Man Sewing: Techni-Color Strata Quilt Tutorial

Rob Appell

Man Sewing: Techni-Color Strata Quilt Tutorial

Rob demonstrates how to make his Technicolor Strata Quilt using Color Strata Book by Rob Appell for MSQC, Cotton Couture Fiesta 2.5" Strips by Michael Miller Fabrics for Michael Miller, and yardage.
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video transcript

You all know how incredibly excited I am about my new book, Color Strata. Well I’ve got an awesome tutorial for you. We’re calling this thing the Techni Color Strata. And it’s a super basic combination from a few of the recipes in the book. Let’s get started.

Now my Color Strata book walks you through how to build your strata in the first few chapters and then how to do a bunch of the lovely quilts that are on the inside of the book throughout the rest of the chapters, right? Well today I want to use this awesome Fiesta color strata roll for you. This is the Cotton Couture for Michael Miller. And I want to give you a really basic recipe. So down in the description below I have the cutting sizes here for you on a free printable. And we also have a link in the description down there where you can get all the supplies including the book if you need, right? Now before we dive into the roll let’s talk about some of the other things we also need. So I used a yard and a quarter of the white Cotton Couture. And cotton couture is a little bit denser thread count so I like to use all cotton couture in my quilts because the body of the quilt is going to be equal, ok? So follow me to the quilt here. You’re going to end up making four cuts as you’re working of each size. So you’re going to have four seven inch cuts. So there’s two of those put together, straight seam for this row. Two more of those seven inch cuts here and by the width of the fabric, of course. And then over here and behind me on the other side, two more three inch cuts, seamed in the middle and put in right there. So that creates all the neutral or all of the background that you are going to need. So 4 three inch cuts, 4 seven inch cuts, right?

Now as we get ready to take our roll, we’re going to unpack this thing and untie it. And I probably should have done this to begin with because I struggle with the knot here. Oh, this is going to be easy for me. They’re so beautifully packaged I almost hate to cut into them but it’s much more comfortable as a quilt once it lays flat, right? Now as I start to unpack this, watch

what I’m going to do. I’m going to put my hand on the yellow fabric. And you’re going to have 20 colors. You have two of every strip in here. And as I open it up I’m going to pull these greens aside. Now for the greens, we are not including the greens in this strata, of course you could. But you don’t need to. What I want you to is I want you to take the greens. You basically need, as you can see here, six different color sets. There’s seven different color sets in the green. Don’t let that sound confusing, I’m sorry. Take the one out you don’t like, throw it over your shoulder, you’re done. Take all the other ones you like and join the like colors, another straight seam. You do not need to do this on the bias. And make a big long strip here. And you’re going to do that for six of the different green color families. And those are going to be kind of the borders between my techni-color or my film strips of the strata we’re going to make. Now when we get into making our strata this is where we’re going to do some cutting and organizing and some more organizing and some more cutting. But if you just follow, and I promise to slow down, if you just follow, just follow the steps it’s super, super easy. Don’t overthink this.

Now before we can start playing with our colors and putting them in the order in which we will keep them in for our whole color strata, we’re just going to cut the folds off. And you can see I’ve already been working on this to get a little ahead of all of you. But I wanted to show you, it’s really easy. I can do about four at a time. And I am not going to cut the selvedges off. We’re just going to keep those for aligning later. But I’m just going to lay this down here, set my ruler on. Doesn’t need to be but maybe a quarter of an inch . And I take the folds out so that I have now taken every one of my 44 inch strips and turned it into a 22 inch strip. So if you started with two of every color, you now have four of every color. And what I would like you to really do if go through and keep these like this. We’re going to go four stacks as we work, ok? As we open this up. And I’m going to jump into caffeinated mode, but before I jump into caffeinated mode, come in here really close with me. I want to show you that I am going to be building the organization of my colors right now so that as I organize these into order I want to get them in the color that I like. So as you can see on the back wall, I’ve got my yellows together. So I’m going to stack up my yellows. And then there’s a switch-a-roo I did from the way that Michael Miller packages the roll with the purples because I always want to try to keep it transitioning from my dark to my light. That’s why I’m even flipping these over real quick. So I hope that wasn’t confusing. I promise I’d try not to make it confusing. And that probably is. What I want you to really know is these two purples in here, when I go through caffeinated, sorting mode, I’m going to switch the colors to make sure that my dark purple ends up next to my dark blue. Ok, here we go.

