Broken Dishes Quilt Using Precut Fabrics



Hi. It’s Jenny from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.Today, we’re going to talk about a traditional old block called broken dishes. This is a broken dishes block. It’s a great old block. It hails from the 1700s, and I’m sure that when the women were coming on the boats and the wagons with their precious dishes, this was a block that ended up as a result of their frustration from ending up with a lot of them broken when they arrived from where they came. Let’s take a look at this quilt behind me. This is made using the La Belle Fleur — and I’m not French. Sorry — line from Moda. It’s made using one layer cake or four charm packs. And so this one is set four across and five down. We set it together using a log cabin setting where you border just two sides of the block and then turn that so it gives them that movement up and down. This is a great, quick, awesome quilt. You’re going to need, again, one layer cake or four charms for your blocks, a yard-and-five-eighths for your sashing, and about a yard-and-three-quarters for your border on this quilt.

So let me show you how this block is made. This is a great block, really easy. So what we’re going to do, if you use a layer cake, you’ll want to cut that into fourths, so now you have a charm pack size, and we’re going to take a light and a dark square and put them together, and we are going to sew all the way around this outside edge just like we do when we’re making the easy pinwheels, so let’s go to the sewing machine and do that. And I’m just going to zoom down here.

Somebody asked me the other day how I know when to stop to pivot, and I don’t always stop to pivot. A lot of times, I just sew right off the edge, and that’s what I’m going to do here. So now I’ve got all four edges sewn together. It’s sewn all the way around. And the reason you use a layer cake on this quilt is so that all four of these blocks are the same. Now, I’m going to use a charm pack today. They’ll be similar, not the same, but you’ll be able to see how this block is constructed.

So what I’m going to do now, now that I’ve sewn all the way around the outside edge, is I’m going to cut from corner to corner. I like to lay my ruler where the two seams cross. It gives me an exact lineup, and make sure it matches out here on the corner edge. So we’re going to cut across there. I’m going to flip over this way and cut across here. This is the same way we do the easy pinwheels because you’re going to get four half-square triangles instead of two.

So now what we need to do is iron these open. I’m going to leave my darks on the top. That makes it easy for me just to put my iron down and set those seams. Then I’m going to lift up the top layer and roll them back. That will keep all my ironing in the same direction. This is, again, another one of those great half-square triangle quilts that I fall in love with because it’s so easy now to make half-square triangles.

So now is the setting, and what you’re going to do is you’re going to put these together. Each four blocks is constructed exactly the same way, but I tend to get confused a little bit angularly so I always keep — the first one,
I’m very careful about putting together, and then I keep a pattern sitting right by my sewing machine so that as I’m putting them together I can match them up and make sure that they’re right and I don’t have to rip. We don’t want to

So on this one, I’m looking, and I see that the dark is up to the top left, and the next one is put with the dark down toward the bottom left, and then this one is done the opposite. My dark goes the other direction. And then this one I turn, and the dark goes to the outside. So then you can see that it makes this little hourglass block in the center.

And we’re going to go sew this together, so I just fold this over. I’m going to match up where these two seams come together and just do straight quarter of an inch straight down the edge. The nice thing about sewing on a bias edge is that if it isn’t exact, you can actually make it behave. You can pull it and make it fit. I’m going to go ahead and iron this open so it’s ready to sew when I get the next one done. And you’ll actually notice, if I were to — well, let’s get this side sewn first before I reveal that little bit of information.

All right. So now I just need to iron this one open. And what I was going to say earlier is these two pieces, even though you set them so they look like they’re opposite, they’re actually going the same direction, like this, but we’re putting them together this way, so it makes that hourglass in the center, and we’re just going to now bring this one on top of here, make sure our seams are pressed opposite. If they got pressed the same direction, you just want to touch that with an iron. It will help them nest better. So now I’m going to bring these together here. The most important seam to match up is that middle one. Come over here to the sewing machine and sew my quarter of an inch. Okay. So I got that seam done. Now, let’s iron these open. Let me get some of these threads off of here. There we go. Ooh, threads everywhere. Now, I’m going to press that down and iron open, and you’ll do that to all four of your pieces, and you’ll end up with four identical blocks, and we’re going to put those together. They sit all the same direction so that when you get them all together like this, you’re going to end up with darks in the center and lights in the center.

Now, I see I have two really darker reds here. I want this to have a scrappy look, but I want it to have even placement, so I’m going to put — I’m going to move my reds so that my darks are on either corner like this because I like to mix it up a little bit.

So now all we have to do is sew these four pieces together, and that makes our broken dishes block, so let’s go ahead and do that. I’m going to lay these together and start here. Now, before I take those out, I’m going to grab these and bring them over to the sewing machine. When you don’t cut your thread in between, that is called chain piecing. It saves you a little bit of thread and a little bit of time.

So then we’ll bring this back over here. We’re going to lay it out to make sure that we have our whites coming together and our reds coming together, all our blocks are going in the same direction, and then we’ll sew that together.

And that is — I really do like that about the bias fit. If you sew on the bias, you have to be a little careful because it does have a little more stretch, but it really enables you to make that fabric behave and get it right where you want it to be, which I like. Trim this off. There we go. Now, we’re going to press this open for our big reveal, and there you have an awesome broken dishes block.

Now, I want to show you another quilt. We have some great quilters that work for us. This one happens to be made by Carol. She works in shipping. Some of you may have gotten a — if you ordered online, you may have gotten a note that was signed by Carol. She’s been with us a long time. This is the broken dishes block quilt with no sashing. She just laid it all together. She’s also graduated her colors from light to dark, and it’s just so gorgeous. I love this block.

So we hope you enjoyed this tutorial on the broken dishes block from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

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  • Pam

    I want to make this quilt but need to know how you finished it….what size is sashing around blocks and border? Thank you Pam Patterson

    • JenM

      We’ve included a full pattern in our Summer 2013 Quilting Quickly. There is a sashing on two sides of each block. Cut 20 2.5″ x 13″ rectangles and 20 2.5″ x 11″ rectangles. Also, cut two 2.5″ x 63″ side borders and two 2.5″ x 54.5″ inch top and bottom borders.

  • Carmen Elwood

    You mentioned a book to Pam and I have done a search for the book but have not been able to locate it. Is it in print or will it be distributed in the future?

    • mortonkarena

      Hi Carmen,
      The Quilting Quickly 2013 is a magazine, and I found it at JoAnn’s.

    • JenM

      We’ve received more Summer 2013 editions of our Quilting Quickly bookazine. You can order from our shop by following this link…

  • mortonkarena

    Love this quilt! And I love Carol’s, too!

  • Carolyn

    Watched your tutorial on the self-binding baby quilt twice. Got it sewed, and the “bunny ears” clipped off, but when I turned it, it won’t lay flat…each one of the corners cups around. What did I do wrong?


    Wish you had step by step instructions that you could print out

  • Anna

    Where do you obtain Summer 2013 Quilting Quickly bookazine?

  • Anna

    Is there a place I can find these directions written out?