Sunday, July 15, 2012

QAL #1 - Cathedral Windows

This first technique makes an Orange Peel Quilt which is a variation of the Cathedral Window pattern. This pattern is also called Rob Peter to Pay Paul.

5 of 16  blocks complete
I'm fascinated by Cathedral Window quilts!  Here's the easiest variation, but it sadly lacks the dimension of the traditional Cathedral Window quilt.  I've decided to make a cushion cover, approximately 14 inches square, for each of the techniques covered by this series of Quilt-Alongs.
14" cushion
You will need:
1 background fabric and a variety of solid or printed fabrics
Hand sewing needle and beige or grey thread to match background fabric
A cushion insert approximately 14” square

  • 5 Batik Fabrics and 1 White Background
    Let's begin by selecting the fabrics for our Orange Peel quilt and tools for making the template.

    You will need a piece of paper, a CD and a pencil
    We need to make a template of a circle and a square.  The CD, which measures 4-3/4”, makes the perfect circle template.
    Draw a circle around the CD
    on the paper & cut it out

    Now make a template for a square that fits within this circle. Fold the circle in half, open it and fold again in half.  Mark each crease with a dot.
    Draw a line from dot to dot to make a square
    Draw a line from dot to dot and measure one side of this square.  Mine measured 3-1/2 inches.  This will be the finished size of each of the 16 blocks that will be joined to make the Orange Peel cushion cover.  The square template for the pane of the Cathedral Window should be cut 1/4” smaller all around, at 3-1/4”. 

    Transfer the dimensions of the 3-1/4” square to cardboard, cut it out and set it aside.

    Pick a color of fabric for the window pane and place it face to face with the background fabric.  I’ve chosen white for the background and frame, and green for the pane of the Cathedral Window.
    The squares of fabric
    are approximately 6" square

    Draw a circle on the background fabric.  I was able to draw three circles (using the CD) on the 18” side of a fat quarter.  Cut between the circles to make 3 units. Make one more unit using the remaining fabric to make four circles from each colour for a total of 16 units.
    Sew Around the Circle
    Using a needle and thread that matches the background fabric, hand sew around the circle with a running stitch.  Keep your stitches close together to get a good round shape when it is turned inside out.
    Mark & Cut Slit
    Place the square template on the coloured/printed fabric within the circle and cut a slit just above the top of the template and under the edge of the circle, without touching the sewn line.
    Snip Around Edge of Circle
    Leaving a ¼” seam, cut around the circle.  Snip at ¼” intervals to aid in turning the circle inside out. 
    Turn Through Slit
    Turn the circle inside out through the slit.
    Press the seam.
    Press Over Square Template
    Place the square template within the circle and press the frame over the template.  
    One completed Cathedral Windows block
    Pin the frame in place and sew down by hand or machine to form a Cathedral Window block.
    Make 16 blocks of varying colours and arrange them (4 across x 4 down) to preview the top of the cushion cover. To join the blocks, place two of them right sides together, and whipstitch on the back of the blocks. Whipstitch all 16 blocks together to make the top of the cushion cover.
    Pieced top of cushion cover
    An alternative method to assemble the Cathedral Window blocks would be to join adjacent blocks and then applique the flaps down.  To do this, first mark the lines along which the blocks will be joined.  (These pictures are from another project.)
    Draw lines for sewing
    Align two blocks, wrong sides together, and sew along the drawn line.  Do this in pairs or rows.

    Join two adjacent blocks
    Applique the flaps down.
    Sew flaps down

    Follow instructions for How to Assemble a Cushion Cover and your first Cathedral Windows project is complete!

    Stand back, admire and enjoy your Orange Peel cushion cover!
    Orange Peel/Cathedral Window Cushion


  1. Thanks Chumkie! My 16 sets of circles are all pinned and ready to be sewn. Can't wait to finish! :-)

    1. Already? I admire your enthusiasm, Tina :)

  2. chumkie ,i can not understand it but i want to make this

    1. I'll be glad to help you in any way I can. Please post your questions here or email me at


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