Medallion Sampler Quilt Pattern

  • 01 of 08

    About the Backwards Medallion Sampler Quilt

    Many sampler quilt patterns are published a few quilt blocks at a time, and they typically start with patterns for the quilt blocks. Sometimes the layout is visible from Day 1, but more often it's part of the "mystery" aspect of making a progressive quilt. That's how two previous samplers were published, the Anniversary Sampler quilt pattern in 2007 and the Scrap Happy Sampler in 2011.

    The Backwards Medallion Sampler approaches the sampler quilt project a bit differently--we'll start with a look at the layout.

    • Publishing the layout first might help quilters decide on a theme for their project.
    • Seeing the layout offers a bit of vision about where you're headed, and makes it easier to develop a quilt you love.
    • Some quilters complete the blocks earlier than others and are ready to move on to the layout.

    The quilt's layout can be used for any group of 16 six-inch square quilt blocks and another that's 12" square, so please feel free to use the layout pattern to make a quilt from random blocks you might have, including quilt blocks from a Quilting Forum swap or scrap blocks made using quilt block patterns.

    Finished quilt size: about 61" x 61"

    Using the Quilt Layout

    Look below for layout instructions, but it's not recommended to pre-sew the layout components unless you are ready to sew a quilt. Your ideas for fabrics will possibly change as the actual sampler quilt block patterns are released.

    Make a scrappy sampler quilt or assemble the project in a more orderly manner as shown--the choice is yours.

    Plain border areas are written as butted borders, also called straight borders, but you can use your favorite technique and switch to mitered borders (remember to increase yardages a bit and alter strip lengths as necessary).

    Blocks for the Medallion Sampler Quilt Pattern

    Refer to step 8 of this pattern for an updated image of the sampler quilt and links to all quilt block patterns used in the project.

    Continue to 2 of 8 below.
  • 02 of 08

    Yardage Requirements

    Medallion Sampler Quilt Layout Drawing
    © Janet Wickell

    The sampler quilt's layout uses five mostly subdued fabrics, which helps keep the framing from overwhelming the blocks.

    The print used in the outer border is larger in scale than others, and it is repeated in the 3-1/2" blocks that make up the patchwork border. Substitute another fabric in those blocks if you feel the larger print will overwhelm their smallish centers. Remaining fabrics are small scale prints and tone-on-tones.

    You could use a coordinating border print fabric for one or more of the borders, but either miter the ends or use corner squares to keep border corners from looking messy where strips meet. The width of the outermost border doesn't matter, but before that do stick to the widths given. Otherwise, the patchwork border will not fit correctly.

    Fabrics and Other Materials

    Yardages assume you will use crosswise grain strips for borders. If you prefer, cut lengthwise grain strips. They are more sturdy and help keep a quilt in-square. Lengthwise strips also allow you to use single strips cut along the yardage, versus pieced strips where long borders are required. Increase yardage to accommodate the required lengths.

    Adjust yardages if directional prints are used in the border so that prints flow correctly.

    Yardages are generous to allow for shrinkage and cutting errors.

    Brown, larger-scale print used for the outer border and inner areas of square-in-a-square blocks: 2 yards

    Dark brown tone-on-tone used for the outermost border of the central medallion: a piece of fabric at least 2-1/2" wide cut from selvage to selvage (repeat the black or other brown instead, if you prefer)

    Black tone-on-tone print for outer edges of square-in-a-square blocks and for narrow borders: 1 yard (increase if used for binding, see below)

    Green small scale or tone-on-tone print for the wider area of inner and second borders, and for the narrow border that surrounds the outer edge of square-in-a-square blocks: 1-1/2 yards

    Gold tone-on-tone print for square-in-a-square corner triangles and narrow strips used for inner borders: 1 yard

    Other Materials

    Thin batting, suitable for a wall hanging: about 70" x 70"

    Backing: about 70" x 70" cut from a wide panel, or constructed from 4-1/8 yards of regular quilting fabric

    Binding: about 270 running inches of double-fold binding (made from crosswise grain strips) to finish at either 1/4" or 1/2"; binding strip instructions

    Layout Construction Advice

    Since one of the borders is pieced, use what is considered a "textbook-size" border length to make sure the inner section of the quilt remains square and accurate as you progress. Otherwise, you may run into problems matching up that patchwork border with its neighbors when it's time to assemble the quilt.

    As with any quilt, it's important to sew an accurate quarter-inch seam allowance, to press carefully and thoroughly as you work, and to measure all new components to be sure they are the correct size before proceeding. You may want to square up problem quilt blocks that are a bit off.

