What Is A Modern Fat Quarter Quilting Pattern
First, What Is A Modern Quilt
As defined by the Modern Quilt Guild’s website, Modern quilts are primarily functional and inspired by modern design. Modern quilters work in different styles and define modern quilting in different ways, but several characteristics often appear which may help identify a modern quilt. These include but are not limited to the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work. “Modern traditionalism” or the updating of classic quilt designs is also often seen in modern quilting.
Every modern quilter utilizes some combination of these modern design elements. That creative opportunity is what makes modern quilting so much fun. When I was sitting on a huge pile of fat quarters in the middle of nowhere, I simply changed my direction. No quilt shops or fabric stores, no access to new patterns or techniques, and I needed to quilt. So I did. That’s how it all started many years ago and I still love the style I developed. Primarily because it completely reflects me as a creator.
Second, What is a Modern Fat Quarter Quilt
A Modern Fat Quarter Quilt is simply a modern quilt utilizing fat quarters instead of relying on yardage for any single color within the quilt. We’ve determined what characteristics set a modern quilt apart from a traditional one. There are many design features that define a modern quilt. Not every modern quilt will be designed with every modern element. Most modern quilts are designed with multiple modern features which makes the term ‘Modern Quilt’ such an expansive term. Even better is all the creative flexibility it allows each quilter to create their own modern masterpiece!
My interpretation of Modern Quilting is the addition of using fat quarters in lieu of yardage. Instead of purchasing 3 yards of blue fabric, I’ll use the same amount in fat quarters. That’s 12 different fabrics instead of just one. This makes an incredible change in the designing aspect and the overall look of the quilt. The multiple fabrics play together and create such amazing interest. The most fat quarters I’ve used in a single quilt top is 26 and it turned out amazing.
The irony is that this resulted from an abundance of fat quarters that I’d collected. Over 1,000 individual pieces actually. But you can read about my fat quarter predicament later. That situation forced me to make some changes and what resulted is modern fat quarter quilting.
What Is A Modern Fat Quarter Quilting Pattern
Modern fat quarter quilting is all about stepping outside the traditional block. My personal adaptation with this modern fat quarter quilting pattern takes it a bit further and mixes it up even more with lots of fat quarters. While modern quilting often displays expansive negative spaces within a quilt’s design, my direction is quite the opposite. Give me lots of high-contrasting, graphic patterns with bright, bold accents to quilt with. That is exactly how my ‘All Blocked In’ pattern evolved.
If you haven’t read my Modern Fat Quarter Quilting post, check it out for highlights on the three previous variations of this pattern. My current gray and fuchsia quilt is almost serene despite the collection of contrasting fat quarters used. Keeping a constant, primary color within the fat quarter selection helps to harmonize all the patterns together. Additionally, a bright, bold accent is essential to creating a cohesive, all-over pattern that is appealing.
My favorite element of this modern fat quarter quilting pattern block is its asymmetrical design. There are large and small areas, each in a different fabric. Yet each individual rectangle appears balanced with the rest. While each block has most of the same fabrics, they are represented in different sizes. The beauty of modern quilting is bringing all these elements together in a pleasing design.
Modern Fat Quarter Quilting Pattern Fabric Selection Guidelines
Consider Your Color Scheme
This quilt is made with 18 gray & white fat quarters divided into three groups. Each group represents six harmonious fat quarters ranging from light to dark that will make up a set of six blocks. Without a good range of contrast between your six fat quarters, your blocks will become a muddy blur. Instead the contrast from light to dark helps to emphasize each fabric independently.
Let Fabric Prints & Graphics Direct Your Design
Next you need some variety in your fabrics, so they stand apart from each other. That is where you can have a lot of fun with your fat quarter selections. Go for contrasts, just another word for opposites. Bring in both small and large prints, organic and angular graphics, heavy and light lines. It is this variety that brings such interest to a modern design like this.
Choose an Accent That Makes A Statement
While selecting the gray fat quarters for this quilt, this fuchsia batik just screamed to join in. It can almost be a solid yet up close you can see the multitude of color variations that add so much interest. I love the combination and how vibrant the batik looks against the gray and white fabrics. Then I found the white fat quarter with fuchsia outlined flowers and had a perfect duo. All the fabrics came to together in a great mix for a fantastic quilt top.
