Have you ever wanted to make an easy scrappy (cathedral) window quilt? Or any type of cathedral window quilt? Meet my newest quilt pattern, the Winsome Windows Quilt! Using an easy piecing method that allows for you to actually quilt your quilt together, you are going to love this confident beginner pattern. It even comes with a video tutorial to walk you through the process.
My goal is to make it easy for you to feel like a quilty rockstar! Now you can!
If you've been following me for the last year, you know the cathedral window quilt block is my favorite traditional block. I released, my Riverglen Quilt Pattern, my first cathedral window pattern, using this method back in 2021.
I love the block and technique so much that I currently teach classes at national quilt shows and guilds throughout the country. More on where I'll be teaching this year later in this article.
Traditional Cathedral Windows
Let's talk first about the old traditional cathedral window quilts-- the ones where ALL the windows are folded open. A while back, I came across a cathedral window table runner at a thrift store (see pix below) and was in awe. I bought it for $3 and then researched how they were made by hand. And let me say, it was a hard NO as to me ever doing it 'the old fashion way'. Here's why. They take FOREVER, there is no batting, and you can't really quilt them with a domestic machine or long arm. Then there is the part about hand stitching down each of the folds around the windows. There had to be a better way- an easier one.
I started experimenting with various ways of folding and machine piecing fabric after studying this amazing thrift store find and, after trial and error, accidently stumbled upon an easy way to do it (later after releasing Riverglen, I found a few more people who had tried it in a similar but the not exact way as mine). It involves square pieces of two sizes of fabric, 80wt or 100wt thread, seams pressed open, a tailor's clapper and glue! As well as creating a design that allows you to actually quilt your quilt top together and use batting.
Here's a few variations of my easy cathedral window method over the last few years using my Riverglen pattern. I've made cathedral window wall hangings, cathedral window pillows, cathedral window table runners and quilt journal covers.
Notice in my design, there are still seams and areas that allow for quilting. One of the best ways to quilt by this type of cathedral window is to 'stitch in the ditch' in the seams, using a very short thread length. You can also quilt inside the peak a boo background fabric (I used my Baby Lock Sashiko) or use the quilt as you go method or have it custom long arm quilted. For my first pattern, I purposely didn't open all the window frames to give it a slight modern feel and to allow more room for quilting. What you should know is that the inside of the main window's aren't meant to be quilted due to the bulk of the seams behind the windows. I tried it several times and it just doesn't look good. I broke several needles trying on the black and blue wall hanging above. The only exception is if you hand or machine embroider the window fabric pieces before you piece those blocks. Here's an example by one of my pattern testers, Heather Heck.
Here is where my second scrappy cathedral window pattern enters. Winsome Windows came about after so many customers and followers got their feet wet with my Riverglen cathedral window quilt pattern and asked if I would be designing a cathedral window pattern with all windows. Little did they know, I already had this one secretly in the works. This design allows you to easily stitch in the ditch along the gridlines yourself on your domestic machine.
You could free motion quilt the negative space of the quilt as well. I designed this pattern so that you can sew from your stash and scraps. We are in a recession and money is tight, so my thought process was 'create it so that it's economical'. Therefore, it's strip, charm square, layer cake and yardage friendly. It also comes in three sizes- baby, lap and large throw. And it's a scrappy quilt lovers dream! Did I mention it's a fairly quick make? Here are eight various versions my pattern testers created using their stash (you can check them all out by following the Instagram hashtag #winsomewindowsquilt). Didn't they do an amazing job! How fun is the scrappy Ombre' version? Or the fussy cut typewriter version!
Do you love fussy cutting too? I do so of course I had to make a baby size using this cute Art Gallery Print by Maureen Cracknell. The custom quilting was done by my friend, Melinda Buckmaster. She is so talented and created secondary cathedral windows in the negative space!
Did you participate in the Machine Sampler Mini event I was part of with other designers this lovely month of June? if so, you got my free sample block pattern of how to make one!
Words of Quity Encouragement
If making a cathedral window quilt has always been on your bucket list, I highly encourage you to make a Winsome Windows Cathedral Window Quilt. My goal is to see this traditional quilt to come back to life in this quiltaverse and I have a hunch I'll start to see others jump on the cathedral window wagon soon. 😉
I've designed the pattern with the confident beginner in mind which means I've included a video tutorial that goes along with the pattern for visual learners. I've taught the class at the American Quilter Society Quilt week this past March as well at various quilt guilds. I'll be teaching in October in Nashville at The Sewing and Quilting Expo as well at the International Quilt Festival in November.
I feel so much joy seeing quilters faces light up as they say, "I did it"! And I know you can too!
Until next time quilty friends.....
Make Lovely Things,