You Zig I’ll Zag Quilt

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Who’s ready for a large yet quick quilt out of a layer cake? Well, it looks like Paco is!

I’m Rebecca Silbaugh from Ruby Blue Quilting Studio here for yet another tutorial using Moda Layer Cakes! This quilt goes together in a snap, plus it’s HUGE!!! I’m also going to show on my blog how to recreate this design using Charm Squares for a miniature version. Come on over and take a look! It’s darling! I’ve also got a giveaway going on, so stop on over and enter for your chance to win. How about we get quilting?


1 Layer Cake
Setting Triangles – 1 Yard
1st Border – 5/8 Yard
2nd Border – 2 Yards (if piecing) 2-1/4 Yards (if tearing along Straight of Grain)
Backing – 4-1/2 Yards
Binding – 3/4 Yard

Alright, I’m not doing laundry – seriously. I’m helping you out. You know how layer cakes come usually with the colors grouped together. Well, we don’t want that, so toss them one by one in your dryer and turn it on for a few minutes WITHOUT HEAT… It’ll mix all those squares so the colors are nice and evenly distributed. See:

It does all the work for you. Now just grab them one by one and stack them back together…

Now onto cutting, you will cut all layer cake squares the exact same way. I’m right handed so I cut all my squares as shown below, but if you’re a leftie, you can reverse the direction. Just make sure you cut out the same pieces and pay attention to the piece placement at the end…

Cut off a 2-1/2″ strip from the bottom of the square.

Trim this piece to measure 2-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ Set aside (you will make a pile for each piece cut, put it into a pile where the piece was cut from… You’ll see in the diagram below…)

Next cut a 2-1/2″ strip from the side of the layer cake square.

Trim this into a 2-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ piece.  Set aside.

Then cut another 2-1/2″ strip.

Trim also to 2-1/2″ x 6-1/2″.

Cut another 2-1/2″ strip.

Trim to 2-1/2″ x 4-1/2″. Set aside.

One more 2-1/2″ strip.

Trim to 2-1/2″ x 4-1/2″. Set aside.

Cut the remaining piece into 2 squares each 2-1/2″. Set aside.

Your piles should look like this. Each piece cut from the square and put back into roughly the same position. There are easier ways to cut these pieces, but for the directional prints, this makes your “rings” of the block look more cohesive.

Also, if you are confident enough to do it without mistakes, feel free to cut up to 4 squares at the same time.

Here comes the fun part, you have all the pieces cut out from all the squares (you’ll need at least 41 squares for this quilt), now mix them up.

Keep one “ring” the same, but mix the others by restacking the pieces. Maybe on one stack move the bottom half to the top, another move the top 1/4 to the bottom and move the bottom 1/4 to the top of the last “ring”. Keep the colors the same for each “ring” as shown above.

Time to rev up that sewing machine… Start sewing the lone squares to the square of the next “ring”. Press all seams for the blocks to the newest piece sewn.

* If you have to change a piece due to color, pattern, whatever – change the lone square, NOT the outer “ring”

Then sew to the bottom the companion to the 1st “ring”. Remember to press the seams toward the new piece.

Branching out, time to add the next piece. You will see we will make all of the blocks starting on the side, then sewing on the bottom, then back to the side, etc. etc.

*Remember if you must change a piece due to color, pattern, whatever – change the pieces already sewn, NOT the new “ring”

Then add the companion.

Last color…

And the companion. Yay, you should have at least 41 squares each measuring 8-1/2″ square.

Here’s an option – I was playing with this layout for the quilt, but I didn’t LOVE it… So I tried out this one:

And I liked the faux zig zag effect. I’m sure there are several options out there… Maybe there’s one you’ve thought of I haven’t! Try it out and let me know!

So this is what I decided on, an on point setting with 5 blocks by 5 blocks with all the holes in between filled with more blocks = 41 blocks needed. Now, about those edges…

You will need to cut 2 strips 13″ wide from your side setting fabric. From the first strip cut 3 squares each 13″. From the second strip cut 1 square 13″ and 2 squares  each 7″.

The 13″ squares will be your side setting triangles. Cut each one of these in half twice on the diagonal. (Sorry I was so excited to be making this quilt I forgot a picture! Can you believe it?!)

The 7″ squares will be your corner triangles. Cut these in half once diagonally as shown above.

* Disclaimer – these pieces have just been cut on the bias. Bias is a 4 letter word for a reason. If at all possible, try not to handle these pieces as much as possible once cut. The bias can stretch and go wonky, and that’s just not nice…

For each row, you will need to put on either a corner or side setting triangle to square up the quilt. As you can see the side setting triangles are bigger than the block – this is perfect. Everyone deserves a little wiggle room. Align a cut side with the block paying attention to the correct direction needed for that particular row. Align the cut corner of the triangle with the corner of the block, and just let the rest hang over the edge.

Once all side setting triangles are sewn onto each row, go ahead and sew the rows together. Then you can add the corner triangles.

Pin the center of the block as well as the center of the cut edge of the triangle. Align the pins and sew the pieces together.

Your edges should come out all nice and neat, but if they don’t – the side setting pieces were bigger than needed so you can trim the sides down (remember the wiggle room). If trimming, remember to leave a 1/4″ seam!

Now go ahead and add those borders, here’s what you’ll need:
1st border – cut 7 strips 2-1/2″ wide.
2nd border – cut 8 strips 7-1/2″ wide (if piecing)

And while we’re at it:
Backing – cut into 2 equal pieces 2-1/4 yards each
Binding – cut 9 strips of the width you prefer. I used to like 2-1/2″, then I discovered 2-1/4″ until I fell in love with 2-1/8″. It’s up to you, just cut 9 of them!

This quilt will finish approx. 75″ x 75″. Perfect for those cold winter nights to snuggle on the couch! Isn’t that just huge?! And to think most of it is from a layer cake – Score! Don’t you just LOVE quick projects?!

To soften the appearance of the design, I quilted swirls all over with a flower mimicking the border fabric every once in a while (you can see one to the bottom center)

I love this quilt and so does Paco, my crazy little Chihuahua. I got his seal of approval, but now I’m afraid I’ll have to fight him for it all the time!

Looks like I”m losing that battle already! How is it that a 5 lb. dog can steal all the blankets in my house? It’s a travesty, I swear!
Well, I hope you like this quilt as much as I do and remember that I will have a similar tutorial on how to recreate this design in a miniature using Charm Packs!!! Yay!
Also, don’t forget to enter the giveaway, come on over for your chance to win by clicking here.
Have a great day!
Rebecca Silbaugh

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