Starlight Plaid is a top

Here it is, Starlight Plaid in red and grey!  You may remember last month's post about trying to make the blue stars work, but I think the red was the better choice. Maybe I feel that way because it reminds me of my son's black and grey and red plaid flannel shirts.

Starlight Plaid top designed and sewn by Joanne Kerton, Canuck Quilter Designs
Starlight Plaid top designed and sewn by Joanne Kerton, Canuck Quilter Designs

I've been alternating sewing it up and writing the pattern.  I had it all written up before I started sewing, then decided I really should include alternate sizes, which then led me to assemble the star centers in strip sets, and it all required lots more calculating and figuring for the various sizes and in the end I have a much better pattern. All it needs now is testing.  If you'd like first crack at this pattern as a volunteer tester, send me an email (  Pattern includes baby, throw, twin and queen sizes.

Though it really is a straightforward pattern, making the top was a bit of an adventure.  I think because it was such a simple construction I didn't pay as much attention as I should have and I let my mind wander.  Sigh.  Sewing while distracted leads to miscutting, mistaken seams and ripping!

Exhibit A: miscutting
I try to include a little extra fabric in my patterns' fabric requirements for miscuts. Unless it leads to a ridiculous amount of extra fabric, I add one extra width of the widest strip needed then round to the next 1/8th yard.  Unfortunately, I used up the extra in making the blue blocks I decided not to use, so there was no wiggle room when I miscut one square 1/2" too small.  Just one square!  I pieced a couple of scraps together to make it up and the print hides the seam well.  Crisis #1 dealt with!

Things went very well after that until I started assembling rows.  I used the very clear assembly diagrams in my pattern and promptly sewed row 3 to the side of row 4.  The pattern did it right.  I did it wrong!  I clued in when I started pressing the seam.

Exhibit B: That's not right!

That was a really long seam to rip and redo.  Of course after I did so, I read @homeinottawa's comment on Instagram, which kindly pointed out I didn't need to rip the whole seam.  I could have removed the end triangles and reoriented them without ripping the whole long seam.  I took note for next time!

And yes, there was a next time, though I don't have photographic evidence of it.  Solid fabrics are the same on both sides.  The skinny red border is pieced to make it long enough.  It's a red solid.  Can you guess what I did?  Yup.  I sewed the border on wrong side down, so the seam allowance where the two strips meet ended up on the right side of the quilt. There were grumbles, but also a tiny bit of smugness because this time I just ripped the short seam in the binding strips, and resewed that with the seam allowance relocated where it should be, rather than ripping and resewing the whole border.

The borders were not done with me yet.  I sewed the last borders on in the wrong order.  The pattern clearly states to sew top and bottom borders first, then the side borders.  So of course I did the opposite and my top and bottom  strips ended up too short.  My husband, who had just proofread the pattern for me and knew what it said to do, looked at what I did and commiserated about people who just can't seem to follow the directions.  I love him anyway.

Finally, can you explain this to me?

Exhibit C:  Amazing expanding border strip

I measured!  Three times!  The top and middle and bottom of the quilt had the same measurement. I double checked! I even measured by laying the strip on the quilt and marking the strip!  I cut both top and bottom strip together, so they would be the same size.  The top went on perfectly.  The bottom is 1/2" too long. The previous borders were the same length so I don't see how things suddenly became 1/2" off.  Sigh.  At this point I just wanted the top finished so I decided to just smooth it on flat, pin it,  sew it and chop off the excess. That isn't best practice in borders, but at least it's flat and done.

Starlight Plaid top designed and sewn by Joanne Kerton, Canuck Quilter Designs
Starlight Plaid top designed and sewn by Joanne Kerton, Canuck Quilter Designs

I know how I want to quilt it, but it is going to have to join the queue.  I have never had this many unquilted tops before. Counting this one, there are 7 in the queue.  This one might cut in line...


  1. It really is beautiful! I had a similar problem today on my firemen's quilt, but I don't think those guys will know the difference, so I'm not going to worry. You know I love stars, whether red, white, or blue! ---"Love"

  2. That's a super quilt and the red stars were a good substitute. Nice contrast. Your application for membership to the *I sewed it wrong* Club has been approved. Your membership number is 19645372. Our club badge incorporates crossed seam rippers on a red background with gold trim. As for that strip, that happens to me too and I think I must be stretching the fabric just a wee bit when I'm pinning.

    1. I belong in that club too, as well as hubby who has 2 finished and gifted quilts to his name. He sewed three layers together before I did, and I've been piecing quilts just a few decades longer than he has! I OFTEN get a border WAY longer than another... beginning to think i'm hopeless that way.

  3. It is beautiful, Joanne! Looks like it would be a fun one to test, but senior parent care has me pretty well locked out of the sewing room lately.Oh, I had that very same thing happen with borders on a wall hanging recently. It's a mystery to me!

  4. Been there, had to do that to my borders as well. I believe it's the way the fabric is moved through the feeddog teeth and the presser foot. It just happens sometimes. But your top looks great!

  5. Congrats on the finish! Sometimes the quilt that gives us the most trouble along the way ends up the favorite although it sure doesn't give much indication of that during the construction phase... Skip the queue line! No quilting police around!

  6. Quilting keeps us humble, for sure. Your pattern is beautiful and I love the fabrics you chose for yours.

  7. Yep I love how your stars pop! If I had time right now I would test for you, but I just don't want to make any more commitments and fill the plate up when I have just gotten a small corner cleared.

  8. After all that, you might talk some folks out of testing that pattern! But I've been there. You get so excited to be so close to done (even with a particular step, not the whole quilt) and your focus is lost to the next step. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it!) Thank goodness more often than not fabric errors are correctable with a seam ripper. Imagine if this was paper! But the quilt turned out gorgeous and I can see it in so many other colors being just as wonderful. (Though no, I do not need another project!)

  9. absolutely LOVE this quilt! Gray and red are my favorite colors too. Can't wait till this pattern is released!!

  10. Oh, that 1/2" crawl! I ran into that piecing my backing together. Because of the print, I could see where it started to stretch out, and I ripped it and restitched that third of it. But still. Bah!

    It looks lovely. The red really goes with the slate blue.

  11. Wow, the red really pops and I love the nine patches in there. It looks great! Glad it is done, even with all the little oops'! Makes a great design story!

  12. You had an adventurous time sewing this up but it was worth it as it really is gorgeous!! Would love to offer to pattern test but I'm a little committed at the moment.


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