Brick Quilt Tutorial

I'm so excited to have just finished my first quilt of 2012- AND the first quilt I have ever made for myself.  I considered not blogging about it, as I didn't take pics as I went, but I think this quilt is so easy to make, that maybe I could describe it well enough.!

So, this is for novice sewers. As long as you have sewed SOMETHING before, you can do this- really!

Time Required (we're not messing here):
Cutting- 2 hours
Sewing Front- 30ish hours
Binding- 2 hours

Materials Required
7 yards total for front (this is where it can be super fun, pick 7 different colors and get a yard of each, or go to 14- 1/2 yards, its all up to you!)
7 yards total for back (all 1 fabric)
1 1/2 yard for binding (or, we'll discuss the alternative if you scroll wayyyy down)

Cutting your material
I like to cut as I go, so only cut your front first.
Make sure to wash your fabric before you do this, as it will make for a better final product.
 Unfold and iron your yardage. Take your sewing ruler and measure out strips of 4 inches each.
After cutting strips, cut out 11 inch rectangles. Your rectangles should now be about 11X4 inches. You should have roughly 176 rectangles (oh my god).

Now, once you've done THAT with all your yardage, take a total of 22 rectangles and cut them in half. You'll now have a total of 44 smaller rectangles that measure roughly 5.5 X 4 inches.

Yeah! I know that took awhile, but you have now done the most tedious part. Time to start sewing!

(If you're freaking out at the idea of sewing, use sewmamasews awesome tutorial to get started.

Sewing the Front
This is the super-easy part. You are about to make 22 total strips of fabric. Be excited! 
The brick pattern is beautiful in its simplicity:
8 bricks long, of equal length
10 bricks long (5.5 X 4 inch brick, then 7 11X4 inch bricks) the one 5.5 X 4 inch brick)

So you need 11 of the 8 brick lengths, and 11 of the 10 brick lengths. That's all. Take a breath, this can take awhile.

All you need to do is sew quarter-inch seams connecting fabric. Sew right-sides together. Mix up the rectangles so that later you will have a random pattern. It will take a few hours (more like 6) to make all the strips. Take breaks, and enjoy the sound of your machine!)

When you are all done, it is really important to iron the seams, so that everything will lay flat.

Done? Awesome. NOW its even simpler. With Right Sides facing together, take 1- 8 brick length strip, and 1- 10 brick length, and sew up quarter inch seams to connect them. Once you have the 2 strips joined, PRESS THE SEAMS. After you iron, the strips will lay flat. Rinse and repeat, alternating the 8 and 10 brick lines...Press each time to keep your fabric manageable.

You can sew this together however you want, but TIP: Break up the sewing into patches. I recommend 3 pieces of 7 strips (one will be 8 strips), and then sewing them together. There may be a lot less swearing with that method.

And you're done!

Cutting and Sewing the Back
This is so easy! Time: 30 minutes tops.
Cut your 7 yards in half. With Right Sides facing eachother, sew the 2 piece together length wise. Press seams when done.

You're seriously done with the back now.

The Quilting Part- an honest discussion is needed.
You know those beautiful quilts you see that inspired you to give it a go? Well, if you're a novice like me and DO NOT have a long-arm machine, you aren't going to be able to quilt your own quilt. If you do have a long-arm, you are so advanced that I am shocked you would read my tutorial :)

So... what to do? You could TRY to quilt your quilt, and then get frustrated that you cant reach the middle of the quilt... and have hours of stitch ripping. OR you could send your quilts to get quilted. I recommend the 2nd option.

Honestly? This can be an expensive venture. Shop around, read reviews.  Personally, when my local quilt store broke down, I was at a loss where else to go. But the quilt I just made found an awesome quilter! I used Georgia Girl Quilting, and she did a lovely job. For a 90" X 90" quilt, she charged 81 dollars. That's kind of a great deal. She added the batting to it from her on stash, so it cost me a total of $99, plus shipping my quilt to her. All in all, good deal. My old shop charged me $140 for similar services. As long as your quote is somewhere in between, I think you've found a good deal.

So, you're quilt is made! And they send it back to you. Last step?

I might over simplify this, so if you need clarification, check out my favorite tutorial on binding here.

Ok, so take your binding fabric and cut lots of 2.5 inch strips the length of the material. You want to cut on a diagonal (it can be any angle), to make sure it won't fray as much later on in life. Then, with right-sides together, sew your strips together (quarter inch seams again). Its going to seem like one impossibly long strip of material, but trust me- better too much than too little. On my quilt, it took 11 YARDS of 2.5 inch srips... yech.

The lazy way out of binding
 Well, I'll be honest here. I HATE making binding... I don't know why. So for the quilt I just made, for the first time I bought the binding tape. I'll admit it. But when you check out Slightly Bias' selections? Well, I was sold. And they had the yellow polka-dot fabric that is no longer sold that I wanted, so double win!

So now its all sewn! Press open seams (I sound like a broken record).

Now, I could explain how to bind the quilt, but why try what I know someone else has done better?
Follow Jay-bird Quilts' instructions...

 And you are done!


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