01 of 08
Make a Christmas Row Quilt
Sew a Holiday Themed Row Quilt
The Christmas row quilt is made with six horizontal rows of quilt blocks and its rows are separated by sashing. Some of the sashing is pieced from simple squares and the remaining sashing is created by cutting long strips of fabric.
The row quilt's outer border is made up of fabrics leftover from this (or other) quilting projects. Replace the patchwork border with one or more solid borders if you prefer.
Finished Quilt Block Sizes
- Top and bottom rows: five 12"... x 12" blocks
- Second and fifth rows: ten 6" x 6" blocks
- Two middle rows: six 10" x 10" blocks
Finished Quilt Size: About 68-1/2" x 82-1/2" (includes a 1/4" binding on all sides)
Design Your Christmas Row Quilt
Your quilt can be much scrappier than mine. The 6" quilt blocks in rows 2 and 5 are patchwork designs, and the others are applique blocks. To reduce the amount of applique, replace blocks in those areas with any design that finishes at 12" or 10" square, depending on placement. A few possibilities include:
- 12" Clustered Stars Quilt Blocks
- 12" Depression Quilt Blocks (horrible name, wonderful quilt block)
- 12" Rolling Stars Quilt Blocks
- 10" Greek Cross Quilt Blocks
- 10" Jewel Box Quilt Blocks
- 10" Five Patch Chain Quilt Blocks
- Christmas Stocking Quilt Blocks... the block finishes at 8" x 10". To make it work in this quilt, sew 1-1/2" wide strips to each long edge of the block.
- You might even opt to sew a row using my 12" squatty bug jar pattern. Fill the jars with Christmas candies and cookies. In fact, I need to write a separate row pattern using that design.
- You'll find many more ideas for block substitutes in my Free Quilt Block Patterns archives
Background Fabrics for Applique
Rows 1, 4 and 6 use the same background fabric, and it's a bit busier than the print used in other rows. Choose backgrounds that suit your theme.
I've listed applique background fabric requirements below, to make it easier for anyone who would like to use a different background in each row (cutting is repeated on pattern pages).
For applique, remember that backgrounds are cut somewhat larger than necessary, and then trimmed back after the applique is complete.
Row 1, (5) 14" x 14" squares (1 yard)
Row 3, (6) 12" x 12" squares (3/4 yard -- you'll have extras left for the patchwork rows)
Row 5, (5) 14" x 14" squares (1 yard)
Other Quilting Fabrics
If your Christmas theme includes lots of red, try to use at least a couple of different red fabrics to make the quilt a bit more interesting. Do the same with green fabrics -- choose three or more variations.
See each page for the fabrics required for each row.
Because this quilt can be very scrappy, yardage suggestions are for individual groups of blocks. If you choose to repeat fabrics, combined yardages may be less, especially for backgrounds.
To use scraps, cut setting components after everything else has been assembled.
- (150) 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" squares
- (4) 2-1/2" x 60-1/2" strips (single strips cut on the straight grain or pieced from crosswise grain strips of fabric -- learn about fabric grain)
- Strips for borders can be the same or varying lengths; my strips are 4-1/2" wide.
Backing: 2-5/8 yards or a panel about 78" x 92" (How to Make Quilt Backing)
Batting: Same as backing
Binding: about 325 running inches of continuous binding to finish at 1/4" (or wider, your choice if a plain border is used - (How to Make Binding Strips)Continue to 2 of 8 below.
02 of 08
Sew Friendship Star Blocks for the Christmas Quilt
Friendship Star Fabrics
- Red: (20) 2-7/8" x 2-7/8" squares (1/3 yard)
- Background: (20) 2-7/8" x 2-7/8" squares (1/4 yard)
- Background: (40) 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" squares (1/4 yard - may need leftovers from above squares)
- Very dark red or maroon: (10) 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" squares (can cut from one 2-1/2" x 26" strip)
Alter cutting instructions if you prefer to use a different method to make half square triangle units than the technique linked below. Units finish at... 2" square. One option is the Magic 8 Half Square Triangle tutorial, a technique that lets you sew eight identical units at one time.
Continue to 3 of 8 below.
- Draw a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner on the reverse side of each background square. Use my quick pieced half square triangle units method to sew a background square to a red square of the same size. Scant (slightly narrower) seam allowances may provide the best accuracy.
- Cut apart and trim as directed. You should have two half square triangle units that measure 2-1/2" x 2-1/2".
- Repeat to combine all background squares with 2-7/8" red squares (80 triangle units total).
- Arrange four half square triangle units, four 2-1/2" squares one 2-1/2" darker square into three rows as shown, bottom left. Sew components of each row together. Press seam allowances towards the plain squares.
- Join the rows and press. The quilt block should measure 6-1/2" x 6-1/2". If it does not, press again and recheck.
- Make a total of ten Friendship Star quilt blocks.
03 of 08
Eccentric Star Quilt Block Pattern for the Christmas Quilt
Eccentric Star Fabrics
- Dark red: (40) 2-7/8" x 2-7/8" squares (1/3 yard)
- Background: (40) 2-7/8" x 2-7/8" squares (1/3 yard)
- Lighter red: (10) 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" squares (one 2-1/2" x 26" strip should do it)
Alter cutting instructions to use a different method to make half square triangle units.
Row 5 of the Christmas quilt is made by sewing ten Eccentric Star quilt blocks side by side. The catch... they are mirror image blocks. Five are sewn in one configuration and... the remaining five flip that layout.
Continue to 4 of 8 below.
- Draw a line from one corner to the opposite corner on the reverse side of each background square. Pair a background square with a dark red square of the same size. Use the same quick pieced half square triangle unit method as you used for Friendship Star blocks to make two half square triangle units from the pair. Each unit should measure 2-1/2" x 2-1/2". If they are too small, sew the next pair with a scant seam allowance.
- Make a total of (80) half square triangle units.
- Arrange eight half square triangle units and one 2-1/2" lighter red center into three rows as shown, middle illustration, block A. Sew components of each row together. Press seam allowances in adjoining rows in opposite directions. Sew rows together and press. The quilt block should measure 6-1/2" x 6-1/2". If it is too small, press again.
- Make four more type A quilt blocks.
- Make a mirror image B block by arranging the same components used in A blocks, but placing them in the mirror image orientation shown in the bottom image. Create five B blocks.
- Sew the A and B blocks together into a row. Begin with an A block and alternate blocks along the row. The final block will be a B layout. See the quilt layout on page 1.
04 of 08
Oak Leaf Quilt Block Pattern for the Christmas Row Quilt
Fabrics for the Oak Leaf and Reel Quilt Blocks
- Background: (5) 14" x 14" squares (1 yard)
- Red: 3/4 yard (or enough scraps to cut 'leaves' from (20) pieces that are about 5" x 6"
- Green: 1/3 yard should be plenty
- Gold: 1/4 yard should be plenty, maybe a bit more if you'd prefer to make yo yos for block centers
Sew the Oak Leaf and Reel Quilt Blocks
Choose any appliqué method to sew the 12" Oak Leaf and Reel quilt blocks. Download the block templates here and remember... that appliqué templates do not include seam allowances. Create rigid templates or templates from another material, such as freezer paper.
Your background fabric should be about 14" x 14" square. Trim the square back to 12-1/2" x 12-1/2" after all pieces are appliquéd, taking care to center the motif.
The Oak Leaf and Reel quilt block finishes at 12" x 12", so it isn't possible to include a schematic of the entire layout, but you can download a diagram of 1/4 of the block to use as a guide. The layout is pretty simple, so you might not even need the schematic.
The green 'stems' are fairly narrow, and the 'buds' at their ends have sharp points. If you like, make those edges a bit more softly curved for easier appliqué.
