Welcome, Quiltketeers, to another year of sew alongs! This is the Garland quilt sew along and I'm so glad you're here. I have a good feeling about all the quilts you're going to make in 2023. I also know about a few surprises coming your way in the next two months, which makes me even more excited for you! Eeeeek!
In this quick four-week sew along we will cut, sew and assemble a Garland throw quilt. You are welcome to make any size you like, however the schedule is written with a throw quilt in mind.
Garland is the scrappy companion pattern to Maypole — so you'll be working with tiny pieces of fabric (great for your itty bitty cast offs) and large pieces of yardage (to balance out those scraps). Check out lots more Garland photos and helpful tips in this blog post, Garland Quilt Pattern – Use ALL The Scraps!
What's a Sew Along?
I'm so glad you asked! Here at Suzy Quilts we like to follow up a pattern release with a multi-week community sew along to give you an opportunity to make a quilt with the designer of the quilt — me, Suzy!
I'll go over extra examples, break down the steps even further, and give you a chance to ask questions that come up along the way. These sew alongs are supplementary to the pattern, so even though we cover a lot, we don't cover everything. You do still need the pattern.
I know that life can get busy and you can't follow along with every sew along we offer (which is four per year!) These sew alongs stay on the blog forever and are easy to find so you can follow along at your own pace. Just pop over to the Sew Along tab where you can surf past sew alongs.
Some quick take-aways:
- NO Sign-up: You do not need to sign up for Suzy Quilts sew alongs. You simply sew along with us!
- Sewing questions: You've got questions, we've got answers! The best place to ask your technical sewing questions Suzy Quilts Patterns Facebook group. The main purpose of sew alongs is to answer questions that pop up during the quilt-making process so don't ever worry about asking a "stupid" question. They don't exist!
- Prizes: Aside from having a beautiful finished quilt top, you also can win weekly prizes by using #GarlandQuiltSA in the comments of your posts on Instagram. More details on that are at the bottom of this post.
- Discounts: Get 25% off longarm quilting on your Garland quilt from SunRae Designs, Trace Creek Quilting and Thai Charm now through the end of March 2023. You must mention this deal when filling out their info forms.
Garland Sew Along Schedule
- Week 1, January 6: Pick fabric and gather supplies
Sponsor: Cottoneer - 1/2 yd. bundle of Trellis woven fabric by Fableism
IG LIVE - @suzyquilts: Thursday, Jan. 12 @ 2pm Central - We will discuss fabric selection + Q&A. If you have specific questions you want covered, post them in the blog comments below.
- Week 2, January 13: Cut fabric
Sponsor: Sewing Arts Center - $100 gift certificate
- Week 3, January 20: Sew improv strips
Sponsor: SunRae Designs - Free longarm quilting for one Garland quilt
IG LIVE - @suzyquilts: Wednesday, Jan. 25 @ 2pm Central - I will do an improv strip sewing demo + Q&A. If you have specific questions you want covered, post them in the blog comments below.
- Week 4, January 27: Trim improv strips and assemble the quilt top
Sponsor: Trace Creek Quilting - Free longarm quilting for one Garland quilt
Garland Quilt Supplies
Garland Fabric Requirements
Download a PDF of the Garland Fabric requirements here. As I mentioned before, you can use any pre-cut with this pattern. If the Fabric Requirements look long, it's not because you need tons of fabric, it's because there are options.
For example, to make the improv strips in the Throw size, you can use either fat quarters OR a layer cake OR 2 jelly rolls OR a bunch of scraps.
If You Are New to Quilting...
I'm so glad you're here! This is a fantastic pattern for you and a sew along is the perfect way to explore, learn and grow your quilting skills. I have more resources for you that are helpful and quick to read.
Week 1 Assignment: Pick Fabric
People, people, PEOPLE! I can't wait to jump into picking fabric for the Garland quilt because this is one of those patterns that just WORKS. Like somehow it magically makes all of your weird scraps and funky fabrics fit together into one joyous piece of cuddly art!
How is this possible? It's the pattern's built in balance. Balance is so important in a composition. Balance is what makes our eyes wonder around, corner to corner, taking it all in. Rather than hone in on one spot, balance is what gives us that sense of wholeness and peace.
Tip #1: Make it sing!
The balance in the Garland quilt comes from large swathes of fabric juxtaposed by wonky little bits of fabric. Large strips of fabric are restful and calming and the little wonky bits make this quilt SING!
I remember when I was first learning to quilt over 20 years ago I was at a fabric shop with my quilt mentor, Brenda Winkelmeyer. She was guiding me around the store, quilt pattern in hand, helping me pick fabric for my next project. I had selected a lovely assortment. It was safe. It would have been fine. She looked at me and said, "These fabrics are beautiful, but what can we add to make them sing?"
By that she meant let's add some sparkle, something jumpy and fun — something that would crack a smile and bring the whole quilt together. These "singing" fabrics don't need to be loud or overly eye catching. Just think of them as a cherry on top. Something special for you. This could be a little bit of fussy cutting or even some extra strips sewn into the binding that add a bit of pizzazz.
