Layer Cake Scramble

By popular request … a sort of step-by-step how-to for the Layer Cake Scramble pattern (with thanks to various students for unwittingly providing some of the photos, ‘cos guess who didn’t think to take step-by-step photos when making the samples).

First acquire a Layer Cake, or 40+ different 10inch squares from your stash. You will also need 2.5 metres (two and a half yards) of a background.

layer cake squares

Cut a 3 1/2 inch strip off each square – you should be able to cut 4 squares at a time (if you’ve a very sharp cutter and a steady hand you may be able to do more). Put them into two separate piles – wide strips and narrower strips – in the order in which you cut them. Cut your way through the entire Layer Cake.

Take a handful of strips from the top of the narrower pile and move them to the bottom. Now take the top narrow strip and stitch it to the top wider strip – they should be different fabrics by now. If you come across two similar fabrics then feel free to slip one further down its pile and take the next on top.

Layer cut first stitch

layer cake

layer cake step one

Press the seams and cut the squares in half (5 inches) across the seam you just stitched. You should be able to cut at least two squares at a time. Once more keep the the two cut piles separate and in the same order.

layer cake step two

layer cake step two a

layer cake step two b

Take a handful of strips from one pile and move them to the bottom of that pile. Turn one pile round so the narrow, smaller rectangle is at the opposite end from the other pile. It doesn’t matter which is at the top – the left hand or right hand pile – providing they are all the same way (the final photo in this set is an ‘oops’ – the two piles show the two different units you could get). Stitch the two piles together – one from pile A to one from pile B. Press the seams.

layer cake step two c

layer cake units

At this point you could sew all your units together to make a small quilt top.


But – we have some background to add in, and this will make a double bed size quilt from your Layer Cake. So, measure your units – they should be about 9 1/2 inches square – and cut yourself the same number and size of background squares. Mark the diagonal on the wrong side of each background square and a line 1/4 inch either side of this.

Pair each background square with a pieced unit, right sides together. Check as you pair them as there are two ways of doing it – you can have your diagonal running across the two smaller rectangles block a) or across the two larger ones (block b); you will get different blocks depending on which you choose.

block a

block b

Stitch along both outer diagonal lines. You can chain piece these – just stitch all one side and then turn the chain of squares round and stitch your way back along the other side. Press the stitching. Cut the squares apart on the centre diagonal line and press to background fabric. You should now have twice as many squares as you started with!


layer cake step three a

layer cake final units

Now comes the fun part – just how will you arrange your squares into a quilt top? Play with some layouts – here’s a few ideas –

layer cake pink


layer cake blue

and when you’ve decided, just (!) sew them all together. Add a border if you fancy (or not if don’t), layer, quilt and bind.

And that’s it. Finished.


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