Overlap is easy for this appliqué quilt block. Position the leaves and stems first, and then allow the circles to stretch across their bases as illustrated in this drawing. Make five Oak Leaf and Reel quilt blocks.
Instructions for a Few Types of Applique
- Needleturn Applique
- Easy Sew and Turn Applique (may be a bit bulky for the narrow stems -- increase their width if you like)
- Fusible Web Applique
Take a look at the Oak Leaf and Reel quilt created by members of the Empire Quilters, a project for the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Candy Cane Quilt Block Pattern for the Christmas Quilt
Fabrics for Candy Cane Quilt Blocks
- Background: (6) 12" x 12" squares
- Red Candy Canes: 1/2 yard for most flexibility - can be a fabric assortment
- Green (or another color) for bows: 1/4 yard (bow centers could be a different shade)
Download Candy Cane Quilt Block Templates
- Candy Cane
- Ribbon Templates
- Top of Candy Cane for placement
- Bottom of Candy Cane for placement
Choose any appliqué method to assemble the quilt blocks. You'll find links to instructions for three choices of appliqué on page... 4.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
- Be sure to print the templates at 100%.
- Templates do not include seam allowances.
- Each quilt block will be trimmed back to 10-1/2" x 10-1/2" after applique is complete.
Sew the Candy Cane Quilt Blocks
Continue to 6 of 8 below.
- Print the top and bottom halves of the Candy Cane quilt block. Tape the two together, matching the gray pieces. Use as a guide to placement.
- Use a light table or another method to transfer the guide to the front of a background square, centering the image. A light under a glass table works, or you can tape the drawing and square to a well-lit window. If your background is light, you can draw over the template lines with a dark marker to make them more visible under the fabric.
- Make templates of the candy cane. Make mirror image templates, too, but keep the two sets separate. Use a rigid material or try freezer paper. The patch under the central portion of the ribbon needn't be cut twice.
Patches are not numbered -- add numbers or letters to help you keep track before you cut out templates. Transfer the markings to your more durable templates.
Option to avoid working with lots of little pieces… Use a pencil to connect the candy cane patches, and then cut each cane out as one large unit. Try a red and white striped fabric to mimic the look of a candy cane.
- Arrange the candy cane patches, matching them to markings on your background fabric. Applique the patches to the background. Press.
- Make working templates of the ribbon. Except for the center circle, patches must be reversed to create mirror images from side to side.
I've included an alternate, easier-to-sew ribbon shape. Switch to that version if you do not want to work with the original patches, which are divided in part by narrow slits. If you like, simplify the bottom edges of the ribbon's streamers by rounding their edges.
Note that the round shape overlaps the inner edges of other ribbon patches.
- Applique the ribbon tops and the bottom streamers to the background block. Press.
- Applique the center circle on top of the ribbon, covering those inner edges of other patches. Replace the circle with a button if you like, or even a small yo yo. Press the quilt block.
- Trim the block to 10-1/2" x 10-1/2", taking care to center the appliqué within the square.
- Repeat to make a total of six candy cane quilt blocks.
06 of 08
Gift Box Quilt Block Pattern for the Christmas Row Quilt
Gift Box Fabrics
- Background: (5) 14" x 14" squares (1 yard)
- Bows: 1/4 yard or a fat quarter
- Middle Portion of Package: (5) red scraps, each about 2" x 7"
- Outer Portions of Package: (10) orange scraps, each about 2" x 7"
Download PDF Files
Print at 100 percent. Do not allow the printer to scale images.
- Half of Gift Box schematic to use as a layout helper.
- Gift Box applique templates. Seam allowances are not included around templates.
Also See: Image of Quilt Block
Two Ways to... Make the Gift Box Quilt Block
The Gift Box quilt block pattern can be assembled in a couple of ways:
- using a combination of patchwork and appliqué
- using appliqué to sew all patches to a single large background square
Let's talk about the combination method first.