The Garland quilt naturally sings because of those wonky strips. Maybe you want to lean into that and pick a fabric or two you normally wouldn't. Only a small part of it will be seen.
As we pick fabric this week I want you to feel really confident that your selection will make a beautifully balanced quilt. I also want you to challenge yourself a little bit by asking, "What fabrics can I add to make it sing?"
Tip #2: Go easy on yourself. Go monochromatic.
In typical fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants fashion, I picked out my Garland fabric two days ago. The holidays were incredibly busy and I was watching toddlers and juggling visiting guests nonstop. I decided to go easy on myself for this sew along and use a formula that I know always works — monochrome.
I used the confines of my stash to pick five base colors all in the same color family. Neutrals can jump into any family, so they don't really count.
Tip #3: For Colors 1-5 use at least 50% solid fabric.
No matter the quilt pattern, I recommend maintaining at least a 50% ratio of solid to patterned fabric. This is not a hard rule, and if you're a prints-all-day kinda quilter, power to you. However, if you are new to quilting and still finding for your sea legs, apply this ratio to assure that your quilt doesn't feel overly busy.
For my Colors 1-5, I picked 3 solids and 2 "patterns" — one wide window pane (Trellis by Fableism) and one floral woven by Anna Graham.
Tip #4: Improv strips = party time.
It's party time! I went monochromatic with my big pieces of fabric (Colors 1-5) because I knew they would coordinate with everything. Like, literally every single FQ or layer cake or jelly roll or scrap I have. Here are some examples:
Rainbow bright! These improv strips will be small, so a helpful way to visualize them is laying them out like I do above. By going basic with the large pieces of fabric, I can make the improv strips really pop with bright colors!
As I mentioned before, Garland is designed to be balanced, so you don't need to worry about these improv strip fabrics being too loud or too different than your Color 1-5 fabrics.
Opposites attract! My large fabric strips come from the green/blue family, so on the color wheel, what's the opposite of green? Red! Later on you'll see that the fabric pull I landed on leaned more into the blue shade of those large strips and I picked the opposite of that. Do you know what the color opposite of blue is? 😉
Grab a pre-made bundle! The pattern has instructions on how to use fat quarters, layer cakes and jelly rolls, so grab any bundle you like. I literally just pulled out this bundle by Elizabeth Chappell from my stash without even thinking if it would coordinate or not.
These exact teal greens aren't found anywhere in this FQ bundle, but somehow they still work together. Why? Because our brains visualize and categorize the entire wonky strip (or fabric bundle as it is) as one thing. Imagine you are looking at a garland hanging on a mantle. You see it and your brain calls it one thing — a garland. It doesn't dissect each little part and call it 20 different things. That's the magic of balance in a composition. We're literally tricking our brains!
The 50% solids ratio doesn't apply to these wonky strips because they are balanced so well by the large Color 1-5 strips. Here's an example of a baby Garland quilt I made using a bundle of Bonnie Christine fat quarters. (FYI I got distracted and sewed the blocks together differently than the pattern. Just ignore that part. ha!)
My Garland Sew Along Fabric
As I mentioned before, I leaned into the opposite of green/blue when picking my improv strip fabrics. Did you look at the color wheel to see what that is? It's red/orange. Finding that shade in my stash was a great jumping off point. From there I found other warm colors I like.
Personally, it's hard for me to not use shades of burnt sienna and muted ochre. They make my heart sing! I found a mix of tiny prints (Liberty floral) and large patterns (plaid) as well as light and dark.
I could have taken these red/orange shades exclusively and run with them, but I ran out of fabric in my stash! Time to pivot. I knew getting back into those green/blue hues would coordinate well, so I found anything I could find in my stash that I thought would work.
Yummm... 🙂 Oh my heart is singing BIG TIME. I wonder if I could find a fabric or two that bridged the gap between these two color families...
Oh hello fabulous floral and mustard/pistachio plaid. Welcome to the party! You are exactly what I needed!! (Floral - Wild Floral Sunlight by Art Gallery Fabrics; Plaid - Arcade Woven in Chameleon by Fableism)
Remember Tip#1 was find a way to make your quilt sing? That poppy red floral cut up into small bits and dancing around this quilt is going to do just that. I can't wait to cut these up and sew them together!
Week 1 Sponsor & Prize
Kicking off our sew along is Cottoneer Fabrics with a 1/2 yd bundle of Trellis cotton woven fabrics by Fableism!! Yeehaw! You may have noticed that my Color 3 fabric in my Garland sew along quilt is a Trellis fabric. I'm also using a lot of the Sprout solid wovens and Arcade plaid wovens from Fableism. They are such beautiful fabrics!
How to Win
- Post a pic to Instagram. The photo prompt for Instagram this week is to post an introduction pic or a picture of your fabric. Use #GarlandQuiltSA in the caption.
- You must have a public Instagram profile to participate.
- Each photo posted is an entry and you can enter as many times as you want in a single week. Once the week is over, those posts do not count in the next week's giveaway. Every week we start fresh.
- Your photo must be posted between Friday, January 6 and Friday, January 13, (so freaky!). The winner will be picked randomly from all qualifying posts and announced at approximately 4:00 p.m. on the 13th. Good luck!