Colour Explosion Quilt Tutorial

Hello! Are you having a bright, colourful day? If not, I’ve just the thing for you – a Colour Explosion Quilt (or a Color Explosion Quilt, depending on where you’re tuning in from).

This quilt tutorial is for a fun baby quilt I recently made; it measures 36″ x 48″ when finished. It’s quick to sew up and easy to adapt to your colour preferences. Let’s get on with it!

You’ll need 16 fat quarters to make this quilt. I’ve divided my quilt into warm and cool colours, but you could choose whatever you like. One thing to remember though, is that you need to make sure there is contrast between the fabrics in each row. Each fabric should also contrast against the triangles it touches in the row either above or below.

Here’s my first version of the quilt, which shows you what happens if you don’t take care with the contrast:

You can see the second and outermost rows on the cool side of the quilt don’t have adequate contrast – as a result they read as if they are a solid mass of colour. To me this quilt is about movement as much as it’s about colour, so I want the eye to move quickly from the centre outwards. The solid rows were an impediment to this and that’s why they had to go. I think the revised version is much better.

So, 16 fat quarters. 8 cool and 8 warm. Contrast between fabrics that touch each other.

Each row has a flying geese unit and four HST units. The geese, unfinished, measure 6.5″ x 12.5″ and the HSTs 6.5″ square (they are 6″ x 12″ and 6″ square respectively once sewn into a quilt top).

If you have a particular way you like to make your HST and flying geese blocks, please use that method. I like to make oversized units which I then trim back to size (with Bloc_loc rulers). The following instructions are for my method.

Each row has a “sky” colour (the colour of the 2 smaller triangles on the flying geese unit) and a “goose” colour (the larger block in the flying geese unit). Identify which colour is which in all of your rows.

From each of the sky colour fat quarters you need to cut 2 squares 7.5″ x 7.5″ and 2 squares 7″ x 7″.

From each of the goose colour fat quarters you need to cut 2 squares 7.5″ x 7.5″ and one rectangle 7″ x 13″.

To make your HSTs – take the four 7.5″ squares for a row and match them right sides together. Draw a diagonal line on the back of one of the triangles in each pair with a pencil. Sew a seam a quarter inch either side of the pencil line, then cut the units apart on that line and press them open. Trim to 6.5″ using the 45 degree diagonal on your cutting mat, or with a specialist ruler. Continue on making four HST units for every row in the quilt.

To make your flying geese – take one of the 7″ squares and the goose rectangle and place them right sides together, with the square aligned with one side of the rectangle. Draw a diagonal line on the square such that the diagonal is angled upward toward the centre of the rectangle. Sew directly ON the line, then sew another line a half inch away (toward the outer corner) from that seam. Cut the units apart right between those seams and press the sky triangle out from the goose. Set the small HST aside for another day. Take the second 7″ square and match it right sides together with the other side of the rectangle. Draw another diagonal line on this square, again angled up toward the centre of the rectangle. Sew on this line and then sew another seam a half inch out toward the corner. Cut the units apart and press the sky flap away from the goose. Set the small HST aside for another day and trim your flying geese unit to 6.5″ x 12.5″. Repeat to make the flying geese unit for each row.

Lay your quilt top out with the flying goose unit in the centre of each row and two HST units either side. Make sure the HSTs echo the colour placement of the flying geese unit in their row. Sew all the rows together, then sew the rows together to form the quilt top. Do a happy dance!

I decided to quilt this one with straight lines and I really love how it turned out. I didn’t mark any lines at all, I just used the width of my walking foot as my measure and made friends with the word “organic”. As I came close to my pivot points, I slowed down and used a little ruler to check my distance (the distance from my needle (centred) to the outer edge of my walking foot is half an inch, so I pivoted when I was half an inch out from the next line).

I quilted lots of V lines in the top and bottom centre portions of the quilt, then either side of that were two U units. Finally, the last little triangles at the very edges of the centre were filled with smaller Vs.

I used three different colours of thread on each half of the quilt – tangerine, pink, apricot and then turquoise, light blue and teal.

For binding, I went with a navy blue. Half a yard will do it, easily (5 strips 2-1/4″ x WOF). If you prefer 2.5″ binding you’ll still be fine with a half yard.

If you’d like this pattern in PDF format, I have it here below for you. As a bonus, those who fill in the box below will also receive my multi-part email series which shows you through all my free patterns/tutorials (they can be hard to find if you don’t know where to look) and gives you my take on Modern Quilting. There are also several free PDF patterns that have been made specifically for this series that you won’t find anywhere else, so make sure you don’t miss out on them.

That’s probably enough from me for today! I hope you’re having a great week and find some time for a little (or a lot) of sewing.

Until next time,

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