Friday, May 8, 2009

Whirly-gig Doll Quilt tutorial

When I originally made this doll blankie it was bit of a trial and error process before seeing what size I would actually end up with. I had cut out 6" squares, then cut them diagonally about 2 1/2" in from the outer edge. After sewing them together I had to trim them down some and then again once I had sewn 4 blocks together--so that I ended up with a 9" whirly-gig square. I felt like I had wasted fabric--but I was just messing around and seeing if I could do this design.


***You CANNOT cut the pieces with fabric folded with right or wrong sides together. They have to be cut singly or with strips layered all right sides up, etc.

Thanks to my hubby and his CAD program he figured out the size pieces I needed to cut to make this little doll quilt.

I hope you can see the dimensions on this well enough. (Remember we are dealing with an engineer on these dimensions--he doesn't know how to round up or down :).....)
Cut pieces:
12 pieces of border fabric (B)
4 pieces for center whirly-gig (Ctr)
8 pieces for 2 corner whirly-gigs (C)
8 pieces for 2 opposite corner whirly-gigs (CC)
1 1/2 inch wide strips of border fabric
2 or 2 1/2 inch wide strips of choice of contrasting (CC) fabric for double border. **Or whatever fabric choice you'd prefer.

Strips of fabric of your choice cut 2 3/4" wide.
Finished size--approx. 22-24" square.
I press open all seams, which based on the books I've looked through is probably not the way to do it really, but press the seams somehow, as you go. It helps.

1. Upper Left and Lower Right blocks: Sew 6 border (B) pieces to 6 corner (C) pieces.

2. Repeat for Upper Right and Lower Left blocks using 6 B and 6 CC pieces.

3. Sew 2 center (Ctr) pieces to 2 each of corner (C) prints and 2 center (Ctr) pieces to 2 contrasting corner (CC) pieces.

4. Assemble blocks together as follows for corner (C) whirly-gigs (you will have 2 of these)5. Repeat assembly, making 2 contrasting corner (CC) whirly-gigs.

6. Sew Upper Right and Upper Left whirly-gigs together, making sure that center whirly-gig is positioned correctly.
7. Repeat with Lower Right and Lower Left whirly-gigs.
8. Sew top half to bottom half.
9. Add 1 1/2" wide border of (B) around entire whirly-gig assembly.

10. Add another border of fabric of your choice 2 1/2" wide.

11. Sandwich batting between top piece and back piece.

12. Quilt as desired.

***For my doll blanket I machine quilted, in the ditch, around each of the 4 corner whirly-gigs and then around the entire square where the 1st and 2nd outer border layers were sewn together.

13. Finish off with binding.

Check out these books for more pics and suggestions using this whirly-gig style piecing:

Tessellation Quilts: Sensational Designs from Interlocking Patterns", by Christine Porter. Check out pg. 112.I was able to check both of these out at my local library.


  1. I totally cut my whirly giggle with the fabric folded when I did it. Fortunately, my math was all sorts of screwed up, and I ended up cutting about 3x as many pieces as I needed, so I had enough pieces going the other direction. Although, I figured out that if you do cut folded, the other side works out to a nice houndstooth pattern!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing the tute! I'll be linking.

  3. This is great! I am currently "winging it" for my first quilt, which is a doll quilt. I am thinking that this will be my second quilt! Maybe then I will be ready to venture into a lap quilt size! Thanks for the tutorial!



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