Quilt Finish and Tutorial: Churn Dash in Plaids

I told you Rosie was tired of the quilting room.  She is.  Here’s proof.

No worries though Rosie…we have another quilt finish and that means we’re one step closer to tackling all of these.  Today Rosie and I are sharing Churn Dash in Plaids….what do you think?


Me, I’m in love!!

I showed this to Kalissa and she said, “Mom, when you make big boy quilts for the boys, please make them like this.”

Yes, yes I will.  I love working with shirts.  Yes, all of this was made with 100% cotton recycled shirts.

If you’re new to shirts and would like to know how I destruct them and make them into fabric, you can read more about that HERE.  The link can always be found in the right-hand column here on the blog in the tutorial section.

I took a ton of pictures of this quilt as I wanted you to get an idea of all of the different quirky ways I made the blocks.  I did somewhat of an anything goes type feel when constructing them.


The pattern alternate between a churn dash block and a regular block.

For the quilting motif, I used my Hook and Point…see??


Again, I was in a “use it up” mode so I used any spool of blue-ish thread or bobbin that needed using up.  Then when they were all used, I used a variegated thread on the back.

The top thread was a steel gray color.  I think they both ended up working nicely.

I did a video on how I do the Hook and Point motif.  Here it is if you missed it…

The backing was a duvet cover…It was a little brighter than I wanted but it was sheet material.  I love using 100% cotton sheets on shirt quilts.  I pick them up at the thrift store.  The only problem was that this was a really big quilt and the sheets that I had weren’t big enough…so duvet cover it was.


Even with that, I had to piece it together.

The reason I like using sheets that have been washed is that the quilt has a built-in loved on feeling to it on both sides this way.  They shrink the same too once they are washed…and let’s be honest, I’m a cheapskate.

Keep with the idea that I wanted all the fabrics to shrink the same, I used shirt fabric for the binding too.


I picked about five shirts and cut up the sleeves to get enough strips.


Oh, I love this quilt.

Some people refer to this style of a quilt as a utility quilt.  They are meant to be used and not particularly considered beautiful.

It has such a wonderfully worn feeling.

Here are some close up of the blocks.  Each is constructed the same way.  The only thing different is the placement of the colors.


In some blocks, I used two colors like a traditional churn dash block.  In others, I used as many as five different colors.

I reversed the placement of colors to create a block like the yellow and blue one below.

I mixed prints.  Notice the block below.  There are blues but it’s two different prints, reds but again two different red prints.

There is even this one.  As I was finishing up the blocks, these are the pieces I had left and I just put them together.


There are 181completely different blocks in this quilt.  None are the same unless it happened by complete accident.


Not all have a typical “background” print.  Some are blendy like the red block below.

I seriously don’t think I’ve ever had more fun making a quilt.


I love this one…

Oh look, there is even a traditional churn dash block.


While we are this far along, how about I give you a little tutorial on making the block…

For the sake of the ease, I’m going to show you how to make a perfectly made one.  These are churn dash blocks.  They finish at 5″ so unfinished is 5 1/2″.

With that in mind, here’s what you need to make a block….I use strips and my Easy Angle ruler.  My strips are 2 1/2″.  I took two pieces of fabric that were 7″ long, paired them together, and cut four half-square triangles.  If you aren’t an Easy Angle girl, make 4 half square triangles in your own method that will be 2 1/2″ UNFINISHED.  Then I cut two 1 1/2″ strips are 6 1/2″ long.  I also cut one 1 1/2″ square.


I put them through the machine and ended up with this….Then I cut them into four 1 1/2″ segments.

I sewed the pieces together like this….Here is where most people iron, I don’t.  I find the pieces have more give to them and the seams pieces can be pulled or left lax in order to make the seams match easier.  (I know some of you are gasping now…Kelli would be too!!)

If you’re a presser that’s fine.  Press however you want.  These blocks don’t butt up next to each other so seams don’t need to coordinate with an adjoining block.
All pressed, you have this.

