Make a “Checkmate” Checkerboard Quilt with Rob Appell of Man Sewing (Video Tutorial)


You know I’ve been playing with optical
illusion style quilts a bunch lately. And the small checkerboard block led to this awesome
checkerboard quilt. I’m calling Check Mate. Let’s get started. The inspiration for today’s quilt actually
came from Island Batik and their fantastic new solid batiks. We as quilters have been
asking for deep, deep black and bright white batiks. And Island Batik has come up with
them and I just think they’re fantastic to work with. So you’re going to need about
a yard and a quarter of each of your white and your black. And about a half of a yard
of your red to make your applique of the knight that you see back here. Now before we even
look at the quilt I want you to drop down into the description below and print out your
free printable. We’ve got a lot of pages for you today because not only do we have
the pattern or the map that you’re going to follow. But I also have all of the pages
in full size already for you to tape together to make the actual applique piece. So we’re
going to come back to that conversation when we get to the applique.We have to build the
quilt top first. And we’re going to build it as strip set rows to make life super easy.
So this is actually an example of my starting point. Now let’s look at the quilt a little deeper
for a second. And I won’t make you look for too long because I hope it’s really
messing with your eyes. That’s what I wanted to do here. It’s an optical illusion. And
I did it by creating a quarter of an inch difference in each of the squares. But to
make the points all line up really nicely I did it as I was saying right here as a strip
set row. So you’re going to cut two strips of each of the colors, the black and the white
of each of the sizes. Now what I want you to do is I want you to start at 3 ¾ and then
reduce by a quarter of an inch all the way down to 1 ½ inches. So it would be like 3
¾, let’s see if I can do it backwards. 3 ½, 3 ¼, three, 2 ¾, 2 ½, 2 ¼, two,
1 ¾, 1 ½, I’m checking my notes, I’ve got it. Radical. Ok so, and you’re just
going to alternate the sizes as you alternate the colors. So the other strip set that you
would build would lead with the white as your 3 ¾ and then continue on. There’s ten pieces.
The color you start with, you finish with the opposite. You should be laid out to go
that way. So you cut all of your strips. And I actually cut all of my strips, two strip
sets is not quite enough to make the entire quilt. Four strip sets is a little more than
you need. So that’s why you’re cutting two strips of everything. And I also then
take, and I take a minute to make sure everything is accounted for. So you can see this is the
edge. And they’re just a quarter of an inch difference as I go through. And so I have
gone and made sure I have everything in the four piles I need and then I’m going to
start sewing. And to make it so that we can sew all from one end down to the other for
the most efficient use of our fabric. What I want to do is start with my biggest
pieces first. And I go to the sewing machine that way I’m constantly adding smaller pieces
to a big piece of fabric. I hope that makes a little bit of sense. And if you’ve seen
my other strip piece videos, you know I always want to look at the second piece, the add
on piece of fabric as I’m sewing. So this project, I start with the white. But as I
come to my presser foot at my sewing machine what I really want to be looking at is the
black because it’s the second piece of fabric. So by doing that I’m going to be able to
start up here at the top with my quarter inch seam allowance. I’m going to lock in these
stitches even though I’m just going to cut it away later. And I’m going to nicely and
slowly but keep a nice pace with this stitch guide. And I’m just going to sew all the
way through here. And one of the tricks, because you’ve all been taught to sew up one way
and down the other, up one way and down the other. And I’m teaching you all to sew in
the same direction, is whenever I stop is just to take a moment and reorganize my fabric.
And instead of pins I’m just pinching. Now this will be my grip all the way until that
hits up to the needle. I’m just going to let that slowly come up until it’s comfortable.
I stop, I reorganize. I’m not trying to sew through the repositioning of my hands.