    Cut as you work--it's never a good idea to cut all fabric for a quilt ahead of time. You can make errors, so always test before you cut.

    Continue to 3 of 8 below.
  • 03 of 08

    How to Make Square-in-a-Square Quilt Blocks

    Sampler Quilt Blocks
    © Janet Wickell

    The sampler quilt's patchwork border is made up of 52 square-in-a-square quilt blocks, each finishing at 3-1/2" x 3-1/2". We'll use the quick pieced snowball block method to construct the blocks.

    Cutting Chart

    • From the large scale brown print, cut (52) 4" x 4" squares (from five 4" wide strips cut from selvage to selvage, plus two more 4" squares from remaining yardage)
    • From the black tone-on-tone fabric, cut (100) 2-1/4" x 2-1/4" squares (from seven 2-1/4" wide strips cut from selvage to selvage)
    • From the gold tone-on-tone fabric, cut (108) 2-1/4" x 2-1/4" squares (from seven 2-1/4" wide strips cut from selvage to selvage)

    Assemble the Square-in-a-Square Quilt Blocks

    • 4 blocks have three gold corners and one black corner, top left illustration
    • 48 blocks have two gold and two black corners, top right illustration
    1. Draw a line from one corner to the opposite corner on the reverse side of each smaller square. White or pink chalk or porcelain pens work nicely on dark colors.
    2. Read the instructions for quick pieced snowball quilt blocks. Follow the instructions to sew a small square to each corner of each 4" square (making blocks as shown in the illustration).
    3. Sew squares to opposite corners first. Trim excess 1/4" past the seam and carefully press seam allowances towards the corners.
    4. Sew small squares to the remaining corners of the larger squares.
    5. Each quilt block should measure 4" x 4".

    For even faster assembly, use chain piecing techniques to assemble the quilt blocks.

    Quick piecing greatly speeds up assembly. If you do not like the waste generated by trimming fabric after sewing small squares to corners, sew another seam 1/2" from the first (closer to the corner). Trim halfway between the seams. Each corner will produce a very small half-square triangle unit that can be used in another project. You could make a throw pillow cover or mini quilt to display in the same room where you medallion will be used.

    Square-up the little half square triangle units before using them in a project.

    Continue to 4 of 8 below.
  • 04 of 08

    Assemble the Quilt's Center Medallion

    Medallion sampler quilt assembly illustration
    © Janet Wickell

    Do not assemble this area until the center block pattern has been released, or unless you are using it for a 12" square block of your own design.

    Some border strips are very narrow--it's important to cut the strips carefully and sew with an accurate quarter-inch seam allowance.

    1. Begin with a center quilt block that measures 12-1/2" x 12-1/2". Links to the official blocks for this quilt will be on step 8 as they become available.
    2. Cut four strips from the gold fabric:
      • (2) 1" x 12-1/2" strips
      • (2) 1" x 13-1/2" strips
    3. Sew a shorter strip to opposite sides of the quilt block, matching midpoints and endpoints and pinning to keep the strips from shifting. Press seam allowance towards the strips.
    4. Sew remaining strips to opposite sides of the unit, again matching center points and ends. Press seam allowance towards the strips.
    5. The new unit should measure 13-1/2" x 13-1/2".
    6. Cut four strips from the green fabric:
      • (2) 2-1/2" x 13-1/2" strips
      • (2) 2-1/2" x 17-1/2" strips
    7. Sew the strips to the central unit as you did the first strips, shorter strips to opposite sides first and then longer strips to remaining sides. Press as before. The new unit should measure 17-1/2" x 17-1/2".
    8. Cut four strips from the dark brown tone-on-tone fabric:
      • (2) 1" x 17-1/2" strips
      • (2) 1" x 17-1/2" strips
      • (2) 1" x 18-1/2" strips
    9. Add to the central unit in the same way as other borders, shorter strips first. The new central unit should measure 18-1/2" x 18-1/2".

    If you've chosen to use mitered borders, strips can be sewn together side by side and then stitched to sides of the quilt as one unit (that technique does not work with butted borders).

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Sew Small Quilt Blocks to the Center Medallion

    Center quilt block assembled
    © Janet Wickell

    Sixteen quilt blocks that measure 6-1/2" x 6-1/2" are required for this portion of the quilt. Use any sixteen blocks if you do not wish to wait for the sampler designs to be released.

    1. Use a design wall or any flat surface to arrange your quilt blocks around the center medallion. Does the design appear balanced? Would shifting blocks around improve the quilt's appearance? Rearrange blocks as desired until you're happy with the look.
    2. Sew the three quilt blocks to the left of the quilt's central area together to create a vertical row. Press seam allowances either way. Repeat to create another three-block row on the right side of the quilt.
    3. Sew the vertical rows to opposite sides of the quilt, carefully matching midpoints and ends of each section. Press seam allowances towards the blocks--if that results in very thick seams, press towards the borders.
    4. Sew the two horizontal rows of blocks together in the same way. Press seam allowances towards the center blocks in each row and then sew one row to the quilt's top and the other to its bottom. Press.
    5. The quilt top should measure 30-1/2" X 30-1/2".
    Continue to 6 of 8 below.
  • 06 of 08

    Add Borders to the Medallion Sampler Quilt

    Quilt block with and without border
    © Janet Wickell

    Add the next three borders to the quilt in the same way that frames were sewn around the central quilt block.

    We're still using precisely cut border strips so that the quilt is sized correctly to accept the square-in-a-square patchwork border.

    Gold strips first

    • (2) 1-1/2" x 30-1/2" strips
    • (2) 1-1/2" x 32-1/2" strips

    Only the gold strips are illustrated as a step, left illustration, but you'll end up with three borders around this section, shown right.

    Green strips next

    • (2) 4-1/2" x 32-1/2" strips
    • (2) 4-1/2" x 40-1/2" strips

    Black strips last

    • (2) 1-1/2" x 40-1/2" strips
    • (2) 1-1/2" x 42-1/2" strips (you may be able to cut a border this long in a selvage to selvage cut; if not, sew two pieces together and cut to the correct length)

    After sewing all borders and pressing (as you go) the quilt top should measure 42-1/2" x 42-1/2".

    About the Black Border

    The narrow black border butts up to the black corners of the square-in-a-square blocks, making the patchwork appear a little more intricate than it actually is. Using a fabric unlike the corners would result in a completely different look -- that's fine, just be aware of the potential shift.

    Continue to 7 of 8 below.
  • 07 of 08

    Sew a Patchwork Border to the Medallion Sampler Quilt

    Patchwork borders
    © Janet Wickell

    Use the 52 square-in-a-square quilt blocks to complete this portion of the quilt.

    1. Arrange the square-in-a-square quilt blocks around the quilt top, twelve each for vertical rows to the right and left of the center and fourteen each for the top and bottom rows.
    2. Sew the blocks with two gold and two black corners together in vertical rows, like-color edges should flow together along their lengths. Press seam allowances either way.
    3. Pin a vertical side border to the quilt with the black corners touching the narrow black border strip, carefully matching ends and midpoints. Sew to the quilt, easing fullness if necessary. Repeat on the opposite side of the quilt.
    4. Sew the blocks in the top and bottom rows together to create two 14-block rows, allowing like-colors to flow along the same path. Note that the four corner blocks have three gold corners.
    5. Sew the top and bottom borders to the quilt. Press.

    Add Remaining Borders to the Sampler Quilt

    It's possible that the quilt is a bit skewed, but that can be corrected by the careful addition of the last two borders.

    If using cross-grain strips, you'll need to piece strips together to achieve the required length.

    1. Use my butted border instructions to measure the quilt for the next narrow border, cut from 1-1/2" wide strips of green fabric. Sew to the quilt as directed in the linked article.
    2. Use the same technique to measure and sew 5" wide brown border strips to the quilt.

    Finish the Medallion Quilt

    1. Press the quilt and mark for quilting if necessary.
    2. Sandwich the quilt with batting and backing and baste the quilt using the method that best suits your quilting plans.
    3. Quilt the quilt and square up its edges (carefully) if necessary. Sew double fold mitered binding to the quilt. A hanging sleeve can be added at the same time as binding, or after the quilt is complete.
    Continue to 8 of 8 below.
  • 08 of 08

    Quilt Block Patterns for Medallion Sampler Quilt

    Completed medallion sampler quilt
    © Janet Wickell

    Your quilt may look very different from my example--colors, value placement, and arrangement of blocks will make your project unique.

    Sampler Quilt Block Patterns

    I'll update the illustration and links on this page each time a new quilt block pattern is added:

    1. Kansas Star Quilt Block Pattern
    2. Broken Wheel Quilt Block Pattern
    3. Sawtooth Quilt Block Pattern
    4. Slotted Spools Quilt Block Pattern
    5. Framed Greek Cross Quilt Block Pattern
    6. Roman Stripes
    7. City Streets Quilt Block Pattern
    8. Eccentric Star Quilt Block Pattern
    9. Johnny Round the Corner Quilt Block Pattern
    10. Four Patch Chain Quilt Block Pattern

    The last pattern -- the block used at the quilt's center.