You don't need to make a large bed quilt to refresh the bedroom décor. Use this bedrunner pattern from Leesa Chandler, a favourite feature print and some coordinating fabrics and you'll have the basis of a whole new look in no time. Matching cushions add the finishing touch.
Full materials list included in the instructions
Detailed step-by-step instructions illustrated with diagrams take you through each stage of making this project from cutting the fabrics, piecing the blocks and then assembling the runner through to quilting and binding
No patterns to trace: all the fabric cutting is done with rotary cutter and ruler and you'll only be cutting squares and rectangles
Provides a great opportunity to showcase a large-scale feature print fabric that you don't want to cut into small pieces
The original design was made with Australian-themed fabrics, but you can pick fabric colours and styles to suit your home and bed linen
The cushions come together quickly with large simple blocks and strip-pieced borders; they are finished with a button closure
Suitable for a beginner quiltmaker who has mastered an accurate 1/4in seam
Leesa began quilting at 18 by chance, when a quilter stopped at her farm and asked for directions on her way to class. “Like many quilters, my first quilt was a classic 12-block sampler. A really good one, actually, with many techniques and tricks I still use today,” she says.
Leesa describes her quilts as fitting into two distinct categories: “There are two styles of quilts I make,” Leesa explains. “The first are designed to display large print fabrics, such as oriental prints and my fabric designs. These are quick and fun to make and it’s all about the fabric. The second is all about technique and they may include 3D appliqué, foundation work etc.
“I do a lot of fabric folding, 3D work, machine appliqué, quilt as you go, paper piecing, whatever I need to get the right look,” she adds. “There are many cool techniques I still need to add to my collection, and that means there’s so much more fun to be had. It’s so hard to choose just one technique which is my favourite. I love needleturn appliqué. It’s a skill I relish because it challenges at every stitch, and there is always room to improve with each project.
“I am also into pre-pieced appliqué at the moment — well, I think that’s what we will call it! Piecing lots of small pieces together and treating it as a printed piece of fabric to cut leaves and 3D petals from — I’m working on it. I prefer hand-work, but as a tutor and shop owner I love the fun, results and time-saving benefits of piecing by machine. There are also so many cool techniques and threads that can only be used on a machine.”
For Leesa, inspiration comes from all over the place. “I find it anywhere and everywhere,” she exclaims. “I love designing with authentic influence from different cultures and have a real obsession and appreciation for botanical art. I find colour combinations everywhere. I got the inspiration for my new Russian collection’s colour story from an eye shadow pack while shopping for makeup! I will often be inspired to create a quilt design for a specific print, rather than the other way around. Having said that, I love using large prints and then taking particular sections and elements of the design for complementary appliqué and piecing.”
Leesa’s “free” time is spent teaching fellow quilters. “I love teaching,” Leesa states. “It’s so rewarding spending time with like-minded people and helping them create something special with their own colours and style. I teach everywhere, sometimes in country towns, guilds, retreats and around the occasional kitchen table. Styles and techniques change from year to year, but it’s always about having a go, having fun and taking home something that looks gorgeous at the end is a bonus.”
Leesa, husband Rob and their boys live in the Melbourne Bayside suburb of Beaumaris. The Chandler household is a busy one. Leesa and her husband run their business, Chandler’s Cottage, while raising their two boys, Philip and Steve.