Tuesday 20 October 2015

Pattern testing - BFF quilt

In my most recent sewing post I showed some improvisational patchwork, this time quite something else! While I do enjoy improv enormously, I also like the challenge of precise piecing.

Since I have become aware of the online quilting community I have mainly written my own posts (be it irregularly) and watched/read what others put out there. I just didn't have the time to be too involved with swaps, challenges and bees, and have been watching from the sidelines, thinking "one day...".

But when I had the opportunity this summer to test a pattern for Rebecca Bryan I felt it was time to jump in and try something new. The block she was making the pattern for required curved piecing which I was itching to get back to (have I ever shown you my double wedding ring quilt? I also have ideas for a different one), and I had some time to work on an extra project at the time, too. I jumped at the chance and Rebecca was happy to have me (even though I can't imagine she'd ever heard of me before)!

I decided to start with one block, to be made into a mini. Once I had received the pattern I wanted to start straight away so I chose some fabrics that I had at hand (no time for a day trip to the not-so-local quilt shop) and made a rather traditional version.

The pattern includes helpful directions for curved piecing, though I prefer to do it slightly differently, and use no more than three pins myself. The curve is not very tight and pieces together really easily:

curved piecing using three pins
 The corner units are made up of Half Square Triangles and HST units, apart from the corner triangles which are quarter square triangles. So within a couple of days after receiving the pattern I had this:

The complete block

The pattern was very well laid out, with clear explanations and templates for the curved pieces. It even includes a colouring sheet for a complete 4 x 4 quilt layout, so you can play with different colour placements before starting to sew.

The only unusual thing about this pattern is that the edges of the block all end up on the bias, which is something that I would normally avoid. Saying that, as long as you're aware of it, there shouldn't really be a problem. It certainly was no issue when making my block, especially since I added straight strips around the block to finish off my mini. The full quilt includes sashing in the pattern which would stabilise a quilt top, but I would hesitate using this block without sashing in a larger quilt.

I really loved making this block, and am tempted to make a whole quilt in completely different colours (one day...).  There is also a lovely version in the pattern with pieced arcs. In the end I finished off my mini with walking foot machine quilting (which as you can see from the result, could do with a little more practise!) and a narrow flange at the edge inside the binding.

The mini now hangs above my - theoretical - sewing space (no longer here on the outside of the shed which gave the best light for a photograph), brightening up a darkish corner.

For more versions do check out the #bffquilt hash tag on Instagram, and if you are interested in buying Rebecca's BFF Quilt pattern (PDF), it can be found here.

Meanwhile I'm going back to some more sewing, of course!



  1. I wish I could be as accurate as this, at least sometimes! I really like the curves of this; it is a pretty block and your finished mini is really successful.

  2. You clearly have mastered curved piecing Sandra! I love the block and this mini quilt is a great way to showcase it! The fabrics you had on hand are very pretty too. I would have to practice a whole lot more before I made a whole quilt like this.

  3. This is a beautiful block, beautifully pieced. I think the secondary pattern(s) from a whole quilt with the blocks would be very interesting.


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