The Dark Side...or Not Layer Cake Quilt




I love half square triangles!  They are neither half squares, nor triangles (what's up with that?) yet make an instant and dramatic impact on any quilting project.  Additionally, they are simple to make.  If you have a fabric line with roughly the same number of light fabrics as dark, it is a match made in Heaven.  HSTs were my first thought when I saw  Cinnamon Spice.


Can you say, "Wow!"  Big blocks and simple construction give each of these prints a place to shine.
This quilt is made from 68 HSTs, and 12 9.5" squares.  It is gorgeous and simple.


Gather up your supplies and fall in love with my favorite block!


2 Layer Cakes*
1/3 yd dark fabric*
1/3 yd light fabric*
1/2 yd for binding
5 1/4 yds for backing

*You can substitute 1 Cinnamon & Spice fat quarter bundle plus 2 dark 1/3 yard cuts, and 2 light 1/3 yard cuts for the Layer Cakes and 1/4 yard cuts.  If you like a scrappy binding, this choice yields enough scraps to do it.

NOTE:  Fat quarter bundles often vary in the number of pieces.  You need a total of 80, 10" squares to complete the project.  You can get 2 from each fat quarter.  A 1/3 yard cut of fabric will yield 4 10" squares.   This quilt could be made with 40 fat quarters, or 20 cuts of 1/3 yard.

When using layer cakes you will have enough pieces - Moda is pretty good at keeping the quantity consistent.  Each cake has 42 pieces.  The extra yardage, 1/3 yd of light and 1/3 yd of dark,  listed above is to supplement the number of light and dark blocks if needed.


Fat Quarter method:  Follow these instructions if you are using a fat quarter bundle.  If not jump to the section labeled "Layer Cake Method"



  1. Iron each fat quarter
  2. Cut, according to diagram above,
    1. 2, 10" squares from each fat quarter
    2. 3, 2.5" x 22" strips if you are interested in a scrappy binding.
  3. Cut 4, 10" squares from each 1/3 yard cut of fabric
  4. You should now have a total of
    1.  45, 10" squares (There are a couple extra...perhaps for a label?) and
    2. 105, 2.5" x 22" strips (but only if you chose to cut these)
  5. Now you have two layer cakes! 
  6. Proceed with layer cake method.

Layer Cake method:
  1. Open up your layer cakes and separate the light squares from the dark ones.  (Take some time to enjoy each of the prints - they are beautiful!)
  2. Remove 4 dark squares and 8 light squares from the piles.  Trim these to 9 1/2" square and set them aside.
  3. Draw a single line diagonally, from corner to corner, across the wrong side of 34 light squares.
  4. Pair each of the 34 light squares with a dark square.
  5. Sew a smidgen less than 1/4" from each side of the drawn lines.  I use a 1/4" foot on my sewing machine.  When I line up the foot and the diagonal line, the line is just to the inside of the flange.  Sewing 1/4" from the line will work as well.  (Truthfully, I don't know why I don't.  Maybe I don't completely trust that the resulting squares will be big enough.  Must be Vader calling to me.) 
  6. Cut on line.
  7. Open each block and iron seams toward the dark side.  (While doing this you can chant, "Come to the Dark Side Luke," but be careful no one is listening.  They might take away your sharp toys.)
  8. Trim blocks to 9 1/2" square.  You should now have 68 HSTs.

Now it gets a little more tricky.  Keep your wits about you and don't listen to Vader.  The pieces have to be arranged just right to make the pattern show up.

To make this easier I've split the task into four sections.  Each section is made from 20 blocks arranged in a grid of  4 x 5.   If you can get 20 blocks set right 4 times in a row then you've got this quilt conquered.  (Much like Vader and Luke.) 

You need to make two sections which rise from the left...

The stripes in this section rise from the left.

and two sections that fall to the right.
The stripes in this section fall to the right.

This is a good place to break out your design wall/floor/bed/curtain.  Find a surface that you can display the blocks on.  (The pictures above were taken of my blocks on a design curtain!  My dear husband made it from heavy flannel, a length of  PVC pipe and some chain link.  It hangs at the end of a hall in front of and unsightly boy zone.)  I found it helpful to lay out one left and one right section at the same time.  Distribute the prints , solids, and colors as desired.  Keep in mind that this is going to be a scrappy, random looking quilt.

Sew 5 rows of 4  - one at a time so that you can keep track of what you are doing.

Sew rows together along the long edge to make a quadrant.

Sew quadrants together so that the dark stripes turn 90 degrees at their meeting.  I sewed the 5 block sides together first (I don't like to sew really long seams.)  Then sew the resulting 8 block sides together to finish your top.

Layer and quilt as desired.





One 72 X 90 Quilt - perfectly sized for a twin bed and ample for snuggling up on the couch while watching a movie.  If you go the layer cake route it is a quick make as well.


