Christmas dinner always takes center stage, but my favorite Christmas meal is breakfast. After opening gifts, wouldn’t it be nice to sit down to breakfast with your family at a table decorated with these pretty chargers? They look a lot more difficult than they really are, thanks to strip piecing and a Dresden ruler.

Are you ready to learn how to make them? Here we go…

to make four chargers:

eight fat quarters of coordinating print fabrics
one yard fabric for backs
1/2 yard fabric for binding
16″ round place mat interfacing or one yard fusible fleece or quilt batting
cardboard or template plastic (optional)
an EZ Dresden ruler
cutting mat and rotary cutter
basic sewing supplies

*NOTE: the chargers are not intended to be identical – each one is unique. You can make them all the same by using four fat quarters for the piecing and the other four fat quarters for the backs.

CUTTING:

For each charger, cut three 2″ strips from each of four of the fat quarters. Be sure to cut them crosswise to the selvage. It looks best to alternate light, dark, light, dark.

Cut a 6″ circle for the center.

Out of the cardboard or template plastic, cut a 5″ circle. I find that a cereal box works well!

Sew the four different strips together along the long edge to create a strip set. Press all the seams in the same direction (you will thank me for this later!)  Repeat so that you have two identical strip sets. The remaining four strips will be used later.

Using the Dresden ruler, line up the edge as close to the left side as possible and the 4″ line on the center seam. Cut along both edges to create your first wedge.

Flip the ruler over and line up the left edge with the left cut edge and again line up the 4″ line on the ruler with the center seam. Cut along right edge to create a second wedge. Continue flipping the ruler and cutting wedges across the width of the strips. You should have 9 from each set.

The good news – you have 18 awesome looking wedges! The bad news – you need 20 to make a circle! Why does it always seem to work out that way? No worries, remember those other four strips you cut? Cut a 6″ long piece of each of them and sew them together in the same order as the others. Cut two more wedges from this “mini” strip set. Use the remainder of each strip for the other chargers.

Now the fun part – flip every other wedge from top to bottom. The circle will begin to form…

Sew the wedges together. The seam allowances will nest together which should make matching them up easy (told you you’d thank me for that)!

TIP – Sew the wedges together in quarters, or groups of five. Check each for accuracy by lining the edges up with the grid on your cutting mat. Trim if necessary. It is easier to fix now than after you have sewn them all together only to discover that it doesn’t lie flat.
Then sew quarters into two half circles and finally sew them together to complete the circle. Press seams in the same direction.

I found the 16″ round place mat interfacings at my local quilt shop. They are a good weight and are fusible on both sides which made assembling the chargers a breeze, plus it was really nice that they were already cut in a circle. Look for them at your local shop or they are available online here
If using fusible fleece or quilt batting, cut a 16″ circle for each charger.
Press well and turn the piece over. Lay the interfacing or batting circle on top, being careful to center it. Trim away the extra.


Using the interfacing circle as a guide, cut a 16″ circle from your backing fabric. Layer the back, interfacing and top to make a sandwich. With a hot steam iron, fuse the three together. (if using quilt batting or fleece, pin baste together).

For the center, I machine appliqued the circle. This is my fool-proof method of making a perfect circle applique:

Using the 6″ fabric circle, hand sew a running stitch 1/4″ from the edge around the circle. Leave a tail for gathering.

Center the 5″ template over the circle and pull on the thread to gather. I use my cereal box template with the printed side up. It has a coating on it that enables me to iron on top of it. Hold the thread tail tight and press the edges.

Center the circle over the pieced charger. This is where it is helpful to be using fusible interfacing because you can fuse it in place before stitching. Then edge stitch all around the center circle.

I also stitched around the outer edge of each circular seam.

All that is left is the binding. We quilters are used to using bindings cut on the straight of grain, but to get the binding to nicely hug the curve, it needs to be cut on the bias. I cut two 2 1/4″ bias strips from my half yard piece of binding fabric. If you are new to bias quilt bindings, I found a good tutorial by Jennifer at That Girl That Quilt.  Her tutorial is for rounded corners on a square quilt, but the technique is the same as you would use here.

Front and back

Follow the same steps for additional chargers, using four different fabrics for each one. You can make four identical chargers from four fat quarters. You will need to cut carefully to get nine 2″ strips from each fat quarter. Sew together 9 identical strip sets which will each yield 9 wedges. That gives you 81 and you need 80 to make four chargers.

For a different look, I used a scrap of red fabric on this one to make a solid center. You could also fussy cut the center for another look.

Even though these two chargers are made from different fabrics, they still go together thanks to the repetition of colors and patterns and matching bindings.

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. If you should make them, be sure to send me pictures, I love to see what you all are doing!!

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie