A Pear-fect Christmas – Granny Square Quilt/Bias Cut Tips

Hi Makers! It’s Sara Brown from @SaraBQuilts! We are coming off of the hottest week we have had in Ann Arbor, MI, which makes it the perfect time to talk about the beautiful Christmas quilt I just made! All jokes aside, I enjoyed every minute of making this Riley Blake Designs A Pear-fect Christmas quilt. Cayla Naylor illustrated the sweetest, classical collection based on the 12 Days of Christmas. The colors are traditional Christmas colors, but they are rich and saturated giving them an updated feel! 

Whether you use Pinterest, Instagram, or a hard copy folder to save your quilt design inspiration, there is always that one project idea that you save and you just know you will make when the right fabric comes along. For me, that special inspiration was Jennifer Jones’s (@PenelopeHandmade) Christmas Granny Square quilt. The moment I saw Riley Blake Designs A Pear-fect Christmas, I knew it was the perfect quilt for this collection! Jennifer never made a pattern for this quilt, but there are a lot of Granny Square quilt patterns and tutorials out there that allowed me to move forward with confidence!

I found that Amanda (@Graccieone) had a wonderful tutorial saved in her Instagram highlights that described how to make Granny Square blocks in a thorough, easy to understand way. I decided to make my individual squares 3” unfinished, which made each Granny Square block 11.5” unfinished. I used a 1.75” unfinished sashing as well. With a 6” unfinished border on each side, my quilt came out to roughly 62” square. 

I chose to use the Riley Blake Coordinating Basics Red Pin Dot fabric as my background fabric. The red pin dots added a fun element to the quilt without distracting from the focal point fabric. I chose the Christmas Green Confetti Cotton Solid for my sashing because it coordinated perfectly with A Pear-fect Christmas. And finally, for my backing fabric, I chose Riley Blake Designs Coordinating Basic Forest POParazzi for a bold green compliment to the front of the quilt. A Pear-fect Christmas Green French Stripe may be the best Christmas quilt binding fabric I have ever seen! I cannot wait to sew that one once my quilt is longarmed. 

For this granny square quilt, the squares were at a 45 degree angle, requiring me to cut some (not all!) of the fabrics at that angle so they were oriented properly. I want to talk a little bit about bias cut fabric, because I do not want anyone to struggle the way I did! This was my first time cutting quilt blocks on the bias and I wish I had the tips that I am giving you before I started! 

  1. Pre-starch your fabric before you cut! As someone who really dislikes washing or starching before cutting, this step was annoying to me as well, but it will reduce the fabric manipulation as you cut and handle it. Once the fabric is cut on the bias grain, it can move and warp a lot if you are not careful. Use a sharp rotary cutter, so it does not pull and drag the fabric. 
  2. When sewing your fabric, use a lot of pins or clips to keep the fabric in place. I often found that my bottom bias cut fabric and top fabric were the exact same size before sewing, but by the end of sewing them together the bottom bias cut fabric would have stretched up to a 1/4” longer than the top fabric! Let the machine do the work in feeding the fabrics through and try not to grab the bottom fabric in any way to avoid additional manipulation. 
  3. Try not to have every fabric you use cut on the bias. For the A Pear-fect Christmas True Love print, the Flowers Dancing print, and the Pin Dot print I did not cut on the bias. For prints like the Pear Tree print, Twelfth Day print, and Lords A-Leaping, I had to cut on the bias to orient the illustrations properly. If you are sewing a normal cut fabric to a bias cut fabric, it is much more stable once you have them sewn together. 
  4. When ironing your blocks, move your iron up and down to press the fabric, not side to side moving along the fabric. If you move the iron around, you can really stretch out the bias cut fabrics. I also recommend starching each quilt block as you go to give them a little extra stability! 

I hope that my bias cut fabric tips help you out and make Granny Square blocks an easy project for you! Just remember, no one will notice or care about the little imperfections. You can see lots of misaligned points and stretched out fabrics in my picture, but the quilt is still beautiful!

Riley Blake Designs A Pear-fect Christmas is such a classically pretty Christmas fabric collection and there are so many sweet surprised to find in the illustrations. I cannot wait to see all of the holiday projects that are made with this collection!

Happy Making!

Sara Brown (@SaraBQuilts)

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