Narrabeen Braid

Narrabeen Braid

Here’s a quick and easy machine-pieced quilt project by Marianne Roberts. If you have a stash of fat quarters that you’re dying to use, then a braid quilt is the answer! Marianne was inspired by two bundles of fat quarters she bought at a recent Craft and Sewing Show. She even used the leftover fabrics for a pieced backing, which some admirers thought was the front of the quilt! Most of the prints in this project are blues and neutrals, but as long as you can separate your stash into light and dark-value prints, you can use any variety of colour you like. Finished quilt size: 151cm x 166cm (59 1/2in x 65in)

Materials 14 fat quarters of medium to dark-value blue prints 14 fat quarters of light-value cream and pale beige prints 2m (2 1/4yd) border print 2.7m (3yd) backing fabric – or make a pieced back from the leftover fat quarters 156cm x 171cm (62in x 68in) piece of batting Neutral-coloured cotton thread for piecing Rotary cutter, ruler and mat Sewing machine with walking foot and 1/4in foot General sewing supplies   Note: Please read the instructions before you start this project. The braid strips are rotary cut and machine pieced and the border is mitred. Use a 1/4in seam allowance throughout the project and 100% cotton fabric 112cm (44in) wide.   Cutting All strips are cut from the fabric width unless stated otherwise. From each of the 14 blue print fat quarters, cut: – five 2in strips, then crosscut three 6 1/2in strips – a total of 15 strips of each colour From each of the 14 light-value prints, cut: – five 2in strips, then crosscut three 6 1/2in strips – a total of 15 strips of each colour From the length of the border print, cut: – four 5in strips. From six of the blue print fat quarters, cut: – 13, 2 1/4in strips for the binding.

  Making a braid – make seven Stitch a blue 2in x 6 1/2in strip to the end of a light-value strip, as shown in diagram 1. Then sew a blue strip as shown in diagram 2. Continue adding the strips at random on alternate sides, matching the top edge of one side to the new strip being added as shown in diagram 3, until there are 30 blue strips.

Narabeen Braid Diagram1
Diagram 1. Stitch a blue strip to a beige one
Narabeen Braid Diagram 2
Diagram 2. Sew a light-value strip to the pieced unit
Narabeen Braid Diagram 3
Diagram 3. Continue adding the strips on alternating sides

Make another three strips using the same process, then make a further three braid strips beginning with a light-coloured strip joining a blue strip – alternating the first strip will make the braids easier to assemble. Press the braid carefully as it will tend to stretch, then trim it at each end and down the sides with a rotary cutter and ruler, see diagram 4.

Narabeen Braid Diagram 4
Diagram 4. Trim the braid ready for assembly

  Quilt assembly Lay out the braids side by side. When you are happy with the placement, pin them together at every four seam intersections then stitch them together in rows. Press the quilt top. Mitred border Pin-mark the centre of two 5in border strips and the sides of the quilt top then pin the strips to the quilt top – there will be extra border fabric at each end. Machine stitch the border in place, starting and finishing 1/4in in from the edge of the quilt top, see diagram 5. Sew the other two border strips to the remaining sides of the quilt top the same way.

Narabeen Braid Diagram 5
Diagram 5. Stitch the border strip, starting and ending 1/4in from the outer edge
Narabeen Braid Diagram 6
Diagram 6. Fold the upper strip back at 45 degrees to make the mitre

Press the seams outwards then lay the quilt top right side up on the ironing board then at one corner, place one border under the adjacent one then fold the upper border strip at 45 degrees from the corner. Press it to make a sharp crease then pin the two border strips together along the crease to make the mitre, see diagram 6. Stitch along the crease, starting from the corner and sewing outwards. Press the seam open. When you’re happy with the seam, trim it to 1/4in. Mitre the remaining corners using the same process. Backing Join the leftover fabric from the fat quarters to make a backing piece at least 64in x 70in. Or, if you are using one piece of fabric cut a 70in length, cut off the selvedges, then cut the remaining 38in piece in half lengthwise, then stitch the two short ends together. Sew this to longer edge of the 70 piece. Press the seams open. Basting Lay out the backing fabric face down on a hard surface, place the batting over the top then the quilt top right side up. Baste the layers together with safety pins, about 3in apart. Quilting Marianne machine-quilted a free-motion design of meandering loops. Binding Trim the ends of the binding strips at 45 degrees, then sew them end to end and press the seams open. Fold the binding strip in half lengthwise with the wrong sides together. Machine-stitch the binding to the edge of the quilt with a 1/4in seam, aligning the raw edges of the binding and the second border and mitring the corners as you sew. Trim the backing and batting 1/4in past the edge of the quilt top, then turn the binding to the back of the quilt and slip-stitch it in place in matching blue thread. Label your quilt with your name, the date and other relevant information.  

Narrabeen Braid
© Marianne Roberts
Into Craft
For personal use only

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