Floating Squares Tutorial

The Floating Squares Quilt: Easy Quilting Tutorial with Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Company. MSQC’s Jenny shows us how to make a simple, modern quilt using a charm pack (5 inch squares of precut fabric) and some yardage. The result is so fun and dramatic.

Find all the details here: http://land.missouriquiltco.com/floating-squares

Video Transcript (Downloadable PDF Here):

Hi, it’s Jenny from the Missouri Star Quilt Company and I’ve got a great project for you today.  Take a look at this quilt behind me.  So, right here we have this gorgeous quilt.  It is just squares and yet it has such beauty and elegance to it and it looks like the squares are just floating in there and that’s because of the background we’ve used and I just can wait to show you how to do it.  It’s so simple.

So, to make this quilt all you’re going to need is one charm pack and we’ve used “Pepper Cory,” “Pepper Cottons” for Studio E.  Just a beautiful, beautiful set of colors.  I mean, really gorgeous.  Then you’re going to need some background fabric and, for our quilt, we used a yard and three quarter of the “Essex Linen” and it just gives it so much texture.  It’s just so pretty and it’s going to make a quilt that is, let me check my notes here, forty seven by fifty six.  So it’s just a great little quilt.  Perfect little crib size. Because we’re just using a charm and a yard and three quarters of fabric, this is the size you’re going to get.

So here’s what you got to do to make this.  We’re going to open up our charm pack and we’re going to separate thirty of our charm squares and set them over here, because we need thirty whole charms for this quilt right here.  Then, we’re going to take our background fabric and we’re going to cut some five inch squares and you’re going to need forty nine of those.  And the easiest way to do that is just to take your yardage and cut it into five inch strips and then sub cut your strips into five inch squares because you’re going to need forty nine background squares.  So we’re going to set those over there.

So that is done.  Two thirds of our quilt is done.  We have one block left that we have to actually sew and that’s our floater block, right here, and to make this block it’s super simple.  We’re going to take some of those same two or five inch strips and sub cut them to get our, our yardage, our pieces for the side.  So, for each block you’re going to need two, two by five inch rectangles, so only two.  So, I’m just going to take one of these five inch squares and I’m going to cut it into two, two inches by five inches.  So, not two and a half, just two.  So, two by five, right here, and those are going to give me the sides of my floater block.

Then we’re going to take another two inch piece, right here, and we’re going to cut that into two, two inch squares, right here.  There’s one, and one more two inch square, like that. And those are the pieces you need for each of your floater blocks.  Now, you’re going to make twenty of those floater blocks.  You are going to need a center bright spot, one of your bright squares, and those squares you’re going to get out of your charms, your leftover charms.  So, we have our thirty charms here. We’re going to have about ten leftover charms or twelve and we’re going to go ahead and cut some two inch squares out of those.

There’s a couple of ways you can do this: you can cut them into two inch strips, like this, or you can cut your whole block down into four inches and just cut it into fourths.  I tend to kind of do from, do them from the strips, like this, where I just get a, some little squares.  You’re going to need twenty of these middle squares.  So, let me show you how to put this floater block together.

The first thing we’re going to do is choose our color for the center, and its two inches square,  so, two by two, and we’re going to take our background blocks, which are also two by two, and we are going to attach those to that piece right there.  So, let’s go to the sewing machine and make our quarter inches, our quarter inch seams.  

So, here we are.  We’re laying them right sides together, set down our presser foot, sew our little quarter inch seam, and then we’re going to add, we’re going to add our, our, our side pieces to each side of the color.  So, I’ve got that going right here, and it makes just a little strip set, just like this, and then we’re going to press that open.  I’m going to press it so that my seams go toward the color.  Although it, that doesn’t matter on this block because we’re just going to sew the side pieces to it.

So, that’s our center strip.  We’ve got that ready to go and we’re going to put our side pieces to it, just like this.  So let’s go back to the sewing machine and sew a quarter of an inch down the side and one more on the other side.  Because we’re using five inch squares for our color pieces, this little floater block has got to end up five inches also.  So, it helps if we just cut the yardage for that rather than cutting down charms, although you can do that very easily.  So, let me press this out.  Gosh, I love this fabric.

So, there’s your floater block, right there, and what we want to do is, we want to make twenty of those.  So then it’s time to lay our quilt out.  I mean, that’s really how fast it is.  So, this top row you see here is a charm and a background square, a charm and a background square and you’re going to go all the way across and do that.  This top row is nine, I believe.  One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine by eleven down.  Just makes a great size quilt.

So, the top row we’re just going to put together with our, our colors and our background.  So, let me put, show you a few of those and we’ll just sew them together row by row, like that.  Let’s see. Oh, this one starts with a color.  There we go.  That’ll make more sense.  Then, on the next row, we start with a background square again and then, right here, we’re going to nestle our little floater block and then another background square and a floater block.

So now that, once you get all your rows laid out, we just need to sew them together.  So then what we’re basically going to do is, we’re going to lay our, our squares with right sides, like this.  We can take them right over to the sewing machine, sew our quarter inch seams together, and put a couple of rows together.  Yours are, you’re going to have nine squares across if you make this size.  Really, you can make it any size you want.  This, this is one of those where, you know, when you’re dealing with charms it’s, you know, it’s big or as small as you want to go.  I mean, it can be, you can do it lots of charms or, you know, however you want to go.  This one just happens to be, we wanted to see what size we would get with one pack of five inch squares, and I always think that’s kind of fun to see what size you get.

So let me, now I have these two sewn together, like this.  What I’m going to do is open them up and sew those two together.  So, let’s put right sides together here and just stitch them down, quarter of an inch.  Then what we’re going to do here is, we’re going to press this.  There we go.  Iron from the top, make the seams go the way you want.  If you iron on a row, on a row, like this, when you’re doing a row quilt, if you iron all your seams one way on one row and then on the next row you iron them all them all the other way, then they’ll nest really well.

So, let’s sew a few of these together now with our floater blocks, and that will give us the second row.  And, again, I’m just going to lay these on here and run them down so that they’re chain pieced, which means I sew them right together without cutting the thread.  I have my two here.  I’ll clip them apart and I will stitch those together.  Make sure they line up.  I like to do that little anchoring stitch where I sew a few stitches and then, and then stop and take, make sure everything is lined up.

Then we’re going to press this, right here, and, let me see, so my seams are going this way on the first row, so on this row we want them to go that way.  So, all we do is just flip that over and they line up, and then we get to attach these rows.  You’re going to do that to all your rows and it’s just going to go together so quick, you’re going to love it.  Again you’re going to have nine across by eleven down and I want to show you something really special because we don’t show you the backs of our quilts a lot, but on the back of this quilt, we’ve put this beautiful rose cuddle cloth that’s so soft and so beautiful.  They make great backs and it’s just like a little hidden secret, fun thing back there and it’ll be so nice and cozy for whoever gets this quilt.  So, we hope you enjoyed this tutorial on “The Floating Squares Block” from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

posted: Charm Packs, Quilt Charm Packs, Quilts and Quilt Blocks | tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,
Have you used this tutorial to make something cool!?
Send it in to us and share it with the world!
  • K Richardson

    What size outside border did you use to “float” the inside of the quilt?

  • Roberta

    I want to do flooting charms, but I want my background fabric to be white.

  • Lisa Nybakken

    Is the outside border cut 2 1/2 inches wide? And how much fabric is necessary for the binding and backing?

    • Joni Minor

      I caught this too and also need this information! Thanks for wording it so well!