Make a “Serendipity” Quilt (2 quilts for the price of 1!!)



Hi. It’s Jenny from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

I’ve got something really, really fun to show you today. I’m calling it my serendipity quilt because you really get two blocks from the one cut. I’ve been loving combining patterns together. Now, this is a quilt I put together, and it’s basically the Xs and Os block, again, but what you’re going to do is you’re going to use strips for your middle, and your Xs and Os are on the outside.

So let me show you how I did that. I mean, it just becomes so cute. Can you see the X pattern running through here? And we put the reds together in the center. I mean, it’s just so cute. This is another one of those that I just couldn’t even wait to quilt it. I just had to get on here and show you guys.

Okay. So let me show you how we do this. The first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to sew three strips together. I did light, medium — no. I did light, dark, medium, but you can do it however you want, but you’re going to sew strip sets together. So here’s a strip set, and what we’re going to do then is we’re going to cut them into blocks. So however tall it is, that’s how wide we’re going to cut this. And this works out to be six-and-a-half, but you could do this with any size strip sets you wanted. So we’re going to start here.

Now, the one thing to remember on this is that you always — when you start to sew your blocks together, you want them all in the same direction. So I put mine all in a pile like this so all the lights were at the bottom. And then, for this, I used — this is a Countdown to Christmas jelly roll and a Countdown to Christmas — I used a charm pack sized square. I didn’t, actually, use a charm pack. I cut yardage because I wanted all my reds to be in the middle. You can see. Here’s your strip set, and then we’ve got all the reds that come together to form another block.

So I took half-yard cuts of these and cut them into five-inch blocks, but you could use a charm pack for this because it’s the same size. So then what we’re going to do is we’re going to put this on here. And you can see I’ve ironed, ironed this in half like this so this gives us our sew line because we’re going to have to sew down this line right here.

And this is a pretty big block to use on here, and for that person — you all know how I feel about waste. I hate the wasting, so I’m going to show you what I do with this. I think it’s the quick draw of the sewing world. So let’s head on over to the sewing machine and let me show you how we do this.

Okay. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to go ahead and sew down this creased line that we’ve made, just follow it with our presser foot. Then we’re going to lift this up, and we’re going to whip this around, and we’re going to set our foot back down and sew a quarter of an inch from the middle line, and we use our — we use this as our line to sew the next line.

So then what we’re going to do is we’re going to bring this out here — whoops. I can’t seem to find my cutter. There we go — and I’m going to get my scissor, right here, and I’m going to come over here to the ironing board, and I’m just going to trim this off. Now, you have to do this really carefully. You can use a rotary cutter, if you want, but you want to trim right in between these two lines like this, and then we’re going to press this open right here, and that’s the first side of our block.

So let’s go ahead and add the other side. We’ve got another block here that’s been pressed in half. Let’s repress that and get a really firm crease. And then we’re going to lay this on here, this side, so you’re putting your blocks on opposite corners, and we’re going to go ahead and– if you feel like you need to pin it, you can pin it. I’m just going to line this up, take it over to my sewing machine and sew down that crease.

So what we’re going to do is we’re just going to make sure this is laid up straight, and we’re just going to sew right down that crease. And then, again, I like to have my needle down. I like to pick up my presser foot and whip this around to the outside, and we’re just going to sew right back. So, very quickly, with two little seams, we’ve created two blocks.

So let’s go ahead and cut this again, and I’ll show you what we get. Okay. So we’ve cut that. Now we’re going to press this open, and this is our block right here. You can see on here. This is this block right here. Okay.So your whites are going to come together, your greens are going to come together, and your reds are going to come together. And you’re going to make a pile of those, and they’re all going to the same direction with your white at the bottom. If you don’t, you’ll end up with blocks that go opposite ways, and you won’t make your star points in the middle. So here’s the serendipitous point. We have these two side pieces that otherwise would be waste, and you know how I feel about waste. I hate it. So we’re going to come over here, and we’re going to open these up, and look what we get when we open these up. We get this cute little block. Look at that. Because they’re cut from opposite ends of the block, you end up with different fabrics on them, so there’s all kinds of things we can do with this.

So we’ve got this one quilt top that we made just with our strips. And what I love, one of the things I love about this, is that when you put the corners on the blocks, it makes it look like you pieced diamonds to put in there, but we didn’t do any of that little sewing. We just put the blocks on the corners, and it makes it look like you worked so hard, and you didn’t.

So we can do that again with another block here. I’m going to kind of lay these on here so you can see how these go together. So here’s this. I’m going to turn this over. There we go. Okay. So when you have this this way, then, again, you’re going to put it together just like your Xs and Os block. You’re going to sew — let’s make this — there we go. You’re going to sew your solids together or your reds together. No, we’re not going to do that that way because we’ve got to put our whites. There we go. You would probably want to switch this out with another block.

