A Straightforward Patchwork Example from a Bento Box
Bento box quilts are sewn from simple patchwork blocks that use colors and contrast to create a unique look when stitching the blocks together (see the example in the photo).
The pattern of the quilt block from the bento box explains how to assemble each corner of the block separately. This is a simple method that will help you create a variety of quilt layouts if you want to use a wide range of fabrics to make a patchwork quilt.
If you like to sew in the technique of stitching stripes, be sure to pay attention to the pattern of the bento box patchwork quilt with nine patches, which was used for the secret 2015 New Year patchwork quilt. If the layout seems unclear, try using only three fabrics for the first few blocks of the bento box blanket. After you get acquainted with the design, sew from additional fabrics.
There are many models of patchwork quilts from bento boxes. Color and contrast are sometimes a little confusing for novice quilters.
How to do it
The Bento Box Patchwork Quilt measures 12 by 12 inches and is made of 2 1/2-inch wide strips of fabric cut in different lengths. Reduce the hassle of cutting by using jelly rolls — coordinated fabric packages consisting of 2 1/2-inch wide strips cut from edge to edge. Compare prices for jelly roll packages.
Sew the blocks for the bento box quilt with a 1/4-inch seam allowance.
Choose three fabrics: one light, one darker cold shade (for example, blue) and one darker warm shade (for example, purple). These are just suggestions, you can come up with your own.
(2) 2 1/2-inch by 5 1/4-inch strips (for cutting strips into pieces)
(4) 2 1/2-inch by 4 1/2-inch
strips (2) 2 1/2-inch by 6 1/2-inch strips
Dark fabric of a cool shade (blue)
(1) strips measuring 2 1/2 inches by 5 1/4 inches (for cutting strips into pieces)
(2) 2 1/2 inch by 4 1/2 inch
strips (2) 2 1/2 inch by 6 1/2 inch strips
Dark fabric of a warm shade (purple)
(1) 2 1/2 inch by 5 1/4 inch strips (for cutting strips into pieces)
(2) 2 1/2 inch by 4 1/2 inch strips
Assembly of the corners of the block (purple and light fabric)
First, start by making one corner of a 6 1/2-inch by 6 1/2-inch block.
Sew a light strip measuring 2 1/2 inches by 5 1/4 inches in length to a purple strip of the same size. Press the seam allowance to the purple stripe.
Align one end of the set of strips and cut two segments 2 1/2 inches long, starting with the squared end (Figure 1).
Take one segment of Figure 1 and a purple rectangle measuring 2 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches. Sew the purple stripe to the upper part of the segment, trying to align the purple part of the two-color segment on the left (Fig. 2 and 3).
Press the seam allowance to the purple rectangle.
Align the light strip measuring 2 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches vertically to the left of the block shown in Figure 3 (Figure 4). Connect them and press the seam allowance to the purple areas.
Sew a light strip measuring 2 1/2 inches by 6 1/2 inches to the top of the partially completed patchwork quilt (Figures 5 and 6). Press the seam allowance to the purple areas.
Duplicate this corner of the block to get a second identical corner of the block.
Once you get comfortable with the assembly process, use a chain to stitch patchwork in a flow-through way.
Sew the remaining corners of the bento box
Then sew the remaining blue and light blocks for the bento box patchwork quilt.
Sew another set of stripes, connecting the blue and light stripes measuring 2 1/2 inches by 5 1/4 inches. Align one end of the set and cut two segments 2 1/2 inches thick (Fig. 7).
Sew a light rectangle measuring 2 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches to the top of the segment shown in Figure 7, orienting the blue part of the segment in the lower left corner (Figures 8 and 9). Press the seam allowance to the blue and light segment.
Sew a blue rectangle measuring 2 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches to the right of the segment, as shown in Figure 10. Press the seam allowance to the blue rectangle.
Sew a blue strip measuring 2 1/2 inches by 6 1/2 inches to the top of the almost finished product and press the seam allowance to the new strip. The size of the device should be 6 1/2 inches by 6 1/2 inches.
Sew another corner of the block of blue and light colors.
Assemble the quilt block from the bento box
The last step to complete the patchwork quilt is to connect the corners of the block.
Arrange the corners of the blocks in two horizontal rows, as shown on the left.
Sew the two corners in each row together.
Press the new seam allowances in adjacent rows in opposite directions and connect the rows. The size of the quilt block should be 12 1/2 inches by 12 1/2 inches.
Additional assembly method
If you are sewing a patchwork quilt, you may prefer to place the corners of the blocks on a designer wall or other flat surface before connecting any elements. This method provides greater flexibility in the layout of the finished patchwork quilt.
Scheme for patches for bento boxes
Use this diagram as a guide for cutting when making patches for a bento box. All squares are cut 2 1/2 inches by 2 1/2 inches. It is perfectly normal to sew blocks for a bento box quilt one patch at a time, and not to assemble them in sets of strips.
A blanket from a bento box by Faith Hall
An example of a patchwork quilt from a bento box made by Faith Hall.
A blanket from a bento box by Frans Powers Gilmore