Pop some corn and put  Star Wars in the DVD player while you stitch down the binding and "May the force be with you!"

(Don't forget to take a picture of your finished quilt and post it in the new Tops to Treasures Flickr group.)

Cindy Sharp
{topstotreasures.blogspot.com}


31 comments:

Barbara McD said...

Excellent quilt and tutorial! Thanks for sharing!

Dina said...

I enjoyed your instructions, and your sense of humor. Thanks. It makes a beautiful quilt, that seems accessible even to those of us who are not masters. Yet.

Suzan said...

Wonderful quilt and tutorial! At first I thought "now THAT'S what I should do with my layer cake"...but I realized I only have one each from a couple of different lines. Then I saw "fat quarter bundle". I have some French General that is going to be gorgeous made up into this quilt!

Mary @ Neat and Tidy said...

Excellent! This is what I want to see on the Moda Bake Shop - a well-made QUILT that is photographed and very professional looking in addition to a nice tutorial.

This kind of project is not something I see often enough here.

trish said...

I am in love with this quilt pattern and your quilt is gorgeous!!

pat/susie/resortmom said...

The link is broken for the printer friendly pattern...can you check it? Thanks so much!

tvbleak said...

Beautiful, I love half square triangles. Thanks for the recipe, well done. :^D

Shannon said...

Simply beautiful!! Thank you for sharing a great project that a novice like myself could actually attempt! :)

kitty said...

Una belleza de trabajo..!

Sue said...

The printer friendly option doesnt appear to be working I have tried a couple of times to access it. Lovely quilt ... I would love to make it.

Sherry said...

What a gorgeous quilt! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I will try later to print since the printer friendly version isn't working right now.

Ingrid Doornekamp said...

Help I want to print it but it but the link doesn't work It is a easy lvely one!!
Ingrid (NL)

Unknown said...

I, too, want to print this pattern. I love it. It says the page cannot be found. Please help.
bjrayidaz@gmail.com

Jo said...

I can't print too, the link doesn't work ... It's beautfull, I hope the link will repair .. thanks !

FourLeaf said...

This is so beautiful! I've been looking for the perfect pattern to make for my grandmother and this is it. :-) I'm pretty new to quilting with minimal experience and am just wondering a couple of things.

1. For the Layer Cake method, there are two 1/4 yards of dark/light fabric mentioned in the "ingredients." I didn't see those mentioned later in the tutorial so I was just wondering, are those meant to offset the layer cake if you need more of one or the other? I'd love to use the same fabric you used. Can you tell me what you chose for those 1/4 yards of fabric, as well as the binding/backing fabric you used?

2. Also, by "smidgen" for the diagonal seam, what is the total width needed between the two stitches in the middle of the block? Without much experience, I'm a little nervous about eye-balling it and don't want to find myself off at some point while making the blocks. Thanks so much!

The Tulip Patch said...

beautiful as always Cindy!

Paula said...

That is a lovely quilt. A grand idea. I wonder though, I have FQ bundles that are 12 FQ and some that are 30 FQ's and some that even more. What are you considering a "bundle"? How many is a bundle?
Also, can not print the recipe.
Paula

Nancy said...

Love this quilt. In the layer cake directions what are the 1/4 yd. pieces used for?

VickiT said...

GORGEOUS quilt. I really love it.

I know a few others mentioned this but can someone please check the pdf option for this? It is not working. Thank you.

Susan said...

Love this quilt...I have plans for making it with Christmas fabrics!

Pam said...

There is an error message when trying to download this recipe. I would love to download this recipe!!

Aggiequilter said...

The print link is still not working ??? Please fix !!

Sara said...

I think this is beautiful! I can't wait to try it! However the link is still broken. :( Can't wait until it is fixed!!!

Sue said...

Hello is anyone there ... the link is still not working??

quiltsbycheryl said...

It says the link is broken.....help!!

Quiltjane said...

Beautiful quilt and fabrics. Thank you for sharing.

Susan said...

what a stunninng quilt...these are endless possibilities to this pattern; thank you for sharing your wonderful sample...someone lucky is going to be happy!!

Unknown said...

This was a nice, easy pattern. I beefed it up to a generous Queen sized quilt with 120 blocks plus a 5 inch outer border using mostly French General fabrics. 100 x 110finished! Lots of comments on it and it's not even quilted yet. Thank you for the great pattern.

Sharlene B

Carole Anne Patterson said...

Beautiful quilt and great instructions. I'm going to try it with 1930s fat quarters that have been hiding in my stash for way too long.

Gayle Ballinger said...

Absolutely stunning! I have to make this! I think the pattern and colors will be perfect for my best friend as a gift! Thanks! I cannot wait to get started!

donnalc said...

Normally I look at quilt patterns and download them with the good intention of doing them later, but this one I actually did. I used the range called Surrounded by Love and I must say I'm very happy with the final results.