When I made mine, I went to my scrap users bucket of 1 1/2″ strips and picked two, and sewed them together.  Those became my scrappy middle segments. I also cut 1 1/2″ squares for the center of the block.    Then I went to my 2 1/2″ bucket and grabbed two strips and cut 4 matching sets of half-square triangles.  Then I randomly grabbed pieces and sewed the blocks together.  It was fun.

Now and then I would cut a full block out and do it the traditional method with only two prints.

The alternate blocks are cut at 5 1/2″ square and you need 180 of them.  You need 181 of the churn dash blocks.

To make row one you need 10 churn dash blocks and 9 plain.  Sew them together starting and ending with a churn days block.  Make ten rows.

To make row two you need 9 churn dash blocks and 10 plain.  Sew them together starting and ending with a plain block.  Make nine rows.

Then sew the rows together as shown starting and ending with row one.

Here’s another look at the quilt…


The quilt finishes at 95 1/2″ x 95 1/2″.

I took the quilt to Kalissa’s when Kelli was there one day watching the boys.  The kids immediately were all over it.


We all agree that this is likely our favorite style of quilt.

Of course, no quilt is complete without Rosie pictures…  Actually two.  I couldn’t decide which one I liked better.  Sitting??


or laying??

All this writing of this post has me thinking.  Maybe I should gift this one to Carver for his big boy bed and make another for Gannon only make a different block instead of the churn dash block.  That way the quilts would be similar yet different.  Hmm.  Any ideas on a 5″ finished block that would work in a similar way?  Please leave a comment if you can think of a block.

Thanks for letting me go on and on about this quilt.  Seriously, if you couldn’t already tell, I love it!!

40 thoughts on “Quilt Finish and Tutorial: Churn Dash in Plaids

  1. Denise Briese

    You are so motivating! I feel like a can do this quilt beacause of your energy and positivity! Thank you

  2. Rebecca Smith

    I think a shoo fly block would really work well in this style. I love the way you used all the plaids. It’s inspiring me to get back to work on my grandpa’s shirts.

  3. Connie

    OOOH ….Rebecca mentioned the Shoo Fly Block! So similar and yet different! Great for two brothers! I absolutely LOVE this quilt. And Rosie sitting on it is PERFECT!!

  4. Judith Fairchild

    I think I’m ready to try the shirt quilt. I love your quilt it says comfort. Your Grands like so much it’s a winner.

  5. Susan

    Love the quilt! Shirts are very expensive here, could buy brand new ones fir the same price, so I dont sew with them. I love the look and the patterns/ colors. Nothing beats a scrappy quilt.
    I’m also not a presser fir the same reasons as you. It’s amazing how horrified people are when they see that,LOL!

  6. The Joyful Quilter

    Super cozy quilt, Jo! I enjoy working with recycled materials. For my boys, I made one Shoo Fly quilt and then made one Monkey Wrench quilt. The blocks have similar shapes, but were different enough that the boys could tell whose was whose when they still roomed together.

  7. Donna Weeks

    Oh my! This quilt has a old world, vintage look. I used some cotton dress shirts that my sister in law had from her son, and used them in a scrappy Ohio star memory quilt. Sometimes the directional designs drive me crazy, but I just deal with it.

  8. Lori Douglas

    Beautiful! I love this one too. Creative and talented, my friend. Happy day for Carver when he receives this one.

  9. Sandie

    Jo- rather than try and explain it I will leave you a link to a block that might work for you. 5”, leader/ender-able, and would look great in plaids. The similarities in the quilts would come from the use of similar fabric and the size of the blocks, rather than the appearance of the block. I think it would make a great “brother” quilt to the one you e already made.

  10. Sandie

    Jo- rather than try and explain it I will leave you a link to a block that might work for you. 5”, leader/ender-able, and would look great in plaids. The similarities in the quilts would come from the use of similar fabric and the size of the blocks, rather than the appearance of the block. The block Im suggesting is the fifth one in the article. I think it would make a great “brother” quilt to the one you e already made.

    https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/free-five-patch-quilt-block-patterns-2821238

  11. Lola Zo

    Kaye England tells people to not do any ironing as you make the blocks, iron everything when the quilt is completed. Great quilt.

