Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Magic Parade Quilt - Sarah Jane Studios Magic Blog Tour

I've been a huge fan of Sarah Jane ever since I discovered her Children at Play collection early in my blogging days.  I've lost count of how many quilts I've made with Sarah Jane fabrics over the years, but it's at least 10.  So when I was invited to participate in the Magic by Sarah Jane blog tour, I jumped at the chance.  Michael Miller fabrics provided some of the fabrics for these quilts.  Fairfield World provided the batting and compensated me for writing the post. All thoughts, ideas, opinions, and enthusiasm are 100% my own.  This post contains affiliate links.

And with as much as we love Harry Potter and his magical world at our house, I was SOOO excited when I heard Sarah was coming out with a magic themed fabric line.

I love how Sarah Jane captures the imaginative and magical essence of childhood.  These fabrics would be perfect for any child, but especially those with a bit of magic deep inside.

I love that these prints are so much for care-free and whimsical than Harry Potter, and are so well suited the smallest lovers of magic, still too innocent for the Harry Potter stories...but I just couldn't resist adding a little Harry Potter magic to the backs...

...and snapping a few pictures with a few favorite pictures from the Illustrated Harry Potter and the Scorcerer's Stone book.  (And in case you're into gorgeously illustrated children's books...the illustrated Harry Potter Book 2 is going to be released in a couple weeks.  Ours is already pre-ordered.)

Katie, my oldest daughter is adopted in an open adoption and has another half-sister on the way.  We've made baby quilts for each of her sisters (because I love any excuse to make a quilt.)  When we found out another baby was on the way I knew this would be the perfect fabric since Katie and her birthmom share a love of Harry Potter and fantasy books...and it's innocent enough for all of Katie's sisters to love even though they're too young for chapter books.  Katie chose the aqua colorway, which works well for a boy or a girl...

...but I REALLY wanted to try making a pink girly girl one too...so I made two!  The pink Magic Parade Quilt is available in my Etsy Shop.

One thing I LOVE about Sarah Jane's fabric collections is that she always includes some large scale border prints as well as medium-to-large scale all-over prints, so it's easy to keep the quilts simple and let the fabrics speak for themselves.   They also work really well for some simple block pillows.  You can find the Simple Magic Parade Pillow instructions on the Fairfield World site here.

And in this collection I especially love all the metallic gold highlights that pop up in most of the prints.

And I'm not sure...but I think that bird just might be a phoenix.  At least that's what I'm calling it.

I started out to planning to make the two quilts the same way.  Deep down there's a modern quilter in me that loves some randomness and unpredictability...but when I finished the aqua quilt, I just felt like this pattern needed a bit more order.  So the main directions for this quilt will be for the pink quilt design with a few comments at the end about what I did different in the aqua quilt.  Most of the quilt is done the same way for either pattern, so both colorways will be in the pictures.

Here's what you'll need to make your own.  Keep in mind when you're purchasing fabrics that you may want to purchase a few extra inches of some of the prints to allow for "fussy cutting" to take maximum advantage of designs.  This is particularly true of the Mermaid Magic, Unicorn Forest, You are Magic, and Unicorn Parade prints.  You will also be left with some unused farbic from center the Parade prints.  That unused fabric is perfect for a Simple Magic Parade Pillow.  Sarah Jane Magic is found at many independent quilt shops, so check your local shop first.  I happen to know that (at least as of September) Circa 15 Fabric Studio has all of the fabrics and will do 1/4 yard cuts.

  • 1 1/4 Yards White Magic Parade
  • 1 Yard of Pink Magic Parade (or Aqua Unicorn Parade if you're doing the Aqua Version.)
  • 3/8 Yard of Stars and Stripes and Baby Dragons
  • 1/4 Yard each of at least two other Magic Fabrics.  Four will get you by...but I just had to include more of the magical creatures, so I chose to use use Stars and Stripes, Baby Dragons, *Mermaid Magic, *Unicorn Forest, *You are Magic, and Castle Plans.  You may want a bit extra of * prints for fussy cutting.
  • 1 2/3 Yards Backing Fabric (I chose Magic Folk in Navy.)
  • 1/2 Yard Binding Fabric (I chose Stars and Stripes for both quilts.)
  • 1 Package Nature-Fil™ Bamboo Blend Batting 60″ X 60″
  • Basting Spray (optional but strongly recommend)
Note: This will leave you with extra blocks.  If you want to conserve fabric, you can get by with just 1/4 yard of four of the fabrics...but I liked the variety and having a few extra blocks allows you to use your favorite in the quilt.

Start by cutting your border prints (Magic Parade and Unicorn Parade) into 8 1/2 inch blocks.  I found the children were spaced so that no matter where the blocks were lined up there were always several interesting children/creatures in the block without much wasted fabric.

Cut your other fabrics into 4 1/2 inch strips, keeping in mind that especially with the mermaids, unicorn forest, and You are Magic prints, you'll want to do you best to line up your 4 1/2 inch strip, with the focus part of the prints.

Note in the case of this pink unicorn forest, I cut the upper line so I'd have at least the 1/4 inch seam allowance above the unicorns without cutting of their heads.  Then I trimmed the lower edge to 4 1/2 inches.  Those lower unicorns already would have been having their feet trimmed off the way the fabric was cut, so I didn't mind trimming them off a bit more to allow the next row to show fully.

You should end up with lots of strips and two colors of parade border blocks.  (White and Pink Magic Parade for a pink quilt, OR White Magic Parade and Aqua Unicorn Parade for an aqua quilt.)

Group your fabric strips in groups of 4.  You want two bright fabrics, and two lighter fabrics in each set.  You should have 1 Baby Dragons strip and one Stars and Stripes Strip with each set.  Because the Stars and Stripes print and the Dragon Babies prints had the brightest pinks, I made sure one strip of each of those ended up in each set.  Then your other fabrics will vary using the castles, mermaids, and unicorns.

Within each set, pair your fabrics, so that the two brightest strips are separated and one will be on the top and one will be on the bottom when you sew your strips together.  Sew together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

After they're sewn, cut your strips into 4 1/2 pieces...so the finished pieces will be 4 1/2 inches by 8 1/2 inches.

Mix the pieces up and sew into blocks.  Each blog should have 1 baby dragon piece and one stars and stripes piece diagonal from each other, but this still leaves plenty of room for variations.

Lay out your pieces according to this pattern.  If you look closely the white Magic Parade blocks and pink Magic Parade blocks make a diagonal pattern with the pieced blocks in between.

Stitch your blocks together with 1/4 inch seam allowances until your quilt top is finished.

Finish your quilt according to your tastes.  I used Nature-Fil™ Bamboo Blend Batting because the bamboo batting is SO soft and makes the quilt drape and feel like a well-loved quilt from the very beginning.  I did the machine quilting on my own machine and used basting spray ahead of time to hold the layers together.  505 Basting Spray is my favorite, but there are other brands that work too.  If your machine doesn't have an even-feed built in, you'll want to use a walking foot to be sure you don't get puckers.

I quilted 1/4 inch to the side of each of the large block seams, and then quilted through the diagonals of the pieced blocks.  I didn't quilt the diagonals in the Parade Blocks because I didn't want to disrupt the gorgeous prints.

For binding, I cut 3" strips, sewed them into a continuous strip, and ironed them in half.  I used that to make a double-thick binding with 1/2 inch seam allowances.  To do that you, folded strip onto the TOP of the quilt with slightly less than a 1/2 inch seam allowance and both raw edges of the binding lined up with the raw edges of your quilt.  Then you fold the binding around to the back and pin or glue baste to hold in place while you stitch in the ditch to secure your binding.

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