To use a combination of patchwork and appliqué, we can make a patchwork unit for the three strips that make up the base of the box. A plain (narrow) strip of fabric is sewn beneath that unit, and a wider piece of plain fabric is sewn to its top.
The bow is appliquéd as in the original quilt block.
The block has an extra seam allowance around its edges to allow for squaring up after the appliqué is added.
Let's look at the all applique option.
All pieces are appliquéd to a single background square.
Make the Combination Gift Box Quilt Block
Cut patches for one block and assemble a test block to make sure you like the technique.
- Cut (10) 2" x 6-7/8" orange bars for outer gift box bars (2 per quilt block)
- Cut (5) 1-3/4" x 6-7/8" red (shown) or green bars for inner gift box bar (1 per quilt block)
- Cut (10) 3/4" x 6-7/8" strips of background fabric to sew between bars.
- Cut (10) 5 " x 6-7/8" pieces of background fabric to sew to the side edges of the box base (2 per block)
- Cut (5) 2" x 14-1/4" bars for the block's bottom (1 per block)
- Cut (5) 6-3/8" x 14-1/4" pieces of backing fabric to sew above the box base (1 per block).
- Set aside the 14-1/4" background units.
- Sew a 3/4" wide background strip lengthwise to each side of a 1-3/4" wide box base strip. Press seam allowances towards the wider strip.
- Sew a 2" wide box base strip lengthwise to each narrow background strip. Press seam allowances towards the wider strips.
- Sew the 5" x 6-7/8" pieces of background fabric lengthwise to opposite sides of the box unit. Press seam allowances either direction.
- Sew a 2" x 14-1/4" background strip to the bottom of the box unit. Press seam towards the long strip.
- Sew a 6-3/8" x 14-1/4" background strip to the top of the box base and press the seam towards the background.
- Print templates and cut out fabric as directed in the PDF file. Arrange appliqué patches on the quilt block, taking care to keep them within the block's 12" finished area. Lower ribbons are tucked under the upper ribbon.
- Applique the ribbon to the block using the technique of your choice. Press.
- Square up the quilt block to measure 12-1/2" x 12-1/2", again remembering that 1/4" will become part of the seam allowance on each side of the block.
- Make a total of five gift box quilt blocks.
Sew the Block Entirely with Applique
Continue to 7 of 8 below.
- Print the templates and cut out patches as directed on the PDF file. Cut enough for one block first, in case you wish to change seam allowances. Templates do not include seam allowances.
- Use the half-drawing to sketch the layout onto fabric (with a light table or another backlit source). The layout is pretty simple, so you might not need to sketch. Do take care to align patches in a very similar way from block to block, especially along their bottom edges (if you prefer more variety, that's absolutely fine).
- Use a ruler to make sure that patches are within a 12" finished area of the quilt block.
- Applique the patches to the block. Press. Square up the quilt block to measure 12-1/2" x 12-1/2".
- Make four more gift box quilt blocks.
07 of 08
Tree Quilt Block Pattern for the Christmas Quilt
Fabrics for Tree Blocks
- Background: (6) 12" x 12" squares
- Four Green Fabrics for Trees: 1/4 yards for each, or a group of scraps (lower tree areas should be scraps about 4" x 7" each, others somewhat smaller)
- Gold for Stars: (6) 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" squares, or forget the applique and sew on star-shaped buttons
- Brown or Black for tree trunks: (6) 2" x 2" scraps
Tree Block Finished Size: 10" x 10"
Download PDF Files
- Applique Tree Templates
- Applique Tree Layout Guide
Make... the Tree Quilt Blocks
Continue to 8 of 8 below.
- Create sturdy tree templates from the PDF file, and remember that templates do not include seam allowances. The tree bough pieces are nested in groups of two -- you'll need a template for each.
