Cathedral Window Quilt Using the Circle Magic Ruler


Hi, it’s Jenny from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.  We’ve got a really fun tutorial for you today.  When I first started in quilting one of the things that drew me to quilting was the beautiful Cathedral Window quilt.  I fell in love with that!  It was amazing, and I asked this gal who was doing it, how to do it, and as she explained it to me I thought boy never in my lifetime could I ever do that!

Well then, recently somebody showed me how to do it that is quick and easy. So, I’m really excited to show you about that today.  This is what you’re going to be able to do.  We’re going to be able to make a quilt that looks like this.  So it has the Cathedral Window look and you can do it in a fraction of the time.  So let me show you how to do that. I’m going to set this over here, so, you can keep drooling while you’re watching.

So, the way I’m going to do this is I’m going to use this circle magic ruler.  If you’ve got one great, if you don’t you can pick one up at the shop, or if you’re really creative you can use the circle cut ruler that we have, because what you’re doing is making circles.  So, let me show you how to do that.

This is what the ruler looks like right here, and the markings on it are significant.  You’re going to lay your ruler, and I did it on top of two pieces of a Layer Cake, you could probably use more if you’re careful, and the regular rotary cutter works.  You just follow around the edge of the circle, and we’re just going to cut all the way around here.  Let me make sure I’m getting this up.  We’re going to turn it a little bit.

There we go, we’re all clear on that corner.  Let’s turn it a little more.  This is the problem us lefty’s have.  We’re one directional cutters.  Alright, let me get that little piece right there.

OK, so now we’ve cleared that off.  Now right here you’re going to notice on this ruler it has these little holes in it and you’re going to want to mark these holes with your pencil.  You can use any pencil this is all going to be on the inside.  So, we’re going to mark these points on here.  Just like that.  And then we’re going to go in and we’re going to sew ¼” all around the outside of this circle to enclose it and make it a pocket.  So, let’s go to the sewing machine and do that.

OK, so what we’ve done now is we’ve sewn ¼” all the way around the outside edge.  Our right sides were together.  So, this has completely enclosed this now.  This is a completely closed up circle, and so we’re going to go back here, and I don’t know if you can see on this ruler right here, but where we made the first two dots it says, “Slit here to turn.”

So, we’ve got our two dots that we made in those little holes right here.  Show you again, and then what we’re going to do is you have to pull the fabric apart because you’re just going to slit on one layer, and you’re going to make this slit on your top layer or the layer you want to be in the middle of your fabric.  So, I’m going to make a little tiny cut here.  Got to not get that other fabric.  This is the part where you have to be really careful.  Let’s see, pull that other piece out.  OK so I made a little V, and now I’m just going to cut straight across like this.  And then, what you’re going to do, you’re going to use this to turn it.

So now we’re going to turn it.  You don’t really need to clip it because it’s all an outside curve.  We’re going to push that through, and then what I like to do is I like to take the, well you can use your Purple Thang, or your pencil, or if you have a good finger nail, and just run it along that seam on the inside there to push that out.  So when you go to iron it it’ll just make it easy and flat because you’ve already kind of opened up that seam.  So, then what we’ll do is, we’ll head over to the iron, and we’re just going to iron this flat and make us a nice even circle.  So, let me go iron that.

One of the things I do when I iron this is I kind of roll that seam back and forth with my fingers to make sure that it all comes out to the front edge.  A lot of times you can get a little fold in there, and that won’t be good for this particular pattern.  So, I just kind of roll it, make sure the seam is out to the front, and press right along that edge.  So, you want a nice clean circle, and I think we’ve got that.

So, now that we have our circle all ironed, we’re going to lay our ruler back on the top and we’re going to make it get that circle as close on that line as we can.  This part has to be marked on the front.  So, we’re going to take our pencil and mark it on the front in these four holes right here.  So, we have the four holes marked, and then what we’re going to do is we’re going to watch these marks but we’re going to take a ruler.  So, once you’ve marked your dots, what you want to do is take a straight edge ruler and you’re going to draw a line from dot to dot.

