards etc.! Great for gifts!!!
Sooo much fun. Didn’t get the start flower so great but will try again
Cori George says
It definitely takes practice! I’d love to see what you made!
best day trade says
Hi there to every one, the contents existing at
this website are truly amazing for people experience, well, keep up the good work fellows.
I couldn’t resist watching the video after reading your comments on it. I was expecting much more fun from it. LOL. Next time mess it up a bit more for our pleasure, ok? Thanks for the QAYG. I have tried it a few times without much success. Yours looks easy. Gonna give er a go.
Cori George says
I’ll try my best to do a worse time next time! hahaha!
Pole Top Box says
Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just your articles?
I mean, what you say is valuable and all. Nevertheless think of if you added some
great images or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”!
Your content is excellent but with images and videos, this site could definitely be one
of the best in its field. Superb blog!
I think this is among the most significant info for
me. And i’m happy reading your article. But wish to remark on some basic things, the web
site style is perfect, the articles are very great.
Very good job, cheers.
Here is my web site :: Best Acne Products; allthingsmystic.com,
Debbie Pine says
Saw your auction pillow on Pinterest and dug around till I found your tutorial. Thanks so much for sharing! I have no clue how to include a pic but I just finished one today and I can’t wait to make more! Took way more fabric than I planned on and had a few pieces get totally hidden but its awesome.
Cori George says
Awesome Debbie!! I’d love to see if you’ve posted a photo somewhere else online (Flickr, Instagram, whatever)!
absolutely love this one too!! maybe this one for my scraps !! lol either way thanks so much for these tutorials, I am so a visual learner!!
Cori George says
I’m so glad you found both tutorials helpful! :)
I tried this as my first QAYG project. I know, I should have started with something simple, but that’s not how I roll. I made a pillow using yellow to green batiks. It was easy, fun, and it turned out so well I am giving it as a gift. Next week I think I’ll try the North West panel. Thanks for the tutorials!
internet users says
Great goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you are just
too magnificent. I really like what you’ve acquired here, certainly
like what you’re saying and the way in which you say it.
You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it wise.
I can’t wait to read far more from you. This is
really a wonderful web site.
My blog internet users
how do you put them together?
Love this, and thanks for the pics. It looks simple enough for me to try.
Love the pics. Looks easy enough to try.
Dane Ruser says
I love your quilt-as-you-go projects — very inspiring! I would like to see PFD files attached so that your fans can better print them for reference. I want to make a “Hey, let’s make stuff” book for my reference library. Thanks for sharing your tutorials.
I am planning to make a duvet cover (considering it has been in my mind for several years, who knows when it will get done) and wondered if quilt-as-you-go would be an appropriate method. I continue to use the cover alone when it becomes too hot for the duvet.
Considering that the back of the quilt would be hidden by the fabric used for the other side of the cover, ugliness is not a concern. The stiffness might be a problem so I will start with a smaller project first to get a feel for it (unintended pun!). Obviously I would have to make squares or rectangles to make the top and then stitch them together.
Thanks for your tutorial. I am pinning it for when I actually get started.
this is amazing and has actually inspired me to try and make some cushion covers for my lounge. Thank you!!!!
Cori George says
Do it! I’d love to see what you come up with :)
Thanks for the tutorial, I experienced for the first time QAIG.
I’d like to send you I picture but do not know how :)
When I decided to take on quilting last Christmas, I ambitiously started with a baby blanket. But once I got to the quilting part, I realized I needed practice first! I used your qayg tutorial to make an accompanying pillow first. Would love to get your thoughts!
Here’s my post on it: https://byanela.wordpress.com/2016/01/31/my-first-quilted-project/
I loved this pattern. So gorgeous. I made a pillow following it and write on my blog, likning to your tutorial. Here’s the post: Quilt as you go » Ikochan
http://www.ikochan.se/2016/04/02/quilt-as-you-go/ .Thank you for a wonderful tutorial :)
Thanks! Looks like an easy yet unusual Potholder set for me!
I loved this design so much that I took it in a bigger direction! Instead of quilting as I went, I kept adding the bloom on the quilt top until it reached about 5 feet. I can’t wait to do another one, this time quilting as I go and making different color blooms!
Cori George says
THIS IS SO COOL! Thanks for sharing!!
So inspired! Is it possible to use this technique in making a quilt? The thickness of the seams would be an issue I would think. Your thoughts and suggestions greatly appreciated. Wonderful job, though. I may give this a try. ?
amazing. thank you for the inspiration
I love this and purple is my favorite color too. Thank you for making a tutorial. :)
Cori George says
You’re so welcome Courtney!
My sister’s middle name is Rose. I’ve been looking high and low for a pieced (preferably) rose block for the corners of the widest outside border. Without paperpiecing!
This is so perfect, thank you so very much for posting it. I may do it with a light clth foundation, rather than QAYG, depending on my final decision(s) on the border quilting.
However, this is such a perfect Bloomin’ Rose, all other hard-sought options have fallen off the design board. Great timing for it to show up on an email listing too, I’m starting on adding those borders this afternoon.
BRAVA on the design AND the tutorial.
I did it but have no idea how to post a pic
I love this and I love the fabrics that you have choosen, can you tell me the names of each of the fabrics you used? I would love to try to make this!
Batsheva Sida says
Thank you for explaining an easy way of doing that. I have plenty of scraps and did not know how. I was looking for inspiration.
Wish I could post a pic, but mine is sure not as good as yours. But I love this and will do some more!!!!
Helen Caudill says
Love this block … haven’t been quilting for various reasons but this is too good not to try. Thank you so much for this.
I have read the comments and nowhere does it tell how to join the blocks together. I love the idea of qayg but I can only use so many pot holders. I would like an actual quilt out of them.
Rhonda G says
I adore this idea and LOVE your fabric choices. Right now I have five big projects in the works, so as soon as I get one or two out of the way, I hope to come back and give this one a try. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.
My scraps were all odd shapes, but I really enjoyed trying this technique. I made a pillow for my friend who recently lost her mother. The scraps of fabric was from her mom’s robes and pajamas – I made her nephews memory quilts and these were scraps from that for her pillow. Thanks for the tutorial.
Those sound like beautiful projects of love and friendship, and I’m sure they mean the world to them! Thank you so much for sharing how you used the ideas I shared to bless others :)
How do you prevent the rat’s nest from showing on the backside?
I wish I knew, lol! The backs of my projects always look messy, but the fronts look beautiful, and that is the important part :)