Making the Redwood Coast Quilt with Directional Prints

Tester quilts with directional prints, from Mija Handmade and Porcupine Sews Threads

Two of my pattern testers for the Redwood Coast Quilt used directional fabrics in their quilts. Erin Nichole, on the left, used beautiful striped wovens. Laurel, on the right, used an adorable forest print. 

You can make this quilt with directional prints, but you'll need to be careful with your sewing and cutting to make sure that your prints are all running the same direction. 

I created this blog post to make the process fool proof! 

Directional Prints

Directional fabric is any fabric that has a top and a bottom, or a clear vertical and horizontal orientation. 

For the sake of this tutorial, let's say that this is the directional print fabric we are sewing with: 

Sample print fabric

 

I made this doodle in Illustrator. It's not much to look at, but it works for our example! Let's say that the way you see this print positioned above, with the little green arrows pointing up, is "right side up". We want to sew up our block so the print is positioned like this in the final quilt. 

 

 

Mountain Units 

Luckily, keeping prints straight in your mountain units is pretty easy! You'll just need to make a few adjustments to steps 1-10 of the pattern. 

When creating your HSTs (pattern steps 1-4), you'll want to be careful about your fabric orientation. 

For each block, you'll mark and sew one set of HSTs with your print running vertically, like so: 

For your next set of HSTs, you'll position your fabric with your print running horizontally: 

 

Take your resulting four HSTs, and arrange them like this: 

 

Note that one pair of HSTs has the print right side up, while the other has the print running upside down. 

Proceed with cutting and sewing your mountain units from these HSTs. 

You should end up with something like this: 

The unit with the right-side-up print will go at the top of your block. The upside-down unit will be flipped to make the bottom of the block. 

Success! You've made a Redwood Coast block with all of your prints running the right way.  

Block Centers

But wait... what about those pesky block centers? 

This quilt's block centers are square-in-squares. If you sew them up in a directional print, exactly as written, your prints will run at a 45 degree angle, like this: 

Image courtesy of Erin Nichole of Mija Handmade, who generously tested this pattern. 

The center square is only 1 1/2" square once it's sewn into the block. Most prints will be barely visible. And for that reason, I recommend simply cutting and sewing the center of the block as written in the pattern. 

If you are an advanced quilter, and you're planning to fussy cut your block centers, or you really want those prints to be straight, you can cut your center squares - labeled D in the pattern cutting diagrams - on point. 

However, I actually don't recommend cutting your center squares on point. It creates an additional bias edge to work with, and I honestly don't think it'll contribute much to the look of your quilt. While you can cut your center fabric on-point to keep your prints right-side-up, I'd recommend just going with the pattern on this one! 

 

Have more questions? Feel free to ask in the comments below, or send me a message on Instagram! 

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