Book Review Quilt Tutorial

Jenny Doan

Book Review Quilt Tutorial

Quilt Size: 73" x 79"
Jenny Doan demonstrates how to make a gorgeous bookcase quilt using 10 inch squares of precut fabric (layer cake). For this project, she chose Kaffe Classics Prism 10" Squares by Kaffe Fassett for FreeSpirit Fabrics. Bookshelf quilts are wonderful scrap busters, and they can be personalized with all sorts of fun little details: flower vases, snow globes, or even Jenny's famous kitty cat quilt block! Get creative with this quilt and make it your own!
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video transcript

Hi everybody, it’s Jenny from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.  And I am super excited about today’s project because I’ve wanted to do a bookcase quilt forever. I’ve actually started saving specific fabrics to make a bookcase. And so I decided that I’m never going to have all the fabrics I need and you’re not going to be able to get all the fabrics I have so we’re going to do it out of a Kaffe line because there’s so many different fabrics in a Kaffe line, so much fun to play with. But this design has got to be yours. Let’s look at the quilt. Isn’t this great? Now this, I’m going to show you how to make this block, all these elements. These are going to be your design elements. This has to be a quilt that reflects you because it’s a very personal quilt. And so I’m going to show you how to do this but I want you to adapt it to what you do. To make the Book Review quilt you’re going to need one packet of ten inch squares. And we have used Kaffe Classics Prism by Kaffe Fassett for Free Spirit fabrics. You’re going to need 2 ½ yards of a background fabric. You’re going to need ¼ yard of an accent fabric. For your bookshelf you’re going to need 1 ½ yards of whatever color you choose. For your outer border you’re going to need one yard of fabric. For your backing you’re going to need five yards of vertical seams or 2 ⅛ yards of a 108 wide. You also may need a little Heat N Bond Light for your embellishing. And it will also be helpful to have a 12 ½ inch squaring ruler.

Ok, so the first thing I want to show you is how to make the books. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to take a six inch piece of fabric. And then we are going to open that up and cut it. And we are going to grab four different squares from our pack of fabrics. And I literally did, I mean, you’re going to do them all, but when I was doing it I wanted to see all the different ones. So I literally picked four different pieces. And so we’re going to go in here and we’re going to get one that has these circles on it. One that has these pieces on it. Maybe a purple one back here. This is really a fun line because they’re so many different things. And Kaffe is just wildly creative with his fabrics. Alright let me pull this one out of here. We’re going to have, oh let’s do a, what do we have here, oh two greens. We don’t want two greens. We want to put an orange or something in there. Let me see here. How about this one? Alright. So then what we’re going to do is we are going to sew these squares onto this black.  So lay them right sides on here. And we’re just going to sew right down the side a quarter of an inch. And attach these. Now make sure you’re down from the selvedge. You don’t want the selvedge in your quilt. So come down like that. And then we’re just going to sew  like this. And then we’re going to add another square. And you should be able to get four squares on one six inch strip. And of course, there are loads of ways to do this. And this is just the way that worked for my brain that came into my mind the easiest. Here’s one more. Alright. Once you get your blocks sewn on squares, what I’m going to do is I’m going to come in here now and trim these up. So let me scoot this out of the way here. And I’m going to just trim these like this. And then I’ve got this one here and this one here. And then I’m going to stack these over here on the ironing board and go ahead and trim all of these and then we’ll press them back all at once. Alright, there’s our trim. I feel like there is some waste in this bookcase quilt just because the nature of how we’re going to do it.But the outcome is so worth it. It just looks so darling. Alright so we’ve got all of these trimmed up. We’re going to iron them back. Alright so I want you to set your seam and then we’re just going to roll this back. We want our seam to stay to the dark side. When you’re putting black fabric you don’t want it to show through your other fabric. Set your seam and roll that back. We’ll grab another one. Set your seam and roll that back. And the last one here. Set your seam and roll that back. Alright.

