DIY Halloween Quilt and Shams
SUPER EASY DIY QUILT & SHAMS – my first attempt at a quilt and sham – just in time for Halloween time!!!! EEEEKKKK YAY!
So let me first start off with a seamstress I am NOT – so when I say this is an easy project…..I totally mean its an EASY project – however that being said…..I wouldn’t start off with making a King size quilt (like I did) – trying to work with that much fabric and finding a place to lay it out was challenging. I love love love Halloween time and for years I have wanted Halloween bedding but couldn’t find something I liked enough to pay for….so I finally decided to give a DIY project a try. It took me almost a week to complete the quilt – I have two children of my own – I suppose I need to pay attention to, smile, also my two nieces are over a lot of the time plus I watch two other girls – so needless to say having a houseful of kiddos (which I love!) doesn’t make it easy to just dive in and complete a project – so much thanks to the hubs as I was able to get this project done – he entertained our boys while I got my crafting on! Weeknight evenings I was able to get the cutting done, the back panel sewn together and most of the front panel sewn. Then the weekend, one of my boys stayed with gpa & gma and the hubs drove rc rockcrawlers with my other boy – so that meant get to crackelackin on this quilt – this kind of time doesn’t come by often so I needed to get going! Our dining room had been turned into the sewing room and away I went!
Here are the basic steps I took to make my Halloween Quilt:
- Rotary Cutter (looks like a pizza cutter but for fabric, I used a medium sized cutter)
- Self-Healing Cutting Mat (used with the rotary cutter, has a ruler grid, I used a 18”x24” mat)
- Ruler (obviously can measure things, also used as a straight edge for cutting, I used a 6”x24” ruler)
I ended up purchasing the above three items in a Fiscars package, I figured this is my first project and who knows if I will love doing this or not – so decided this package was great for me – a beginner – it was around $50 at Jo-Ann AND I used a bunch of coupons – Jo-Ann regularly has great coupons via their app so definitely utilize that – oh and they will take competitor coupons so do that also!! Mostly I was happy with it, the ruler would slip around a bit while I was trying to cut the squares so next quilt I will probably put little felt stickers on the bottom of the ruler to help with that issue until I invest in a “professional” type of ruler – turns out I LOVED this project and can’t wait to make more……and I can’t wait to add some quilts to my shop – actually this one will get listed in my shop since it did turn out lovely – YAY!
- Scissors (sewing scissors will be helpful but you mostly will cut with the rotary cutter)
- Seam Ripper (oops – well it happens – so having one on hand is a must)
- Fabric (well of course we need fabric)
- Batting (I used 100% cotton low pile)
- Thread (I used 100% Cotton thread for quilting)
- Pins (straight pins with plastic heads)
- Basting pins (basically curved safety pins for quilting)
- Hera (gently scores fabric)
- Sewing Machine (I just have a basic Brother machine – got it from Walmart and it worked great!)
- Iron (again basic iron from Target and worked great, although I decided I do not like my ironing board cover so that will get an upgrade!!!!)
I used 100% cotton and was on the lookout for Halloween fabric – honestly the selection wasn’t the greatest but I managed to find a few I liked. Try not to mix fabrics since they will wash and wear differently – but again for this project I used 100% cotton. I purchased my fabric from Jo-Ann (and used a bunch of coupons of course) and I did not prewash. It was super stressful for me choosing the fabric, since I had no idea how to arrange the squares or honestly if I was going to even be able to pull this off – but I pushed forward – nothing ventured nothing gained right??? And I WANT to gain a Halloween quilt! So I just narrowed down to a color collection (black/gray) and threw in pop of color (orange of course). I decided my “main” fabric would be the gray with black witches (that was the one they had the most of so by default that ended up being the main fabric) and I just built the fabric collection around that one. Once I had picked the fabrics I liked I arranged them together to make sure I liked the collection – then I headed to the cutting counter and waited and waited and waited – it was super busy so next time I am shopping for fabric I will pick the fabric then get my cutting counter number and while I am waiting I will make the final decision or final cuts with the fabric while I wait to have my number called – for sure that will be my plan of action on busy days!