Preparing Your Modern Fat Quarter Quilt Blocks
Cutting Your Quilt Blocks
Be sure to download your copy of the All Blocked In free modern fat quarter quilting pattern for all the detailed instructions. Each set of six fat quarters will yield in six 14 ½” blocks. With these 18 selected fat quarters, I will have 18 blocks. That is not an easy block layout for any size quilt.
Originally, I had planned on using only 16 blocks, but so loved the fabrics together that I wanted it to be bigger. So, using the excess trimmed fabrics, I was able to cut out two extra blocks, bringing my total to 20. Now I’ll have a quilt that is 4 x 5 blocks for a nice finished quilt measuring a nice 56” x 70. I am also thinking about a border on just one side. That will bring this quilt’s measurements closer to a finished square dimension.
Sewing Your Quilt Blocks
Follow the All Blocked In free modern fat quarter quilting pattern to arrange your fabrics for each block. The idea is not to have any fabrics repeated within a single block. Be sure to add the accent pieces as you are assembling each block.
As you sew your blocks together, keep your seams pressed. Pressing direction is not critical as blocks will be turned in multiple directions when laying out your final design. Just keep them nice and smooth for a clean look.
Designing Your Modern Fat Quarter Quilt
Get Creative and Find What You Like Best
Depending on how many blocks you make, decide how many you will have in each direction. This quilt has twenty blocks that are laid out in a 4 x 5 grid, so I know how many to place in each direction.
Take one group of blocks and lay them out in a grid, keeping spaces for the other blocks in between. Do not place blocks from the same fabric group next to each other. Now take another group of blocks and place them in the open areas. Again, keep blocks of the same fabric spaced apart as much as possible. Lay in your final group of blocks and you are nearly there!
Here’s My Creative Time-Saving Trick To Assembling This Quilt
This next trick is what makes this modern fat quarter quilt pattern so easy to sew together. Once you have your blocks laid out, also ensure they are not all in the same direction. Line up your blocks so the seams of one DO NOT line up with the seams of another. If it does, rotate it a time or two until none of the seams are in line. Now the only seams to match are where the blocks join. Using 14” blocks reduces that number greatly. This makes putting your quilt together so much easier.
Be sure to download your free pattern so you can get started right away. This is a fun quilt to sew and it makes a big statement. Enjoy the fun!
Modern Quilt Borders
Another Modern Quilt Characteristic
Generally, modern quilts do not have traditional borders. Meaning that a border used as a repeating design element on all four sides will not be found on most modern quilts. My modern twist to borders is to add a border to just a single side of the quilt top. It adds to the asymmetrical layout and gives a fantastic design opportunity for your quilt top.
This border is an improv pieced border. It utilizes most of the leftover fabric in a creative way that enhances the modern look of this quilt. This method is what I call my ‘Stash Quilting’. It has evolved from my way to use scraps creatively into becoming a design component in my modern quilts.
Whether you choose to add a border to your quilt or not, take a step outside the box and get creative. You will love the adventure, you will learn so much from the experience, and you will be excited to get your next modern quilt started!
A Look At This Quilt’s Back Story
This quilt back is more relaxed than the bold blocks of the quilt top. Beginning with a few yards of gray fabric, an idea for this quilt back began to emerge. First pulling all the unused fabric from the quilt top carried the color scheme to the back. Most of the leftover fabric was in narrow strips which resulted in off-center, stacked rows. Additional gray print strips were also added to fill in the gaps and create a different look for the backing.
Even though this backing has all the same fabrics as the quilt top, there’s not much else that’s the same. The fuchsia lattice adds some drama to the layout though it doesn’t repeat the look of the quilt top. This is a nice balance and keeps the quilt interesting to look at from either side.
Here’s Another Creative Idea to Try
These pictures were submitted by Brenda who made two quilts using my All Blocked In pattern. While all the quilts I’ve made have been primarily with batik prints, hers are made with solid fabrics. I love how the pink monochromatic color scheme above makes such a bold design. Whereas the gray quilt seems calmer keeping the block pattern less dominant.
Brenda, your quilts turned out beautiful! Thank you for sharing them with us.