Sunday, November 3, 2013

Cathedral Windows

As I slowly chugged along on the Inishmore, I also decided to start a slow sewing project.  I'm making patchwork. I think it's called piecing?  First I was calling it quilting, but after reading somewhere online I realized quilting refers to the stitching layers together, while putting pieces together for surface motif is called piecing. That goes to show how much I know about quilting.

Usually I'm not very interested in the looks of quilts, but lately I kept on having this image in mind of something I've seen on internet that is kinda modern looking but of a traditional patchwork. I remember seeing something with geometric shapes as well as organic lines and had an origami element in it. After some Googling, I learned what I was thinking of is called Cathedral Window. I found several blogs with tutorials on how to make them. I tested out couple methods and I liked this tutorial the most from a blog called "The Jilted Ballerina."  I skipped the step of adding batting to it. There were other tutorials that included more sewing and less ironing, which could be faster, but I simply wasn't able to get neat squares based on how I sew, so I stuck with the folding and ironing method.  It really was like making origami.

I ended up cutting my fabric at 12" instead of 10" and made the template at 10 1/2" instead of 9", For the windows, I cut the squares at 4"with template at 3".

I stopped by Joann's after work last week and got 6 yards of 44"-wide white muslin, and some 1/4 yards of fabrics in different colors for windows, As it turned out, the entire patchwork will be much smaller than I was expecting. When I was buying the fabric I completely forgot to take into consideration how much yardage the folding would eat up. After folding, each square ended up being only 5 1/2" square, a little less than half of the original 12".  From six yards I got 54 squares minus the 3 squares cut badly. So, if I do 6 squares by 8 squares piece that is 48 squares. I'll have something like 33" x 44", that's slightly less than 1 yard of 44". Wow, what a difference.

Obviously I don't have enough yardage to make a full-size quilt.  Frankly, I don't think I have the stamina or the patience to iron more squares, anyway.  Perhaps I'll make a table runner or something out of the ones I have. We shall see. This project may take a while, the ironing is such a chore.  I got most of the windows sewn on, and I need to put panels together.

The ironing sure was a total chore.  I spent ALL day on Friday ironing, and more ironing on Saturday.  It reminded me those days back when I was in my early 20's, working as a office temp in between jobs.  All the mindless, and repetitive chores. Those were such easy work, very often the supervisors would be so "shocked" by my ability to accomplish the assignments with no problem and in good time, talking about easily satisfied low expectations. Anyway, I'd never ironed so much fabric, ever!  I finally began sewing up the windows yesterday, that was a lot of fun, so much more fun than ironing. Machine sewing sure made it fast and east.

I'm still totally undecided on what I want to do with the patchwork...  I guess I wasn't thinking about that at all when I jumped right into the project, I just really wanted to make these patches.  I'll post the final project when I'm done, hopefully it won't be too long from now.

Holding them up to the window reminded me of slides. 


  1. Beautiful job! Can't wait to see what you decide it will be.

  2. Very pretty! I've seen that Cathedral Windows motif around the quilting blogs and I think it's so gorgeous. I tried making a quilt and after hours and hours and days of ironing, put it away and haven't returned to it since. Good luck!