  12. Lori

    I Love this quilt as well. My shirts are all starched, but there are other quilts that are first in line! Darn!

  13. Bonnie

    I love your quilt. I used your tutorial last year when I started this quilt. I have all my blocks made. I just need to sew them together. Maybe instead of starting Bonnie’s mystery I will finish this.

  14. Kim J LeMere

    What a great finish and I do love it. I enjoy all those plaids blending together and the use of different churn dash layout. Its a gorgeous finish and Carver would be lucky to get it from you. Rosie is adorable.

  15. Ellie

    I loved the first picture you showed of this quilt several years ago and now that you’ve made it and showed it it has moved up to the top of my to do list! This is a show stopper. It looks so cozy I just want to curl up with it!

  16. ColleenM

    OK, a couple of things: The quilt is gorgeous! Rosie sitting on the quilt – adorable! and finally, the grand kids too cute (especially Georgie with the hat)!

    Thanks for sharing:)

  17. Ruth

    This is a beautiful quilt, Jo! I did have a minute of confusion when I had to figure out just what material you were cutting into segments, but then I realized you were Not cutting the triangles up so it must be the two sewn together strips you were cutting down. I counted up those five different fabrics right off, such a neat use of all kinds of plaids. Looks like lots of fun!

  18. Carmen Montmarquet

    I love this quilt!! Reminds me of the scrappy quilts my grandmother use to make, thanks for sharing the directions! Rosie couldn’t be cuter sitting on this fabulous quilt! And the kids are pretty cute too!!!
    Carmen

  19. Judy

    Oh my, dilemma! I have made several shirt quilts. None for our bed. I have a bag of de-boned shirts. I was going to make the Bonnie one you made, Scrappy Bargello. then I saw this one! Now I think I want to make this one as I already have a Scrappy Trip one. I love how soft shirt quilts are. Your grandchildren are good models… especially Georgie. Your dog is a sweetie too.Thank you. I enjoy your quilts so much.

  20. Sally Warren

    Oh, those precious children! They still look like little ones straight out of an Eloise Wilkins book. That’s the best compliment I can give. I looked through Bonnie’s patterns on her website for something not super complex and a good companion to Carver’s…..these are the ones that caught my eye: Maverick Star, Sister’s Choice (maybe change the name!), Chunky Churndash, Road to Camp Gravatt, Scrappy Mountain Majesties, Shoo Fly Shoo. Love the Churn Dash in plaids! You are so inspiring. Maybe we can have a quilt along with you!

  21. Sharon Browne

    Your quilt came out great! How about a Jacob’s Ladder block? There are so many different types of settings to choose from. I made a Bento Box quilt from shirt plaids a few years ago for my nephew and it came out pretty good.

  22. SusanfromKentucky

    I think a ShooFly quilt block would be a perfect one for a brother. I LOVE your quilt!!! Both pictures of Rosie are adorable. You realize that’s why she wants to lay on the tops that others send you? She’s trying to pose and get her treat. She’s a smart girl!

  23. Dorothy Countryman

    This quilt makes me smile. It will be a work in progress as I don’t have enough shirts. I will keep adding as I can when things go back to rights. Thank you for all the great pictures.

  24. Ellen

    9-patches are some of my favorite blocks. They pull the quilt together and give the quilt a diagonal feel. It’s like making a quilt on point without having to deal with setting triangles.
    I love your use of recycled shirts. The quilt is beautiful.

  25. Ranch Wife

    Awesome finish, Jo! That’s a perfect quilt in my book and adding adorable Rosie and darling grandchildren to the mix just makes it the best quilt ever! Instant treasure!

  26. Louverna

    Jo:
    A beautiful quilt!!
    Question please: Would plaid fabric work in this quilt? I don’t have any shirts – but I do have plaid fabrics in my stash.
    Thanks in advance for answering this question. Rosie is a cute, cute dog.
    Louverna

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *