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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Charm Square Bow Tie Tutorial

Guest Post by Karin

I have this charm pack of fabric and I never know what to do with squares - I usually start with strips or yardage.  So here's what I'm doing with it:

Fabric is Lilac Hill by Moda
I started by laying a charm, face up.
 Fold it in half, right sides together and finger press it.
 Rotate it 90 degrees, and fold it in half again, still right sides together.  Finger Press again.
Easy so far, right?  OK, here's where it gets hairy, so don't say I didn't warn you.  Flip your charm over, so it's face down.  Pinch the edge right at one of the middle folds, and bring it to the right, to meet the corner and pin it there (you may certainly go left, if that's easier for you):

Rotate the charm 90 degrees, clockwise and do that again:

 Next verse, same as the first.  Do it until all middles are pinned to their corresponding edges:
 So now you've got a lumpy charm, with 4 pins in it right?
 Neatly flatten out that lump, so it looks like you have a 3-D square in a square:

OK, here's where you break out the hand-sewing needle.  Wait, don't drift off just yet - I know, hand sewing's not my favorite either, but this is really REALLY easy.  And you can do it while you're watching TV, so you can do this instead of snacking (one of my REALLY bad habits!).

Single strand thread is fine, and please, don't be too fussy about the size or even placement of your stitches. Make a knot in the end of your thread.  About halfway down one of the smaller square's side, slip the needle between the base fabric and the 3D square, and poke it through, coming out towards your other hand (or your face, whatever is most convenient, just don't poke out your eye at this point, 'cuz you're gonna need it in a minute).

Rotate and repeat.  See the pattern?
Go all the way around, and take another stitch right next to your first stitch, so you now have another square in a square:
 Give a good tug on your thread (should still be in the needle), and draw all the edges together:
Now pinch to adjacent folds together and whip stitch them closed.  Remember, you don't have to make your stitches pretty, but do try to go through all 4 layers:

When you get to the end of those two, go back to the center with your thread, and start stitching the other two folds together:
 When you're done, they should be nice and neatly stitched together into a line:
Take your pins out and flip your charm over:
 Gently tug the corners of the bow out:

When you've piled up a few, give 'em all a good press, making sure to straighten out the sides, so that everything keeps pretty square.  Sew them all together in any combination you choose.  I'd suggest pinning, to keep those layers straight and square.

There you have it - a fun and easy way to use charm squares.



  1. Oh wow Kelly: One of my guild members showed me this a couple of years ago and I had a charm pack of browns and gold solid fabric and I started doing this same bowtie fold. I think I only have six more to do. I taken them along on bus trips to work on. I will have to save this tutoral so that I can remeber how to fold them. Thank you for this great tutoral.

  2. you should do a video tutorial for this! How awesome...

  3. Now that is one of the cleverest things I've seen in quite awhile!

  4. I've never heard of this bow tie with charms, but I'm anxious to try clever:-D

  5. A quilt store owner in Hawaii showed this to me years ago, but it was so fast I was never confident to give it a try. Thank you for sharing this. I definitely want to add this to my list of favorite tutorials, with your permission. Best bow tie tutorial/design ever. Love it.


  6. What size did they finish up at? This is so cool!
    hulseybg at gmail dot com

  7. I've done a similar 3-D bowtie , but it was done with 2 fabrics, one as a background and it was stitched and folded differently. I hadn't seen your method before. Great idea.

  8. Cute. I have lots of charm packs. I need a good pattern.

  9. Well isn't that hippy skippy clever! Love it! I've got tons of charm packs in my drawer... That might be a cute idea. I could so see that for a sweet baby girl quilt!


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