Monday, February 06, 2017

crazy rails quilt-a tutorial

Today I will be sharing a tutorial on how to make a crazy rails quilt. (You can see more photos of my crazy rails quilt here, if you'd like.) My quilt was inspired by a vintage quilt (below) that belongs to Rebecca, who is a member of my modern quilt guild.
Someone in Rebecca's family was on the verge of throwing this quilt away, but her dad stepped in a saved it. I'm so glad that this quilt was rescued. It's a beauty... so inspiring!
This is the kind of quilt that one could sit under and look at the fabrics for hours. I just love it!
This quilt isn't complicated, by any means, but it's the sheer number of pieces that makes it challenging. Here is a simple tutorial for you, in case you would like to make a crazy rails quilt of your own! I'm sure that I will be revisiting this pattern myself, before too long. I seem to be unable to make just one version of any quilt. :)

A few things to note:

All seam allowances are 1/4".

Each block finishes at 3".

Each individual "rail" finishes at 1" x 3".

I made blocks by strip piecing, mostly, but I also pieced some blocks individually. I like doing both. Strip piecing saves a lot of time, but I am able to use up smaller pieces by making blocks one at a time. The mix of the two methods gave me a nice variety of blocks to work with in the final layout.

It is a good idea to reduce your stitch length while strip piecing, so the seams don't start to separate while the blocks are being handled or arranged. (I use a stitch length setting just under 2 on my Juki, but all sewing machines vary.)

To make 1 block at a time:
Cut three strips of fabric 1 1/2" x 4".

Sew the strips together and press seams to the side, or open, whichever you prefer. I generally press the seams toward the darker fabrics.

Trim the block to 3 1/2" square. There is very little waste, as you can see. I trimmed from both ends of the block, to ensure that the block is exactly square.

To make 2 blocks at a time:
Cut 3 strips 1 1/2" x 7 1/2".
Sew together and press seams.

Trim the strip set to make 2 blocks, each measuring 3 1/2" square.

To make 3 blocks at a time:
Cut 3 strips 1 1/2" x 11".

Sew together and press.

Trim the strip set to make 3 blocks, each measuring 3 1/2" square.

To make 4 blocks at a time:
Cut 3 strips 1 1/2" x 14 1/2". Sew together and press.
Trim the strip set to make 4 blocks, each measuring 3 1/2" square.

You could make more that 4 blocks at a time, if you wanted to. Personally, I prefer to have fewer blocks that are exactly the same. Playing with different fabric combinations was a lot of fun!
Strip piecing definitely helps make this quilt manageable. I made these 10 blocks in a matter of a few minutes.
One other handy thing....I'm piecing a log cabin quilt (measurements here) that also uses 1 1/2" wide strips. It's nice to be able to cut fabric for both quilts at once!
Quilt Sizes:

# of blocks
block layout
36” x 36”
12 x 12
small lap
48” x 60”
16 x 20
large lap
60” x 72”
20 x 24
66” x 90”
22 x 30
90” x 96”
30 x 32
108” x 108”
36 x 36

I'm not going to give specific yardage requirements for each quilt size, but if you are guesstimating, a baby size quilt usually requires about 1 1/2 to 2 yards of fabric. A lap size quilt generally uses 3 1/2 to 4 yards of fabric. A twin generally uses between 5 1/2 to 6 yards of fabric. A queen generally requires about 7 1/2 to 8 yards of fabric. A king size quilt can use in the ballpark of 10 yards of fabric. This quilt has more seams than most, so it will probably require more fabric than the amounts listed. These are just very general guidelines for an idea of how much fabric you may need.
If you think making a whole quilt is just crazy, (and it might be!) you could also use the block measurements for placemats. That would be pretty fun, too!

If you use this tutorial, I'd love to see photos of your quilt.

Happy Monday to you!


claudia said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I'm not great at math, so the different sized strips are a big help!
I'm thinking this would be a great scrappy quilt to make. I have a box with 2-1?" squares that I cut up when I am done with a project. I could do the same with scraps that are the right sizes for the rails.
Your quilt is so pretty! And I love your friend's quilt, I am so happy her dad saved it!

