Friday, May 4, 2018

Drift Away Quilt and Tutorial

Today I am so very excited to be bringing you my newest quilt Drift Away,  as well as a step by step tutorial for it as part of the Fat Quarter Shop's Year of the Fat Quarter Quilt Along!!  The Year of the Fat Quarter is a celebration of the Fat Quarter Shop's 15th anniversary, Huge Congrats friends!!!   And what better way for the Fat Quarter Shop to celebrate than with Fat Quarters!!!

Each month, Fat Quarter Shop releases a new bundle of 15 Fat Quarters in one Special Color.    And May is all about Aqua!!! (no worries, purple comes later in the year and I will be back for that month as well ;)   But I was super excited to get to play with all of these beautiful Aqua Fabrics and they immediately made me think of the ocean.  

And the ocean reminded me of this Drift Away quilt.   I originally made this design for a magazine submission, but sadly, after the quilt was all designed, made, photographed, kitted, ect. the magazine went out of business and this design never made it to the quilt shop shelves.  And so I thought, what a perfect opportunity to bring this design back!!!    I made a few alterations from the original in color layout and size and here it is, in all of it's new Drift Away goodness and isn't it just so perfect in the all Aqua Bundle!!!   

And I am super excited to be sharing this new Drift Away as a tutorial!!!!   Now you can make your very own :)   And it goes together super fast and is just perfect for laying out under a tree and drifting away with a good book!!      So let's get to it . . . 


2/3 Yard of a Favorite Aqua Print for a Focal Fabric  
2 1/2 Yards of a White Solid for the Background
2/3 Yard of a Black Solid for Binding
5 Yards of a a Favorite Aqua Print for Backing


We will start with cutting out the Yardage.

From the White Solid cut:
           (6) 7" x 7" squares cut in half once diagonally to make 12 Side Setting Triangles
           (9) 6 1/2" x 6 1/2" squares
           (64) 5 1/2" x 6 1/2" rectangles
           (2) 5 1/2" x 5 1/2" squares cut in half once diagonally to make 4 Corner Setting Triangles
From the Aqua Focal Fabric cut:
           (16) 6 1/2" x 6 1/2" squares
From the Black Solid cut:
            (9) 2 1/2" x Width of Fabric strips

Divide your Fat Quarters into a set of 2, a set of 5, and a set of 8.  It doesn't matter which prints are which, they just need to be cut in these groups to have the right number of squares :)  I like to press square up my Fat Quarters first to make it easier for cutting.   They all will be cut lengthwise with the 18" across the top and 20" down the side.  

From each of the Fat Quarters in the Group of 2:
           (3) 8 1/2" x 8 1/2" squares
           (6) 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" squares

From each of the Fat Quarters in the Group of 5:
           (2) 8 1/2" x 8 1/2" squares
           (10) 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" squares

From each of the Fat Quarters in the Group of 8:
           (1) 9" x 9" square
           (1) 8 1/2" x 8 1/2" square
           (9) 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" squares

You will now have the following pieces from your Aqua Fat Quarters
           (8) 9" x 9" square - Which you will now cut in half once diagonally 
                                              to make 16 Side Setting Triangles
           (24) 8 1/2" x 8 1/2" square
           (134) 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" squares - *There will be 6 extra that you do not use


And with the cutting done, you are ready to start sewing.   We will start with making Two Patch Units and for that, you will need the stack of 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" aqua squares.  Place one square onto another fabric square with right sides together.  Align and stitch a 1/4" seam along the edge.  Press the seam allowance to one side.

You will be making 64 sets of 2 Patch units and  chain stitching will save you time and thread.   If you haven't chain stitched before, it simply means you don't cut the threads between units.   Start with stitching the 1/4" seam along the first set of units.  When you get to the end of the square, simply begin feeding the next matched set into your machine.  Continue in this fashion until you have stitched a seam on all 64 sets.

Then just simply clip the threads between sets and press the seam allowances to one side.   You should now have (64) 2 Patch Units measuring 3 1/2" x 6 1/2".  And now we are going to add a little more to them :)

Gather the 64 White 5 1/2" x 6 1/2" rectangles.  Place a 2 Patch Unit onto a White rectangle with right sides together.  Align and stitch a 1/4" seam along the edge.   Again, you will want to chain stitch all 64 sets to save time and thread.