Now what we’re going to do is we’re going to stack these on top of each other. And I do four at a time. So let’s line these up really nicely. And you don’t have to do four at a time. You can do however many you want. You do want to make sure that if you’re going to do several that they are lined up really well. There’s that one and this one needs to come over just a bit.  Alright, so now comes the first part of the creative process anyway because you get to decide how wide you want these books to be. So you could have the War and Peace book or you could have the tiny poetry book which either one you want. So you’re going to make random cuts. Now my cuts truly are random. This is a two inch like here and you’re going to cut all the way through. And then maybe this one is going to be a three. And I just slide my ruler up to meet it. This one could be a 1 ½. We’re going to have some skinny books up here. And then this one I think I’ll do a two and so I’ll end up with a little bit of a, maybe a 1 ½ out there. But they can be all different sizes. And every set of layer cakes that you sew together and cut should be all different sizes. You really want lots of different sizes in your bookshelf. That’s what I think gives it the texture and the fun. And so you’re going to do this to a bunch of these and you’re just going to stack them up over here until you’ve got a nice big pile of them. And then we’re going to start putting our books together. 

Now I have some here that I’ve cut before right here. And I’m just going to add to this stack. And then what we’re going to do is we’re just going to sew these together. Now when you go to sew them together you have a lot of play room here. And you just want to make sure that you’re not too far south and too far north. So we want to stagger these. We want this to be a little different. And I’m going to put a couple little books together just like this. And I’m going to go like this. And see how they line up like that. This one can be even a little shorter like that maybe. And then this one could even be a little taller over here. Or maybe they’re the same height or just a hair different. I always don’t love the exact same. I want it to be just a little different. So we’re going to start sewing some of these together. 

And I think maybe I’ll add in a larger piece right in the middle of these. Alright so I’m going to sew these two little ones together and my piece just slid out from under the other piece so it’s going to be even lower yet. Now I am sewing this with white thread, that’s so you guys can see it. You’ll probably want to use black, or whatever color your background is. Maybe your background is going to be light and that’s ok too. Alright, so I’m just going to open this up, kind of finger press it down. I mean you can iron it if you want. I ironed mine when I was doing it in my studio because I have a little ironing board right there. I don’t even have to get up off my chair. Alright so now I’m going to add this one. I’m going to stagger it up a little bit. And it’s a little bit fatter. Add a few more. Let’s see, this looks like a fun one. He’s going to be a shorty. We’re going to make him go way down here. Now we’re going to put another little tiny in here. He’ll be tall. And you can see there’s no measuring. It’s just really playful fun. And you want to get your block to be about 12 ½ inches because we are going to trim them down to that. But that’s what you block, you know, that’s what you’re shooting for when you’re putting these together. Now I have a piece that’s started over here like this, here’s my other piece. And I’m going to add that to this side right here and just sew these two together. And this is going to be wider than 12 but I’ll show you what I do here. There we go. Alright.

So now we have this nice big piece here. We’re going to press it out. I’m not really worried about what the seams are doing. I’m looking for a nice flat block. You are welcome to flip yours over and make it go the direction that you choose. And we’ll flip this over and look at it. Oh it’s a little scary, not too bad. Alright, so now what we’re going to do is we’re going to take our 12 inch ruler and we are going to cut this into a 12 ½ inch block. And so, I don’t do well with rulers that have a half inch on them unless I need that half an inch to make my whole block which is what I’m going to do. And so what I’m going to do here is I’m going to set this on my lowest book right here and then I’m just going to trim this off. Now you can see right here I have two little extra pieces over here. They will go on the next book. And so I’m just going to take this and I’m going to cut across the top right here. And when I was talking earlier about, it’s a little bit wasteful. I mean, that’s not terrible for what you get but, you know, it is a little bit of waste. And so this is a great one to use scraps and all that. Alright, so I’m going to set these aside and I’m just going to make a bunch of these book blocks like this. And so these are going to go any place the books are straight up. You can see, they’ll fit right in there. And that’s how you make the book block. Now all of our blocks are going to end up, no matter what I do inside them, they’re going to end up being 12 inches. And so now I’m going to teach you how to make the leaning block.

