Nested Churn Dash QAL – Let’s get started

Welcome to the Nested Churn Dash QAL. It has been so exciting to see all the blocks popping up on FB and IG using the #nestedchurndash tag. So many beautiful variations.

Today I will be posting the requirements to make different layouts using the purchased block as the basic building block but before I start, let’s look at some fabric choices.

The golden rule with any fabric choice is that there has to be enough contrast between the each churn dash and the background.


Solids, whether flat or textured, give a nice crisp and definite look to any project. This is a block made using Moda Weaves. They have a faux weave look to soften the block.


What is wonderful about collections from designers is that you have a beautiful palette of colour co-ordinated prints at your disposal. Many designers even use the same colour palettes from collection to collection so you can mix and match fabrics. Pre-cut bundles are fantastic for the scrappy look. Just make sure when selecting collections for this project, that there is enough of each colourway to suit your layout and the scale of the print (small, medium or large) is going to complement your block design.

Blenders are tone on tone prints that lie somewhere between a print and a solid. They add character to the block and usually come in incremental shades with a palette. Blenders are great if you want the background to go from light to dark, radiating from the centre.


Select sharp solids for the background with a mix of busy prints. A nice scrappy look with the impact of solids.

Stripes and Dots

Stripes make great churn dash blocks. Cut them across the stripe and team them with dots for the HST corners and centre block.

Text prints

Different scales of text prints can be used in the block or the background. They are fun and add a new dimension to any quilt as a substitute for a print or solid.

Fussy Cut

There are many fabrics suitable for fussing cutting to produce a pattern within a pattern. These chairs are perfect for the churn dashes as they fit nicely in a 2 1/2″ strip. Always remember with fussy cutting to allow a 1/4″ seam all around the element you are cutting.

Black and White, linens, shott cottons … the list is endless and I am looking forward to seeing what combinations everyone puts together.

Before we start

There can be so many variations of this block that it would be impossible to give fabric requirements for every scenario. I will be discussing 2 versions – Scrappy and uniform.

1. Scrappy – Each block uses different fabrics.
2. Uniform – Each block uses the same fabrics.

Scrappy version
The pattern has all the instructions for the requirements and cutting of one block in a scrappy style. Use these instructions as a guide to make 3, 4, 9 or 16 block layouts.

The sashing strips measure 2 ½” x 24 ½” and the corner stones measure 2 ½” x 2 ½” for all layouts.

Ideal for pre-cuts.

The Nested Churn Dash blocks can be made from F8’s (9″ x 22″) or FQ’s (18″ x 22″ ). Jelly rolls could be used for the pieces that are no greater than 2 ½” in width, such as the sashing, borders (scrappy piecing), binding but not for the HST’s of the larger churns. To make a project larger than a single block, yardage will be required.

As an example of fabric requirements for the 80″ x 80″ depicted above, I used a selection of F8’s ( 9″ x 22″ pieces ) from 2 Bonnie and Camille collections – April Showers and Happy Go Lucky. I used 3 yards of assorted yellow fabrics and other prints from April showers for the churn borders and sashing, a 1 ½ yards of white dot fabrics. The border I used 2 ½ yards of red dot fabric cut longways to avoid piecing. Binding in the navy/white strips used ¾ yards. 

Uniform version

The requirements listed in the requirements tables are for the minimum fabric requirements for each piece to make 3, 4, 9 or 16 blocks.


Borders, Backing, Wadding and Binding requirements will be the same for both versions.

Borders are made using 2 ½” width strips. In the requirements tables, the measurements are given for piecing strips to make the desired border length. I prefer to buy enough yardage to cover the length of the larger border measurement to avoid piecing. The left over yardage can be used as part of the quilt or in the backing.

Backing is calculated from 42″ Width Of Fabric, pieced with selvages removed. Backing is 8″ wider and longer (width and height) from quilt top.

Wadding is calculated 4″ wider and longer ( width and height ) from quilt top.

Binding is made from 2 ½” x Width of Fabric strips. The fabric requirements can be found in the requirements tables for each layout.

Hint : These recommendations are suitable for finishing the quilt on a domestic machine. If you are sending your quilt top to a professional long arm service, always check their requirements for preparing the wadding and backing.

Piecing Layout

The letters of this diagram correspond with the letters in the requirements tables for each layout.