And that’s making a real accurate seam. Ok we’re going to lock that stitching in
at the end as well. Now as I come on over to the ironing board,
I also have a tendency, I want to press all of my seams in the same direction. Now I know
we teach you constantly to press to the dark side. And the reason we talk about pressing
to the dark side is we don’t want the bleed through. So when I look here, make sure I’m
not cheating you. If I look right here and I really pull at that seam, maybe you can
see from our top camera in there that there’s a little teeny bit more opaque white there
than in the rest of it. But you have to really fight for it. And that’s the other reason
I love these dense batiks from Island Batik because I’m not getting bleed through. So
in this project I’m not worried about the color transfer. I’m simply worrying about
making my life easy. So you can see I’ve pressed all in one direction starting at the
bottom, moving my way up. That also helps me build for my accuracy because what I want
to do is I want to make sure, let me see if I can do this nicely and slowly, I want to
have a nice clean edge to start for my cut because the next thing we’re going to do
is we’re going to sub cut all of our strip sets once you’ve made all four of them.
We’re going to sub cut them using the same math. So let me show you how that is going
to work. I’m just going to slip this out of the way
because what I always want to do is I want to treat myself to the best possible cut.
And I’m very right handed. And so what I’m going to first do is set up so I can do a
nice trim on my right side of my body. Now I forgot to point out earlier but when I figured
the math starting at 3 ¾ going all the way down to 1 ½, I did that so I could use my
24 inch ruler when cutting. You can make this quilt any size you want, you just keep adding
on the strip sizes. But you now may need to do it in large sections so you can use a single
ruler for a nice crisp cut giving you great stitch points. So what I’m looking at right
now, and it may be a little hard for you to see, is the lines running of my sewing work,
my patchwork through the ruler. If all of those lines are nice and parallel I’m going
to get a really good perpendicular cut across here which has started me out for a fantastic
clean cut. But I’m going to rotate this around because as I said I’m very right
handed. And again like we did with our early strips I’m going to start at my 3 ¾, so
one, two, three, I’m going to slip it all the way over here to my ¾ mark. And I’m
looking at all my lines. And I”m going to cut a 3 ¾ . And I’m just going to work
my way down the math. And then I’m going to do a 3 ½. And I found even at home all
by myself in my studio, it was best to repeat the numbers out loud and do it all without
leaving the room. I’ve got a 3 ½, down to 3 ¼ and so on and so forth. Obviously
let’s get this last cut made so you know. And then you know what I’m going to do I’m
going to turn around and rescramble and I’m going to remix these so that every other one
of top pieces, if I start with the black then I have white, then black, then white and that’s
where we start to build out our checkerboard. So let me show you how that works. I’ve
got more parts and pieces already prepared for us today. So I”m just going to set this
aside quickly. But again as I do, I go through my whole stack
I start making sure I have everything. You can see the line up here. I’m going to start
with my big pieces. So I’m going to come down here again. And even as I go to my sewing
machine, these are my two starting pieces. I”m going to go right sides together but
I’m looking at my second piece. And it’s nice I know it’s my second piece because
it’s a little bit smaller by a quarter of an inch actually, not a little bit, a quarter
of an inch smaller than the other strip. I’m going to start up here and we’re going to
lock these stitches in. And I would have loved to start in the other direction just so that
my seam allowances were now not working against me. But I’m just going to use my finger
or a stiletto or something in case the fold of the pressing work is going against your
presser foot. Just take a moment. This isn’t something we want to rush through because
the construction of the quilt is so easy and very quick actually. There’s no reason to
rush because you’ll get these beautiful points that way. And again we don’t have
to worry too much about accuracy in normal quilting but this project I really wanted
something that would give us an illusion on our eye. And I think that working a little
bit slower to get the accuracy really helped in this project. And trying to ensure that
stays a really good seam allowance all the way through the very last stitch. Slice that
there. And then again as I come over to my ironing
board I’m just going to go ahead and set this in here, start to set the seam. You can
see I’m kind of doing it so you would see which way it was going. Fold it over. And
you can see how I get this beautiful checkerboard. Now these are the first two. I would go to
the third piece that I had in my pile. And as I bring it right over here you can see
that with my checkerboard building out I have confirmation that it’s working. Another
little trick, you could drop this on here. It should be the same size because it’s
technically a quarter smaller than you were. I would just lay this right sides together
and head into the sewing machine. But because I want to talk about the applique, I did some
other steps, I have half of the quilt already built. Let me show you for a little bit more
confirmation what it’s going to look like. So here is an entire quadrant. You’re going
to have four of these. So here is one of them starting with the white and the other would
be the one that starts with the black that was the 3 ¾ piece right here. So these two
pieces, I’m going to make two more of these each, checkerboard them for the entire construction.
Let me bring you to the quilt real quick. There are all four of those 3 ¾ pieces coming
together. So earlier in the video I said every piece is a different size and I guess that
wasn’t totally true. In the center these will be the same size pieces but you can always
add in a new strip if you wanted. Again you keep building this to whatever size you want.
And if you do that you may need to resize our applique but we give it to you for free.So
feel free to do that also. Let me explain to you what I’m talking about here because
I’m so excited about this portion also because you know I’m starting to use more and more
of my technology in my applique. So what we have, we have in the printable
several pages that you’ll print out. And you’re going to use the blue or the teel
lines to kind of line them up. I like to often have a light table below just to make sure
that everything is lined up for accuracy. Once they are taped together I have a version
of that already done as well. Ok so once these are all taped together like this now all I’m
going to do is I’m going to take a piece of my Heat N Bond Featherlite, that’s my
fusible web. And you can see that I just had this right on top of here, took a sharpie
marker. And on the paper side of the fusible web I drew all of the lines. And then this
portion, the fusible web, here you can use this later for a pattern. This will be used
only one time on the fusible. You’re going to take your fabric. And of course you’ll
do this on an ironing board. But you’ll have your fabric piece laid out and you’ll
take your fusible web. And it would be on the back side. Most batiks don’t have a
right or wrong side so you just look at whatever has the most intensity of color. That will
be the front side for you on your batiks. So here we have this. We’re going to press
it. Now when you use your Heat N Bond Featherlite it’s got a really quick ironing time and
you want a decent bond to hold here. But if you over iron it, it won’t bond great later
on so three seconds, follow the instructions. And then once that’s done you can use your
shark applicutter, that wonderful little tool there. And you’re going to cut out your
applique pieces, there’s three of them in here. And then you have your shapes here.
Those pieces still have the paper on the back like this. So what you then go ahead and do
is peel off of the paper on all of the pieces on just the quilt top. Quilt top is on an
ironing surface. And then what I did is I found this anchoring line in my third seam.
And I set that as my base. And it may be a little hard to see because my sewing machine
might be in the way so I’m just going to bring this corner to you if I can. But it’s
also on the third corner here so the tippy tip is at three, three if you want coordinates,
if you’re like me. So you’ll have that tip start there and then that’s where the
build out of your checkmate or your knight applique piece will go. Once that’s done
it’s a quilt top and you’re all but ready for the machine quilting, right? So then what I do is I add the backing and
the batting all basted together. And I simply take my free motion machine feed dogs down,
free motion foot on and I’m going to just do a free motion stitch all the way around
all of the parts of the applique first. And I do that just to anchor it and hold it in
place. And then what I did with just some white thread is I went back in starting in
the middle, I did stitch in the ditch. But because I had already done the applique I
didn’t want my feed dogs up moving the fabric so I left my free motion foot on. So you can
do stitch in the ditch with a free motion foot or a standard walking foot. But because
I had already done some quilting in one place I chose to do free motion to not build up
a bunch of pucker as I brought my stitch in the ditch down and into and around all of
spots in the applique so that the entire quilt is quilted but very simply so that your eye
is caught by that crazy optical illusion I wanted you to get lost in, in today’s quilt
that I have named Check Mate. And the move is yours. We will see you next time at Man
Sewing. Oh, hey are you still in here. I thought you
would have been checking out some of those other great videos. You know we’ve got a
link there, over there. And hey don’t forget to subscribe. Make sure you never miss a minute
of the action. We’ll catch you next time, at Man Sewing.