Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bento Box Quilt Fun

While looking at Google images one day, I saw this beautiful quilt made by Nicole at the Patchwork Duck. I loved the colors and wondered about the construction.

It was constructed using the Bento Box Pattern. I had never heard of it, though I don't know too many quilt patterns as I typically find an image I like and figure out something similar.

The Bento Box quilt pattern reminds me a lot of the Disappearing Nine Square. First a quilt block is constructed and then quartered and sewn back together. Though for most Bento Box quilts I have seen, the quartered pieces are relocated among many other blocks.

I thought I would just play around with the concept. I started with a ladybug print and looked for some other prints that would complement it. But to really see how this pattern works, I'd need to make a few other blocks. I found lots of neat prints in my stash.

Bento Boxes Before Quartering
Starting with a 5" square, I then added 1.5" sashing, 2.5" sashing, and finally 2" sashing. It was a lot of fun to choose fabrics, cut and sew right along. I didn't have it all planned out or even have much of a vision.

I wonder if it would be easier or harder to start at the fabric store and choose fabrics. It was great to remember fabrics or just find them while looking.

After quartering my four blocks, I toyed with making more blocks. There aren't too many variations for putting everything back together. I decided I would just make it work with the four. This is just a practice quilt.

Back of the mini quilt
My toddler really seemed to like the one print with bears I had a fair amount left. I thought I could use it for the backing. When I finally measured everything, it was not quite enough. I'd just spend a bit of Sunday morning looking at a few modern quilting blogs and many of them make interesting pieced backings. I'd never tried that before. I decided on 6"x4.5" squares. Another inch would have made the final construction so much easier, but now I know. I cut the bear fabric lengthwise with more on one side than the other. Putting the squares together went very quickly and I love the result.

Because the quilt is pretty small, only about 26" square, the sandwiching and pinning went very quickly. Also because it is small I decided to do some free motion stippling on the whole quilt. I like doing it and like the way it looks, it is usually too much to do on a larger quilt.
Close up of free motion quilting

Because I made the backing barely big enough, I needed to trim some of the quilt. It's really too bad, but it's still a fun quilt, just noticeably narrower on the outside edges.

This was certainly a fun construction and a quick little quilt. I'd love to try it again, maybe with nine squares next time.
Finished Happy Bento Box Quilt


  1. The quilt looks amazing! I'm glad you like the style, and it's a fun alternative to disappearing nine patch quilts. Keep up the great sewing!