The Making of Skulliver... aka tips and tricks for your first Legit Kit.

The Making of Skulliver... aka tips and tricks for your first Legit Kit.


I fell in love with Legit Kits when I met the Legit team in October 2023 at the Houston Quilt Festival. The first quilt that caught my eye was Skulliver. Although my husband will tell you it was OMG David. 
I guess what I liked was their point of difference in their innovative designs.. I mean who makes quilts with skulls, ravens, naked statues or giant octopus? The deal was done at that stage - they had me hook, line and sinker. 

So when it came to making my first Legit pattern, there was no question about which one it would be. 
Now being a fairly confident and experienced quilter I was pretty sure these patterns posed no challenge - I mean I TEACH foundation piecing so this was going to be easy. The fact that the patterns were broken up into equal rectangles only served to make the job easier again. 

So I began with my usual method, and actually assembled three blocks using what I thought was a pretty clever system. 

I had all my fabrics sorted into a folder and I flipped through the plastic sleeves and pulled out each fabric needed for each block. 

Around this time I was invited to a sewing day with some friends. Just  a whole day of nice food, and uninterrupted sewing. Yay. I packed up my Skulliver pattern and my folder of fabrics and off I went feeling sure I was going to get 3 or 4 blocks finished. 
Sad to say only one block completed at the end of a days sewing!

This got me thinking about how I might have been wasting time in my process. 

1. Ironing between seams. ( yeah I hear you, I'm a stickler for the quilting rules...usually)

2. Trying to complete the quilt blocks by block.

3. Flipping through my folder finding fabrics.

A new approach was needed. 


 So here is how I made my Skulliver... take what you like, leave the rest.

Organise your fabrics. 

Dig out a trestle table and lay all your labelled fabrics into their letter grouping. I say a trestle table but in my case it was our dining table. My family knows not to roll their eyes. I cook their meals. Say no more. 


 So what you see here is my labelled fabrics running left to right top to bottom by their Alphabetical codes. Each stacked section is a code group. Top left grouping are all letter A's. Next to them on the right, all B's. And so on. 

Now grab your Legit Kits pattern and cut out all of the subsections and pile them up ready for sorting. Cut them out roughly, no need to cut on the lines.
If youre a confident rotary cutter user go for it! Otherwise it's Netflix and scissors. 

 Grab another trestle table* ( or in my case my cutting table in my sewing room) and use the downloadable alphabet to lay out the letters of the alphabet in order.
Cut them out first, it helps 😉 

I say trestle tables, because most people have one or two tucked away in the garage, but any flat space you can lay out your work will do - camping table, plank of wood .. you catch my drift. 

Time to sort out that pile of papers into alphabetical order, based on the No 1 subsection of each paper section. This takes a bit of concentration, but you'll get into a groove with it in no time. ( Also a great job for an over enthusiastic helper who might be wanting his lunch. He must have been pretty hungry, I can spot a mistake in the K pile!)

Go and grab all your A code fabrics off the table. I find my long quilters ruler is perfect for this job, especially if your table of fabrics isn't in the same room as your table of papers. Scooping them up with my ruler meant I could lay them down on my ironing board without losing any along the way. 

From here it's a matter of sorting your A pile of papers into their like codes and laying them on top of the fabric with that code.   
I used my ironing board as another flat space. I mean who has three trestle tables!
So at this point any fabrics that relate in code to papers in the A pile will have papers sitting on top of them. You might find some fabrics don't get used at all in this round. 
It's time to get sewing!
Attach your first fabric to the underside of your pattern, fabric pattern facing out
( not against the paper.)
"Attach" is really up to how you like to hold that first fabric down.
Here are some options.
  • Pop a small dab of fabric glue on the paper
  • Pin to the fabric with fine patchwork pins
  • Stitch around the perimeter of the number 1 section, sewing just outside of the lines
  • Stitch a few holding stitches just outside of the grey outer seam allowance closest to this No 1 section. This gets cut off later and doesn't cause tiny pieces of trapped paper that have to be removed with tweezers. 

The last one has become my favourite method. It works well if the No 1 section is close to the seam allowance but not so great if the No1 section is in the centre of the paper. 

Trim the fabric so that a seam allowance extends into all areas outside the No 1 section. Rough cuts with scissors are fine. If you want to be a stickler for seam allowances you can trim up in the next step. 

Once you have worked through all those sorted A pile papers and attached their No1 fabrics, its time to file them again. 

So looking at each one, refile it alphabetically back with the paper piles, this time noting the code for the no 2 section. Do this until all of your A pile papers are in new paper piles. Your A pile will be empty ( for now)

Occasionally a paper will have the same letter code for consecutive number sections ( yeah that hurt my brain too)

ie  A paper might have a letter A fabric in the No 1 section AND the No 2 section. That's a bonus because you get to sew two fabrics on in that round, before filing it. When I'm sewing, I'm always checking to see what code the next section is in case its a double up. Come in Spinner!

Go and park your A fabrics back on the table, and scoop up your B fabrics. 
Repeat the process with the B pile papers, sorting them and placing them on their matching fabric. Most of these will still be No 1 sections, but you may have some No 2 sections to be sewn in this round.
Let's talk about how to attach that No 2 piece..

 The first thing you want to do is work out which line on the paper pattern side is the line that you are going to sew on. 

In the picture below you see the line marked in red is the next stitching line. (This picture is just a random one I had available to edit, it would not have been in the "B" pile, rather it would have been in the "P" pile.)



 So recapping, we have cut our number one fabric and attached it to cover the area defined as 1. It is roughly cut to cover that area. 

By trimming the no 1 fabric we can create an edge on which to place the next fabric. ( no 2) 
The best way to do that is to fold the paper along the stitching line and trim the fabric ADDING A QUARTER INCH ( yes that bit is important) 

I like to use my Foundation Flipper for this. Place it on the line ( from the paper printed side) and fold the paper back on itself. What you reveal is the untrimmed no 1 fabric. 

A couple of options for trimming... use the add a quarter ruler and position it with the lip up against the paper fold - it will butt up against the paper fold quite nicely. 
Then just trim away any excess fabric using a rotary cutter. 

The other option which has become my favourite fast method is to trim the fabric with scissors. This method requires you to "visually" add the quarter inch and trim. The plus side is that you don't have to move away from your machine. 

Once you have a trimmed edge ready for the No 2 fabric, find the relevant No 2 fabric from the pile and cut a chunk or strip that is big enough to cover that area...and some. 

I have found Legit Kits to be quite generous in their estimates for each fabric needed so you don't have to stress too much about not having enough. In their patterns they have handy "Cut Guides" which although are not to scale will still give you an indication of how much wiggle room you have. 

From the fabric side ( so you are looking at the fabric, not the paper pattern) place your chunk right sides together along this trimmed edge. You may want to place a removable pin somewhere to hold all this together, as you are going to flip it all over and sew on the stitching line we talked about earlier. With smaller paper sections you may find with a bit of practice you don't need to use pins. larger sections will need them. 

As an alternative to pins, I like a fabric glue pen. A swipe of glue along the seam allowance edge and my next piece will stay put while I turn it all over and sew the seam.



Time to sew the seam..

Remember to keep your stitch length nice and short anywhere from 1.5 to 2mm, depending on what your machine will allow. 


At this point I would usually hop up and go and press the fabric over with my iron... however I have recently discovered the joy of a seam roller. I may never iron again. ( Just kidding.. I'm not ready to break up with my iron yet. )


So now the No 2 section of this piece is attached and "pressed", it's ready to file again back into the alphabetical paper piles.
TOP TIP..   Trim it as you did in the previous step with the flipper, ruler and cutter before you file it, folding the paper along the next line ( the one that divides section 2 and section 3 )


To save time I work through my whole pile of paper  ( ie all the B'S) before I re file them. If any are completed, I put those aside for trimming. 


I like to trim any completed sections after I have filed, and these get put aside in a pile of their own. It was lovely to watch this pile grow as the letter piles diminished. 

When you get to the end of the alphabet you start again at the letter A. 

With Skulliver I went around the alphabet 2.5 times. 

Once all of the sections are complete, sort them into their blocks again using the grid map in the pattern and reading the references from the paper side. 

Begin assembling the rectangular blocks using the assembly guide in the pattern. 

TOP TIP.. Keep the paper on the sections for now and use fine patchwork pins to pin through the marked seam junctions. Once the seam is sewn, remove the paper from the seam only and sew the seam again if you desire. ( I do) 

At this point you are well on the way to completing your quilt. Legit suggests not  sewing the blocks in rows, and I must admit I ignored that advice, but will try it again on my next quilt...

My last tip for these quilts... once you have put them together and removed the paper, sew a scant  1/4" seam all the way around the outside edge. It will help prevent any bias edges from stretching and keep in it good shape until it's quilted.

I really enjoyed sewing Skulliver using this method and like I said, I hope you find something in here that helps you on your journey to become a Legit Quilter.    

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