How to Make a Tumbler Quilt

Written by anne baley
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One of the many categories of quilt patterns is the one-patch quilt. This design, as the name implies, consists of only one pattern piece for the entire surface of the quilt. Many one-patch quilts are made of squares, rectangles and octagons, but you can make some interesting quilts with other shapes. The tumbler is one such quilt pattern. Tumblers look something like a glass right side up and a thimble upside down, and they fit together to make a quilt top. Use a controlled number of fabrics or create a charm quilt with hundreds of different pieces to create your tumbler quilt.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Measuring tape or ruler
  • Scrap cotton fabric
  • Fabric marking pencil
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine

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  1. 1

    Cut out a square of paper 3 1/2 inches across. Make two marks along one edge, with each mark 3/4 inch from the outside edge. The marks should be 2 inches apart.

  2. 2

    Place the square in front of you with the marked edge at the top. Draw a line from the right-hand mark to the bottom right corner of the square. Draw a line from the left-hand mark to the bottom left corner of the square.

  3. 3

    Cut the paper along each line you drew. The shape in the middle is your template for tumbler patches.

  4. 4

    Trace the outside of the tumbler template onto a number of different fabrics. The amount of tumblers you need depends on the desired size of your quilt. Cut out each tumbler patch from the fabric.

  5. 5

    Lay one patch on the table with the right side facing up. Have the two longest side edges at the right and the left, the longer remaining side at the bottom and the shortest side at the top. Place another patch on the table next to it with the shortest side at the bottom.

  6. 6

    Flip the right patch over onto the left patch. Line up the two right edges of the patches and pin them together. Sew this edge using a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

  7. 7

    Open up the two patches and lay them on the table with the seam in the middle. Lay a third patch to the right of the first two with the smallest edge at the top. Flip this patch over onto the second patch, pin the seams together and sew the patches together. You now have a row of three tumblers.

  8. 8

    Continue adding tumblers in this manner until the row is the width of your desired quilt size.

  9. 9

    Make a second row with the first patch upside down, with the smallest edge at the bottom. Create this row with the same number of patches as the first row.

  10. 10

    Make enough rows to create a surface in your desired quilt size. Sew the rows together using a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Alternate each row so that long edges match up with long edges and short edges match up with short ones.

Tips and warnings

  • Experiment with colour by alternating light and dark scraps in the rows or by using only two colours of patch in the entire quilt.

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