Ok, now that you have all four of your piles sorted and organized, you’re actually going to need two piles that are these 22 by 2 ½. So let’s just slide these out of the way keeping the fabrics in the correct order. These next two piles we have, we’re going to do kind of a rip cut from my days of construction. We’re going to cut down the almost center of these. We’re going to make a one inch and a 1 ½ inch cut on these. I only want to cut three or four at a time. So, and as I lay them out, I want this to be pretty darn accurate. So I’m taking time to look at the edges to make sure they’re coming together nicely. And then as I’m coming here, I’ve got to be careful because look what I just did, if you’re watching close at home you’re probably throwing a bad call ball or something at your screen, saying, Hey, hey, hey, wait! You just switched your colors. I know, I’ll put that back in the right order. Now as I’m looking down here I’m going to put a yard and a half! I’m going to put an inch and a half under my ruler and I’m going to leave an inch out here. I’m going to make sure that everything is as organized as possible. Take a nice slow but firm cut through here. Ok now let’s get these things back in the right color order before we go any further. You may not be noticing what I was dealing with here but I really wanted was our light blue on the bottom and then our medium blue. Then our dark blue to our purple. So what I did is I accidentally got the middle of my color order switched around in here. So once I have this back together like this. I’m going to slide these over while I work. And then the key to keeping it correct, right? Is now for my next stack of four I want to come right off the pile from the top and work down like this. And here and here. And then the same thing. Like I said, we’re going to do this to both of these stacks over here. We’re just going to lay that out so I’ve got my inch and a half marked out. Just like that. And my one inch cutting through my stack. And now the trick is here is to go ahead, see here’s that purple. We’re just going to set that light purple on top of the dark purple. And now we’re keeping everything in color order and that’s the whole key to the color strata is keeping everything in the color order. I’m going to blast through and cut all these real quick and I’ll come back and show you how to build all six piles of the strata.

Now that all your slicing and dicing is done I’m glad you’re following along one step at a time. You should have six piles in front of you. You should have two that are one inch. Two that are 1 ½ inch and two that are 2 ½ inches, right? The first three stratas  you make are going to be real easy ones.The same sizes together. And again if I haven’t said it enough all the color orders stay in the same order. And all of this is done with a quarter inch seam allowance and I do recommend that you press in between seams to keep everything really tidy in your construction.

So your one inch strips are going to go to be set aside and consumed to make a cute little baby strata like that one, right? And then your 1 ½ inch strips or I should say one of your piles of your 1 ½ inch strips come together to form your medium sized strata, ok? Again, color order is the same. That one’s been used so I’m just going to set that aside. And our 2 ½ inch strip, each one of those piles is going to do the exact same thing for us. And here it is. Just like that, ok. All those are the same size. So that’s three of your piles and three of your strata. The next three strata, let’s just set these aside, all are about the same length but if you look closely they actually have a fun variety happening because we’re mixing the sizes. I hope you can see all of that there. Maybe that’s a little easier for you there. So check it out. Color order is all the same but the movement in the color is on steroids because of the way we’re piecing. So you’ve got some mediums. You’ve got some bigs, you’ve got some smalls in each pile. I want to show you how to organize that, ok?

Now let me take a quick second because I don’t remember how many colors I have. So we have one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen. Rats, it doesn’t divide evenly by three because we need three piles. Twelve does, that would give four strips of each size and then you’re going to have an extra one. It will make sense, watch this. Now let’s take these strips and kind of give ourselves some room in between them. Let’s go to our big strip and count down five. I’ve got one, two, three, four, and five and that works out really good because it’s between an obvious color break. So let’s take these first five real quick and I’m going to now flip these over because this is my color break right in here.Ok and then I’m going to countdown four because remember we’re dealing with some odd numbers. So there’s my four. I’m going to flip those over between the oranges. Just like that. We’re going to do the same to all our piles before we start mixing and matching. Because it just makes it a little bit less confusing that way. And helps us to stay organized like this. Like this. And no matter how many you have you just need to divide it by three so that you can do the scrambles to get the six stratas. And it makes life really, really easy. Ok, so hopefully you can see I’ve just divided the different size piles up.

