Tumbler Quilt tutorial

Today I am going to share a tutorial for creating a simple variation on a traditional patchwork quilt, using a shape traditionally called “tumblers”. (This post has been updated to share the full tutorial content.)

patchwork quilt free tutorial

This pattern is great for really showing off cute fabrics with a variety of scales of prints.Lori Holt Thimble Ruler template

Cutting the blocks for this quilt is so much easier with a template. I used Lori Holt’s large “Thimble” ruler for my blocks. You can see Lori’s other awesome rulers here.

Fabric requirements for this 58″ x 72″ lap quilt:

  • At least 15 different 1/4 yard cuts of fabric for the blocks
  • 3 1/2 yards for backing
  • 1/2 yard for binding (cut into 7 strips, 2 1/2″ x 42″. Binding tutorial here.)

To cut your blocks, trim your yardage to the width of the tumbler template – in this case I cut it to 8 1/2″. Place the template about 2″ from the outside selvage edge and cut on both sides of the template.

Now flip the template upside down and match the diagonal edge with the cut edge of the fabric. Cut again on the opposite edge of the template.

Cutting Tumbler Quilt Blocks

Continue flipping the template and cutting.

How to Cut Tumbler Quilt Blocks

By using this method you will get 5 large tumblers plus a left wedge and a right wedge from each 1/4 yard. Hang onto the wedge pieces as well. Use the same process to cut out tumblers from the remaining 1/4 yards of fabrics. You will need a total of 72 tumbler blocks, 10 right wedge pieces, and 8 left wedge pieces.

Lay out the first row of tumbler blocks starting with an upside down right wedge, and then 8 alternating tumbler blocks, finishing with another right wedge. For the second row, start with a left wedge followed by 8 alternating tumbler wedges going the opposite direction from the blocks in row 1. Repeat the process for next 7 rows – laying out 9 rows total.

As you pick up blocks to sew together, match right sides of blocks together but leave a small point (less than 1/4″) hanging off the end of the bottom fabrics and a small point of the top fabric hanging off the other end. Sewing with a 1/4″ seam allowance, your seam should cut right through where the right sides meet (see threads above).  This way, when you open your blocks the top and bottom edges will be aligned. It may take a little practice, but soon you’ll be eyeballing and sewing quickly.

As you assemble your rows, press the seams to the left on the odd rows and to the right on the even rows.

When you go to sew the rows together, the seam allowances should butt up against each other, helping you match your corners.  Sew rows together in order and press seam allowances all the same direction.

Tumbler Patchwork Quilt Tutorial

After the rows are assembled, add the batting and back and quilt as you desire. Mine was custom quilted by Melissa Kelley – I love the custom cabbage rose pattern she used to set off the springy prints. Here are links to tutorials if you need help with quilting or binding.

I hope that you’ll enjoy creating your own Tumbler Quilt – a fun variation on traditional patchwork and very simple to put together. For other simple quilt tutorials, please visit my Tutorials Page.

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  • Reply
    April 24, 2013 at 6:23 am

    Hi!!! Beautiful quilt!!! Thanks for the tutorial!!!

  • Reply
    April 24, 2013 at 6:48 am

    It`s absolutely gorgeous.Thanks for the tutorial!!

  • Reply
    April 24, 2013 at 6:59 am

    How cool! Giant tumblers. Love it. 😀

  • Reply
    April 24, 2013 at 7:44 am

    What an adorable quilt Amy! I love all Lori&#39;s rulers! So clever that girl! :o)<br />Those little houses make my heart sing too. I am heading over to the tutorial now.

  • Reply
    April 24, 2013 at 7:46 am

    It&#39;s adorable Amy — I love it. What a perfect quilt to show off cute patterned fabrics!

  • Reply
    Simple Simon & Co
    April 24, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Amy,<br /><br />THis quilt is so lovely! You are absolutely amazing!!!

  • Reply
    Live a Colorful Life
    April 24, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Such a cute quilt–very cheery and springy.

  • Reply
    April 24, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Very Cute, Amy! I love Lori&#39;s new rulers!

  • Reply
    Melissa Corry
    April 24, 2013 at 9:24 am

    So cute Amy!!! I wish it would warm up too 🙂 You look outside and see the sun and think it will be warm, then you get out there and brrr!

  • Reply
    Lori Holt
    April 24, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Awwww….so cute Amy!!! Thanks for using my ruler…You&#39;re so awesome:)<br />I wish it was warm enough to lay out on that cute quilt and daydream.

  • Reply
    Funky Kim
    April 24, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    A Union Jack class as well? You know my class issues already! And you&#39;re adding to them! LOL

  • Reply
    Nanette Merrill
    April 24, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    I want this quilt!! That fabric is awesome. My favorites are your favorites.

  • Reply
    April 25, 2013 at 6:50 am

    Thanks Amy, the fabric is beautiful.

  • Reply
    Helen L
    April 25, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Love your tumbler quilt!!

  • Reply
    Katy Cameron
    April 25, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Ooh, big tumbles, very nice

  • Reply
    April 25, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    What a bright, cheery quilt!

  • Reply
    April 28, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    It looks just wonderful, I would love to buy this ruler. Even thought you said it was windy you go a great picture.

  • Reply
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