Now truth be told here…..I didn’t exactly use a pattern, I kinda made mine up using excel – weird and probably not the best route – but that is what I did……I searched online for a pattern and I just wanted a basic basic basic quilt – so I thought Excel has little boxes and I will figure it out – wing it! I am actually surprised this quilt turned out lovely – lovely enough for me to be proud to list on etsy. I have a comforter that fits our bed nicely so I measured it – 108”x108” – there got my size, easy peasy. Next I figured I really didn’t want to cut and sew a gazillion little squares together so originally I thought 12” squares (figured out how many squares I would need – guess my math teacher was right – I will need to use math later in life), then I got to cutting and long story short my squares ended up being 9-1/2” cut – oops – apparently I cant accurately use the handy dandy ruler info on the cutting mat – geez – so had to go back to my excel spreadsheet and make adjustments – more cutting for me! In the end it was fine, I wonder if this quilt would have looked as nice with the bigger squares. With cutting you do want to always remember you will sew with a ¼” seam allowance on all four sides (for example my finished 9” squares I need ¼” seam allowance on all sides which means I would need to cut 9-1/2” squares).
CUTTING THE FABRIC
Time to get your cutting mat, ruler and rotary cutter – yay – remember the rotary cutter is sharp sharp sharp – so be careful and keep it away from any little hands that may be lurking around your lair – yeah yeah p.s.a. is over…..now as with any project it is important to have a good base – and the cutting of the squares is our base….
- Match the selvage edges then press the fabric (this is to square up the fabric)
- Trim up the uneven edges or frayed edges so we are starting with some crisp edges
- Line the center fold with a straight line on the cutting mat
- Line up your ruler, square it up with your fabric and use the long edge as your cutting guide
- Hold the ruler with a wide hand and keep those fingers out of the rotary cutters way and cut with enough pressure that the cutter will cut through all layers of your fabric.
- Measure twice, cut once – I clearly didn’t do that and I paid the price…..never again
For my king size quilt I cut the following:
- 90 each 9-1/2” squares (front of quilt squares)
- 4 each 9-1/2”x 108-1/2” border pieces (front of quilt border)
- 2 each 44” x 108-1/2” pieces (back of quilt)
- 1 each 21-1/2” x 108-1/2” piece (back of quilt)
ARRANGING THE SQUARES
After cutting all my squares I arranged them by fabric and then counted each, I used an excel spreadsheet to arrange the squares and then I used that as my guide and laid the squares on the floor. I stood back to take a look, I figured there wasn’t a right or wrong, I just figured could I live or sleep with this arrangement??? Yepper and decided I was ready to get sewing.
From the floor I picked the squares up by row, I used a post it note to let me know which row each stack came from. I had 10 stacks of 10 squares
SEWING THE SQUARES
- Take square 1 from your stack (top square of row 1) and lay it face up, take square 2 (now the top square of row 1) and lay it face down on top of square 1 so they are right sides together, pin the right sides together (make sure you have your pattern going the way you want it – I had witches and had to make sure each time my witches would be facing upright instead of having some doing some crazy upside down acrobatics).
- Sew the squares together using a ¼” seam – it is very important to use the same seam allowance throughout this project – keep note of where the fabric is lined up with the pressure foot and keep all the fabric lined up at that place.
- Next open up the pair you just sewed together, take square 3 (now the top square of row 1) and place face down on top of square two, pin them together and sew with a ¼” seam.
- Repeat taking the top square for the row, placing face down, pinning and sewing ¼” seam for the remaining squares in this row and then repeat for the remaining of the rows. For my project I had 10 rows of squares.
- At this point I pressed the seams of each row, I alternated the direction that I pressed the seams for each row. Odd rows I pressed the seams in one direction (left) and the even rows I pressed the seams in the other direction (right) – I didn’t press these seams open, just to the side.
- Now…..sewing the rows together – place row 1 and row 2 facing each other and matching up the seams. The seams should line up with each other, pin at the seams to keep your squares square. Repeat this for all rows, I was so pleased how most of my seams lined up perfectly.
Using the 4 border pieces I already cut: fold the border strip in half to find the center, pin the center of the strip to the center of an edge of the quilt top, pin the ends of the strip to the quilt, do this on two sides of the quilt top then press the borders open and flat. Repeat for the remaining two side. You will need to trim as the remaining two strips will be slightly longer (I trimmed them once they were sewn on), press then done with sewing the top together!
I decided I would do a reversible quilt……so for the back of the quilt I simply just sewed three pieces together – witch printed pieces on each side of a solid black piece – this part was easy easy – only had to make sure I have the witches flying the same direction of up! Quilt back sewn together – yes!