Once again, clip the threads between the units and then press the seam allowance towards the White square.  You will now have 64 Patchwork Units that measure 6 1/2" x 8 1/2" and you are already done with the patchwork!!  So fun ;)


And with the patchwork done, it is time to layout the quilt top!!! Use the guide below to help you layout your squares and units in a quilt top.  The A is your Aqua Focal squares ;)   I find it easiest to layout the squares and units starting in the upper left corner and working my way down the rows.

Play with the placement until it is pleasing to the eye.  Taking a picture of your layout is the easiest way to make sure your color value is balanced as your eye can see everything at once, and it is also great to have to refer back to so you make sure you don't mix up your block placement :)


And once you get a Layout you like, you are ready to start sewing everything into rows.   To do this, I like to start in the upper left hand corner again.   Start by placing the Print Side Setting Triangle onto the Patchwork unit with right sides together.  Be sure and align the bottom of the triangle with the bottom of the Patchwork unit as shown.   The triangles are slightly over sized to make it easier so it is okay if there is more than 1/4" of overhang ;)   Sew a 1/4" along the edge.

Then to finish sewing the row, place the other Pring Side Setting Triangle onto the Patchwork unit with right sides together.  Again, align the bottom of the triangle with the bottom of the Patchwork unit as shown.  Sew a 1/4" along the edge.

And then you can move onto the next row.   Even though the patchwork is a different size here, it is still the same process.  Place the White Side Setting Triangle onto the Patchwork Unit with right sides together.  Once more, align the bottom of the triangle with the bottom of the Patchwork Unit and sew a 1/4" seam along the edge.

Then you will start adding the squares in the row.   Place the Focal Aqua square onto the Patchwork Unit with right sides together and aligning the three sides.  Sew a 1/4" seam along the edge.

And then continue in this fashion until you have sewn the row together.  Then just move onto the next row.   I like to use a lot of Leaders and Enders when I make a quilt on Point, as I don't try to chain stitch it.  I just keep adding one piece at a time to ensure I don't mix up my layout and to make sure that my triangles are lined up the right way :)

When you get to the Center row, be sure and center the Corner Setting Triangle onto the Patchwork Unit so you have about the same amount of overhang on either side of the unit.   Also, once you pass the center row, you will note that you are now aligning your setting triangles on the "top" (where the arrows point) of the patchwork unit.   It is just the opposite from before :)

Just keep working your way through, one row at a time, until you have sewn all of the pieces into rows.   And you quilt top should look something like this.   And now you can press the rows.

If you pay close attention to the pressing, you can make all of your seams nest for the next step.   Press all of  Aqua Focal Print squares inwards towards the Aqua.  These will be next to the white squares.   All of the other seams, just remember to press away from the Patchwork and towards the squares where there are no seams.  Not only will that make everything nice and flat, it makes it nest ;)


And now, it is just simply sewing the rows into a quilt top.  Again, I like to start in the upper left hand corner.   Place the Corner Setting Triangle on the second row with right sides together and centering the triangle.  Stitch a 1/4" seam along the edge.  

Now place the sewn corner onto the third row with right sides together.   Align and pin all of the seams. Stitch a 1/4" seam along the pinned edge.  And again, if you have more than a 1/4" overhang on the ends, it's okay, we will trim later ;)

Continue adding row by row until you reach the center of the quilt.   Then start at the bottom right hand corner working your way up so you end up with two halves as shown.   And note, after about 4 rows, the corner starts to get large to work with, so I start placing the row on top of the corner, instead of the other way around, but you can do whatever is most comfortable ;)

And all that is left is to sew the two halves together.   Place the bottom half on the top half with right sides together.  Align and pin the seams and then stitch a 1/4" seam along the edge.   Press all of the seams Open.  This will help to reduce the bulk and avoid stretching.

Now, it's time to trim all of those triangles.  Place a large ruler along the edge of your quilt aligning the Patchwork corner seam with the 1/4" guide on your ruler.   Trim along the edge to square up your quilt.   Be sure and make sure you leave yourself that 1/4" along the edge so you don't lose your points when you bind ;)

And there you have it, a beautiful Drift Away Quilt Top!!!!  It will measure appx. 80" x 80" and it is just so pretty!!!   An one last optional step . . . When piecing on point, I like to stitch a quick 1/8" seam all the way around the edge of the quilt.  This just helps it from getting stretched or pulled when I load it on the long-arm :)


And with that, it's time to turn that finished quilt top into a finished Quilt ;)  Time to  Baste It, Quilt It, and Bind It!!!  Which is a whole lot in one little sentence.  If you are new to quilting, you can see my Finishing Your Quilt Series of video tutorials that will walk you through Basting, Quilting, and Binding step by step ;)

When it came time to quilt mine I decided on an all over medium open center swirl.   I used a favorite 402 Pearl thread that blends perfectly with the white and all the aqua prints .  And I just love all of those beautiful curves in the quilting, it really gives it a flowing feel, just like water!!

