Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sylvia’s Bridal Sampler

I am working on a “shop sample” of the Sylvia’s Bridal Sampler quilt sbslarge[1] by Jennifer Chiaverini, inspired by the Elm Creek Quilts novels. The quilt at right is the one pictured in her book. The shop I teach at – Quilting Bits and Pieces in Eudora, KS – is doing the entire quilt, all 140 blocks, as a block of the month. Well, more like 5 blocks a month. They are doing it in 2 color ways. I am doing the “True Blue” color way, the fabric line by Benartex designed by Eleanor Burns. The other color way is Hoffman Christmas fabrics. I am not sure which I like better, but they have both been extremely popular at the shop.

Month 1 Sylvia's Bridal SamplerHere are the first 5 blocks. I added a couple of pinks to the mix, as well as adding some additional medium greens and dark blues.

I am doing all the appliqué blocks using fusible web and will edge stitch when I quilt. They are just too darn small! The medium blue sashing fabric is not from the True Blue line, and is just a dab darker than one from the line. I am using pimatex antique white for the backgrounds.

I have redrawn each block in EQ6 so that I can P8300129 calculate both rotary cutting and foundation piecing measurements. I am writing additional instructions to go with each block to help out those who are not as experienced putting together some of these blocks. You would have to buy the book to do the kits, but some of the instructions are very brief. I am keeping a notebook with my drawings and notes so I remember what I changed! :-)

Several blocks I have redesigned or changed the construction method from the directions in the book. I always try to simplify if I can, or come up with a better way to be accurate.

These are 6” blocks and they are kitting them at the shop, so I have to be very accurate in my fabric calculations. I am a bit generous, because I don’t want anyone to run out of fabric in their kit.P8300127

Here are the second set of blocks.

The Lemoyne star block was redesigned to be paper-pieced in the Carol Doak technique. She divided 8-pointed stars into 8 triangles by making seams in the corners and centers. It adds seams but is way more accurate and has no “Y” seams.

The second block down – the one with the green squares and yellow star – was rotary cut. But the measurements were given to the nearest eighth of an inch, but accurate piecing required measurements at sixteen of an inch. I remade that one twice to get it right. Didn’t quite reach the points when I added the sashing, and cut off the points on the Chinese coins block (2nd to last).

The most difficult block so far is the third one down, the spinning star with the pink center. Yipes, it was a booger! You start with a partial seam then sew on triangle segments which are very tricky to accurately align. Won’t be making THAT block again any time soon!

Here is a close-up of each block:

Month 3 is in the album above. I redesigned the grandmother’s flower garden block in month 3. The book only had a center and six petals, so I decreased the size of the hexagons and added a third row around the yellow. The hexagons are 5/8” and really came out cute in the block. I English paper pieced the hexagons and put the block together by hand. I glued it to the background fabric with Roxanne Glue Baste and blanket stitched by machine around the block once I pulled out the cardboard templates. Then I cut out the back of the white background to decrease the bulk.

I just finished month 4. I don’t have the blocks made yet but here are the blocks and fabric selections.

This has been a fun project so far, lets see if I am still saying that when I get to block # 139. . . .?!?!


  1. I had so much fun making my SBS. But if I ever make another I will add four more blocks of my own so that it can be set 12 blocks X 12 blocks. It would fit on a bed much better than the 10 X 14 setting in the original pattern.

  2. And the participants have only one month to do 5 blocks? I can tell you that most of the BOM groups I have been in would be dropping out like flys. I, however, think that this would be a great challenge, I think......

  3. It looks very nice in the colours you have chosen here!

  4. Nice to see more people doing this Quilt. I'm doing one in scrappy and one in my 30's. I joined the Yahoo SBS Offline Group. It's fun and I have my quilt Buddy making the quilt in Nancy Halverson's Christmas line of fabrics. It's beautiful.

  5. I have just started this sampler and it is a challenge for me my first 8 blocks are finished and it was a Joy making them.


I'd love to know what you think! Thanks for sharing your ideas.