BASTING/PUTTING THE THREE LAYERS OF THE QUILT TOGETHER
This is one of the steps I wasn’t super thrilled with doing a king size quilt – I had to find a place in the house where I can lay the quilt out flat – so I ended up having to move a bunch of things in the living room – blah – of course my child and youngest niece LOVED making a fort in the pile of bean bags and rolled up area rug – anywhooo back to the quilt…..this step is called basting and basically is a temporary hold of the three layers of the quilt – the top, the batting and the bottom (in my case the reversible top – booya).
- Iron the fabric so it is wrinkle free
- Put the bottom fabric face down on the floor, pull the fabric wrinkle free and tape it down (I used painters tape)
- Put the batting on top of the bottom piece and smooth out
- Lay the top piece face up on top of the batting and bottom piece, smooth it out
- Use basting pins to secure all three layers together (basting pins are basically curved safety pins and I loved them, they worked perfectly) – start at the center of the quilt working the way out, check the back of the quilt to make sure the pins have gone all the way through also fix any puckers.
I chose to run diagonal seams for my quilt – this is the other step I wasn’t thrilled with having such a large piece to work with – when sewing the center seams it’s a ton of fabric to be aware of! To mark my sewing lines on the border I used a tool called hera (it scores the fabric and worked great) – sewing through the squares was easy enough since I used corner to corner as my guide. So to start the machine quilting part – I rolled the quilt from two corners towards the center of the quilt (I wish I had taken a picture of this part but sadly I failed) – since I am making diagonal lines I took one corner of the quilt and started rolling toward the center and repeated for the opposite side – the roll on one side will make it easier when using the machine (with the king size my roll barely went through the machine area – whew) – before sewing each diagonal line I scored the top and bottom on the border so I can keep my stitch straight on the border – once I was done with all the sewing each of the squares on the top layer of the quilt has an X through it – the rolling of the quilt definitely made a huge difference in this sewing stage.
Last step – finishing off the edges! YAY!
I trimmed the excess batting and bottom piece fabric using the rotary cutter and my ruler to make clean edges.
- Cut binding strips – 2-1/2” wide and will need to go around the entire edge of the quilt – I pieced scrap pieces together until I had 2-1/2”x 432”
- Press all the seams open then fold strip in half lengthwise and press
- Start at the center of one side, pin the raw edges of the strip to the raw edges of the back side of the quilt
- At the corners miter the corner, at the corner fold the strip up 45 degrees, put a pin to hold that corner in place, then fold the strip down to match the raw edges with the next side of the quilt, there will be a little triangle that sticks up, pin both sides of that triangle
- When the strip gets back to the start fold the ends down so the strips meet-up, press with an iron to crease the strips, pin together and sew the seam – now the binding strip is joined
- Sew the binding to the back of the quilt using ¼” seam, at the corners stop at ¼” away from the end of the side, lift the presser foot and rotate to the new direction
- Once all four sides are sewn to the back, fold the folded edge of the binding to the front of the quilt and pin it in place, pin pin pin! Stitch the binding down working from the front of the quilt – and……..done!
- Place quilt on bed and admire the craftiness!!!
Seeing the quilt on the bed was exciting – yes I did this but it felt empty without pillow shams – so I made three pillow shams to go with my Halloween quilt – the shams are super easy and quick to make!
King size sham:
1 each 26” x 36” , 1 each 26” x 35” , 1 each 26” x 9”
- Along the 26” length of the 26” x 9” piece fold over a ½”, iron, fold over ½” again and iron
- Along the 26” length of the 26” x 35” piece fold over a ½”, iron, fold over ½” again and iron
- Sew both pieces on the hem 1/8” from inside edge
- Lay the 26” x 36” piece right side up and lay the 26” x 35” right side down aligning the 3 raw edges then lay right side down the 26” x 9” piece aligning the 3 raw edges on the opposite end
- Pin all around, sew ½” from the edge all the way around, trim a little fabric from all four corners
- Remove all the pins and turn inside out, iron the outer edges
- Pin all the way around approx. 3” from the edge
- Start sewing at the short side beginning 2” in and 2” from the side, stitch around the entire sham, when you get to the last side (should be the opening) the stitching will be close to the opening just be sure not to sew the opening closed, smile.
- Throw some pillows in your sham and admire your handiwork!!
Please let me know if you tackle this project, have tips to share and pictures to share? I would love to see what you come up with! Or if you just dont want to make one yourself but WANT a Halloween Quilt of your own – contact me!
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