Fabric is calculated at 42″ width after selvages have been removed. 


The fabric requirements in the tables are based on cutting the width of a strip using the greatest measurement for the piece.

For example: Pieces F and G require strips to be cut 1 ½” x 4 ½”.  I would cut a piece 4 ½” wide x width of fabric and then divide that strip into 1 ½” pieces.

Hint: When making a multi-block quilt, place all pieces in marked zip locked bags. This keeps them organised, ready for chain piecing.

Fabric Requirements for blocks made with same fabrics

This table is a guide for projects made using the same fabrics for each block.

The Sashing, Corner Stone and Border fabric requirements are the same for scrappy or uniform layouts.

In addition to the fabric requirements in the table, you will require binding, backing and wadding.

Mini Quilt (1 block) 24 ½” x 24 ½” finished

Requirements :

  • 1 – pattern
  • 29″ x 29″ piecing of wadding
  • 1 yard backing fabric
  • 3 – 2 ½” x width of fabric strips

Runner ( 1 x 3 block layout ) 28 ½” x 80 ½” finished


  • 1 – pattern
  • 32″ x 84″ piece of wadding
  • 2 ½ yards backing fabric
  • 7 – 2 ½” x width of fabric strips

Lap Quilt ( 2 x 2 block layout ) 52 ½” x 54 ½” finished


  • 1 – pattern
  • 60″x 60″ piece of wadding
  • 3 3/4 yards backing fabric
  • 7 – 2 ½” x width of fabric strips

Double ( 3 x 3 block layout ) 80 ½” x 80 ½” finished


  • 1 – pattern
  • 85″ x 85″ piece of wadding
  • 5 yards backing fabric
  • 10 – 2 ½” x width of fabric strips

King ( 4 x 4 block layout ) 106 ½” x 106 ½” finished


  • 1 – pattern
  • 110″ x 110″ piece of wadding
  • 9 ¾ yards backing fabric
  • 12 – 2 ½” x width of fabric strips

Other Requirements

  • Matching thread.
  • Rotary Cutter
  • Cutting mat
  • General sewing notions, scissors, pins
  • Air erasable marking pen or chalk pen
  • Sewing machine, well maintained and ready to sew.
  • Iron and pressing board. Iron set to dry.
  • Basting pins

Hint : I love Aurifil thread and that is no secret. I use 50wt cotton for piecing because it leaves a nice, flat seam. Generally when I am choosing a colour thread to blend with my fabrics, I lay some thread over the fabrics to see the contrast between the thread and fabric. I always use white when white fabrics are involved in piecing and dark charcoal grey when black fabrics are present. Using a slightly lighter shade in piecing black is easier to see when unpicking (yes, I unpick). Greys, and neutral shades are always handy in piecing. When uncertain, try out your thread colour selection for piecing on a few scraps and then gently pull the seam apart from the right side. What do you see? Is it too dark? Too light? Shortening the stitch length can also reduce the impact of the piecing thread colour.


June 1st – Requirements, fabric selections and layouts.

June 6th – Tips and hints for making the blocks.
June 9th – Carrie Nelson – http://lavieenrosie.typepad.com/lavieenrosie/
June 10th – Kim Niedzwiecki – http://www.gogokim.blogspot.com.au
June 11th – Pat Sloan – http://www.blog.patsloan.com
June 12th – Lissa Alexander – http://www.modalissa.blogspot.com
June 13th – FatQuarterShop – http://www.fatquartershop.blogspot.com.au
June 16th – Frances Newcombe – http://www.bellybuttonsboutique.blogspot.com
June 18th – Sherri McConnell – http://www.aquiltinglife.com
June 19th – Sara Lawson – http://www.sewsweetness.com
June 20th – Amy Smart – http://www.diaryofaquilter.com
June 21st – Katy Jones – http://www.imagingermonkey.blogspot.com
June 23th – Making a quilt using the Nested Churn Dash block.
June 30th – Finishing the quilt.
July 30th – Winners selected from the Flickr group.
The block pattern can be purchased and downloaded from here and here.
Upload your finished blocks or projects to the Flickr Group to win some beautiful Aurifil thread packs and other great prizes. Use #NestedChurnDash on IG, FB, Flickr and twitter. Winners will be announced 30th July 2014.


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