Kathy E. said...

Oh, I just love the look of this! It is so bright and fun and a great way to use up those scrap strips! Like Claudia said above, I thank you for the measurements to make the variety of blocks at one time. Onto my list this one goes!

Tami Von Zalez said...

I have a vintage fabric crazy rails I rescued from the parking lot of a thrift shop and revitalized. It now hangs in my sewing room. I too like to just look at it and admire the fabric from days gone by.

Di~ said...

It really is a beauty of a quilt! Thanks for the demo!

Little Quiltsong said...

Love your quilt! Thank you for sharing the block sizes. Love how this comes together!

Bernie Kringel said...

Thanks Amanda. It is a simple design but so nice of you to lay out the math for the various strip sets. Love this scrappy look!

Sylvia said...

Love scrap quilts! Thanks for the tutorial!

grammajudyb said...

Again, I am inspired! Your colors are so-o-o-o happy! I am tired of this dreary winter and your colors make my heart sing! Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

You always have the best blog posts. I love this quilt. Thanks for the tutorial.

Suzanne said...

how you scaled up the strip math for making 1-4 blocks AAT helps a lot. I know those step out photos and the tutorial take time. I really appreciate you! I refer to your blog a lot for those posts. In fact I referenced how to machine bind a quilt just yesterday.

Nancy in IN said...

Thanks. Knew I was keeping small strips for a reason!! I just hate to throw away, but scraps are taking over!!

Char said...

Love it!!

GrammaBabs said...

ALWAYS up for a way to use up the scrap drawer which seems to grow and grow!!! Thank you for all the detailed information so i don't have to "think" as much,,, just stitch.LOL GB

Catskill Quilter said...

I remember seeing your original pictures of the gorgeous vintage quilt, so I am thrilled with this excellent tutorial. You rock! I have so many bits and pieces of beloved fabrics saved over the years, and also strips leftover from other projects, so I suspect that I am going to start this beauty today! I have been in a quilter's slump for weeks, with too many UFOs but I have picked one lucky UFO to be finished -- and I am starting this (a giant one, naturally) this afternoon. Thanks for your clear directions and wonderful photos!

sansuey said...

Beautiful quilt! I LOVE your creations-really, truly eye-candy.
Thanks much for the tutorial!

Lodi said...

I too love gazing at thirties fabric-I'm fortunate to have inherited a few beauties! Thanks so much for the tutorial. I must be the only person left with a double bed! What would be a reasonable size (dimensions)?

Paula said...

I've only ever made a log cabin quilt for my baby girl (ages ago). That's what I thought the tutorial was for at first glance. Nice to have a new one to try. And now that the babies are now grown up, I have more time to tinker with such a thing. The tutorial appears easy to follow and I'm grateful you also included the link for the log cabin. Maybe you have an easier way to do it than I did.

Amanda Jean said...

Melody Srygley,

I'm not sure what a full size quilt should measure, that's why I didn't include it in the list. :)

I would recommend measuring the top of your bed, then measure the amount of overhang you would like on each side. Add them up, then add a few inches for each dimension (to allow for shrinkage). There is nothing worse than making a quilt for your bed and then discovering that it's too small.

I hope that helps!


Christine S said...

Thank you! :)

Lucy said...

Just love your crazy rail quilt. Thanks so much for all the instructions on cutting them. I have always cut squares from my scraps but now I want to make this with strips. I think it will make great place mats which I like to make for my children.Thank you so much.

janequiltsslowly said...

This is a great tutorial. I am bookmarking it for "later" because of all the WIPs I need to make into quilts first. I am going to start cutting down my scraps, however so I have lots of 1.5" strips to work with when this one moves to the top of the list.

Thank you so much for the time you put into your blog. I really appreciate reading it, even though I might not comment every time.

Frog Quilter said...

You have inspired me to use this idea as a leader ender project. I have cut lots of scraps through my GO cutter. Thanks. I hope this will use a lot of the smallish scraps up.

Val said...

Love this one!

Unknown said...

This is so lovely and thank you so much for the instructions!