Say hello to a gorgeous, modern quilt design! Bias tape appliqué creates a colorful focal point on this project, but the technique itself has a lot of flexibility. Once you learn it, you can explore all kinds of motifs. So go on — chase that rainbow!
Rainbow Bias Tape Appliqué Quilt
Size: 59" x 70½" (throw size)
What You Need
Fabrics + Supplies
- 3 yards of 45"-wide background fabric (or 12 fat quarters, or 1¾ yard 108"-wide fabric)
- 1 fat quarter bundle (21 fat quarters) for bias tape
- 67" x 79" batting
- 4 yards of 45"-wide backing fabric (or 2 yards of 108"-wide fabric)
- ⅝ yards of binding fabric (this assumes a standard ¼"-wide binding)
- 2" (50mm) bias tape maker
- 22" x 28" poster board
- 3 scraps of cardboard, each about 4" square
- Neutral thread (should blend with bias tape colors)
- Thread to match background fabric
Shop the Kit
1. Create the Background + Transfer the Pattern
Start with 12 pieces of background fabric, trimmed down to 20” wide by 18” tall. Using thread that matches the background, sew the fabric together in groups of three along the short edge.
Once it’s all sewn together, press the entire background fabric. Then you’re ready to transfer the design!
Because you’re transferring the pattern onto a large background, you’ll need to create a poster board compass to make it easier. With that, you can transfer your pattern onto the background fabric, as shown in the video.
Cut your different colored fabric into 4” bias strips. (Your pattern tells you how many strips you need for each color.)
2. Appliqué the Rainbow Arcs
For an arc with two colors, join the strips with a straight seam. Measure to double-check that the resulting strip is long enough for the arc. Using a 2" (50mm) bias-tape maker, press strip into 2" bias-tape . Repeat with all remaining arcs.
Good to Know
There are two different types of joins used in the bias tape rainbow. You'll use a diagonal join when making the bias tape, because it allows the same amount of stretch all along your tape. You'll use a straight-line join when connecting one color of tape to another within your rainbow arcs, to create that bold color shift.
Starting with the smallest arc, stitch the inside of the curve to the background fabric, as shown in the video. Press and stretch the bias tape so the outside edge relaxes. Sew the outside edge, topstitching very close to the edge of the bias tape. Press and stretch again until the bias tape lies flat.
Repeat with all the arcs. Trim the bias tape so it’s even with the edge of the background fabric. Check your quilt top measurements and square up if needed.
3. Quilt Your Top
Allover quilting looks great in this design, so don’t be afraid to quilt right over the bias tape — doing so will actually help stabilize the quilt and hold everything together.
As for your binding, do what looks best to you! We used a ¼” binding that matches the background fabric exactly, so the rainbow arcs really pop.
If you send your quit top out to a long-armer, remember your batting and backing needs about 4-5” of clearance on all sides. Double-check that this meets their requirements before shipping.
Adapted from Modern Quilts With Bias Tape Appliqué.