Cathedral Windows

A few years ago, well, more than a few, my sister asked me to make her a cathedral windows quilt. I was a young, naive quilter, and I thought, how hard can it be? Turns out that it’s not really hard, just really boring and monotonous. But, I got it done! It took like 200 hours of sewing, which is a crazy insane amount. A typical queen size quilt will take me 40-50 hours.

Cathedral Windows

I started by making individual panels. I did lots of math and figured how many squares I’d need across and how many down, and then made the panels in sizes that would fit together to make the completed size that I wanted.

Cathedral Windows

Thing 3 wanted to get in on all the action, and she helped me lay out the coloured windows after I had sewn the background together.

Cathedral Windows

This quilt does not go together like a traditional quilt. There is no batting or backing and once the top is assembled, it’s totally (finally!) done. You press and fold the white background like origami. This means that there is a lot of background used. This quilt, which finished about 60″x80″ used 17 yards of white.

Cathedral Windows

I stitched it on my Juki. Toward the end, I could only work for about an hour at a time. My wrist got extremely sore from the repetitive motion my fingers used to flip the window edges over to stitch them down. And the weight of the quilt, easily as heavy as 3 finished quilts, added to the considerable strain on my shoulders.

Cathedral Windows

But I perservered! I admit, toward the end, I kept going because I didn’t want a 3/4 finished cathedral windows on my conscience. I wanted to work on something else, guilt-free. I love, looooovvvee the quilt now that it’s done, but I am never, ever, ever, ever making another one. Never!

Cathedral Windows The back is gorgeous too, with these orange peel shapes that occur when you stitch the windows down. So pretty. Cathedral Windows

My sister chose the fabrics used in the windows. They are an assortment of various 30s reproductions. They really fit the style of the quilt, I think. She made a very good choice. I would have not chosen the brown myself, but it really makes the finished quilt have more movement.

Cathedral Windows

Again, I’m glad it’s done. Never again. My sister loves it too, which makes me happy, of course. I can cross this off my someday list, and add it to the list of things that I conquered.

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15 thoughts on “Cathedral Windows

  1. It is breathtaking and beautiful!!! I have the same pattern on my Quilt Bucket List but I’ll probably only make something the size of a cushion cover (lol)!! Seriously,17 yards of white fabric??!! OMG!!

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      • I’m making one now. I saw Fons & Porter do a 1/2 hour show on it and fell in love with the pattern. a month later and about 15 yards of material later, love it just a little less. I didn’t realize how really heavy the quilt would be. again, just want to finish at this point so I can move on with other projects. thank you for posting. feel like I have a kindred spirit out there some place now.

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  2. Absolutely beautiful! I thought about starting one a few years ago but the work involved was daunting. Now I have the itch again! There is something so timeless and beautiful about a cathedral windows quilt

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  3. It’s an amazing quilt! I have made 2 Cathedral Windows Pillows and I’ve sworn off of ever doing it again, I can imagine how you must feel.

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  4. Shena, it’s absolutely gorgeous. I CANNOT believe it’s 17 yards of white fabric!!!! Wow!!! After hearing more about it I can say that I probably will never make a cathedral windows quilt!! Perhaps a pillow or something small though, because I love the look so much.

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  5. It’s a beauty! I think the brown does add something to the overall look, its worth remembering sometimes that browns can really add something to a quilt ๐Ÿ™‚

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  6. This quilt is absolutely stunning, Shena. Good that your sister appreciate all the work that went into this, because you would not want to give that away to someone who does not appreciate it, no matter how much you love them! Now, I’ve been writing this comment for the last 10 minutes because I keep scrolling back up to look at the pictures again! Beautiful!

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