I have a little stack of them over here, and let’s see if we can do this then. There we go, just like that, so you see we make a different kind of X. So like, on this one, you’d have to put it this way, and then this will come together, and it will make those little center star points like that. And you’re going to have four of them, and that will be your block, so that’s this part right here. But, remember, we have the whole sides of our blocks that we haven’t even touched yet, so let me show you some of those. I mean, because you’re cutting two sides off of each block, you rapidly get a good-sized pile of these. So look at this little pile I have going here. These are all just the little squares from those, and these are them, and you can put them together.

I just want to show you some of these blocks I put together. These are the pinwheels they make. How cute is that? So you’re going to, actually, get two little quilts from — you’re going to get two little quilts from one little jelly roll.

So let me show you how this goes together. So you’re just going to just lay out your pinwheels like you would a normal pinwheel, and you put them together just like this, and it makes a secondary little pinwheel in the center. How adorable is that?

Let me show you a little bit how this quilt is going to look when we get it all together here. So let’s put some of these out, and let’s go ahead and make some of these up. And what’s really fun about this is you get this whole pile of them, and you get a whole other quilt out of just the one square that you made because you whipped it around, and you sewed it together all in the same one. So you can see I have all these little pieces. I mean, this is going to be really cute with all these little pinwheels. Shall we put a few more?

And one thing that you really want to remember when you’re doing this is just make sure that you always put your corners on the right bottoms because then you’ll always have your pinwheels going the right way. I don’t know if that made any sense, but when you — when you first cut your strips, when your strips are this way, you make sure that
you have one color always at the bottom so that when you put your squares on, then everything is going to line up and be together.

All right. Let’s put a couple more so you can just get a good look at this. Oh, these are kind of wrinkly. There we go. And one more over here. I just think this is really serendipity. Serendipity is when you find something really fun and unusual that you weren’t expecting, and I wasn’t expecting to get this really cute secondary quilt just out of this one block. So here is this one with its cute Xs, and here’s this one with its pinwheels.

And we sure hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

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  • Lori Huffman

    Jenny, thanks so much for all your wonderful tutorials. As a beginner quilter, there is nothing in the world like seeing things done properly with the ability of backing it up as often as needed. The most amazing thing to me is how you showed me to press the seam and then press the block to one side. I was having problems with the seam folding over. I realized after watching many of your tuturials that the trick is to the angle you hold the side of the block up. You have helped me lessen my frustration wonderfully. Thanks so much! I’d love to visit your shop in person, but it’s a long drive from Virginia..
    Hugs, Lori

    • Sarah

      It’s great to hear how helpful this was! Thanks so much for letting us know! Have a great day!

  • katharine reilly

    jenny thank you so much i have learnt more in the last week from your tutorial than i have in a lifetime of crafts i only wish you lived in scotland

    • Sarah

      hahah!! Thank you! I bet Jenny (Mom) wishes she were there too!! 🙂

  • Jenny,
    I love this! I can’t wait wait to try this out…later today!
    I really love all your tutorials, and how you get so excited showing them to us! (reminds me of myself when I find something really cool and I have to share my info with others 🙂
    From one Jenny to another….Thank You and keep them coming!


    • Sarah

      You are so welcome!! Hope you have a great day!!


    Disfruto mucho de estas tutorías, aun cuando no hablo inglés, entiendo suficiente las explicaciones tan claras que nos da Jenny. Me encantó este quilt Serendepity.

  • Lisa B

    Love this!! Two very cute options from the same project.

    • Jackie MSQC

      Thank you!!

  • Camilla

    I love watching these tutorials. Not confident enough to make a quilt yet, but so inspired by this teacher! You can really see what she is doing! Thank you! Just received a Brother Laura Ashley and serger for an anniversary gift.

    • Jackie MSQC

      You can do it, Camilla! If you need any help or have any questions, please give us a call!!

  • Village.Quilter

    I loved the video and project. The one suggestion is that I had to watch it twice to catch the size of the square corners. I heard “Charm Pack” but a beginner might not know the size. I finally caught the 5 in size in the discussion, but it was not emphasized as great as all the rest of your instructions, which I love. ***My question, it was nice that you mentioned that I could make it an any size. If I wanted to go smaller, and my block height was 4 1/2″, does that mean my square corners would be 3 inches (since 6 1/2 in minus 5″ in your sample is a difference of 1.5″ inches)?

  • katie

    I love this tutorial and also the quilts. Thanks so much for the inspiration

    • JackieMSQC

      Katie- you are very welcome! Thank you!!!

  • Tammy

    i love this but am unsure of the size of the strips used or seam allowance. I have only owned my sewing machine for 1 week so am still trying to work out what quilt to make first. Thank you for all your tutorials they are amazing. 🙂

  • Ladymax

    Jenny thanks again for another great tutorial. I have just added this quilt to my to do list for 2012. Instead of two quilts, I am thinking of a reversible quilt.

    • JackieMSQC

      Reversible….how neat!!!!

