You’ve heard me say it dozens of times – I’m a sucker for simple patchwork. It’s so basic, but it never gets old. I think it’s genuinely my favorite way to show off fabric and let them play off each other.
I also love quilts that are “on point” – meaning the blocks are placed on one of the points, like a diamond, rather that straight . The diagonal lines are a little more dynamic and visually interesting. If you’ve ever been intimidated to try making a quilt on point, let me help you get over that. It’s such a great tool in your quilting arsenal!
Really, on point quilts are not as tricky as they look. You’re still sewing together rows of patchwork squares, it’s just that those rows are laid out diagonally. By placing a triangle at the beginning and end of the row, you’ll still get a straight edge of the quilt top.
The first time you make a quilt on point, there is a small learning curve, figuring out the right direction on those triangles, but once you’ve got that first on-point quilt under your belt, they become increasingly easier. If you’ve made my popular Lattice Baby Quilt, this will be a breeze as with this one you don’t have to worry about sashing.
This tutorial is for a simple Patchwork On Point crib size quilt (38″ x 50″). (There is a printable PDF version available here.)
I used my Gretel fabric collection for Riley Blake Designs to make this quilt (which I think makes it extra cute. 😉 )
This pattern calls for 5″ x 5″ square, so it is perfect for pre-cut 5″ x 5″ squares. In my opinion precuts are one of my favorite ‘inventions’ of the quilting industry in the past 12 years. (They are sometimes called 5″ Stackers or Charm Squares.)
One of the keys to great looking patchwork is a big variety of prints and precuts are a great way to get 20-40 different fabrics without having to buy yardage of every one of them. And they’re already professionally coordinated colors and designs, so no stress about picking out fabrics!
Now, as much as I love pre-cut packaged 5″ squares, don’t be afraid to add to the ones from one pre-packaged set, using your stash or a couple of fat quarters.
Use the precut package of squares as your starting-off point for colors and then pull in some basics like polka dots or ginghams, or any other fun prints from your stash. I added some Riley Blake Swiss Dots and woven Ginghams to my Gretel precuts. You can read more about how to enhance your patchwork selection using your stash in this post. (In my humble opinion, the more different fabrics, the better!)
You will also need some yardage for cutting the side-setting triangles – this could come from your stash, or from 3-4 fat quarters from the collection, or you could use a solid (like white) for the side-setting triangles, giving the look of background prairie points. Lots of options, all of them great.
Crib Quilt (38″ x 50″ )Fabric Requirements:
- 83 squares 5″ x 5″
- 2 squares 4 1/4″ x 4 1/4″ (cut once on the diagonal to get 4 corner-setting triangles
- 6 squares 7 3/4″ x 7 3/4″ (cut twice on the diagonal to get 4 triangles per square, for a total of 24 side-setting triangles)
- Backing 1 1/2 yards
- Binding 1/2 yard – cut 5 strips 2 1/2″ x width of fabric (about 42″)
*FAQ – Why do we need to cut the Side-setting triangles this way? This is my preference for cutting the four side-setting triangles. This method will make it so that the long side of the triangle – the one that will be on the outside edge of the quilt – is not cut on the bias. This will help tremendously to prevent your quilt from wavey, stretched-out edges and a misshapen quilt.
Remember, all seam allowances are 1/4″ for piecing quilts. (If you are looking for a step by step guide to making quilts, check out this series of Beginning Quilting tutorials.)
Using the 83 5″ x 5″ squares, layout your patchwork squares starting with 6 squares on point across and 8 squares down. Then use the diagram above to fill in the rest of the squares, Side-setting triangles and Corner-setting triangles so that you get a nice balance of colors, scales, etc. to make your patchwork interesting.
Start assembling rows diagonally with a side-setting triangle at the beginning and end of each row. Row 1 will have only 1 square between the side-setting triangles and a corner-setting triangle at the top. (See photo above for layout.)
Row 2 will start with a side-setting triangle, followed by 3 squares and end with a side setting triangle. Row 3 will have 5 squares beginning and ending with side-setting triangles. Etc. See diagram above for the number of squares per row + setting triangle position and layout.
Tip on the Side-setting triangles. It can be a little confusing to know which side to use to line-up your triangles at the ends of your row. You are always going to have the right (90 degree) corner of your triangle lined up next to your square, with the longest edge of the triangle away from the squares.
The side of your triangle will be longer than the 5″ side of the square. When you go to sew the triangle to the square, line up the bottom edge of the triangle with the bottom edge of your square. The top tip of the triangle will protrude past the top edge of the square. You will square this off later.
Corner-setting Triangles: center the long edge of these four triangles and sew to the end of the square in the four corners. We will square-off the edges off later. You will sew a Corner-setting triangle to back end of Row 7 and the front end of Row 8. You’ll also sew Corner-setting triangles to the top left of Row 1 and the bottom right of Row 13.
Notice that that triangles rotate directions depending on where they lie on each specific row.
Once all of your rows have been pieced together, press the seams on the odd numbered rows to the right and the seams on the even numbered rows to the left. This way the seams will butt-up next to each other when you go to sew the rows together, helping your points match up nicely. This will also help keep the quilt from getting ‘misshapen’ which can happen with on-point quilts if you’re not careful. (You could end up with a parallelogram.)
Sew the rows together in numerical order and press the diagonal seams in one direction.
I left the quilt this narrow so that I could use a single piece of yardage for the backing, but if you’d like a wider/bigger quilt, you could easily add a border all the way around, any width you want. (This could also help square-up your quilt if the shape is a little wonky. I recommend this method for adding quilt borders.)
My friend Monica quilted this for me on her longarm, but here are some tips on basting and quilting that you can do at home.
Binding: Sew 5 binding strips together end to end. I use this binding method for finishing this quilt.
Gretel yardage and precuts are available in quilt shops now. Check your local shop! Or you can find them online at Lou Lou’s Fabric Shop, Lady Belle Fabrics, the Fat Quarter Shop, and Simply Love Fabrics.
If you want to save this tutorial for future reference, then pin this photo to help you find it later.
If you would like a printable PDF version of this tutorial you can find it in my pattern shop for $3.00. The PDF also includes fabric requirements, diagrams, and instructions for Throw and Twin size versions of this quilt.
FAQ – I don’t have this pattern written for Queen and King size versions because I personally think the scale of the 5″ x 5″ blocks is too small (i.e. too many seams to sew) for the larger size quilts. I would start with larger sized squares for a larger size quilt. Maybe at some point I’ll write a pattern/tutorial for larger-scale patchwork on point, but I have no guarantees when that will happen.
If you are looking for a variation of an on-point quilt for Queen or King I’d recommend my Lattice quilt pattern. It does include Queen and King size versions.
If you like this pattern, I also recommend the Lattice Baby Quilt tutorial as another variation of a pre-cuts friendly, charming on-point baby quilt.