- Cut out six of each piece. You may be able to eliminate some of the extra fabric that lies behind front boughs -- let your applique method guide the best choice of bulk along the edges that are tucked under other pieces.
Eliminate the star if you like, and replace it with a star shaped button or another motif.
- Use the layout guide in the same was as previous applique blocks, to help position pieces for one tree at the center of a 12" background square. Begin building (and pinning) a tree from the bottom up, overlapping patches as you work.
- Applique pieces to the background. Press. Trim block back to exactly 10-1/2" x 10-1/2" square, centering the tree in the square. It may be easier to create consistent blocks if you use the first block as a layout guide for the remaining five.
08 of 08
Finish Sewing the Christmas Row Quilt
Assemble Rows & Sashing for the Christmas Quilt
Read through the entire page before beginning. If you have been making the quilt as we go, please cut 30 more 2-1/2" sashing squares from remaining scraps. I'm sorry, but the number was initially incorrect on page 1. However, yardages were generous, and will provide enough scraps for the squares..
Refer to the illustration on this page and on page 1 as needed. Pin rows together while sewing to keep fabrics from shifting.
- If you haven't... already done so, sew like-blocks into six rows. Press seam allowances between blocks in either direction. Each row should measure 60-1/2" in length. It's okay if yours are slightly different. If rows are significantly different, see instructions at the bottom of the page.
- Sew the (150) 2-1/2" squares end to end into groups of five (you'll have (30) 5-square groups). Press seam allowances either direction, taking care not to stretch the groups. Set aside.
- Assemble four 2-1/2" x 60-1/2" strips for the plain sashing (sashing illustrated is 1/2" narrower, use narrower strips if you prefer that look).
- Arrange blocks into six rows as shown on a design wall or any flat surface. leave space between rows of blocks for sashing.
- Place a 2-1/2" x 60-1/2" plain sashing strip under the top row and above the bottom row. Position another just above the row of candy canes and the last just under the row of trees.
- Place six groups of 5-square sashing segments in remaining sashing slots as shown:
- along the top and bottom edges of the stars
- above the trees
- above and below the row of Eccentric Star quilt blocks
- Step back from the layout. Are the scrappy segments balanced? If not, shift some of the groups of five around until you are happy with the layout.
- Sew the patchwork sashing segments in each row together. Press carefully (seams any direction).
- Sew plain sashing strips to their adjacent patchwork sashing strips, aligning all edges carefully. Press new seams either way.
- Sew rows together. Match end points and sides of adjacent rows first, and then continue matching the remaining edges, easing in if necessary for a good fit.
- Press the quilt top.
- Borders offer a final opportunity to square up the quilt top. Beginning quilters… never determine border length by measuring along the sides of a quilt. Refer to my article about measuring and sewing borders. Create borders from 4-1/2" wide strips of scrappy fabric, trimming their lengths to equal the sizes determined by your measurements (sew two opposite borders first, and then remeasure and sew the remaining two sides as explained in the article).
Add 4-1/2" x 4-1/2" cornerstones at the ends of borders if you wish; refer to my quilt borders with cornerstones article.
- Press the quilt top. Mark for quilting if necessary. Sandwich with batting and backing and quilt. Bind the quilt with doublefold, mitered binding. A quilt hanging sleeve can be added when the binding is sewn to the quilt, or afterwards.
If Rows Are Significantly Shorter than 60-1/2"
You may have to adjust the sashing if rows are significantly shorter than 60-1/2". That can occur when seam allowances are slightly wider than the norm, 'shrinking' the quilt blocks.
Press the rows (carefully) again and remeasure to see if the rows have increased in length (it's more typical for rows that are 'off' to be too short than too long).
If rows are still off, measure the length of each and determine an average. Sew all sashing strips to match the length of the calculated average.
Sew sashing to the rows as explained above (and in the borders article), matching midpoints and ends first and then easing other areas to fit. Taking those steps will help square up the quilt, and prep it to receive borders.
Finish as explained above.