Tuesday 25 April 2017

Free pattern - In a Whirl

Welcome to the  Free Tutorial - In a Whirl  Sewmiriam Blogpost !  

I thought that this week it would be nice to have a free tutorial. After making  several quilts with indigenous prints and contrasting solids , I found myself with a pile of scraps left over, too bright and cheery to leave looking lost, lonely and neglected. Looking through some traditional quilt block books I stumbled across the block called Whirlwind. 

This tutorial covers how to make the block easily from 2 1/2 inch strips of fabric . ( Got some of those? I thought so! )  I have also included a description of how I made my In a Whirl Quilt using these blocks, just in case you like it and want to make one too. 

Let's get started.  A 1/4 inch seam is used throughout. 

Step 1. Take two  width of fabric (WOF) strips that are 2 1/2 inches wide and join lengthways. I always keep the darkest fabric on the top. This is important for later steps. (In the quilt shown I chose patterned and plain fabric strips for most of my blocks. )

Step 2.  Take a ruler and rotary cutter and measure 4 1/2 inches across the joined fabric strip and cut a 4 1/2 "  x 4 1/2 " square, as shown below. Cut 4 of these .   ( handy information  - a WOF strip will yield 9 of these squares) 


Note that I keep the dark fabric on the top at ALL times for cutting. 

Step 3.   Cut each of these squares diagonally in half as shown below.

Step 4.   Separate the pieces into 2 piles - one predominantly light and one predominantly dark,  as shown below.

 Step 5.  Arrange the light pile of triangles into the whilrwind formation and stitch together.

Step 6. Arrange the dark pile of triangles into the whirlwind formation and stitch together.

You end up with 2 finished blocks.  One has a light centre and one has a dark.

Important note - these blocks will not seam match exactly if you try to join them side by side so they they do need to have sashing separating them .

In my quilt design In a Whirl I gave the sashing a modern twist by using a variety of neutral tones .
I gathered together as many shades of cream, beige and taupe I had in my scraps ( not many as it turned out) and cut them into 2 inch strips.

I made the quilt block units by adding these 2 inch strips to the  right side of the whirl and them the base of the whirl so that the quilt block units looked like this

I made 49 of these units.

These units were arranged in a grid 7 x 7 for the In a Whirl Sewmiriam quilt.

I then added the remaining sashing pieces where they were needed - to the top of the whirls on the first row, and to the left hand of the whirls at the beginning of each row.

Next I stitched the units together in each row, and then I joined the rows together.

With the remaining scraps I cut a heap of 2 1/2 inch squares and joined them to make a border of 2 rows of these squares .

Following this is a 2 1/2 inch neutral border.

Last , but not least in a 5 1/2 inch border of  striped fabric to frame the quilt and bring all the colour and movement together nicely.

Final statistics.

In a Whirl  by Sewmiriam

Size - 68" x 68"

Backing Fabric - 4 yards ( 4 metres )

Wadding - Quilters Dream Cotton

Quilting - I knotted this quilt

Binding - 6-7 cuts of 2 1/2 inch strips . ( I used left over strips)

Here is the back. I added a strip made up of orphan blocks and pieces.

Thank you for stopping by. In this crazy busy world a few minutes at the Sewmiriam blog is a safe haven. Here you can slow down, learn something new, be inspired and enjoy fabric that has been curated,  mixed and matched, cut up, stitched together and made into something totally unique and useful.

I really hope you have enjoyed this free tutorial!

Happy sewing, love Miriamx 


  1. I would definitely try this pattern, just in time for I bought several haberdashery products that I can use for it.

  2. Lovely pattern, as usual, Miriam!

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