Friday, April 6, 2018

Antietam Inspired Quilt {April IBA Challenge}

Our Island Batik Ambassador theme for April is "Looking Back" -- this month we're taking inspiration from vintage quilts.

For those of you that have read Little Bunny Quilts for a long time will know that my husband works for the National Park Service ("Park Ranger Husband") and spent his first few years in the NPS working at Antietam National Battlefield. One of the more notable items at their museum is this quilt:

This quilt was made in 1850 by Barbara Miller, who lived nearby. Relatives owned one of the farms that became part of the field of battle on September 17th, 1862. The quilt is signed by friends and family. This simple red and cream quilt has large cream sashings and borders filled with hand quilted feathers and a gear-like triangle border.

Today I'm going to break down how I dissected the original blocks to make my blocks and then give you the necessary dimensions to make your own Antietam autograph-style blocks. My blocks are 12" finished, but based on seeing the original quilt in person quite a few times, I think the original quilt blocks are probably 8" or 9" finished.

The original block is -- more or less -- a square in a square in a square in a square with beveled corners. So a lot of research on square in a square blocks and economy blocks later, I had cutting measurements for my planned blocks. I used three different focus fabrics (two greens and a brown) and one cream background and made three blocks each for a total of nine blocks. Island Batik kindly provided these fabrics in my Spring Ambassador box!

For one 12" finished block, you'll need
(1) 4 3/4" square background fabric
(2) 4" squares focus fabric cut once on the diagonal for (4) triangles
(2) 5 1/4" squares background fabric cut once on the diagonal for (4) triangles
(2) 7" squares focus fabric cut once on the diagonal for (4) triangles
(4) 3.5" squares background fabric

I found that these measurements allowed me to sliver trim on all four sides of the block as I went along. If you prefer to have more wiggle room for trimming or use a wider 1/4" seam, add 1/4" to the 4", 5 1/4", and 7" squares.

After adding the 4" triangles, trim the entire unit to 6.5". After adding the 5 1/4" triangles, trim the entire unit to 9". After adding the 7" triangles, trim to 12.5".

Draw lines on the diagonal of each 3.5" square. Sew one to each corner of the 12.5" block using the stitch and flip method. Blocks should still measure 12.5".

I made a total of nine blocks -- three in each color. These will be made up into a baby quilt top shortly!

Have a wonderful weekend! Don't forget to check out the Blocked Rainbow QAL and join the Facebook Group!


  1. Thanks for the tutorial. It's a nice variation on the square in a square in a square block.

  2. This is awesome! Thanks for the tutorial, Alison! That original quilt is a beaut.

  3. Great choice for the inspiration and lovely tutorial. I look forward to seeing the top come together this month!

  4. Great quilt blocks, thanks for the tutorial!

  5. Interesting theme for this month. Love the story behind the quilt you're reconstructing!

  6. Thanks for the tutorial for the blocks. Do you think the pattern lends itself to paper piecing?


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