So I sewed three little books together here. You can use as many or as few as you like.  And then we’re going to attach these little wedges to the side of it like this. And see how these are leaning. There’s three here and they have this kind of wedge along the side of them. So what I do is I take a piece that’s about 16 inches by however wide I want. Now right here, this is leaning right next to a book because I made it the very edge of my block. And I just sewed it to the next books. But you can do that however you want. I’m just going to show you the basics here. I’m going to grab a longer ruler because you want to cut a wedge from top to bottom like this.  So we’re just going to do this. And then what we’re going to do, we have two pieces like this and one piece will go on this side like this. And what it does when you sew it on, this side is going to remain straight and so now my pieces are going this way. And this side will come along here like this and it will make that still have a square shape without it having, you know, with books being on the lean. So then we’re just going to sew this on right here. And I always felt the books needed to lean on something, you know, they’re just not magically going to stay up. My books don’t anyway. So I just, I like to make one side smaller. Alright and then let’s add that wedge to the other side going the opposite way. So this side has the wide part at this end. We’re going to put a wide part at the other end. Flip it around. I’m not too worried about whether things are lined up at the bottom or not because we’re going to cut that 12 ½ inches to fit. Alright so let’s press this back so you can see how these wedges are going to work. Alright now our goal for this is that we want these kind of to be leaning on a book. And so I know to do that, first I need to cut this at a 12 ½ on either side like this. So we’re going to get our 12 ½ ruler. And I’m going to lay this on here like this. And I’m just going to trim this edge off  down here straight. And then I’m going to trim my top edge as well. Alright so once you get this trimmed up, you can see we have a quarter of an inch here and we can easily fit this into the row of our 12 ½ inch blocks. 

But what we want to do is we want to make this a 12 ½ inch block as well. So we’re going to add some more books to the side of this. And we’re just going to make sure that it doesn’t, you know, go beyond this, you know, this is 12 ½. So I’m going to go ahead and stitch these on here. And we will have some, a few more books on here so that it makes a block that is 12 ½. One of the things that makes this whole quilt work is that no matter  what we’re putting in there, no matter what shapes we’re cutting, at the end of the day we’re going to trim that block to 12 ½ and it will fit in that whole row. Alright, so let’s add a few more out here. Let’s get this one. Alright, let’s see how close we are. Oop, looks like I need one more book. A little skinny one. Alright we’re going to go right here. Alright now let’s go press these back. Alrighty. Now we want to check and make sure this is 12 ½. And it looks like we are pretty close. Alright so we’ll press that out. And then again we’re going to take our 12 ½ inch ruler and we’re going to put it on here and we are making a block.

So I actually put my strips together and I got over there and I realized that I’m about a half an inch too small. Well that makes a very small book so what I’m going to do is I’m just going to lay this strip on here but I’m going to move it in a little but because I want to catch a little bit of this. So what it’s going to do is it’s going to make this book very skinny and the book next to it very skinny. But I think that’s going to look pretty cool. So this is one of those impromptu moments where you just have to go with it because you need that 12 ½ inches to make your full block. Alright, so now let’s press this back. We can trim this little edge off if we’d like. And then we’ll press that back and we should be just wide enough. Alright, now we’re going to look here. And we are going to lay this on here and we have just enough room. It’s perfect. This is one of those trial and error moments where you’re like, hmm well that’s not quite right. Alright so we’re going to slice up this side. We’re going to come over here and get the top. We’re going to make sure this side over here stays nice and good. And our bottom. And it’s 12 ½ and it looks great. And that’s how you make your leaning books. And then you can just attach them to the next block. Which, let’s go ahead and sew these two together so you can see how this row is going to look. Just like this. Because that is just the fun of this thing is that once you get your blocks to the same size then they’re all just going to fit together. Alright so and then this is what you get, like this. So how cute is that? It just looks perfect. The books are leaning. Gives you a little added something on your bookshelf. And just makes it really fun. 

Alright so let’s talk about some of the other things. We have this little kitty block up here. Now if you follow our Triple Play tutorials you know that the Doan girls just did a whole Triple Play on the kitty block. Super easy to make. I’ll show you how to put that together. Not everybody is going to want a kitty on their bookshelf but some of us are. And so to make that what you’re going to do is you’re going to take a ten inch layer cake square and you are going to cut it into 9 ½ by five. So directly in half and then cut a little half an inch off. Then you’re going to put a little 2 ½ inch square on his  backside right here, sew right on the line.  And iron this back. That’s going to give him the curve of his back. Now I’m not going to sew this because we just did a huge tutorial on those kitties. I think you’re actually going to really like that tutorial by the way. Then this is his, this is the piece over here that makes the background. This is his face. This is a three by five piece right here. And these are his ears. A black piece which is 2 ½ by five. And then these become the ears. You have two little 2 ½ inch squares. We’re again going to lay those up here like this. Actually it’s going to go this way. You’re going to sew right on the line, iron this back. And you’re going to put two of those on just like that. And so there’s our little kitty block. Super easy. If you want to go look at it, we have a Pins and Paws tutorial and we also have our Triple Play on our kitties. 

Alright, now let’s talk about this vase right here because this is also very easy to make. And what we’re going to do is we are going to take a little five inch square like this. And these little corner squares, they’re two different sizes. So the little squares on the bottom, I wanted it to just barely come in right there. Just barely come in. These are a little deeper up here. And so I have, let me measure these to make sure. I have a 1 ¼ inch square here and a 1 ½ inch square on the top. So as we iron these back like this, we’ll trim them off and iron them like this. Then we’re going to add our little top piece like this. And just like that you get a piece that looks like a vase. So this top piece is two inches by five. And these little corner squares, let’s measure those to be sure. They should be the same as these and so they should be 1 ½ I think I said. Ya, 1 ½. And so we will sew on that line. We can do that right now if you want just to show you how to do that. We’re sewing directly diagonally. Now this square, you’ll notice it does not go all the way up to the top corner. We want the flat edge for the vase and then the neck part to curve in. So we’re just going to sew this right here. Now one of the things, when you are sewing smaller squares, you want to make sure that your stitch is a little bit shorter because it will, I mean if you only have four stitches across it, it’s not going to hold on very well.  So I’m going to turn this down to a two and I’m just going to take a little bit smaller stitches, stitch corner to corner. And then I will do the same thing on this one and you will see how that little vase comes together. Just like that. We will trim these off. You want to trim all of your little extra background pieces off so you don’t have a lot of bulk back there like this. Press it back. I just had so much fun playing with this when this part started. Alright so then we have this right here and this is going to be our vase top right there. Now doesn’t that look like a cute little vase? But obviously it needs a flower.

And when you’re dealing with anything that Kaffe makes you know there are loads of flowers. And so this flower right here I literally cut out of the fabric. I put some, iron on a little fusible on the back and so I have a really cool one today that is here. Look at this flower. And so depending upon the fabric that you get or the square you get, you’re going to be able to cut whatever kind of fabric flower that you want. Or you can design your own flower. So let me just cut a little piece of this. And I’ll show you how I did this. Now what I’m going to do is I’m just going to take my flower here. And I’m going to put this piece just over the flower that I want. Make sure it doesn’t get on your mat and just press that down. And now this becomes an iron on applique. That’s what we’re doing here. And so basically then we are going to grab our scissors, let’s see here. And we are going to trim out this flower to put on the top of our vase. See how my flower comes right to the edge right here. I’m going to make that a petal. So I’m just going to cut that in with a curve and then I’m going to just keep going around. Ok so now we have our cute little flower cut out, how cool is that? We need to finish our vase. And so I’m going to put that together. Make sure your same size squares are on the top together.  We’re going to sew this right down the side a quarter of an inch . And then we have to make a big enough block around our vase so that our flower can be appliqued on. So we’re going to press this up. And then I have a couple of five inch strips over here. And I’m just going to sew, I’m going to cut two pieces that are roughly the same size of my vase and sew them on both sides like this. And then open that up. That one right there on that side. And let me look at my vase back here. Oh ya it’s sitting right on the shelves. So this is going to be trimmed off right at the bottom. So then we’re going to go ahead and trim this off straight here like this. Make sure you’re lined up right. Then we’re going to trim this off here. And then let’s measure how wide this is. Well I actually can just use my 12 ½ can’t I? My six is right in the middle there. Now if you wanted, like with this vase right here, this is a 12 inch block but you could put a book in here a little closer. If you wanted to add a book on either side. But basically, again, with this, what we’re looking for is that 12 ½ inch block. So this is the width of it. And then we need to make enough to make it 12 inches tall as well. And so I have a piece here, this is about six inches, so I have a piece here that’s seven and that will enable me to trim it down a little bit. Those are for those just in case moments. And so I’m just going to sew this on here right now. I’m leaving my selvedge out to the edge, starting my block in a little bit and sew across. And then we’re just going to trim this up. And I’m going to trim it the width of my block because I know that is already 12 ½. And this way. Then we’ll press it. Let’s go ahead and iron this open. There we go. Now let’s put our square on it. Make sure that it’s 12 ½. Look how cute that is. Alright, yep, just perfect. 

Alright so now what we can do is we can add this flower. And how gorgeous is that going to be on there? Now before I add this flower, as I was working on this Natalie said if you flip that over and you put this piece on the top, this piece could be fussy cut with some little, I don’t know, some little scene or something and it could be like a little snow globe on your shelf. And so that would also be really fun to be able to do. And, I mean, there’s just so many great ideas with this. So right now what I’m going to do is I’m going to put this on here like this. And I’m going to iron that on there so you can see how that block works. Oh my gosh, that’s so cute. Oop, this one is folded under.  Let me see if I can peel it back. Make sure none of your edges are folded under or you’re going to have this little problem that I’m having. There we go. Look how cute that is. Isn’t that just adorable? I mean it’s just so pretty. Isn’t that pretty? And so then that would go right in here. And all these little things are made the same way. So I have another little flower down here. And I made a little leaf thing that I put on it. These books are sideways. I have another tiny little vase down here and it’s just a little piece like this. You know, it’s just a little tiny piece like this and it sits on a stack of books. And I literally made two tiny stems and cut out two little tiny Kaffe flowers. So that’s how you do this.

And once you get all your shelves together like this, you’ve got your books, you’ve got your leaning, look at this vase. Just made the same way only made out of a regular piece of fabric in the packet. You’re ready to assemble your bookcase. You’re going to do that by putting your rows together and then you’re going to put a 2 ½ inch sashing in between the rows and around the sides, just the sides. Now the top, we want the top to look like an actual bookshelf. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to cut that piece five inches, yep five inches. And at the very edge we are going to put a half square triangle which means we’ll put this on here like this, sew corner to corner and then we’ll lay it back like this and it will give us this top edge right here. And so then down here on the bottom, you’re going to do this bottom piece, it’s the same width of brown fabric but this corner piece is going to be a three inch square and that’s going to give it a little smaller, you know, more sturdy bookshelf. Then I wanted to frame this up a little bit so I actually took my gray and did an additional border on the outside. And this is a nice big five inch border on the outside of my shelf here. And it just makes the whole shelf stand back, you know, it just gives it some pop and makes you notice the shelf.

Now this quilt ends up being 72 by 79. And so it makes a great size quilt but again, that’s one of those things you may want to have nice long shelves to do it. So as I’m getting this all finished and I’ve quilted it, we quilted it with this great Sticky Buns pattern. And I’m sitting sewing the binding on, I had another thought, another idea. And so this isn’t in the quilt but it sure could be. So do you guys remember when Misty did her easy alphabet, I mean she did the easy alphabet quilt and it has all the letters in it. I thought, how cool would it be if we did a shelf where we actually spelled out, look at this, READ. And put that at the top of the shelf. I mean this would look so cool. And it would fit right in these shelves. Isn’t that so great? I just think that would be such a fun idea. You could put anything up there you want. You could make a word that was special to you. You know, some people pick a word for the year or whatever. But I just thought of her little easy alphabet and I thought, oh that’s going to be really cute if we do Read up there. So in putting it together I realized I didn’t tell you how many blocks you need. You need five of these.You can’t see where the block starts and ends because it’s just the line in a book. And so it just makes it really fun and quick. So five 12 ½ inch blocks across here. And also I didn’t want to forget to show you this backing. Isn’t that gorgeous? This is a big 108 backing and it’s just beautiful. I mean it’s just so fun, adds so much to the quilt. We love how it came together. I hope you have fun with it. And I hope you enjoyed the Book Review quilt from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.  

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