I just finished my first Cathedral Windows block, I made a pillow because I thought it would be a good starter project. I did it fully by machine and here are a few things that I learned.
- First of all don't be intimidated these are WAY easier then they look - I finished this entire project including cutting, sewing, stuffing etc in about 3 - 4 hours which isn't bad considering there was learning curve time included.
- I used 12.5 inch backing pieces and 4 inch windows. I think if I did an entire quilt I would use bigger pieces.
- If I did this again I may try doing it by hand because it may look a lot less sloppy (that is how these blocks are traditionally done)
- Cathedral blocks are not for perfectionists. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't get my corners to line up perfectly (which is kind of the nature of the block since you are folding so many layers of fabric). The result is something like this where you have some perfect corners (where the corners were sewn together)....
...and some way less then perfect corners where you are sewing down loose flaps that made my OCD crazy....I realized that on one of the tutorials they recommended tacking down the loose flaps with a few stitches before doing your rolled edges - this probably fixes the sloppy corner issue and I will definitely try it next time.
- These blocks end up being a little bit lumpy and seamy - I had thought they would make great baby quilts but they aren't exactly snuggly
- While it does take a long time to make the blocks you have to consider that you save a lot of time because you don't have to quilt or bind these blocks
- I found when I sewed down the rolled edges it was easiest to go all the way around the entire window without stopping
- Here is what the back looks like if you do it by machine - a bit sloppy looking for my taste but not terrible I guess
- Some people recommended gluing the window fabric down or the rolled edges down but I found a single pin was enough to hold the window fabric down and I didn't have any trouble with the rolled edge (I think the key is the make sure your piece of window fabric isn't too big so you can get a clean roll).
I will admit that once I saw the final product as a pillow I was a bit sad that I made this as a gift because I LOVE it!