Fabric and Cutting Requirements
Both background and stained glass colors are cut into
bricks 2 ½” x 4 ½”
blocks 2 ½” x 2 ½”
If you’re using scrappy lengths of fabric, it’s very speedy to first cut into strips, either 4 ½” wide or 2 ½” wide, and then sub cut into individual pieces.
For the background you will need 188 bricks, and 12 blocks. If you’re cutting all of these from one background fabric, it will require (22) 2 ½” strips or just over 1 ½ yards. Know that these can be scrappy as well, just be sure they contrast quite highly with ALL of the print fabrics, and read very similarly. For example, white-on-white prints work well, but a broad selection of neutrals may not be as satisfactory.
For the stained glass colors you will need about 450 bricks, and 12 blocks. I advise cutting some extra as you will want to be able to have a variety of prints and colors to choose from. I also suggest using at least 50 different prints.
TIP: I’ve included a couple of other color ideas in the layout
at the end of this pattern.
To give you an overview, you’re going to assemble all the rows first, and afterwards lay them all out, and then sew the rows together. This gives you the freedom to shuffle around the rows to play with the print groupings.
I found it most efficient to sew 3 of any one row, all at the same time. Let’s use Row 7 from the layout diagram for an example. It has 5 print bricks, 1 background, 5 prints, 1 background, and another 5 prints. So at your sewing station, choose 3 prints and lay them out as though you’re going to sew one right after another. Choose 3 different prints, and lay them right sides together on the first three. Sew the short sides of the first pair, don’t cut the thread, and feed the 2nd pair under the needle and sew. Again, don’t cut the thread, and feed the 3rd pair under. Now cut the thread.
Open these pairs (no need to press yet). Choose another 3 prints, and lay them right sides together on the right hand pieces. Again, sew the short sides, one right after another, without cutting the thread until after all 3 are sewn. Cut the thread, and open the segments at your work station. Now you can see how 3 strips are being formed. I found working on several strips at once helps immensely to keep the pattern straight, and not to get confused over what comes next. I also found that doing more than 3 strips at once got very cumbersome, but feel free to experiment to find what works for you.
Continue adding to the right side of all 3 strips, following the print/background layout for this row. When the entire rows are completed, trim all the threads between rows and press. It doesn’t matter which side you press to, as none of the seams intersect when the rows are sewn together (happy day!). It’s easiest to press from the wrong side first, to press all the seam allowances in one direction, and then to give it a final, thorough press from the front.
Keep all the “like” rows together; for example, all of Row 1. If you have numbered pins, use them to pin the strips together at one end. If you don’t have numbered pins, just a slip of paper with the number written on it, and pinned on, works too.
TIP: Hang all the groupings of rows over an open door. This keeps them
smooth and makes them easy to choose when you
get to the layout.
When all the rows have been sewn, it’s time to assemble. You will want a large design wall (or design floor) for this. Use the numbered layout diagram (near the end of this post) for a guide, and remember, all “like” rows are interchangeable. So if a Row 4 and Row 5 next to each other start with exactly the same print, you can swap out the Row 4 for a different Row 4. Stay relaxed about it though; unless you have used a LOT of different scraps, it’s very likely you’ll have a few instances of the same fabrics beside each other.
Mark the left side of Row 1 with a brightly colored pin (or slip of paper pinned on). This will help you know at a glance the orientation of the quilt as it grows. Sew Row 2 to Row 1, right sides together on the long side. I recommend pinning at least this first seam, matching the beginning and ending, and having the bricks offset. Press the finished seam toward one side.
TIP: If you need to assemble in several sewing sessions, number and
label the beginning of every row once you have decided on the final layout.
For subsequent rows, lay the new row on the assembled part (check your bright pin for orientation), and you’ll be able to line up the new seam allowances with the second row back. If you’re comfortable with that for reference points, you won’t need to pin any more long seams, you can just make tiny adjustments, if needed, as you sew along the row. Just sew, and sew…..and sew.
When all the rows are assembled, give the sides a final trim; there is sometimes a smidge of unevenness there. A large cutting mat and an 18” ruler are good tools to straighten up that edge.
Quilt and bind as desired. I chose to quilt my pink Stained Glass quilt with my signature Crazy 8 design (and, yes! it is done freehand). It adds fabulous texture, especially after washing and a wee bit of shrinkage.
Enjoy your Stained Glass Window quilt, and I hope it’s made a fair dent in your scrap bin!
If you make this project, please post pics to Instagram using the hashtag #stainedglasswindowquilt or to Facebook, tagging me on both as @stitchedbysusan. I also have a Facebook group for my patterns where you are welcome to post progress pics and ask/answer questions, and just generally hang out with other quilt makers.