Tamara Kate Quilt Along: Part 1

guest bloggerWelcome to the first-ever Janome Life Quilt Along!

Guest blogger: Tamara Serrao, Tamara Kate

This is the first in a 3-part series that will walk you through the steps of creating this quilt yourself, should you so desire. You can download the free instructions and quilt along with us over the next few weeks. Download the instructions from this link:

#1 - whatever the weather quilt - tamara kate

Session 1: Planning the Quilt – Choosing Colours

If you were at Quilt Canada earlier this summer, you may have seen the Whatever the Weather quilt, front and centre in the Janome Canada booth. I created it to help launch the sewing tote & luggage collection in the booth that I had a hand in designing and that bears my name.

#2 - whatever the weather sewing luggage - tamara kate

Find your Tamara Kate luggage (manufactured exclusively for Janome Canada by Blue Fig) at your local Janome Dealer



Today we are talking about choosing colours, but first, a bit about how the quilt came to be.

#3 - whatever the weather sewing luggage embroidery



The design process for the quilt went a bit like this: I wanted to echo the colourful bicycle wheels on the bags, so I naturally worked in a circle. To play on the Whatever the Weather theme (and because I love colour so much), I chose to use a whole rainbow of colours for the wheel. To give myself an added challenge, I opted to use only my own fabrics produced over the past 3 years through Michael Miller Fabrics for this part. And finally, I wanted to emulate, but not too literally, the lovely, soft grey fabric of the bags for the quilt ground.


Visually, the quilt top can be broken down as follows:

  • 3 rings of 24 coloured triangles each, on neutral ground.
  • 2 rings of 24 dark triangles each (which, when placed together form diamonds) also on neutral ground.
  • 4 central quarter-circles of neutral ground.
  • 24 outer wedges of neutral ground.


Now we get to the fun part, choosing fabrics. And the most fun is obviously working with all that colour, so let’s start there.


You need (24 x 3) = 72 different coloured charm squares in total. I chose fabrics of similarly strong value for my 2 outer rings and lighter valued fabrics for my inner ring (because that’s what I had on hand). You could work with stronger, medium and lighter values if you wish, for probably an even more dramatic look.

#4 - tamara kate - whatever the weather quilt - detail3


To achieve a full rainbow, you will need reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues and purples. But to make it a rainbow that really blends together all the way around, you will also need all those “in-between” colours of gold, coral, pink, indigo, turquoise and chartreuse. You really need so little of each fabric, so start raiding your scrap bins.

#5 - colourwheel

Once you have lots of pieces pulled, start laying them out in a circle, following the rainbow all the way around, as in the colour wheel above. There will probably be duplicates of some colours. That’s ok. For the moment, keep them together in groups. You will, no doubt, have lighter (or softer) versions of each colour. Place those inside the circle, under the bolder versions, and if you are doing an outer ring that is bolder than the middle ring, place those fabrics to the outside.

Stand back from your rainbow and squint at it. You will start to see where you have gaps in colour transition, and where you will have to make decisions of which fabrics to illuminate due to redundancy. If you look closely at my quilt, I could have used a few more options in the blues, but I didn’t have any so chose to go ahead with it anyway. Not the end of the world. Or you could go on the hunt for those missing colours… just be sure to take samples of the surrounding ones with you.

#6 - tamara kate - whatever the weather fabric pull

When you are happy with your choices and layout, I strongly suggest photographing it for memory purposes. It will save lots of frustration later on in the piecing stage.

Create 3 piles of your 24 fabrics, one for each ring. Label the piles accordingly (outer, middle, inner) so that you are sure you are cutting them all to the correct size. Here is everything I chose to work with:

#7 - tamara kate - whatever the weather fabric pull2


Now for the inner dark triangles: I opted for charcoal to be my base colour here, though really any dark neutral would work. Pull together as many fabrics as you can with small-scale prints that all have roughly the same ground colour (a bit of variety keeps it interesting). You only need a total of about a fat quarter of fabric, so pieces
can be fairly small. I had 6 in total that I randomly used around the circle. Put these fabrics aside in a pile.

