Bear Paw Quilt Tutorial

The Bear Paw Quilt: Easy Quilting Tutorial with Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Co. MSQC’s Jenny shows us how to make a quick and easy Bear Paw Quilt using jelly rolls (2 1/2 inch strips of precut fabric).

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Transcript (Downloadable PDF Here):

Hi! It’s Jenny from the Missouri Star Quilt Company. I can’t even tell you how excited I am to tell you about this quilt. First of all, I love the Bear Paw. It’s one of those patterns that is traditional and awesome and I love it, but it’s a lot of work and I have totally simplified it, which, I love it when that happens. The other reason is, I love this fabric. So, one of the very first quilts I made was a pattern designed by a woman named Kim Diehl. Now Kim is, I just love her designs, and she has her own fabric now and this is her fabric. It’s by Heritage Hollow.  Henry Glass and Kim Diehl designed this and I just love the rich colors. I just I just think it’s so beautiful, so I ‘m really excited to show you how to do this. So, let’s take a look at this quilt.

So, these are Bear Paw blocks and there are four across, one, two, three, four, by five down. And it makes a quilt that is 65 by 80. And so it’s a pretty good-sized quilt, but this is such a versatile block. So, to make this quilt what you’re going to need is one roll of two and a half inch strips of color and one roll of two and a half inch strips of solids. So, you are going to need a whole roll of these. And that’s all it takes to make the quilt. And then your sashings are going to be two yards of black fabric. They will take care of everything you need for the inch and a half sashing in the middle and the two and a half inch sashings are the blocks.

So, let’s get to this. So, to make this block what I did was, I took the entire roll and I cut it in two and a half inch squares. Now that’s a lot of squares and so one of the things I want to show you today is how to cut a lot of squares without it taking too much time, and here is how I do that. I take my strips and I’m going to unwrap them just in half, you know, so they’re still folded at the fold, and I’m going to stack them, two strips on each stack and I’m going to do, I’m going to do about maybe four of them. So, you keep them lined up together and I actually keep them lined up on the lines of the mat. I make sure they stay on the lines of the mat. So, let’s go ahead and lay these out here.

Okay, so once you get a few of these lined up like this, what we’re going to do is we’re going to take our ruler and we’re going to come over here and we’re going to cut off all the selvage edges first, like this. And you just want to make sure that these right here stay lined up on your lines. Then we’re going to come two and a half, and for those of you, I’m left-handed so I’m going to come this direction. You right-handed people will come the other direction and we’re just going to do this and we’re going to cut all of our blocks into two and a half inch squares. And we are going to do this to the whole roll. So, all of our two and a half inch strips are going to get cut into two and a half inch squares. So, once you get all of your squares cut up, you’re going to have them all in a pile like this and we’re going to start our blocks.

So, the first step of starting our block is we’re going to sew one of these squares to a strip and you can go ahead and sew as many as the strip will allow. I think you can get sixteen on a strip and that will give you the beginning of almost all your blocks. I’m only going to sew a few so that I can show you how to make the blocks, but you can go ahead and fill this whole thing.

So, I’m going over to the sewing machine and we’re just going to sew a quarter of an inch and we’re going to sew four of these. Alright, so I have my block right here, right sides together, and I’m just going to grab couple of these different colors and I’m going to lay them right next to each other on here. And this is making a bear paw with no half-square triangles. Traditionally, there’s a lot of half-square triangles and this is making it with no half-square triangles, which is really really fun to me. It’s so easy.

Alright. Now you would go ahead and complete this. Do the whole row, but I’m just going to sew four of them so I can show you how to make the block. So, you can rotary cut these or you can scissor cut them. I put them close enough that I can just cut in between them and it won’t, you know, it will stay the same size. This one, a little trim maybe. Alright, right along the edge of that.

Okay, so now we’re going to iron these open and we’re going to put the colored side up and lift that up and roll it away so that our seam stays to the dark side. Alright. Now what we’re going to do is we’re going to do the same thing we did before. We’re going to take our strip and we’re going to put this on the strip with the white side or the background side at the top and we’re going to do this to all four of our pieces, just like that. So, let’s go ahead and sew these on here. It’s a little like making a log cabin but it’s going to be bear paw. Alright. So, it helps you to remember if you always put the background side to the top it helps you to remember cause you want these on the same side of your blocks.

Alright, so now we’re going to cut these apart again, just like this cut in between your squares and, again, you can rotary cut this if you want to (a little old school where my scissors are concerned ha ha). There we go, and now we’re just going to iron these open. Now I’m, what I’m going to do now, I’m going to do to one block and you guys will continue to do it to all your blocks and that will be the speediest way to do it, but I just need to show you guys how to make this block so you can do it. So, I’m just going to take one of these and let’s see, I think I’ll do this, I think I’ll do this red one. And now you can see we have the block and we have two pieces. Now here’s where the bear paw starts.

We are going to take one of our blocks like this and we are going to put one on this corner and sew it diagonally so you’ll want to either draw the line or iron your block, or if you can eyeball it, you can do that. So, remember now, this block is actually going to touch your corner block and then we’re going to put (let’s put one of these over here) we’re going to do the same thing to the other side. So, we’re going to snowball both corners, right here. So, see how that is on there? And we’re going to sew right on that iron line or on your pencil line, whichever one it is, and snowball both corners to the block.

So here’s our block. We’re going to snowball this corner, and then we’re going to snowball this corner. So let’s go to the sewing machine. Alright. So, here we go. We’re just going to go straight down here. I’m going to pull this out, and then I’m going to do my block on the other corner as well. Okay.

So we’ve sewn these on both sides now and we’re going to trim them off, so I’m going to trim off the outside corner like this and the outside corner like this and iron those back. And then we’re going to take our background strip and do that one more time. So, what we’re going to do now is, we’re going to lay this side on here. So, add a strip to this side and add a strip to the other.

Alrighty. Here’s our striped first side again. I’m just going to trim it off, iron it back, and then we’re going to add a strip to this side. So, we just keep adding our background strips to both sides. . . and trim it off.

Alright. Now what we’re going to do once we get this ironed open is we’re going to again snowball the corners one more time. So let’s look for some fabrics we don’t have. Here, we can use this green right here and let’s iron a line.

So, we can sew down that and we’ll use this pretty gold. I love this fabric line; it is beautiful to me. And we’re going to put these on this side, so add a square that you’re going to snowball to each side and sew right down the middle. And the other side, we’re just going to put that square on, sew on the breast line. and trim those off. Like this. Iron them back. Here’s the fun!

And you have a bear paw. You have a bear paw, so then you take four of these and trim my threads off here. I have some more over here that I’ve already made. You take four of these, and you’re going to put these together like this to form a paw.

So, once you get all your blocks done, now comes the fun. You’re going to get to put them together in all kinds of ways. So right here, the way we put this block together is we used an inch and a half sashing in between all the paws and a one and a half inch square that I cut out of one of these. So I took one of my extra squares when I cut my whole roll up. I took one of my extra squares, and cut it into an inch and a half square to use in the center, and they’re all different. They’re all different.

So then you get those blocks done and I put a two and a half inch sashing surrounding each block and, you’ll need about two yards of fabric for that, and then for the very outer edge, I had a bunch of these little two and half inch squares left over. So, what I did was, I just sewed them together end to end to end, and I made a long border that I could add to the sides and the top. And you can see that I still have some left over, but I’m going to do something really fun with that. But, it’s really fun to use that to make a scrappy little border. Just like that, just, you just, sew together two, two, two.

Now the fun part of this because this guy when he’s, you know, he’s got his paws down, he’s like papa bear, “Who’s been sleeping in my bed?!” I mean, he’s got all four paws to the ground and, as I started laying these out, there are so many layouts.

You guys are going to have so much fun with these, because if you turn the paws upward, that, to me, was like mama bear, “Oh my! Who’s been sleeping in my bed?!” And so I made a little quilt here, and this one right here I used (let’s see if I got the paws going the right direction). Here we go. So, I used candy novelty squares on this because mama’s always got her hand in the candy jar, you know, and I put them all facing upward so it’s like, “Oh My!”

Then there’s baby bear. And baby bear, we took the sashing out completely, and we just sewed these together like this, and he’s like, “Who’s sleeping in my bed?!” So here is baby bear right here. How cute is that? It just looks like brilliant little stars sewn together and it’s just so much fun. I used thirty fabric on this, Reproduction Thirties, and think I used the Aunt Grace line and, I mean, it is so much fun. So, have fun with this block. Lay it out in all different kinds of ways, try some new things.

So, we hope you enjoyed this tutorial on the super-easy strip, “Bear Paw” from the Missouri Star Quilt Company!

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