Updated: Sep 1, 2020
A project that converts hard tiles into soft quilts. Includes free vector and printable cut files!
My husband's fascination on the Peranakan culture has rubbed off on me since we've been together. Among the things for which the Peranakans are well-known, the Peranakan tiles have been especially interesting to me not only because they are beautiful, but also because they pique such wondrous quilt ideas every time I see them. Although we call them "Peranakan tiles", they are really tiles imported from Europe to decorate homes of the wealthy - particularly, the Peranakans - in the early 20th century. The Peranakans favoured certain designs that were deemed auspicious or were simply more aesthetically coherent with their existing tastes - and these are the ones that have now become known as "Peranakan tiles".
My Husband's Peranakan Tiles Collection.
These are wall tiles, while the ones that inspired the quilt in this project are floor tiles.
I have been scouting for Peranakan tiles patterns that I can use in quilts. Before I purchased my Brother ScanNCut DX1200, I was limited to only geometric patterns such as the "floor tile" quilt that I made earlier. Now that I have a cutting machine and have become rather nifty with raw-edge applique, my options have much broadened. Of the many Peranakan tiles I found, these ones adorning the floors of the Peranakan Tiles Gallery of Singapore stood out (similar tiles were also found in front of old Chinese houses on Emerald Hill Road, Singapore).
Using the Canvas Workspace application that came with my Brother ScanNCut, I traced the original tile design and simplified it so that it becomes more manageable to applique.
Download SVG and PNG (printable) cut files here.
These pattern and tutorial will result in a quilt of approximately 132cm x 180cm. Each block is 30cm x 30cm (including 1cm seam allowance).
As this project uses a fair amount of fusible web, I recommend using 100% cotton fabrics to achieve good fuse. As for the batting, I recommend using thin batting because the batting will form part of the seams in the quilt-as-you-go method that I will be using in this tutorial, so thin batting will reduce bulk. If you are piecing the blocks together per conventional method, then any batting type will do.
Note: In the tutorial below, I used a variation of the quilt-as-you-go (also referred to as "QAYG" in the quilting community) method. You may of course, do it the regular way i.e. piecing the top first and then quilt with full batting and backing layers.
STEP 1: PREPARE APPLIQUE PIECES
Apply fusible web to the wrong side of the applique fabrics before cutting out the shapes (either with a machine or by hand). Also cut 20 pieces of 30cm x 30cm squares of the light-grey background fabrics (without fusible web).
Blue Flower. Cut 20 pieces. With fusible web.
Red Flower. Cut 20 pieces. With fusible web.
Green Flower. Cut 20 pieces. With fusible web.
Coral Flower. Cut 20 pieces. With fusible web.
Blue Corner Piece. Cut 20 pieces. With fusible web.
Red Corner Piece. Cut 20 pieces. With fusible web.
Green Corner Piece. Cut 20 pieces. With fusible web.
Coral Corner Piece. Cut 20 pieces. With fusible web.
Grey Flower. Cut 80 pieces. With fusible web.
Center Emblem. Cut 20 pieces. With fusible web.
Center Circle. Cut 20 pieces. With fusible web.
STEP 2: IRON-FUSE SHAPES ONTO BACKGROUND FABRIC
Iron fuse applique pieces onto the background fabric.
STEP 3: MACHINE APPLIQUE
Using blanket stitch with 2mm width and 1.6mm length (or any other preferred stitch) and matching threads, machine-applique along all edges of the applique pieces EXCEPT WHERE MARKED RED below.
STEP 4: QUILT WITH BATTING ONLY
Cut a 30cm x 30cm square of batting and baste it onto the wrong side of the block. Quilt along the red lines in Step 3 above with the same machine-applique stitch as before, using matching threads.
STEP 5: REPEAT UNTIL YOU HAVE 20 BLOCKS
Repeat Steps 2 to 5 until you have a total of 20 blocks, each quilted to its own batting.
STEP 6: PIECE BLOCKS TOGETHER
With 1cm seam allowance, piece the blocks together as you would with any regular quilt blocks to form a panel of 5 rows by 4 columns (as shown below). In this step, each block's batting is sewn into the seams. Trim excess batting along the seam.
STEP 7: ADD BORDER
Add quilted borders also using the similar QAYG method as before, to form the complete quilt top. Each side border is 10cm wide, and the top and bottom borders are each 20cm wide.
STEP 8: ADD BACKING FABRIC
Baste the quilt top to your backing fabric using your preferred basting method (I used white glue). Then, machine-tack at the spots marked with white dots below. I used tiny zig-zag stitch of 1mm width and 0.1mm length, in matching thread, to sew across the seams to "tie" adjacent blocks together. Then, stitch-in-the-ditch along the red line below.
Machine-Tack Using Small Zig-Zags
STEP 9: ADD BINDING
I bound the quilt with one of the applique fabrics in the quilt panel. My binding created an additional border of 3cm wide on all sides.