So, here we go, we’re drawing our line here.  And what you’re making is a square inside this, and these will be your sew lines.  So, line up our dots, there we go, draw a line.  Here’s our dot, there we go.  OK, so what you’re going to do is, you’re going to do this on all of them.  Now for mine I used a Dream On Layer Cake but you could use any cake this would be darling in anything and for my back piece, of course, we love the Bella Solids that are already cut, so, they’re real easy and quick.

So, now that you have your circle ironed, you’ve put your dots on, and drawn your line, the next thing we’re going to do is start making long rows of these.  S

o, what we’re going to sew is we’re putting our presser foot right along, this is going to be our guide, that’s not going to be where we sew.  We’re actually going to sew, if your foots right along here your going to sew in about ¼” just right along here and you’re going to sew right off the ends.  Now you’re only going to do it on one seam because you’re going to make long rows of these and so I’m just going to pin this together to show you what’s going to happen.  So, we’re pretending I’m sewing, and then this will open up and then these parts will fold down like this.

Now, I want to show you over here on the finished quilt.  Let me just move this.  Over here on the finished quilt you can see, see we’ve taken a row, and this is the outside row, and I left them down.  You can fold them up, but I like the look of a scallop so I left them down, and we’ve got where you just sew this seam and you going to sew circles to it for as long as you want it.  Then you sew the next row with the circles together.

Here’s your seam again.  You’ve laid it over and then you finally can put this row together and you just do the same thing.  You lay your circles flat like this.  You’re going to sew right along this line, and then when you put them together this way.  You’re going to lay them flat and you’re going to sew right along these lines because all your lines are marked remember, so it just makes it really easy to go ahead and stitch right along that edge, and then you’ll come back later and you’re going to top stitch and sew all this down right here to make the Cathedral Window look.  Isn’t that awesome?  I mean it’s just so quick and fun!

Anyway, we hope you enjoy this tutorial from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

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  • dballiett

    I love this tutorial. I have always made the traditional cathedral window quilt and they are beautiful but heavy and lots of work! I am making a cathedral window quilt for my niece’s wedding and I am thinking that I may try this method out!  Thanks for all your great info on this site and being so willing to share it with us!

  • Kingnotes

    Thank you so much for all of your tutorials.  They are priceless!  I have been quilting a short time and without your guidance I am sure all of my quilts would have been squares. I am also equally sure that my quilts would have never been completed.  Your information takes us from start to finish and all points in between.  Thanks again for sharing your knowledge.

    • Sarah

      You are so welcome!  I sure appreciate your comment.

  • Iowa Man Quilter

    Am I right, that you didn’t use any batting in these?  I think most original Catheral Windows don’t use batting because they are pretty heavy as is.   Really appreciate all the tutorials?  Great job on explaining so that most people can feel confident they can do it!

    • Sarah

      Yup, you are right!  We didn’t use any batting.  Thanks for the sweet comments.  Have a great day.

  • Linda

    Joan, I love to watch all your tutorials..they are easy peasy the way you explain, step by step.  I adore the CW pattern and will be making one for my tenth grandchild, baby girl, RaeLynn….so I can make a smaller version by just making a few rows..what’s your advice on how many rows for a baby CW???  Thanks bunches, Linda J  VA

    • Jenny

      A baby would probably be 6 squares across and 7 rows down, but you will want to lay it out to be sure it is the size you want…good luck, Jenny

  • Christine Han

    Awesome–can’t wait to try it.

  • Tuppermern

    I was so excited to get my Circle Magic and book!  The book says to iron stabilizer on the fabric—-but it didn’t look like you did that.  Just wonder if it’s needed?   I’m a novice quilter—-and want to make a bed runner with this.  Thanks for your great tutorials—easy for even ME to understand.  (mostly!) 

