This Modular Blocks Quilt is the direct descendent of last year’s Modular Felt Coasters. It occurred to me then, when I saw all of those Coasters lying out together, that I would definitely have to create a quilt with the same easy-going assembly and playful spirit.

Modular Blocks Quilt | Purl Soho

Our resulting Modular Blocks Quilt makes for some truly exciting sewing: a systematic construction method combined with a keep-you-guessing layout. And just like the Coasters, you can sew up this project in a weekend and have a great time doing it. Pick up our Modular Blocks Quilt Bundle to get started! – Molly

Modular Blocks Quilt | Purl Soho

Update: New Fabric

February 8, 2016

We created a version of this quilt with a new materials bundle! To see more photos check out our Modular Blocks Quilt in Orchid post and to pick up a new bundle click here!

Materials

Modular Blocks Quilt | Purl Soho

Purl Soho’s Materials for Modular Blocks Quilt kit includes…

You will also need…

Size

50 inches wide X 60 inches long

Notes

Prewash and iron all of the fabrics (but not the batting) before beginning.

All seam allowances are ¼ inch unless otherwise noted.

Pattern

Cut

Modular Blocks Quilt | Purl Soho

If you’re new to rotary cutting, please refer to our Rotary Cutting Tutorial before you start.

From the Backing Fabric cut…

  • A 56 X 66-inch rectangle. This is the Backing.

From the Binding Strip Fabric cut…

  • Six 2 1/4-inch strips from selvage to selvage and then trim off the selvages. These are the Binding Strips; put them aside for now.
  • Seven 5 ½-inch squares
  • Eight 5 7/8-inch squares

From the Kona Cotton in Bone cut…

  • Twelve 5 ½-inch squares
  • Eleven 5 7/8-inch squares

From all other fabrics cut …

  • Seven 5 ½-inch squares
  • Eight 5 7/8-inch squares

Piece the Half Square Triangles

All of the 5 7/8-inch squares will be pieced into half square triangles, a very basic quilt block that consists of a square made up of two equally sized right triangles.

For this quilt you will make 67 half square triangles, so rather than sewing them one pair at a time, it’s a good idea to chain piece them. Here’s how…

Modular Blocks Quilt | Purl Soho

Pick out two 5 7/8-inch squares of different colors. On one of the squares, mark a diagonal line from one corner to another using the hera marker. This is the Diagonal Mark. Align one square on top of the other, and pin them together along the Diagonal Mark.

Do this for all of the 5 7/8-inch squares, making sure that each square is pinned to one of a different color.

Modular Blocks Quilt | Purl Soho

Using your machine’s ¼-inch foot, first sew across a piece of scrap fabric (aka “the lead fabric”), then without lifting the presser foot or cutting the thread, place a pair of pinned pieces in front of the presser foot and ¼ inch to the left of the Diagonal Mark. Sew these two pinned pieces together ¼ inch from the Diagonal Mark. At the end of that seam, place the next pair of pieces in front of the presser foot, and repeat the process. (Between the two pairs, you can expect a short length of stitches that don’t go into any fabric at all.)

Modular Blocks Quilt | Purl Soho

After you have sewn all of the pairs together this way, remove the long chain of pieces from the machine and sew down the opposite side of the Diagonal Mark. Start with a lead fabric, and then move on to the last pair you sewed in the previous step but now sewing in the opposite direction. You will again be sewing the pieces 1/4 inch to the left of the Diagonal Mark. Chain piece all of the squares together in this manner.

Modular Blocks Quilt | Purl Soho

Carefully snip the threads between each piece. Discard the two lead fabrics.

Using your rotary cutter, cut along the Diagonal Mark of each pair. This will yield two triangle-shaped pieces from each pair of squares.

Modular Blocks Quilt | Purl Soho

Open these pieces so that they form a 5 1/2-inch square, and press the seam allowances towards the darker fabric.

These are your Half Square Triangle Blocks.