Use the  (9) 2 1/2"x Width of Fabric binding strips you cut at the beginning to create a binding and add it to the quilt.  And your Done!!!


And now, just sit lay back and enjoy your beautiful Drift Away Quilt!!!  It finishes at 80" x 80" so it is a great picnic size, and how perfect would it be at the beach!!!    The piecing is pretty simple, and it is a great way to learn piecing on point without all of the stress of tons of seams!!!

 I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and if you make your own Drift Away Quilt I would love to see it!!  You can email me a picture at or add it to my flickr group here or post it to social media with  #happyquiltingwithmc ;)  I can't wait to see your Drift Away Quilts!!!

Thank you so much to  Fat Quarter Shop  for this beautiful Aqua Bundle and for having me as part of this awesome Year of the Fat Quarter Celebration!!  These aqua prints really are the perfect group of fabrics to share this design with and I am so glad to now have it as a tutorial.

Thanks for stopping in today to share this new quilt finish and tutorial with me.  And thanks for popping in each and every day.  I am just so grateful to have this space to share my love of quilting and it just wouldn't be the same without you all!!!

Have a very Happy Quilting Day!!!

Linking this finish to Amanda'sSarah's, and Myra's ;) 

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  1. I love this quilt and pattern! I love your all aqua version (and the original too!) and I might have to use this as a scrap buster soon!

  2. This is gorgeous! Thanks so much for the tutorial. I can see making one of these in blues, one in purples....the list could go on and on!

  3. I love this pattern. Your quilt is beautiful. It's in my files now, and I can't wait to make it. Thanks so much for sharing your pattern and your talent with us!!

  4. looking forward to making this. it's lovely

  5. So pretty. Love the aqua. Nice tutorial too!

  6. Beautifully simple. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Beautiful pattern! Have I overlooked the finished dimensions though? I'd like to know the finished size please.

    1. Approximately 80x80 (stated just before step 7)

    2. thank you! I see it now :-)

  8. I love this pattern! Did I miss the "print" button somewhere? It is hard to work from the computer in the Hobby House, no wifi there :( I have a stash of turquoise and aqua just calling out to me--"Use this pattern it is just what you have been looking for!"

  9. What a beautiful quilt! Aqua has to be one of my favourite colours (along with purple) and I really love your design. At first glance your quilt design seemed totally random to me but then the pattern appeared through the mix of fabrics. It's really stunning! Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial.

  10. You are so generous and thorough with your tutorials -- thank you! I love the aqua.

  11. Your quilt is gorgeous! Beautiful quilting, too!

  12. This is wonderful! Thank you for taking the time to share it with us!

  13. I have now realized I have very little aqua fabric in my stash. Sad! This is just so lovely.

  14. This is terrific, thanks for the tutorial. I think this one needs to hop in line pretty soon at my house.

  15. Wonderful tutorial as always! This is my favorite of the Fat Quarter of the month patterns and I am planning to make this one! Thank you!!!

  16. Your quilt is delightful, and your tutorial is perfect!

  17. So pretty. Thank you so much for sharing.

  18. If all the side-setting triangles have been cut across the bias, doesn't that leave the entire outer edge made up of bias? I've always been told to cut my side setting triangles from a larger block into four pieces, cut diagonally to assure straight grain along the outer edge. How do you prevent stretching??

  19. What a pretty quilt. Love the colors. Will make mine scrappy. Thank you.

  20. Love it...I can see it done in lots of different colors. Thinking of all the Christmas FQs I have....hmmm

  21. Cant find the print button, it printed so small can hardly see!

  22. Absolutely beautiful quilt. I am a very slow learner,but this has fired up my urge to make in all my favorite colours . It's the first I've seen in aqua and still drooling. How would I make it larger please

  23. This is beautiful! How would I make it into a king sized quilt?

  24. I've cut all of the pieces as stated but cannot see where the 9-6 1/2 X 6 1/2 white pieces are used?

    1. They are fillers on the diagonal "A" rows and are between the "A's. Once you start laying it out, it makes total sense where they go :)


Thank you so much for your sweet comments. I just love hearing from you!!
Have a Happy Quilting Day :)