How To Create an Alabama Beauty Quilt in Rainbow Solids

Dec 1, 2022 3:00:00 PM / by Melissa Corry

Hello, friends! It's Melissa Corry from Happy Quilting, and I am thrilled to bring you a new quilt tutorial full of solid goodness in a rainbow of colors.

 

 

Close Up of Finished Over the Alabama Rainbow Quilt

 

 

 

A Happy Rainbow Take on the Classic Alabama Beauty Quilt

I just love curved piecing with the AccuQuilt system! It makes it so quick and easy to cut. Plus, piecing is a breeze when all of the notches line up!

 

I was so excited to try out the GO! Alabama Beauty-10" Finished Die. I always love quilting the rainbow, and I hadn't made an all-solid quilt in a while and thought this would be the perfect fit. I just love how it all came together!

 

This quilt has a little bit more advanced curved piecing, so just take your time, and trust me, it gets easier with each block you piece. Besides, the finished quilt is so worth the effort.  

 

 

Finished Over the Alabama Rainbow Quilt On a Couch

 

 

 

Materials Needed

Let's get to making this quilt with either your solid scraps or solid yardage pieces. You know cutting is going to be a breeze with a GO! Fabric Cutter!

What you will need:

  • GO! Alabama Beauty-10" Finished Die
  • 2 1/2 yards of solid fabric
  • Fat Eighth of 16 Solid Colors (or four scraps that are at least 4 1/2" x 8 1/2")
  • 10" Square of 16 Complimentary Solid Colors  (or four scraps that are at least 2 1/2" x 6 1/2")
  • 1/2 yard of fabric for binding  
  • 3 1/4 yards of printed fabric for backing 

 

Supplies Needed for the Over the Alabama Rainbow Quilt

 

 

I chose my colors by seeing what I had in my solid scrap bins. I didn't worry if the Shape A piece for the Alabama Beauty block was light or dark, and instead, I just made sure that each Shape A piece had a complementary Shape B piece to go with it. I kept making matches of two solids (with Shape A in a larger scrap size and Shape B in a smaller scrap size) until I had 16 total. 

 

Once you have your fabric chosen and cut, it's time for some fun piecing. Once it's all done, you'll have this gorgeous 50" x 50" Over the Alabama Rainbow quilt that is also perfect for a wall hanging or large table topper.   

 

 

Finished Over the Alabama Rainbow Quilt

 

 

 

Preparing Scraps and Yardage

1. From the background yardage, cut the following:

  • Seven 2 1/2" x Width of Fabric (WOF) strips.
  • 11 strips measuring 4 1/2" x WOF.
  • 20 rectangles at 2 1/2" x 10 1/2".   

 

 

Background Fabric and Its Cutting Instructions

 

 

2. From the scraps or pre-cut pieces, ensure that you have enough of each of the 16 colors and the 16 complimentary colors for four Shape A's and four Shape B pieces. Your large scraps for Shape A must be at least 4 1/2" x 8 1/2" and your small scraps for Shape B must be at least 2 1/2" x 6 1/2".

  • Your Fat Eighth can be folded in half twice to make four layers or you can stack four scraps that are, again, at least 4 1/2" x 8 1/2" for Shape A.
  • Your 10" square can be folded in half twice (hot dog style) as well to make four layers or you can stack four scraps that are, again, at least 2 1/2" x 6 1/2" for Shape B.
  • You can always use a larger scrap piece. There's no need to trim them down to the sizes listed above since the GO! Alabama Beauty-10" Finished Die will cut off the excess anyways.

 

PRO TIP: Be sure to press wrinkly scrap pieces before you start. It makes piecing easier down the line.  

 

 

Fabric Ready to be Cut on the GO! Alabama Beauty-10" Finished Die with Cutting Instructions

 

 

 

Cutting Directions

I found the easiest way to cut the pieces for this quilt was one block at a time and cutting out the background pieces while I was at it.

 

1. Choose a color to start with and lay the larger scrap stack/Fat Eighth folded over Shape A on the GO! Alabama Beauty-10" Finished Die board with four layers of fabric. Lay the smaller scrap stack or 10" square folded over Shape B on the die board with four layers of fabric. 


2. You will also need to add a background strip to the die as well. 

  • To do this, take a 4 1/2" x WOF strip that is already folded in half. Fold it in thirds again to make a total of six layers.
  • Place the strip over Shape C on the die board. 
  • After you have cut all 11 background strips, finish cutting your remaining five colors without any background strips.  

