How to make an American Civil War mini quilt using English Paper Piecing: 3: ‘Lincoln’s Logs’

Now that I’ve finished the patchwork top of my American Civil war quilt, I can put together the layers, and do the quilting.

With big quilts, this stage can be difficult, as you need a lot of space to spread out the fabrics. My quilt is only 22 by 27 inches, so it’s not a problem! I did mine on the floor in my conservatory!

I put the backing fabric down first, wrong side up, then spread out the wadding (100% cotton heirloom wadding), then the ironed quilt top. Making sure there were no creases in the three layers, I put pins in every four inches or so over the top of the quilt to hold it all together. Then, with sewing cotton I made a grid of long tacking stitches over the whole of the quilt, with about three inches between rows, starting in the centre and working out to the edges.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

As my quilt is small, I put the binding on at this point. If you make big quilts, you’d probably think I’m daft to do this, but I find that it works! The layers don’t shift much with a small quilt, so I can get away with it.

This is the back of the quilt – gorgeous fabric, isn’t it?

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

I put a few extra pins in to keep the layers together, and started quilting  – by hand, with polyester thread. I didn’t use a pattern for this one – I just echoed the edges of the pattern pieces.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

When all the quilting was done, I washed the quilt, and hung it up to dry in the conservatory, so that it started to have that old-fashioned crinkly look.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

This is the finished quilt – it measures 21 by 25 inches. It has ended up looking quite different from the way I thought it would. And very different from the example in Carol Hopkins’ book. But I like mine, with more red in it than the example that I started out wanting to copy.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

This is the one in Carol Hopkins’ book:

Lincoln's Logs patchwork quilt

As usual, I’m not totally happy with my stitching – I wish I could get my stitches smaller and more even, but it’s quite a bit better than my previous quilt, so I’m getting there slowly!

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

This shows the back and front of the quilt:

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

I use my little quilts as mats around the house, and as covers for side tables – anything that looks a bit bare, really! And as soon as I’ve finished one, I want to start another one….!

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needle minders, needle holder, pin keep, sampler, cross stitch, magnetic needle holder

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How to make an American Civil War mini quilt using English Paper Piecing: 2: ‘Lincoln’s Logs’

This is how far I’ve got with the American Civil war mini quilt that I’m making using the English paper piecing method. I’ve sorted out the fabrics for each block now:

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

Once I’ve cut out the pattern pieces, based on the measured papers that I made before, I can arrange them on the reverse of the fabric from the charm pack pieces.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

I use a tiny bit of glue from a special glue pen to hold the paper in place on the fabric while I cut it out. These glue pens are wonderful – they are from the Sue Daley range, made specially for patchwork. The glue is pink in the stick, but when it dries, it dries clear. So you can see where you’re putting it, but it doesn’t mark the fabric permanently pink. You can get refills easily, too. It helps to keep it in the fridge till you’re ready to use it, as if it is at room temperature, it’s a bit soft, and you end up using more than you need to.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

As my quilt is only little, I cut all my pieces out with scissors. If I had hundreds to do, I’d use a rotary blade and a cutting mat. I make my seam allowances about a centimetre, rather than the recommended quarter of an inch, as it makes it easier to get accurate folds on the seams, as I’ve got more to get hold of.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

I put a line of glue on the paper, then fold the fabric over and press it in place. The glue dries really fast. I just fold each side over (not mitreing corners or anything) going round the shape until all four are done.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

This is one block, ready to be stitched together by hand.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

Here’s the twelve blocks, once I’d stitched them all together. I use polyester thread, in a neutral tone, and just oversew the pieces together.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

The sashing pieces (joining strips) are made in the same way – by glueing the fabric over long strips – except that I made these intentionally longer than they needed to be, to give me ‘wiggle room’ when stitching them to the other blocks.

This is the layout:

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

Each long strip is pinned in place,  and then oversewn to the main part, right sides together.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

It’s tempting at this point to remove all the papers from the back, but it helps to have the main area still quite stiff with the papers in, while I’m adding the wide borders.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

The long border pieces are added first, then the short ones. I didn’t mount these wide borders on paper first – I just turned a narrow seam allowance and pressed it in place, then oversewed the edge to the edge of the dark brown strip.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

This is the bit I look forward to! Taking out the papers! Suddenly, the quilt goes from being lots of stiff little bits of fabric, to one soft and flexible quilt top, that has become something different in the process.

Unlike a quilt made by machine, the seam allowances aren’t pressed over to one side – they are left open like this. Later, the whole quilt top will be pressed before being layered with the wadding and backing.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

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needle minders, needle holder, pin keep, sampler, cross stitch, magnetic needle holder

How to make an American Civil War mini quilt using English Paper Piecing: 1: ‘Lincoln’s Logs’

Apart from doing loads of embroidery all the time, I am starting to make little quilts. I don’t make large ones, as I don’t have the space, but I thought I’d do a few blog posts about how to make an American Civil War quilt using English paper piecing, as that’s the method I like to use. Even then, I adapt it to suit the way I like to make them!

This is the first book that I bought with quilt designs in that really ‘spoke’ to me – it’s by Carol Hopkins, who designs some lovely quilt patterns:

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

She uses the faded, small-scale prints in soft hues that I love. This is the quilt that I want to make:

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

It’s quite simple, and doesn’t have any triangles in it!! The first quilt I made had loads, and I kept getting the seam allowances wrong, and cutting off the tips of the triangles as I stitched the seams  😦  That’s when I decided that machine piecing maybe wasn’t for me, and English paper piecing might be more accurate.

I’ve chosen some gorgeous fabrics in shades of red, cream and brown,  from a range called Chateau Rouge by Moda Fabrics.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

I bought a charm pack (a pack of about forty 5 x 5 inch squares, in many toning shades), and two separate yards of fabric – one for the wide border, and one for the backing.

Carol Hopkins’ book describes how to make her quilts in the traditional way, using a sewing machine. I take designs from books like hers, and adapt them for English paper piecing by working out the sizes of the block pieces, and drawing them out on dressmaker’s pattern paper, like this:

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

I’ve sorted the fabrics from the charm pack into toning pairs, so that each block will have very obvious differences between the L-shaped pieces, and the ‘background’ surrounding them.

Civil War reproduction quilt Lincoln's Logs

The next job is to cut everything out!

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needle minders, needle holder, pin keep, sampler, cross stitch, magnetic needle holder

Book Review: “Civil War Legacies; Quilt patterns for reproduction fabrics”, by Carol Hopkins

I bought this book recently when I was in Birmingham, in the Cotton Patch shop, getting my ‘basic supplies’ for quilting. OK, I know this book isn’t necessarily ‘basic’, but I’d been reading the reviews on Amazon, and drooling over the photos in it, so when I saw the actual book in the shop, I couldn’t just leave it there, could I?!

Civil 1

The book is a large format paperback of 80 pages (cost me £14, but the price varies online from £12 to £19). The book has 15 smallish quilt designs, with detailed instructions, fabric requirements, piecing directions, and so on. Average finished size of the quilts is about 22 x 28 inches – these are wall quilts, not bed quilts, which is exactly what I want to make. The back half a dozen pages give information on quilting basics, but I found that they were a bit too brief for me, as a beginner. That said, however, Carol does give a very useful tip for making ‘flying geese’ units (a triangle with two smaller triangles sewn to the short sides), using only a rectangle and two squares instead and then stitching diagonally across the squares and flipping back the squares across the diagonal to make the triangles, which means that the fabric is less likely to stretch out of shape, and more likely to end up the correct size. I have tried the ‘traditional’ way, and got in a real mess with it, so I was pleased to see this better method explained.

This is the quilt I want to make first (I could make all of them though – they’re so scrummy!). It’s called ‘Lincoln’s Logs’, and doesn’t have even ONE triangle in it (easier for a beginner).

Civil 2

I’ve already bought some fabric – this is from a range called Chateau Rouge, by Moda fabrics. I bought mine on Ebay – if you live in the USA, you can buy it easily all over the place. In the UK, nothing’s ever that easy!

Lincoln 1

Later on, I’d like to make this quilt from the book, too.

Civil 3

And this one……

Civil 4

You may have guessed, red is my favourite colour  🙂

The book is great, and a good incentive for me to practice basic techniques so that I can progress on to more complicated designs. A lot of ‘basic’ patchwork books have designs in that just aren’t my style – cot quilts, and ‘bright pastels’ that just put me off. But this book has muted, refined designs that are so lovely, I could make them all (time permitting). The instructions are really clear, and the pictures, as you can see above, are gorgeous. Well worth getting!

Title: Civil war Legacies: Quilt patterns for reproduction fabrics

Author: Carol Hopkins

Publisher: That Patchwork Place (imprint of Martingale & Company)

ISNB: 978 1 60468 057 7 (Paperback, 80 pages)

Price: US$24.99 (about £14 in the UK