Crosstown Quilt for Project Modern Inspiration Challenge

The quilt is finished and the quilt-as-you-go method gets two thumbs up!

The inspiration: a parking garage next to the historic Sears building in the Crosstown neighborhood of Memphis, TN.

Parking garage quilt inspiration

The quilt

Crosstown Quilt for Project Modern

Measuring in at 54″ x 70″, this is the largest quilt I have ever made. The prints are all leftover fabric from a stack of thrifted clothes I sent out for a block swap last summer.

I used the quilt-as-you-go-method and will definitely do this again unless the long-arm fairy visits me in the meantime. Here are the steps I used:

1. Made all lantern and rectangle blocks. Arranged them on design wall.
2. Decided the quilt should be larger and made 21 more blocks for an extra row and two more columns.
3. Pieced the blocks into 9 larger sections measuring about 18 or 20 inches square.
4. Quilted each larger block to a piece of batting.
5. Sewed the larger blocks together.
6. Pressed the seams from step 5 very very flat with lots of steam and Mary Ellen’s Best Press.
7. Basted the seams from step 5 down using long running stitches to keep them from bunching up in the wash.
8. Pin basted the top to the back and quilted the whole thing by stitching in the ditch on some of the vertical and horizontal seams.
9. Pieced the binding from remaining fabrics and stitched it on.

detail of Crosstown Quilt

I was concerned that the seams with batting in them would be too bulky and look lumpy. Here are my recommendations for preventing this problem

* Use low loft batting such as Warm & White.
* Piece blocks into larger sections before quilting them to the batting. Fewer quilted sections means fewer seams with batting in them.
* Vigorously press seams with batting and baste them down as in step 7 above.
* Allow for a 3/8″ or larger seam allowance (instead of 1/4″) as these seams have some extra bulk. I did not do this and found myself with a few seam allowances that were too narrow to be stable. They had to be reinforced with hand stitching and it took forever.

For the back, I used a thrifted sheet.

The back is a thrifted sheet

I love this quilt even though all that precision piecing nearly left me cross-eyed. Now I am inspired to do a series of smaller quilts with Memphis-inspired themes and imagery. But that will have to wait until next year because there is much holiday knitting and sewing to be done!

Outdoor shot

Here are links to other quilts I’ve made from recycled clothes:
Men’s shirt quilt
Cherry print clothing quilt
Jumpers Baby Quilt
Pink prints mini quilt


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14 Responses to “Crosstown Quilt for Project Modern Inspiration Challenge”

  1. Kelly Says:

    Beautiful quilt! I’m in the Memphis area and am looking for a fun, young quilting group. Any suggestions?

  2. josie Says:

    So beautiful! I love it and want to make one for myself now:)

  3. Jennifer Says:

    Did you not use a backing fabric as you were doing your initial quilting? did the batting get caught in the feed dogs at all? I am really interested in trying this myself.

    • Get Stitchy with Sarah Says:

      Jennifer- I didn’t use backing in the initial quilting and had no problems with batting in the feed dogs. Go for it!

  4. Angie Says:

    That is just amazing! I am always in such awe of your creativity and artistry.

  5. Korinne Says:

    It’s beautiful, I love the pattern! I used to live a few blocks from there (@Belevue and Overton Park I think), drove by it everyday. I always wondered what the inside of the Sears building was like.

  6. Meaghan Says:

    I really like what you came up with from that inspiration photo! Beautiful quilt! 🙂

  7. Melissa Says:

    Beautiful! That lantern block is new to me. I love it!

  8. NancyinSTL Says:

    Lovely! Have you checked out the QAYG-quilt as you go method as found in this link ?

  9. Adds Says:

    love love LOVE it!!! OMG it looks fantastic!! You should be so proud, top job! xx

  10. amber Says:


  11. sheila Says:

    fabulous quilt. and thanks for instructions… must have a go.
    and love the previous posts as well.

  12. Laura Says:

    Very very pretty!! Great job!! My favourite colour combinations!

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