 

 

Four Layers of Shape A and B and Six Layers of Shape C Ready to be Cut

 

 

3. Run the die through your GO! Fabric Cutter to cut out the four Shape A pieces, four Shape B pieces, and 12 Shape C pieces. 

 

 

Cut Pieces on the GO! Alabama Beauty-10" Finished Die

 

 

4. Continue cutting in this fashion until you have cut:

  • 64 Shape A pieces - four in each of your 16 solid colors. 
  • 64 Shape B pieces - four in each of your 16 complimentary solid colors.
  • 132 Shape C pieces - you will use 128 for this quilt. 



All Cut Pieces for the Over the Alabama Rainbow Quilt

 

 

Piecing the Alabama Beauty Rainbow Block

With the cutting done, you are ready to start piecing blocks!

 

1. We will start with the center unit (full instructions pictured below). Lay out a Shape C background piece and a Shape B solid piece. 

  • Place the Shape C background piece onto the Shape B solid piece with right sides together.
  • Align the notches and pin them. Then, align the ends of the pieces and pin them parallel to the the ends.
  • Stitch a 1/4" seam along the pinned edge.
  • Press the seam allowance towards the background piece (Shape C).
  • Repeat to make a total of four partial center units using the same Shape B solid piece. 

 

Center Unit Assembly Instructions

 

 

2. To finish the center unit, lay out a second Shape C background piece. 

  • Place the Shape C background piece onto the Shape B solid piece with right sides together.
  • Using the same directions from above, align, pin, and stitch a 1/4" seam. Then, press the seam towards the background (Shape C). 
  • Repeat to make a total of four center units using the same Shape B solid piece. 

 

 

Final Assembly Instructions for the Center Unit

 

 

2. To make the quarter unit, lay out a center unit and the complimentary Shape A piece. 

  • Note that the Shape A piece's notches are not in the same place. Be sure the shorter notch side is towards the notch in the Shape B solid piece. 
  • Align the two sets of notches and pin them. Then, align the ends of the pieces and pin them parallel to the the ends.
  • Stitch a 1/4" seam along the pinned edge. (See the Curved Sewing Tips below for more help.) 
  • Press the seam allowance open or towards the Shape A unit. (For my first few blocks, I pressed towards Shape A, but found it made the center super bulky, so I switched to open.)  
  • Repeat to make a total of four quarter units using the same Shape A solid piece. 

 

PRO TIP: After piecing a few blocks, I found it helpful to add an extra pin (drawn in below) between the two notches. It just kept everything aligned so much better, and I didn't have to fight the fabric as much trying to keep it aligned while stitching.  

 

 

Assembly Instructions for the Quarter Unit

 


2. Curved Sewing Tips for when you sew a 1/4" seam along these curved pinned edges:

  • I like to backstitch at the beginning and end of my units when sewing curves. I sew over pins with curved piecing and take care to slow down before each pin and "hop it."
  • This unit pretty much lines itself up as it is pinned well, but if you are new to curved piecing and want to see more hints on sewing curves, you can see this curved tutorial with lots of helpful hints on sewing curves. Most importantly, just worry about what is right in front of your presser foot and keep it aligned and smooth.  

 

 

Tips for Sewing the Curved Pieces

 

 

3. Lay out the four quarter units as shown below.  

 

 

Four Quarter Unit Layout

 

 

9. Place the quarter units on the right hand side onto the quarter units on the left hand side with right sides together.  

  • Align your notches and ends and pin, adding the extra pin if desired.  
  • Stitch a 1/4" seam along the pinned edge.  
  • Press the seam allowance on both half units open or towards the Shape A unit. (Again, I find it lays flatter open.)  

 

PRO TIP: At this point, I found I preferred aligning and pinning with the background (Shape C) fabric on top instead of the Shape A piece. Try it both ways and see which way you prefer.   

 

 

Assembly Instructions for Four Quarter Units

 

 

10. Lay out the two half units as shown below.  

 

PRO TIP: Things might be getting a little wavy at this point, so don't be afraid to use starch when pressing to help keep everything nice and flat.  

 

 

Two Half Units and Starch Spray

 

 

11. Place the half units with right sides together as shown.  

  • Align your center seam first and pin it in place.
  • Then, align the notches and ends and pin, adding extra pins if desired.  
  • Stitch a 1/4" seam along the pinned edge.  
  • Press the seam allowance open.  

