Posted in crafting, Folk Art, multi media, paper crafting, Quilting & Patchwork, sewing

A Bit of a Maze – Rail Fence Quilt

There’s nothing nicer than sitting in a comfy chair with a fancy quilt on you lap or across your knees or sitting in the garden with a cool drink on your own little piece of softness.

Try this it can be made using scraps or a loved fat quarter bundle or whatever takes your fancy, so browse your craft room, laundry cupboard local fabric shop or the internet and make your choices.

For this quilt you will need:-

  • 6 Fat Quarters (or equivalent fabric) – The Cotton Craft Co, Pamela, Fat Quarters
  • Wadding 36”x36” Heat N Bond Iron on Fleece
  • Backing fabric 1 metre square Seeded Fabric / Calico
  • Fabric for binding; (about a half meter) – Crafters Companion Squares Fabric
  • Matching threads for quilting and sewing
  • Air erasable pen / quilting pencil
  • Use 1/4” seams throughout

Are you ready? …   …   …

1.  Cut the fat quarters into 1.5” strips using a rotary cutter and a mat.   Quilting is good for the brain so sharpen those little grey cells to calculate how much you will need.  (For this quilt I was using 5.5” squares finishing at 5”.

2.  After sewing 5 strips together, press the seams in the one direction (but keep them all in the same direction). The strips should be sub cut at 5.5”, this is your 5.5”block, which when sewn with a 1/4″ seam gives a 5″ square block.  Simple….

3.  The blocks are then laid out into a pattern, or alternatively you can sew them together randomly. All squares must be sewn together, using a ¼” seam throughout. Be careful with accuracy as otherwise it will change the size of the quilt.  Depending on the number of blocks used, the size of the quilt can change. (I used 36 blocks). I turned my blocks by 90 degrees to produce a pattern and this resulted in a completed quilt top.  I have to be honest, I was not watching the colour scheme too closely, so it is a little odd.

4. Press the top, make sure all seams lie flat. Measure your wadding so it is a few inches larger than your top on all sides.  This allows for the natural shrinkage that occurs when you quilt and provides for trimming and squaring at the end.   Place your square of wadding on a flat surface and lay the quilt top, face up on top of the wadding. Depending on how you intend to baste these layers together, spray glue, pin or tack together join these 2 layers.

basting 2

5.  At this stage you can commence some foundation quilting, this will ensure that the layers stay true and flat.  Stitch in the ditch along each of the full length seams and capture the layers, if you sew carefully you shouldn’t even see these rows of stitching.  if you have one you may wish to use your Walking Foot and this will stop the layers of fabrics from moving or creeping.

6.  If you wish, you can do Free Motion Quilting at this stage, with 2 layers in place or you can add the backing layer and quilt through all 3 layers producing stitched patters on both the top and the bottom.

Free motion quilting can take a bit of practice and if you have some spare fabric, make a few small quilt sandwiches (2 or 3 layers of fabric) and test your free motion skills before you launch into stitching your lovely lap quilt.

To start free motion quilting, the feed dogs need to be released and dropped and the utility foot changed to the darning foot. Free motion can produce a pleasant pattern, like leaves, hearts or feathers, or a series of random stitches over the entire quilt top, it is like drawing with your needle and thread.

7.  If you haven’t already done so, you now need to add the backing, lay the quilt top, with the wadding attached, right side down (RSD) on a flat surface and lay the backing fabric right side up (RSU). Again it’s up to you how to baste these layers together. I prefer to spray baste the whole quilt then flick it over and check that everything is flat and that there are no wrinkles in either the top or the bottom.

8.  Regardless of how carefully you sew the three layers together, you will have some unevenness and this needs to be trimmed to square it up before the binding is fixed. Lay your quilt out and trim the outer edges of all four sides, make sure you keep the outer   blocks the same size and otherwise it will be noticeable.

final trimming pre binding9.  To bind your quilt, prepare the binding fabric by pressing and straightening the edges. Cut a sufficient length of 2.5” strips to go right around the four sides of quilt, taking account of corners and an overlap to finish it off.  See photos on how the lengths of fabric should be joined, they are joined on the diagonal giving an almost invisible seam.

Press the ‘joins’ open and then fold in half, wrong sides facing and press well along the fold. Pin or clip the binding to the top side of the quilt at the outer edge. Place the quilt under your presser foot and keeping the quilt as flat as possible, sew a quarter inch seam around the edges. At the end of each length, stop a quarter inch back and sew of at a 45 degree angle.

mitred front

10.  Re-commence sewing, beginning with sewing at 45 degree, then sew straight until the next corner and until all sides are complete. Remove from machine, flip the quilt binding over and clip or pin it to the back. You will notice that the beautiful mitred corners that you achieved on the front, come together beautifully at the back of the quilt. The binding can then be finished by hand sewing the whole way around, or you can machine stitch, if you are doing this, I recommend that you stitch it from the front to ensure its neat but ensure you check that the back of the binding is caught and that there are no wrinkles or twists.   Press the binding lightly and enjoy.

diagonal black background


I have loved making 'things' as long as I can remember. I love quilting, patchwork, fabric and multimedia crafting. TheCraftyPixy as a name started as a bit of fun but I love 'playing' so much, it has stuck! Family and friends ask 'where is she, is she playing?' meaning am I upstairs in my craft room working or playing.... I make samples of quilted and fabric items for television, magazines, social media and for demonstrations. I sell handmade items and take orders or special commissions. I have committed to two craft fairs this year at the North Down Museum in Bangor. As well as this I'm also working with a friend printing personalised items to order; clothing, caps, stationery and craft, there is a large selection of designs already available (and this is growing daily...). From here ..... the world is my oyster or my lobster- depending on who you listen to.

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