Now the first and easiest strata to make for this mixed strata is to start with your wide strip and now I’m bringing the middle from my medium size. And look it’s just going to go right on that same color order. And then I’m grabbing my skinnys. And I’m bringing my skinnys over from the end. And I should be able to go from blue to yellow just like that. Ok. So now let’s think. This one here has got blue and it’s a medium so on top of that I want to go ahead and let’s put this wide one here. And then I need to have one that’s going to end on the yellow. And so that yellow here, oops it looks like I’ve got myself a little ahead of schedule. So let’s do this instead. Let’s move that back here. I’m going to put this skinny blue one down. There’s that purple. And then this one here is going to end in the yellow. So again, I’m a blue to yellow on that one. And my double check is I have three sizes left. I’ve got a blue here. This is going to come together in the middle. And then I’m going to go ahead and lay that on top of here. So I’ve got my blue to yellow as my double check all over again. Whew! It worked. Super simple.. Like I said we’re just going to put these together with a quarter inch seam allowance. Take your time. I don’t recommend going up and down in both directions. What I really recommend doing as I said earlier, starting from your cut end where you took the fold out. And making sure these are all nice and lined up like you see here in this strata. And that way it gives us a really nice point to trim. Because once all six pieces of strata are made we’re going to go ahead and make these into sub cuts of five inches. So watch this. And five inches is pretty important because if you look real carefully at the quilt with me here, I have this super cool pieced together with the strata binding on the quilt. And that’s leftover. And I like 2 ½ inch strips so I can take five and divide it down into 2 ½ very easily.

Ok now as you can see I’ve already sub cut all of my six strata piles down into five inch strips. And it looks like, what do I have, four of them for each? Yea, that would make sense because I had about 22 inches to start with. Now one of the things we’re going to do is I may have mentioned. Is I want to build about 72 inches worth of strata. And on this strata set we are going to join opposite colors. So yellow to blue. And I’m just going to grab another pile here and I’m going to add in there’s that blue, here comes yellow again. Some of my strata quilts I’ll sew them like colors together. But for this particular one I just sewed them opposite colors. And then I work through my stack until this whole strip is roughly 72 inches long. Once it’s 72 inches long then let’s say we’re going to start with another one. And as I start with another one I am rotating it so one of them is yellow at the top. The other one is going to be blue at the top. And I’m also trying not pick the exact same strata piles to work with so that I have a neat variety of colors as you can probably see better even in the quilt behind me as we go. So again I just continue to lay these out until I have three entire strips at least 72 inches long. And that left me with just enough leftover strata, like I said, that were five inches wide. I could sub cut down into the bindings which is awesome. And we’re going to finish with the binding but let’s still talk about a little more construction here as we go because I want to show you what I did with my green fabrics.

Now if you look at the greens, as I mentioned earlier, it’s two strips that are stitched together, you know straight of grain there. I wanted to take and keep the extra greens toward the outside. So what I ended up doing here is I went ahead and I moved, we’ll call these the sage colors, right? Moved those to the outsides. Kind of got my minty greens, I’m just trying point out they’re not the same but they’re similar, in the middle. And then my limey greens right there. And that brings the interest and impact to the center of the quilt because they’re so wonderful and they’re so bright, right? So let me kind of step out of the way so you can see the whole project. And you can see how that all comes together. Go ahead and piece it all and do your machine quilting. I used a really fun variegated thread to kind of bring those colors together as I worked through it. And some very basic style of quilting as well. Nothing has to be extraordinary on this.
When I was ready to do the binding though I was a little nervous about this and you probably are too. If you take it slow and you don’t rush the corners as you’re putting it on it works fantastic. So I put everything together and this is what was leftover from my strata roll and the binding and everything. So I joined them as you can see right here just like I did in the quilt itself with my opposite colors touching, the blues and the yellows. This is cut down into 2 ½ inches. And then I pressed it. And one of the keys is when I was pressing it is I was looking inside of my seams to make sure that my seams lined up. And then I shouldn’t confess, except for I’m proud that I do it, I do all my binding by machine. So I stitched it from the back and then I rolled it to the front. And I topstitched it down. And as I said I was a little nervous because all those seam allowances. But if you don’t rush when you’re up working on these mitered corners up here right behind my incredible connecting device to my wall here. If you don’t rush in that corner you shouldn’t have any problems and it turns out fantastic. So that is the techni-color strata quilt featuring the fiesta strata fabrics from Michael Miller. And we are super excited. The color strata book is awesome. There’s a bunch of other recipes in there as well. And I want to know what kind of color strata you’re working on down in the comments. And we’ll catch you next time here at Man Sewing.

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