#8 - tamara kate - whatever the weather fabric pull3

That last option in the image above was strategically fussy cut for the quilt to just use the squiggle lines.


To have some fun with the ground fabric, I chose to go with fine black-on-white prints and soft grey-and-white prints. This mix keeps things playful and dynamic, though you could also work with a solid neutral fabric all over. Here you will need more fabric, though, so be sure to have roughly 2 metres in total. In my case, I used a bit more than a fat quarter each of 6 different fabrics that I randomly pulled from wherever I needed in the quilt. That’s your last pile of fabric and you are ready to start cutting.

#9 - tamara kate - whatever the weather fabric pull4

That’s it for today. I will be back next week with the second instalment, “Working with Angles.”

Until then happy rainbow-making!


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12 Responses to Tamara Kate Quilt Along: Part 1

  1. Sherrie Johnson says:

    What an absolutely beautiful quilt! This will sound crazy…but I’ve NEVER made a quilt! Always, always wanted to. Been sewing since I was 10…I’m 71 now! And I can tell you I’ve made probably everything under the sun. lol Wedding gowns, men’s 3 piece suits, comforters, all sorts of clothing and costumes, doll clothes, household items…you name it. I’ve always been afraid to attempt making a quilt. But I love looking at them and thinking I might be able to make one. I even have a Pinterest quilting board! ha ha! But I can tell you…THIS quilt is one I just might attempt! It is gorgeous. I love all the colors…the shapes…and even dark and light neutrals. Perfect balance! And oh my…the pictures are great…so I’m thinking the instructions will be wonderful. I’m a new subscriber to the blog…have had my Janome sewing machine for 9 years and my Janome serger for 2 years! I can’t wait to search through the archives and be inspired there, too. Whoever is taking the time to keep this up…you’re doing a marvelous job! It’s lovely and inspiring! I certainly appreciate it!


    • janomecanada says:

      Thank you Sherrie. We’re so glad you discovered us and appreciate that you sew on a Janome. Tamara’s quilt really is a beauty and has inspired us too. Happy Sewing!


  2. Pingback: Kayajoy » Last Quilt-Along Post & { Giveaway }

  3. Ramona Chester says:

    Wow this looks fun. I have always wanted to do a rainbow quilt but this will be great to have some expert advice to follow along. Love my Janome.


  4. Coby Burns says:

    I’d love to make a cover for my Cal King, I’m guessing about 96″x96″ So can I add rings or possibly frame in rainbow colors. I love your design though. Any suggestions?


    • janomecanada says:

      Hi Coby: From Tamara…
      You could add more rings of triangles, but I think that might start to get really busy. I think I might go more the route of bringing the outer areas of ground fabrics to a square, then adding frames of triangles and other patterns as you go out. Be careful not to overwhelm the inner medallion, though, with making those outer frames too heavy. You could also do a Pinterest search of “medallion quilts” to get an idea of what look you prefer. Hope that helps.
      Tamara Kate


  5. Laura dirks says:

    I’m in love with this quilt!!! Can u tell me how big the finished size will be?


  6. Pingback: Kayajoy » Whatever the Weather Quilt for Janome Canada

  7. Lamona says:

    Thank you for posting. I love the bright colors of your scraps.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. arkangel@oh.rr.com says:


    Can you tell me why with all of your emails I receive, I have lines and lines of programming script between paragraphs? Very hard to follow.

    I do not have this issue with anyother emails I receive.

    Thank you.

    Mary Ann


    • janomecanada says:

      hello Arkangel – Oh my! This is the first that we have heard of this. We monitor the posts across several computers, but do not see the lines you mention. Since WordPress is sending out the post, is is a WP issue? If you actually click the link to go to the blog itself, does that appear clear?
      If anyone else is seeing this, please comment so that we can have a better understanding.
      Thank you


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