The Cheerio Quilt – Quilting with Circles

Hi, I’m Jenny from the Missouri Star Quilt Company. Take a look at this cute quilt behind me. Isn’t it adorable? I love this quilt it’s just happy and it’s just so cheerful. And it’s so easy you’re going to love making it. It’s just a circle on a square. That’s it! It’s just so quick and easy; love this fabric too. This is Glimma by Lotta Jansdotter and it’s for Windham Fabrics. And it is just adorable.

So to make this quilt, you’re going to need two layer cakes. One layer cake is the background square and one becomes the circle. Just so easy. Also, you’re going to need about a yard for your border. We used a four inch solid, you know, something to just frame your quilt. Obviously you can do whatever you want, borders are so personal.

So what we want to do is we want to make circles. I have made circles a zillion different ways: I’ve used the dinner plate, the coffee cup. You know, whatever happens to be the right size I want. And there’s lots of easy ways to do them. One of my favorites is this easy circle cut ruler, which I like to use. And how we’re going to attach these circles to the squares is Heat and Bond. So you’re also going to need a little Heat and Bond. And it comes like this, this is heat and bond light. It comes by the yard and you can feel it, one side will be very smooth, one side will be lumpy.

So before you cut out your circles we need to iron this on. You want to make sure you don’t iron and of that, the plastic stuff. So we, I’m going to set this square right on top of my heat and bond, right here and I like to do it from the front so I can see it. I also like to be very careful and make sure that my iron doesn’t touch any of the sticky stuff. There’s lots of pressing cloths and things like that you can get out there if you’re worried about this at all.

So I’m just going to go ahead and iron this down. This just takes a few seconds it really doesn’t take long. And then I’m going to just get my scissors and cut this out. Like this. And really, all these little pieces that you’re cutting off you can actually use those, you know, it doesn’t have to be a solid piece because basically you’re just going to, you’re just kind of attaching it to the square so that, then you’re going to applique it on with a sewing machine later anyway. So now I’m going to flip this over on the paper side and just you know just really give it a good solid ironing.

So I’ve got a couple more blocks here that I’ve already ironed the heat and bond on and we need to cut circles. Now you can do circles a bunch of ways. You can use plates cups, anything round will make a circle. I like to use this easy circle cut ruler. It’s, it’s really handy, it has all the different sizes on it. And it’s just one of the ways to cut a circle. And I’ve folded my layer cake in half, with my heat and bond on it. And I place my ruler right on here and show the dark line fabric fold line, and it shows you right where the middle is and you can do all that. You are going to need a Rotary cutter, and this is an 18 mm rotary cutter. It’s got to fit inside these little grooves right here. And I’m just going to set this down in there, it kinda locks in there. There we go. And then I’m just going to run this around, like that. Make sure I got my edges. And easy as that, you’ve cut your circle. Oh! I have a couple little places that stick. That happens to me because I can’t push down very hard with my hand and so, it sometimes it leaves a just a little bits of thread that I don’t always get. And that can be alleviated by just doing it twice.

So here we have our circle and we’re going to mount it to there. But I have loads of these to cut. And I have sitting here this Sizzix Big Shot. And Sizzix decided to turn our fabric templates into dyes. This is a dye cut machine. So you can cut loads of circles out with a dye cut machine. And I’m going to show you how that’s done. I have one piece here, but I’m telling you, you can put 10 pieces of fabric on this machine and it will cut them. So if you are lucky enough to have access to one of these and you need to cut a lot of circles, or any other shape for that matter, this is the way to go. So I’m putting my one piece but you really can put ten pieces of fabric on there.

So you line that up. You lay your fabric on your dye-cut. You put your acrylic sheet over and then your filler sheet. And then you just stick it through here and you start rolling. And it just goes through, just like that. And look at this. TA DA! Perfect circle.

So now all we have to do is applique these circles on to these background squares. So I’ll be right back with my sewing machine.
So before we applique we need to iron out circles on. I like to score the back of these with a scissor or a pen. And just peel off that paper. It comes off very easily. And then I’m just going to center my circle on to my square right here. Put this over here so you can see it. Going to lay that there. And I’m just going to eye-ball it, you can measure in if you want and make sure its exact. Either way. I’m pretty good at just eye-balling things. I’m going to move this over here and I am going to iron this. Basically what we are doing is, we’re trying to keep that circle in place. So that when we sew around it, that it will just stay where we put it and it will be in the right spot.

Now when you applique, you can use any decorative stitch you want. Some people zig zag, some people straight stitch, I like to use a blanket stitch. And generally what I will do, is I will sew the stitch a little bit, adjust my stitches, so I know exactly what I am looking for. And what color, you know what size I want to see. And then I just line up my needle and I just let it go. Let this machine do the work, don’t try to force it through. And I just stitch it so it’s stitched all the way around. I let, watch my needle so it stays right along that edge. And on these big circles it’s so nice, you can just ease it into those curves. Alright now, here I am coming upon where they are just going to join together. I’m almost at the end, there we go. Take a stitch to lock that and we are done with our applique.

Now the fun part about this quilt is that this is only half the blocks. The other blocks are made by, oh here we go, are made by cutting another circle out of the middle. So we have these with our whole block and then this one with the circle cut out of the middle. And you do that circle exactly the same way. So then when you go to lay them together, you just have blocks, you just put them every other one. So I have a few here. I have this one, and let me see here. Oh, I have a row already sewed. But when you sew these together, let me just go ahead and show you how to do this. So I have this row here and it’s already sewed together for me. But what you need to do is you just lay your two pieces right sides together and you do your ¼ inch seam. When you get your rows together like this, one of the key elements of sewing a big block quilt like this together, is you want your blocks to match up. You don’t want these points to be off right here. So when you sew your seam together, your long seam, you want to make sure these seams match up. So what I’m going to do is, I’m actually going to flip this around, and lay these seams just exactly together right here. And then I’m going to put a pin in there. I can see how they’ve nested right together, and if I put a pin at all these junctures, when I go to sew this together I’m really just going to be able to relax and sew the whole thing because I know those little corners are going to match up. So we wanna make sure that these are matched up. If your seams are pressed the wrong way, just go ahead and move them the other direction. You want to reduce bulk and you want to feel that nesting, you want to feel them laying right next to each other.

So now that you’ve got your seams all pinned down, you can just go to your sewing machine and just sew those down. Remember it’s just a straight ¼ of an inch. And all your little junctures are going to match up perfectly. Now on this quilt we’ve put 6 across and 7 down. And you can see, all our little junctures match up nicely because that’s what you notice on a big block quilt.
So we hope you enjoy this tutorial from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

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  • Patricia B.

    I purchased the Easy Circle Cut Rotary Cutter a few months ago. I have purchased your products and enjoyed all of them up until now. Tonight I used the Easy Circle for the first time – with the corresponding “special blade” that is recommended for it. I tried the 7 and 8 inch circles for the first part and they worked great. But when I tried to use the 2 and 3 with the recommended tool – it was so so tight that on the second it cut away a piece of the plastic and on the third – it jammed and popped out so fast that it cut the back of my thumb (more than a scant 1/4″. I do not recommend anyone use this without checking out the fit carefully first. It should not cut into the plastic or the tool and or the ruler are not compatible.