Piece the Top

Notes:

  • In all of the following steps, pin the pieces right sides together.
  • When you pin multiple squares together, pay special attention to lining up the middle seams and the corners exactly with one another.
  • The only rule is that you shouldn’t place a plain square adjacent to another plain square of the same color. Other than that, you really can place any square with any other square, in any orientation.
  • The beauty of this quilt is in its randomness, so try not to overthink the layout!

1 X 2 Square Units

Gather all of your cut squares, both the Half Square Triangles and the plain 5 ½-inch squares.

Randomly make 60 pairs of squares, aligning one square on top of the other to form a pair (see Notes, above). You will have eight squares left over, put them away for another purpose.

With right sides together, pin across one side of the pair of squares.

Chain piece along these 60 pinned edges and then snip the threads between each piece.

Open the two pieces, and press the seam allowances towards the darker fabric.

Modular Blocks Quilt | Purl Soho

You now have sixty 1 X 2 Square Units. (Three of these units are shown above, just to demonstrate how different they each can look!)

2 X 2 Square Units

Pin each 1 X 2 Square Unit to another 1 X 2 Unit across one of the longer sides.

Chain piece along these 30 pinned edges and then snip the threads between each piece.

Open the two pieces, and press the seam allowances towards the darker fabric.

Modular Blocks Quilt | Purl Soho

You now have thirty 2 X 2 Square Units.

2 X 4 Square Units

Put aside six of the 2 X 2 Square Units. (You will use them later in the “Create Horizontal Rows” section.)

Pin each of the 24 remaining 2 X 2 Square Units into pairs, across one side.

Chain piece these 12 pinned edges and then snip the threads between each piece.

Open the two pieces, and press the seam allowances towards the darker fabric.

Modular Blocks Quilt | Purl Soho

You now have twelve 2 X 4 Square Units.

2 X 8 Square Units

Pin all of the 2 X 4 Square Units into pairs, across one of their shorter sides.

Chain piece these six pinned edges and then snip the threads between each piece.

Open the two pieces and press the seam allowances towards the darker fabric.

You now have six 2 X 8 Square Units.

Create Horizontal Rows

Pin each of the six 2 X 2 Square Units that you put aside to a short edge of a 2 x 8 Square unit.

Chain piece these six pinned edges and then snip the threads between each piece.

Open the two pieces and press the seam allowances towards the darker fabric.

You now have six 2 X 10 Square Units. These are the Horizontal Rows.

Piece the Horizontal Rows

Pick out which two Horizontal Rows you want to be at the top. These are Rows 1 and 2. Pin the top long edge of Row 2 to the bottom long edge of Row 1.

Sew these Rows together and press the seam allowance towards Row 2.

Pick out Row 3 and pin its top long edge to the bottom long edge of Row 2. Sew these Rows together and press the seam allowance towards Row 3.

Sew all of the Horizontal rows together in this manner. When you are done you will have your finished quilt top. It will be 10 squares wide and 12 squares tall. Press it flat.

Baste

Baste the quilt to prepare it for quilting. If you’ve never done this, please check out our tutorial. (When you make the quilt sandwich, you will have to trim down the batting after you lay it on top of the Backing and before you place the quilt top on it.)

Quilt

You can quilt in any pattern you like, as long as there are quilting stitches no less than 8 inches apart. We chose to “stitch in the ditch” for our quilt, sewing along the grid of the 5-inch squares. To quilt by machine, use your machine’s walking foot and sew right beside the seam on the side without the seam allowances pressed under it. Quilt all the vertical and horizontal straight seams. Here’s how…

Start by sewing along a middle seam line, ending a couple of inches into the batting. Cut the thread and then sew in the reverse direction along the next seam to the right. Repeat this process, reversing direction for each seam to the right. Then, do the same thing along all the seam lines on the left side of the center line, reversing direction as you sew each line. And finally, repeat for the all seam lines perpendicular to the ones you just sewed.

Once you’ve finished quilting, trim the batting and backing to match up with the top.

Bind

Use the Binding Strips you cut from Fabric B to bind the Quilt with double fold binding. For instructions on how to do this, please check out our Making Double Fold Binding and Sewing on Double Fold Binding tutorials!

Modular Blocks Quilt | Purl Soho