 

 

Half Unit Assembly Instructions

 

 

12. Your first Over the Alabama Rainbow block is done! It should measure approximately 10 1/2" x 10 1/2", but be careful! If you want to trim it down, you don't want to lose your seam allowances at the corner points.  

 

 

A Finished Over the Alabama Rainbow Block

 

 

13. Repeat the block instructions to make a total of 16 Over the Alabama Rainbow blocks. 

 

 

Finished Over the Alabama Rainbow Blocks Layout

 

 

 

Piecing the Quilt Top

Now, with all of the blocks made, you are ready to sew them into a quilt top!

 

1. Lay out the blocks in the color layout that you like and place a 2 1/2" x 10 1/2" strip to either side of the blocks in each row as shown below. 



Over the Alabama Rainbow Blocks with Background Strips Layout

 

2. Place the sashing rectangles onto the sides of the blocks with right sides together. Stitch a 1/4" seam allowance along each side. 

 

 

Sashing Strips Assembly Instructions

 

 

3. Press the seams toward the sashing rectangles. 

 

 

Pressing Instructions for the Sewn Sashing Strips

 

 

4. Sew the sashed blocks into rows. To do this, place the second sashed block on to the first sashed block with right sides together. Stitch a 1/4" seam allowance. Then, repeat for the third and fourth block in each row.   

 

 

Sewing Instructions for the Sashed Blocks

 

 

5. Press the seams toward the sashing rectangles.

 

 

Pressing Instructions for the Sewn Rows

 

 

6. Sew the 2 1/2" x WOF strips together end to end and subcut them into five strips measuring 2 1/2" x 50 1/2". Lay them out between the block rows as shown.  

 

 

Sewing Instructions for More Sashing and Border

 

 

7. Place the sashing strips onto the block rows with right sides together. Stitch a 1/4" seam allowance along each side. 

 

 

More Sewing Instructions for Additional Sashing and Border

 

 

8. Press the seams towards the sashing strips. 

 

 

Pressing Instructions for the Sewn Sashing and Border

 

 

9. Place the first sashed row on to the second sashed row with right sides together. Align and pin the seam allowances so that the columns are straight. Stitch a 1/4" seam allowance. Then, repeat for the third and fourth block rows.   

 

 

More Instructions for the Sashed Rows

 

 

10. Press the seams towards the sashing strips. 

 

 

Pressing Instructions for the Sewn Quilt Top Halves

 

 

11. Place the top half of the quilt top on to the bottom half of the quilt top with right sides together. Align and pin the seam allowances. Stitch a 1/4" seam allowance. Press the seam towards the sashing strip.  

 

 

More Instructions for the Top Half of the Quilt Top

 

 

12. Now, your Over the Alabama Rainbow quilt top is finished! It should measure approximately 50 1/2" x 50 1/2".  

 

 

Sewn Over the Alabama Rainbow Quilt

 

 

 

Finishing

All that is left is to turn that finished quilt top into a finished quilt!

 

Time to baste it, quilt it and bind it - which is a whole lot in one little sentence.

 

NOTE: If you are new to quilting, check out my video tutorial series on finishing your quilt. It will walk you through basting, quilting and binding step by step. 

 

 

Quilted and Bound Over the Alabama Rainbow Quilt

 

 

I quilted mine with some of my favorite free motion quilting designs: swirls, curls, paisleys, and pebbles. 

 

PRO TIP: Using a super dense quilting design will help to flatten out any of those centers that are still wanting to pop up a bit from all that bulk. It also hides any minor "oopsies" you might have had in the piecing.  

 

 

Finished Over the Alabama Rainbow Quilt Draped Over a Banister

 

 

Plus, it gives you some beautiful texture! Now, you can sit back and enjoy your beautiful 50" x 50" Over the Alabama Rainbow quilt! 

 

 

How Will You Refresh the Alabama Beauty Block?

I hope that you have enjoyed this tutorial! It was a lot of fun to make, especially since the traditional Alabama Beauty block is so easy to give a fresh, new look with some solids.

 

 

Finished Over the Alabama Rainbow Quilt on a Hardwood Floor

 

 

If you make your own Over the Alabama Rainbow quilt, we would love to see it! Share it with us on social media with the hashtag #AccuQuiltBuilt and tag us @happyquiltingmc and @AccuQuilt, so we can see your take on this tutorial!

Topics: Tutorials, Tips & Tricks

Melissa Corry

Written by Melissa Corry

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