How to Make a Modern Geometric Quilt to Hang on Your Wall

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Let's start by saying I'm not a quilter and I've never hand-quilted a single thing in my life. But I do like to sew straight lines and shapes together, and create simple modern quilt patterns. Today I'm going to show you that making a quilt is much easier than you think.

(Image: Jeran McConnel)
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I love bold graphic patterns, and this rug from Anthropologie caught my eye. I noticed right away that this fun, almost optical illusion pattern was made up of many triangles put together. So I headed to the fabric store for my colorless combo. When you look at this finished piece, it may appear daunting and impossible, but really it's just one little square at a time, all straight line sewing.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 1/2 yards each of white, black and grey fabric
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Rotary cutter and mat
  • Colored fabric pen
  • White fabric pencil

Step 1: Prewash Your Fabric

Prewash your fabric. This step is optional, but to ensure your fabric doesn't shrink after the quilt is assembled, I recommend washing and drying the fabric. Also, wash the darks separately from the lights.

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Step 2: Iron the Fabric

Iron the fabric flat and then cut out your squares. You will cut 7-inch squares. For the size of quilt created for this tutorial, you will need about 58 squares in each of the three colors -- this will give you a couple extras. I used a rotary cutter and mat to cut my squares.

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Step 3: Draw a Diagonal Line

Draw a diagonal line down the center of half the white squares and all the black squares. On the white fabric I suggest a colored washable fabric pen, and on the black a white fabric chalk pencil.

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Step 4: Put the Fabric in Pairs

Put the fabric in pairs: White with white and black with grey, good sides of the fabric together. Stitch down either side of the lines on the fabric, leaving a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Work in big batches and stitch one after another without cutting the thread between them, then sew down the other side of each one.

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Step 5: Cut Down the Line

Once they are all sewn down either side of the middle line, use your rotary cutter to cut down the line.

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Step 6: Open the New Squares

Open up the two triangles you created. Fold the seams apart and iron them flat.

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Step 7: Lay Out the Pattern

Once you have all the squares made, lay out your pattern. I made mine 13 square by 13 square (to make a queen size quilt).

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Step 8: Sew the Rows Together

Begin sewing the rows of squares together, always using a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

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Step 9: Iron the Seams

Fold all the seams open and iron them flat.

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Step 10: Sew the Rows Together

Next you will sew the sewn rows together. Again, use a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

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Step 11: Line Up Your Seams

As you sew the rows together, be sure to match up the corners of the squares as you go. Even if you are super careful with your cutting and measuring, some squares just end up being a little shorter than others. However, if you hold or pin the corners together as you sew, you can stretch one of the squares to match up to the other. For the quilt to look straight and neat, the corners of the quilt need to match up as best as possible.

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Now you can back the quilt or not. If you choose to hang the quilt on the wall as a hanging, you could simply hem the edges. Or you could use it as a duvet top. I chose to do a simple machine quilting and "stitched in the ditch," which just means you sew down some of the seams to attach the backing fabric and batting to the front of the quilt.

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Jeran McConnel is the creative force behind Oleander and Palm, where she helps people "find attainable beauty in the lives they live," focusing on simple California living.

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