February 6, 2011

Cathedral Window Quilt Tutorial Part 2

Now that you have your units... How do you piece a Cathedral Window Quilt???

Take six and line up the edges that are the same length. There may be some that are too long so decide which units match best with each other.

Why six? It fits in my hand comfortably and if you like more- go for it.

By folding and ironing them, there is a crease to sew on.  Lay wrong sides together to sew.

Lightly mark creases with a marking pencil. Match each fold and pin the end if needed. (I don't use pins or marks. I use my seam ripper as a stiletto to feed the fabric into the machine.)

Backstitch at each end for about 5 stitches, taking care to go over the same stitches. Trim the thread. There is no need for any knots.

Some corners will not match and so you will have to pin them. Ease the longer to match the shorter edge.

You might have a corner like this:

As long as there is no hole, the corner is fine and will roll. Ideally, the corner should lay flat and match.

Here is a prepped "block" without any "window" or insert fabric added. Press with steam. This will be the last time an iron will touch the fabric. Whoohoo!!

Temporarily sew the corners of all flaps together. Do this with some extra "ugly" bobbin thread. This will be temporary and will be removed, once the windows are filled in this block, and replaced with matching thread.

Now that the units are secured, lay your fabric in each square pictured here.

Sew the fabric squares down. Baste through the fabric at least four times. This works better for me than one pin. I also don't need to lose pins on the floor with kids or a pet to find them.

To sew the window, pop the knot through the underside of the fabric that will be rolled.

With the Kona Snow, I am using Auriful 50/2 in the color 2000. It matches very well and is very thin. This hides applique stitches. (The red is so you can see it here in the pictures.) The window does not need pins.

Use the left thumb and index finger to hold and constantly adjust the fabric to get a nice curve. ( Lefty will hold with right hand and applique with left hand.) The genius of the window is all the edges are bias edges and will fold and give nicely.

From here, applique to the corner. If you have hand stitched binding before, it is the same idea. See this post for hand applique tips.

red is for demonstration purposes only :)

The corner is difficult since the fabric can shred or slip. (Edited: I have had no problems at all with Robert Kaufman Kona cotton in Snow. Use this over muslin with confidence!) Make the size of the insert fabric bigger if you have this problem. I add an eighth inch more.

Remember this?

Starting Fabric Square ---- Resulting Unit Made ---- Fabric insert needed

10.5-----5-----3 1/8





Pick the size of insert fabric that works for you. Here's a formula: Divide the length of the unit by the square root of 2 and then subtract a half inch to get an idea of what size fabric insert to start with. (Mine: 5/sqrt(2) - .5 = 3.03 or 3 1/8 in)

At the corner, stitch through the two white folded edges three or four times depending on the thickness of the thread.

It will show and that's OK. Continue around the window and repeat for the other corners. (Counterclockwise for righties, clockwise for lefties? Pick a way that works.)

When two blocks are completed, remove the temporary basting thread. Open the unit flaps that do not have fabric added to them.

Sew blocks together, using the same sewing method at the top of this page.

To permanently hold down the window corners sew a cross stitch though the corners to the backing. I go through the first layer, but not to the back of the quilt. I am at a loss at what is traditionally done so let me know it there is a better way.

When I get to the edges, I will show you a great way to finish your quilting with some hand quilting.

Anybody up for making cathedral windows? Part 1 can be found here.


  1. This is on my going-to-make-someday list. Thanks for the tutorial.

  2. Thank you but somehow I missed part 1,the link did not open.

  3. I've added a link at the bottom of the post for you. :)

  4. Thanks for the tutorial! Your cathedral window block is stunning :)

  5. WOW, WOW, WOW, WOW!!!! BEAUTIFUL, Kristen! I'm going to add your link to my post. JAW DROPPING make me type in all-cap stunning!!!

  6. Thank you! Your tutorial is great and a visual treat as well! You have made the Cathedral quilt look so easy to do when for years I thought it was best left to the experts!

  7. sorry im having alot of trouble with the math part you put in i have 2.5 inch squares of pretty fabric and im wondering what size that falls under if you could please help me i would greatly appreciate it =D

  8. Nice tute One of the best cathedral window hand sewn one on the net. I know you did it years ago but still a goodie


Thanks for visiting! Your comments make me so happy!
(Comment moderation enabled.)