    • Anonymous

      — Please reply above this line —

      ## Jenny Doan replied, on Apr 5 @ 2:15am (UTC):

      Hi, when I made mine I didn’t feel the stabilizer was necessary.  It just depends on the look you want.  You could always try one with a scrap to see if you like it.Thank you also for your kind words!
      Have a great day!
      Jenny Doan

      (888) 571-1122

      ## Conversation started by Disqus, on Apr 3 @ 4:46am (UTC):


      • Tuppermern

        Thanks for your reply!    I decided to make the hot mat—and used deco bond on the back of the fabric.    It’s very firm—but will work for the hot pad.   I also used my seam ripper to cut the slit to turn it.  With the deco bond and insul-bright—it was a little tough!  If came out beautiful, tho.  Thanks!      

  • Oliviastol

    Where can I get this circle magic ruler used in the Catheral Quilt???

  • Arlene

    I really want to make one of these cathedral window quilts but without the batting, is it heavy enough to use on a bed or is it strickly a wall hanging.  Has anyone ever added a light batting or heavy stablizer for strength and warmth?  I absolutely love these tutorials and all I am learning.

    • Natalie

      Hi Arlene, you do not have to use batting in this quilt. If you want a lighter feel you could line it with stabilizer, or flannel, or leave it out entirely! We have made several quilts similar to this without any lining at all and they are wonderful. So light and soft, perfect for our hot Missouri summers. 

  • Cjnid

    What size quilt does a layer cake make?  Can you easily just make it bigger with more squares?  I’m wondering what the back looks like as well.  Looks like fun! Thanks for the tutorial.

    • Anonymous

      — Please reply above this line —

      ## Jenny Doan replied, on Jul 8 @ 2:33pm (UTC):

      The layer cake makes a lap sized quilt. The back is finished when you are finished with the quilt.
      Have a great day!
      Jenny Doan

      (888) 571-1122

      ## Conversation started by Disqus, on Jun 30 @ 6:19am (UTC):


  • Ozdeb

    hi jenny,
    when you cut the patterned circle and place on the plain background, for the 2nd block do you cut a cream circle and put it onto the patterned background or do you use the left over outside (patterned) part and sew onto a cream 10″ sq background.  Hope this makes sense to you.  One way will use 2 cream sq’s and 1 patterned sq and the other way uses 2 of each.

  • Vandy Davenport

    this is so awsome, I was just about to start a traditional cathedral and now I’m for sure going to do this one. thank you so much for sharing and you’re so good at it too!!    Vandy

  • Mary-Louise

    Jenny, thank you very much for your enjoyable and instructive tutorials. I have been reading my new “Circle Magic” book and have a question about the turning slit. Wouldn’t it be safer for someone as clumsy as I am to cut the turning slit on one circle before I sew it to the second circle? I realize that I would have to pay extra close attention where I mark the four dots afterwards so that the turning slit wouldn’t show on the finished quilt, but wouldn’t this method also work?

  • Andrea_C

    I am a new quilter and look what I have been able to make! You are an awesome instructor! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • Andrea_C

      The picture is sideways :/

      • JenM

        WOW! That is gorgeous. Great job! Glad you gave this one a shot and glad you shared!

    • Bridget

      Love this quilt! How does the turning slit get hidden? I am an avid fan! Thanks, bridget

      • Mary Lou

        Bridget—-when you join two of the circles together—-you sew a line across them. When you press them open and sew them down—-the slit will be enclosed/or under where you pressed. I hope this helps!

  • Maya Yusof

    Is adding a flannel in between is good enough for the warmth or is it better if i add a light batting?

    • JenM

      I think flannel instead of batting will be plenty warm.

  • Heidi

    Nice tutorial but the finger licking to move the fabric around is hard to watch.

  • Kathy Scollan

    So, love this quilt pattern. Got the circle ruler, now being very new to quilting I am trying to figure out how many layer cakes I will need to make a queen size quilt. If this one you demonstrated makes a lap quilt then should I need 2 layer cakes in my print and solid? BTW, licking your fingers to align the fabric cracks me up. I have done that my whole sewing life and it was nice to see it! My be a lefty thing.

  • Alma Oralia Brown-Alvarado

    This is a GREAT idea… Does the circle come in different sizes? It would be wonderful if it came in a smaller size. Thanks you for your Videos

  • Melissa Thompson

    If I wanted a king size quilt like this, how much material would I need?