Sunday, April 7, 2013

Rail Fence Tutorial

The Rail Fence Quilt Pattern, it is a fast and easy pattern for beginners.  My Quilt top measures at 58 7/8" x 58 7/8" unfinished. I wanted a nice big lap quilt for the youngster getting the quilt to grow into so I added an extra row on the side and bottom, now it has 5 rows instead of 4. 

To create this quilt, you need 3 different rail fabrics. A picture or floral pattern fabric that will be your wide rail (rail 2), a light rail fabric (rail 1) and a dark fabric (rail 3). All these fabrics should blend together.  In my quilt I used a Star Wars picture fabric, a blue and a burgundy solid fabrics. 

First cut rails 1 and 3 into 2 1/2" strips, for this quilt you need approximately 7 strips of each color. Then for the rail 2, the wider rail you will cut them into 4" strips, you will need 7 of these also.  Make sure you cut them selvage to selvage.

Now you are going to sew all the fabric into 7 strips. Start by taking a rail 3 fabric and a rail 2 with right sides together and sew them together, do this for all 7 rails.  Once done, press them open.  Now take rail 1 and sew it on the opposite side of rail 2, again do this for all 7 and press open. So you will have a strip set that looks like this above.

Next measure the width of the strip set that has been pressed open. This measurement will be the size you cut the strips sets down to. Mine measured out to be 9 7/8", yours could be that size or 10", depends on your 1/4" seam allowance on your machine.

Rail fence

Now that you cut them all down to size, you can lay them out into two different patterns, in a pinwheel affect or the traditional rail fence.  I choose the rail fence for my quilt.

After you have them all laid out you will sew them by rows.  If you look across the the layout, you will see I have 5 rows, I have labeled them A thru E.  You will start with laying  row B on top of row A, then sewing them together.  Sew all row A and B together and press open.  You may want to alternate the direction you press them open to make sure so your seams are going in the opposite directions. This will make it easier to sew the next part.  

Now you will notice in the diagram above I have put number on each rows.  You will now take the sets from rows A and B you just sewed together and you will sew them together.  Start with Row 1 and 2, making sure the seams line up and sew them together into a block, continue down with  Row 3 and 4. Press open.  Now with rows 3 and 4 together sew row 5 on the bottom of them, so you have grouping of 3 sets.  Then take 1&2 set and sew together with the 3,4 &5, so all 5 rows will be on one section. Press open

Now that you have all of Row A and B sew into one long section, you can now do the next two rows C and D.  Just repeat what you did for A & B all the way down, to make a long section.  Once that section is done. you will sew Row E together into a small section.

Once all sections are done, all you have to do is sew them together. Lay C&D on top of A&B so right side are together, sew together and press open.  Then you will have 4 rows sewn together, finally sew E on the right side of D and press open.  You quilt top is done!  

You can now leave it as is with no borders or you can add borders.  I have added a 2 1/2" and a 4" border to finish this quilt top.  Then all you have to do is quilt, and bind it and you are done.



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