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Quilting with Batiks
Batik fabric charm packs (aff link) are filled with an awesome array of fabrics. But how do you mix and match so many batik fabrics into a pleasing quilt top design? When considering how to quilt with batik charm squares, these few simple tips will make a dramatic difference in your selection process.
Download FREE 4-page PDF Pattern
Batik Charm Square 9-Patch Baby Quilt Pattern
Get the EXPANDED Pattern including all three Design Layout Options for this beautiful 9-patch block. Plus additional tutorial videos are included!
Batiks are fabulous quilting fabrics. Their unique look sets them apart from other fabrics resulting in stunning quilts. Today, the selection of batiks has broadened considerably to include so many to choose from. Low volume batiks (aff link) are a favorite design element that I enjoy using in my quilts. They make a perfect, subtle background yet add plenty of interest to any quilt top.
Combining lots of beautiful batiks (aff link) can be a challenge to balance all those colors and patterns. Blending multiple colors harmoniously can be very personal when we gravitate toward colors we love. When you use your ‘happy colors’ you’ll get the best results. But there are a few rules to keep everything in order for a magnificent quilt design.
My magic recipe begins with a group of coordinating focal fabrics. Next, pull in some accent fabrics to add contrast and keep things interesting. Then select a background to bring in some balance. Following these steps will make fabric selection fun and easy. Plus, you’ll be very excited about the results!
Amazing Batik Quilting Tips
Select Coordinating Focal Fabrics
Batiks are beautiful, and it can be difficult to choose just a few. It’s easier to buy either an individual collection or a curated bundle of precuts. This way all the fabrics are coordinated and will look great together. BUT if you stop here, you’ll end up with a very monochromatic quilt with little visual interest. The fabrics are beautiful, but nothing in particular will stand out. That’s why contrasting fabrics are so important!
Add Accent Fabrics for Contrast
Batik fabrics are filled with lots of colors and patterns. Starting with a coordinated group of precuts is a great place to begin, but there’s so much more you can add. While you’ve probably seen and admired contrasts in a quilt, you may not realize how important an accent fabric can be. This is what sets a stunning quilt apart from the rest.
Lay out your focal fabrics and see what stands out. Obviously, the overall focal colors are what attracted you, but look for the bits of color that pop. Which color really draws your eye? That’s the color you need to work with next. Adding an accent color to your quilt top will make a dramatic change in your final quilt design that everyone will notice. But how can you add more color without changing the overall color scheme of your quilt?
Simply add it in small quantities that will blend well with the focal fabrics. The best accent fabric choices will include some of your focal colors. This creates a harmonious color scheme that looks great together.
Choose A Background for Balance
Quilt backgrounds are an important design element in any quilt. Selecting the perfect batik background fabrics will make a big difference in your final quilt design. They can be very subtle, adding interest while not competing with your other fabrics. My favorite choice is to use low volume batiks. Their overall neutral color is enhanced with low-key prints that won’t compete with the rest of your quilt. Instead, you’ll be adding a beautiful component that enhances all your fabrics. Low volume batik fabrics will bring your quilt to a totally new level!
Keep in mind you may already have just the right accent and background batiks on hand. Perhaps you have a large collection of fat quarters. If so, sort through your stash keeping your focal fabric handy and see what may work. This is one of my favorite methods because I love the fabrics I already have. How wonderful to add them to the perfect quilt design. That’s brings us to the next step – cutting charm squares from fat quarters.
How to Cut Your Own Charm Squares
Tools for Cutting Your Own Charm Squares
There are three very important cutting tools you’ll need to make your own charm squares.
First is a sturdy Self-Healing Rotary Cutting Mat (aff link). This mat will protect your table surface and is especially important to keep your blades sharp. Other surfaces may dull your rotary blade. Self-healing mats protect your rotary blades keeping them sharper longer.
Secondly is a Quilting Ruler (aff link). It’s important to have a ruler that extends the length of your mat to get nice straight cuts. It also needs to be clear so you can see the fabric you’re cutting.
Lastly is a Rotary Cutter (aff link) with a sharp Rotary Blade (aff link). This wonderful tool allows you to easily cut through multiple layers of fabric with accuracy. Charm squares are much simpler to sew when they are the proper size! Don’t spend needless time fussing with squares that don’t fit. Use the right tools and enjoy your quilting without any cutting hassles.
How Many Charm Squares Are in a Fat Quarter
A lot of us quilters have a collection of fat quarters. If you have a coordinated collection of fat quarters, a charm quilt might be a perfect opportunity to put a lot of those fabrics to use. You can easily cut charm squares from a fat quarter very quickly.
An entire fat quarter will give you 12 charm squares. A single row along the widest length will yield 4 charms, and a single row along the narrow width will give you 3 charms. Be sure to download the FREE Charm Pack Quilt Size Chart for easy reference. The math is already done for you!
You can learn how to quilt with batik charm squares no matter what batik fabric you begin with. Simply use this easy reference chart and begin cutting.
Batik Charm Square 9-Patch Baby Quilt Tutorial
Simple Batik Charm Square 9-Patch Quilt Block
This simple 9-patch quilt block is a quick finish using charm squares. Precut squares save on cutting time and get you started on sewing your quilt right away. It is also a great beginner’s quilt pattern that is easy to piece and assemble. Once you learn the basic design layout you can make any size quilt with this fun patchwork pattern.
9-Patch Batik Quilt Block Assembly
Each 9-patch block is made with 6 focal fabrics plus 3 light fabrics as the background.
Begin by dividing your charm squares into one pile of 54 focal fabrics. Separate 27 of the lightest fabrics in another pile for the background. Mix up the fabrics within each pile. It’s okay to have similar colors together, but separate duplicate prints by at least a few blocks.
Referring to the 9-patch block diagrams shown, make nine different 9-patch blocks. Begin by sewing 9 sets of 3 focal charms for the first 3-block strip. Continue sewing the second and third strips that make up the 9-patch blocks, noting color placement.
Press the seams of the 2 outer strips in one direction and the middle strip in the opposite direction. This will allow you to nest your seams easily. Finish your 9-patch blocks by sewing three strips together as shown in block layout.
Quilt Top Assembly:
Following the block placement shown in the diagram above, layout your 9 blocks in a design that you like.
Chainstitching is the quickest method to sew your blocks together. Begin with the two top left blocks right sides together and sew with a 1/4” seam, nesting your seams as you go. Without cutting your thread, sew the next two blocks in the same manner. Continue sewing to add your third and final row.
Next, return to the top and add a third block to each previously sewn pair of blocks to finish your quilt top.
Now it’s time to sew the rows together with nested seams to keep your corners lined up evenly. Once finished, give your new quilt top a good pressing to keep all those seams flat.
Your quilt top is done and ready to be quilted and bound. Enjoy!