Tuesday, 13 January 2015

'Lift the Flap' Log Cabin Quilt Block

Anyone who's been reading along since early Summer, might vaguely remember that I started a quilt then, in theory for Maria's birthday. In practice, I decided a couple of weeks before her birthday that there was no way I was going to get it finished in time; other priorities were more important and I consoled myself with the fact that it was baking hot and who needed a quilt right then anyway?! Christmas would be a much more suitable quilt gifting time - that's what I thought back then anyway.

Well, I did think about it before Christmas. I fished out the block I'd begun, which was sort of a picture of Maria.

And I really didn't like it anymore. Back in the Summer I'd had reservations about it, basically because it didn't look hugely like Maria! But I'd decided to ignore my reservations back then. But when I looked at it before Christmas, I couldn't ignore them. I really didn't want to use it. It's amazing how a bit of time can give you a whole new perspective on your work. Way back then, I'm sure I was influenced, at least slightly, by the amount of time and effort I'd already put into it. It's hard to completely abandon something that you've just toiled over. But now, I've forgotten all that effort and see it far more objectively - as not good enough.

So with that decision taken, I did consider other quilt ideas before Christmas. But I wasn't feeling amazingly inspired, and the making was already mounting up, so I decided not to put any more pressure on myself, and to put it off a bit longer. However, I really don't want to leave it until her birthday, otherwise I sense a vicious circle coming on, especially if the weather is hot again! So it's another make on my list of New Year sewing and crafting. And I've started, hurray!

I'm planning on still making the quilt from the same fabrics I'd pulled out in the Summer - lots of bright colours and whimsical prints. And I think I'm going to 'hide' quite a few 'pictures' in there, pictures that are particular to Maria in some way or another. I'm also opting for a quilt as you go approach.

So for my first block I made a rainbow snail for the 'picture'.

And decided to 'hide' it under a flap - just like in a 'lift the flap' book. I think patchwork lends itself very well to including flaps or pockets. and it's a lovely way to add extra interest for a young child. It's something I've done before (this quilt for example), and there are lots of different ways to incorporate them into quilts. But for this quilt I think I'll be largely using a log cabin style to add them. So I thought I'd show you how to go about it. As I said I'm going with a quilt as you go method, so I'm sewing all my pieces directly on to my batting fabric block (old wool blanket cut up, of course!), but the same principles could be applied to just piecing the front pieces together without the batting.

The first step is to sew a strip down the side, right sides together, and then iron it out, like this.

Continue around the bottom edge...

 And the remaining side...

Now to make the 'flap' itself. Measure 2 pieces of fabric to be a little larger than the picture you wish to cover, to allow for seams. I used the same fabric for my bottom piece as the fabric in the snail picture.

Then sew these two flap pieces together, right sides together, along 3 sides - leaving your top edge open. You can then turn the little 'bag' you've created right way out again, and you can just leave that top edge open and raw. Here it is.

And here you can see the lower fabric peeking out of that open top edge.

Now sew this 'flap' down along that top edge, just as you want it to look when finished.

And leaving it lying flat, cut and sew the last strip of your log cabin, just as you did with the others, as if it were an ordinary quilt block and ignoring the flap. So you have this now.

And you can lift up that flap to reveal the picture...

If you wanted, you could also add some kind of closure for the flap - like a button and button hole. I've decided not to do that at all.

Easy peasy! And then just carry on building up your block however you like. Here's mine, still needs a good trim and some more quilting, but it really doesn't look like there's anything hidden when it's lying flat.

Open it up though, and the block changes character completely.

What do you think? Is it a feature you'd include in a quilt some time? Rather than a picture you could maybe include details of the recipient - name and date of birth, or a little message to them perhaps.

I'm not imposing any deadline on myself for finishing this quilt, but it would be good to get it done while the weather is still cold. We'll see how it goes. And talking of cold weather - we're forecast heavy snowfalls tonight, yippee! But there seems to be some doubt as to whether it's going to settle at all. So far this evening we've had torrential rain, icy hail (very nearly, almost snow) and mighty lightning flashes, illuminating the night sky in amazing purple light. Fingers and toes crossed that we wake to a blanket of white tomorrow.



  1. It is adorable, I love it! I have my fingers crossed for you...let it snow!

  2. Oh blankets of white all round - I'll keep my fingers and toes crossed! But back to the quilt in question - I love the lift the flap aspect, and it definitely suits log cabin blocks - are you going to make an entire quilt of hidden pictures or just some? I also thought that if you made the underside of the flap a thin felt that might give it a bit of grip to hold itself down without needing a button - which would be bumpy when you cuddled up in it - I'll have to fish a few things out of the stash and have a play!

  3. Sending you snowy snowy thoughts! :-)
    Such a cute quilt. Sorry that the original block just didn't inspire you. Still looks amazing...

  4. What a great idea! How fun this would be for a baby quilt, or for any kid's quilt, really. And the snail is adorable, by the way.

  5. What a fun idea and it looks easy to quilt around, too.

  6. Love this peek-a-boo technique!!!

  7. Lovely idea, beautifully executed x

  8. What a fun idea to have a picture under the flap. I absolutely love this and am pinning. Hope you don't mind.


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