When Fat Quarter Shop invited me to sew along for their new Layer Cake Spools pattern, I jumped at the chance! I love anything sewing-themed and the unique design of these spools really caught my eye. This pattern is part of their Shortcut Quilts series which is designed to be beginner-friendly and fast by using precut fabric. The patterns provide multiple sizes and best yet, they are free!
The spools quilt uses two layer cakes (10″ squares): one for the main prints and one for background. I grabbed the Starlight Gatherings Layer Cake which is my current favorite new fabric line featuring a range of pretty blues with tiny diamonds, stars, and florals. I stepped out of the “white background” box by picking up some yardage of a coordinating light blue color Bella Solids Glacier for the background.
When I looked over the pattern, I was so impressed with the construction of the spools. The main and background fabric are pieced together in an ingenious way to produce the mirrored effect. The pattern recommended using an 8.5″ square ruler to trim the blocks down to size. Since I wanted to embrace the quick nature of this pattern, I bought the Quilter’s Select 8.5″ Square Ruler (my favorite ruler brand) and was so glad I did! Being able to lay the ruler down on the oversized blocks and simply trim around them made it so fast.
The pattern instructions are very easy to follow, but to make it even easier Fat Quarter Shop posted a great step-by-step video tutorial on their YouTube channel: Layer Cake Spools Tutorial. They are also offering a fabric kit if you’d like to make this in the fabrics they show in the pattern: Layer Cake Spools Quilt Kit. You can find more free Shortcut Quilt pdf patterns at Fat Quarter Shop Shortcut Quilts.
The majority of my layer cake was blue prints, but there were some white prints as well. I decided to separate the colors and make sets of blue spools and white ones. When it came to assembling the blocks into the quilt, I tried out many different layouts and in the end put the white blocks in the center. I like how the blue spools create a nice frame around them!
As I always try to do, I took the opportunity to play around with many quilting designs. I used a back-and-forth line to represent the thread, but chose a different design for the spool caps of each spool. I tried out different orientations of straight lines, spirals, waves, and loop-de-loops, make each spool unique! I thought something more was needed between the spools, so I added a flower design.
For the backing of the quilt I used Starlight Gatherings Navy Starlight and I bought Starlight Gatherings Cadet Diamond Dot for the binding. I love how the backing reminds me of star quilt blocks — perfect for the theme!
I really enjoyed making this Shortcut Quilt. It only took a day to piece and assemble!
Finished Size: 61.5" x 61.5" Pattern: Layer Cake Spools by Fat Quarter Shop Fabric: Starlight Gatherings Layer Cake by Primitive Gatherings for Moda and Bella Solids Glacier by Moda