How to: Catherdral Window

This is a beautiful technique which simulates the look of quilting and patchwork but the great advantage to it is that once each piece is completed, it will already have a tidy, finished backing which means there is no extra work to be done.

I hope you find these instructions, accompanied by photos simple and straightforward. As with many techniques, working through the process a number of times, is the best way to ‘get it’.

Materials needed:
4 x 25cm squares of cotton fabric
4 x 9cm squares of contrasting fabric
Needle and matching thread

Step 1:
Stage 1 CW
To make it easier to fold your fabric over the next few stages, iron diagonals to create a cross crease and a centre point from corner to corner. Then iron a 1/2cm border all the way around the square.

Step 2:
Stage 2 CW
Fold corner points of square into the centre and iron flat.

Step 3:
Stage 3 CW
Again, fold new corner points into the centre of square and iron flat. Then, stitch the centre point flaps, where they meet in the middle, to opposing flap but not under-layers of square.

Step 4:
Stage 4 CW
Make another folded square, following the instructions above and then whip stitch the two outside edges of the squares together (this will be covered by a cotton square, so don’t worry about neatness on this ‘right’ side so much).

Step 5:
Stage 5 CW
Place 9cm square over the stitched line and pin squarely.

Step 6:
Stage 6 CW
Fold the fabric from the under squares to form a frame around the 9cm square. Create a curve on each edge, so that it is wider in the middle and narrower at the edge, ensuring to neatly cover the under stitching.

Step 7:
Stage 7 CW
Slip stitch the border frame around the 9cm cotton insert ‘window’.

Step 8:
Stage 8 CW
Repeat stages 1-7 to create another pairs of squares with one ‘window’ insert. Stitch them together like Stage 4 and then place two more ‘Cathedral Windows’ following stages 5-7.

You can now continue, following these instructions, to make beautiful Cathedral Window pieces.

If you make two squares and one window, why not turn it into a needle case. Four squares and four windows could be a cushion or a table protector. Join squares to create a rectangle for a table runner or just go mad and make a quilt!

Traditionally, Cathedral Windows would have been made with white fabric (I find cheap curtain lining works well – recycle from your old, washed curtains) and small, square scraps.

Have fun, variegate your fabrics, use up leftovers!


About obsesivcreativ

I am a freelance textile artist working with and teaching traditional textile techniques including hooky and proggy matting, patchwork and quilting, batik, embroidery, spinning, knitting and crochet. I work with schools, community groups, museums and galleries creating mad and wonderful things such as Egyptian mummies, story-telling tents, rainforest maps and even coffins...
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