Project Design Team Wednesday~Tumbler Quilt

Posted by administrator on Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

patchwork quilt free tutorial
Hello fabric friends. I'm Amy Smart and I like to share my quilt-making/fabric-hoarding adventures at my blog, Diary of a Quilter. Today I am going to share a tutorial for creating a simple variation on a traditional patchwork quilt, using a shape traditionally called "tumblers". This pattern is great for really showing off cute fabrics so the collection I used was perfect: So Happy Together, brand new from Deena Rutter.
Cutting the blocks for this quilt is so much easier with a template. I used Lori Holt's large "Thimble" ruler for my blocks. You can see Lori's other awesome rulers here.
Fabric requirements for this 58" x 72" lap quilt:
  • At least 15 different 1/4 yard cuts of fabric for the blocks
  • 3 1/2 yards for backing
  • 1/2 yard for binding (cut into 7 strips, 2 1/2" x 42". Binding tutorial here.)
To cut your blocks, trim your yardage to the width of the tumbler template - in this case I cut it to 8 1/2". Place the template about 2" from the outside selvage edge and cut on both sides of the template.
Now flip the template upside down and match the diagonal edge with the cut edge of the fabric. Cut again on the opposite edge of the template.
Continue flipping the template and cutting.
By using this method you will get 5 large tumblers plus a left wedge and a right wedge from each 1/4 yard. Hang onto the wedge pieces as well. Use the same process to cut out tumblers from the remaining 1/4 yards of fabrics. You will need a total of 72 tumbler blocks, 10 right wedge pieces, and 8 left wedge pieces.

Lay out the first row of tumbler blocks starting with an upside down right wedge, and then 8 alternating tumbler blocks, finishing with another right wedge. For the second row, start with a left wedge followed by 8 alternating tumbler wedges going the opposite direction from the blocks in row 1. Repeat the process for next 7 rows - laying out 9 rows total.


As you pick up blocks to sew together, match right sides of blocks together but leave a small point (less than 1/4") hanging off the end of the bottom fabrics and a small point of the top fabric hanging off the other end. Sewing with a 1/4" seam allowance, your seam should cut right through where the right sides meet (see threads above).  This way, when you open your blocks the top and bottom edges will be aligned. It may take a little practice, but soon you'll be eyeballing and sewing quickly.
As you assemble your rows, press the seams to the left on the odd rows and to the right on the even rows.
When you go to sew the rows together, the seam allowances should butt up against each other, helping you match your corners.  Sew rows together in order and press seam allowances all the same direction. 
After the rows are assembled, add the batting and back and quilt as you desire. Mine was custom quilted by Melissa Kelley - I love the custom cabbage rose pattern she used to set off the springy prints. Here are links to tutorials if you need help with quilting or binding.
I hope that you'll enjoy creating your own Tumbler Quilt - a fun variation on traditional patchwork and very simple to put together. For other simple quilt tutorials, please visit my blog, Diary of a Quilter. See you again soon!

Category: Project Design Team Wednesday


  1. Beautiful quilt and fabrics.Love it!!
    by rosa
    April 24th, 2013 at 6:47 a.m.
  2. So cute amy! A must make! Trish xo
    by trish poolson
    April 24th, 2013 at 7:49 a.m.
  3. Thanks for sharing, Amy. Always love your tutorials! And this one turned out SO cute!
    by Karissa
    April 30th, 2013 at 7:26 a.m.
  4. I love this quilt, I think i'll make it in a crib size. It looks like you used a few of the Riley Blake basic shades or other fabrics in it, along with the So Happy Together. Do you mind sharing which fabrics you used so I can track down the same ones? I usually buy online, so it's so hard to pick which pinks and greens to go with a fabric! Thanks for any help!
    by Laura
    May 17th, 2013 at 11:37 a.m.
  5. I needed a new idea for wedding gifts... this is perfect. Thanks for sharing the great instruction.
    by Jennifer
    June 05th, 2013 at 2:20 p.m.
  6. Love this!! I'm a new quilter (1 year) and completed 3 so far! An now thanks to this, I'll be starting my 4th! Thanks for posting it!
    by Lori
    July 05th, 2013 at 3:56 p.m.
  7. Thank you for the great tutorial. I made this and added some die cut flowers to the bottom of the front and back. Here is my version:
    by Kathy
    August 27th, 2013 at 2:09 p.m.
  8. Would this quilt work with Fat Quarters? Or would there be too much of a waste of fabric? Thank you! (Might be a silly question, but I am a very new quilter!)
    by Kerry
    September 16th, 2013 at 1:15 p.m.
  9. This was very helpful. I have loved the tumbler quilt ever since I first saw it and now after watching this, it helped me alot - especially how many you can get out of one strip of fabric. thanks so much
    by Robyn
    September 16th, 2013 at 9 p.m.
  10. It would have been nice to have a measurement or pdf of the 'tumbler' size & pattern for those of us that don't have the template that you used. I went to the link & there isn't anything there. Otherwise quite a nice quilt & tutorial!
    by Lydia
    September 27th, 2013 at 12:30 p.m.
  11. Acutally I made one today. Measure 10.5 wide by 8.5 length and cut 2" off each side to make the smaller end 6.5 - That should give you a 10" finished tumbler shape template.
    by L.
    December 18th, 2013 at 9:24 p.m.
  12. Where can I get the pattern and ruler for this quilt? Any help you could give would be great!
    by Sarah
    February 01st, 2014 at 4:18 p.m.
  13. The strip you cut is 8.5" but you are using a 10" template. Please tell me the what is the difference. I have a 10" template and you cut a 10" strip. Do you think this would work okay? Would the pieces look too big? Usually smaller looks better and I wonder about it being even 1.5" bigger. Beautiful quilt. I'm anxious to make one, too.
    by Dorothy
    March 01st, 2014 at 3:51 p.m.
  14. I would say that the tumbler is not as tall as it is wide. That is where the discrepancy comes. So the term "10 inch square" really is 10x8.5 rectangle.
    by Margaret
    April 15th, 2014 at 10:06 a.m.
  15. So awesome. My next project. Also thanks for measurements of tumbler. Will make a template. Inspired.
    by karen counihan
    December 31st, 2015 at 4:49 a.m.

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