It's time to get this quilt together. Your character blocks should be trimmed and ready to be sashed. To begin, let's trim the Happy Halloween strip if you didn't already. I don't know about you, but that was a lot of applique. Now, my advice to you is 'measure twice, cut once'. Follow the pattern directions and place the HH strip over the placement sheet. Mark the final trim line on all four corners. I then folded my strip in half, matched the 4 corners and marked my cutting lines. I measured the height in several spots to make sure it was consistently 11 1/2". I measured the length to make sure it was consistently 20 1/4" (40 1/2" unfolded). I found I had to add 1/4" to make the 40 1/2". When you are sure of your measurements and that the corners are square, cut to size.
Cut your sashing and setting squares, following pattern directions. Stitch vertical sashing to all applique pieces as shown on pattern and press all seams toward the sashing strip.
Years ago, I learned a tip that makes sewing squares together so much easier. When stitching a quilt of all squares together, first identify the lengthwise grain of each square. The lengthwise grain has the least amount of stretch. Sew the squares together matching the lengthwise grains. This leaves the unsewn edge with all crosswise grain, which allows for the stretch and/or ease you may need to match the seams perfectly. I applied this hint to the crosswise sashing strips. Find the lengthwise grain of the sashing squares and stitch this edge to the sashing strip. This leaves the unsewn edge with all crosswise grain, making it easy to match all the vertical strips. Stitch the quilt top together. Press seams towards the sashing strips.
Press the top from the wrong side, following pattern directions. Flip to the right side and make sure that there are no tucks in the seams. Follow pattern directions to cut and stitch border strips together. If using a stripe, try to stitch the seam so that width of stripe is similar in width to the others.
Measure the quilt from top to bottom at center of quilt.
It should measure 54 1/2". Mine measured 54 1/4". I measured in a few other spots and the measurement was consistently 54 1/4".
If your measurements are not consistent, average the measurements together and cut your strips accordingly. Cut 2 border strips to the size that your quilt top measured. Fold your top into fourths and mark with pins. Fold Border 1 into fourths and mark with pins. Pin Border 1 to quilt top, matching pins. Stitch seam with Border 1 on top. Work on one quarter at a time, leaving pins in position until you get to them. Press seams towards outer edge of quilt top. Measure quilt from side to side. It should measure 46 1/2". Adjust your measurement if necessary. Match and pin quarters, stitch and press as before.
Measure and cut side borders as before. Match and pin quarter sections. If you cut your outer border strips on the lengthwise grain as pattern suggests you will probably need to ease your quilt top to fit the border. There is a lot of stretch in the outer edges of the top, since it is all crosswise grain. Mark and pin quarter sections accurately. Stitch with the quilt top closest to the sewing machine bed. The feed dogs will help ease any fullness into the border. Keep pins in place until you get to them. Press seam to outer edge of quilt top. Repeat for top and bottom borders. Yeah--a completed quilt top!
With a crosswise seam, you will need 3 1/2 yds of fabric for your backing. If you want a lengthwise seam, you will need 4 yards. If you are using a directional Halloween print (and there are soooooo many cute ones out there) you will probably want a lengthwise seam. Unfold your backing fabric and fold in half crosswise. Cut along this fold to make two pieces. Place these pieces right sides together and stitch one side along the selvage edge. I usually stitch with about a 1" seam and then go back and trim off the selvages. Press this seam open.
Well, it's been fun appliqueing and piecing the top with you. I can't wait to decorate for Halloween and put my quilt on the wall. I'll be back to give you some quilting tips in the next few days and then a lesson in binding.
Until then, happy stitching,