  • Patrice Davis

    Thank you for taking the time to make these tutorials. I decided to try this and ordered a jelly roll and charm pack of Monster Mash each. I just ordered four more charm packs as I did not do the math to calculate that I would only get five blocks out of one charm pack, but have several main blocks with no corners. My mistake. So far the layout is looking good. I hope it comes out well and seems to be going that way. I have only made one quilt, for my DD, which took almost ten years to finish. Actually I made the magic binding baby quilt two months ago, but the project was so easy, thanks to your tutorial, I didn’t count it as a real quilt. It was a snap!!! Thank you again. Too bad I did not discover you ten years ago.

    • I hope you didn’t buy all of those charm packs, that’s expensive. 1/2 yd of four colors in the fabric that you like is the way to go. Luckily I found mine on e bay.

  • Lauri

    Thanks for all the great tutorials. This is a wonderful idea.

  • Happygrandma

    Hi Jenny – I just love all your teaching– Seems Like I’ve always been a student !!
    So much to learn even at my age -80 years old !! Watching you do the Serendipity one first and then turning around and showing us the other one– Wow !! Many Blessings to you and your family !! Louise

  • Karan Webb

    Hi Jenny, Love your Tutorials -Bless you for educating without a cost to your learners – I’m sure your business is rewarded by increased sales. I make custom memory quilts and have a memory block on how to do a mitered corner on a border to give the frame effect. Could you share the link? Thank You Thank You!!! Karan

  • hi, this is dorie, I love your tutorials. I want to make this quilt now and am wondering how much yardage I should buy for the squares. Looks like you used four different red patterns, is that right? So about how much of each should I purchase? Wouldn’t the look be entirely different with a charm pack because of all the different colors? Please answer, I’d love to start this this weekend.
    thank you, dorie

    • kgrammiecaz

      I was thinking the same thing. I love these two quilts, but if I use a jellyroll it will have several different colors so the strips would be hard to keep light med, dark, I am thinking 3 strips to create 4 blocks in the larger block. That will give it some symmetry? Not really sure – MSQC – can you give us some guidance? Can we just use a whole jelly roll and then the 1/2 yards of 4 different reds (or whatever other color we choose for the middle?)

  • I have been watching these wonderful tutorials. Thank you so much. Your style of telling is very simple and easy to understand. You come across as a very friendly person. I am going to try and make some of these quilts. Thank you once again.

    • MSQC shop

      Thank you, Sandhya! Have fun with your new quilt projects!

  • Are there written instructions for this. I am trying to make it from the video, but have to keep leaving my sewing room to come back to the computer room. LOL

  • wow , love those two in 1 quilts ! Awesome , love your tutorial ,they are well done and informative .
    Thank you so much .

  • Linda

    Awesome ideas. I love your tutorials and even though I have been sewing for 50 some years I am still learning. I am trying to clean out my stash as I so want to order some of your gorgeous fabrics. Your tutorials have given me a kickstart to spending these horribly cold days in Canada just staying indoors and sewing. Thank you for giving all these tips on making it easier.

  • Quilting Pieces

    I love this quilt! Can’t wait to shop for fabrics!

  • nini

    I just simply love the tutorials. So clear and so easy to understand. you people are really the STARS. Thank you so much

  • colette

    I like your tutorials they make me want to quilt forever.
    I see something and the quilting juices start to flow.

  • Nicole

    Jenny! I just discovered your site and have been having the most fun watching your tutorials!! Wish this was available forty years ago when I started quilting and wanted something to do with scraps that made a quick and effective pattern!! Thank you so much for making quilting more fun!!
    Nicole in Arizona

  • Maryann

    I really enjoy your tutorials. I do have a question about this one. When you’re sewing the squares onto the 3 strip fabric, you said to sew on the creased line and then to sew a 1/4 in. away. Then you carefully cut the 2 pieces apart. Does this mean that these 2 areas only have a 1/8 in. seam?

    • JenM

      Thanks, Maryann. Sounds like you got it – 1/8 seam.

      • Marie

        I follow all of the measurements, but doesn’t an 1/8″ seam fairly fragile? Would one be better sewing 1/2″ away from the original seam so that both quilts end up with an 1/4″ seam or does this distort the finished size of the blocks too much?

        • SarahMSQC

          It would distort the finished blocks, but it’s worth a shot! Let us know how yours turns out! We love trying/ adding new things…. Best of luck to you!

  • Tammy Bumgardner

    Wish I could share mine. I made it for my 2 yr old niece. Loved the process. It was a big hit. Thanks for the tutorial.

    • Ruth Cash

      Hi Tammy, was just wondering the approximate size of the finished quilts using this serendipity tutorial. I’m thinking this would be more of a lap size quilt. Appreciate your response. Thanks

      • tammy bumgardner

        sorry, just saw your post. I made it about 54 x 42 maybe. Not sure due to I no longer have it. I used a 45 width fabric for the back so it wouldn’t have been wider than that. This picture is of the first quilt.

  • Debbie

    I love watching your tutorials! Such great ideas and they look so easy! Thank you for taking the time to do this.