Lattice, sometimes called sashing, serves many functions in quilt making. At the most basic level, a plain lattice can separate and frame your quilt blocks. Plain lattice often has a square unit at the intersections.
Additionally, lattice can be used to form a secondary pattern when combined with your quilt blocks. Small blocks or appliques can be interspersed within your lattice to add visual interest. The rule of thumb is to use more complex lattice to enhance plain blocks and plain lattice to frame complex blocks.
Since lattice strips are added vertically and horizontally between blocks and rows, it always adds size to your quilt top. Depending on whether you’ve chosen to include a border, lattice may also surround your main block setting. Of course, you can always use both lattice and borders in your quilt design.
In this tutorial, I’ve chosen a plain lattice with intersecting squares for my block settings. I decided to use inner lattice, not a surrounding outer lattice, since I will be adding borders. The square blocks measure 8 ½” square.
First, cut ten (10) lattice strips 8 ½” x 2 ½”. You will probably want to use a plain fabric that differs from those within your block.
Cut three (3) 2 ½” squares for the intersections.
Lay out your blocks with the yellow 4-strip section facing north-east. You will create four rows (top to bottom) with 2 blocks in each row.
Chain piece a lattice strip to each block in the left hand row.
Tip: Since my blocks have sharp points, I like to sew on the block side rather than the lattice side. When I come to a point, I sew about two threads into the seam allowance. This makes allowance for the rollover effect and keeps my points sharp on the front of the quilt.
Press your strips open, with seam allowances toward the lattice. Now place the right hand blocks on the raw edges of the lattice strips, right sides together, and chain piece. Press open.
For the lattice between the rows, lay out your strips and center squares as shown.
Flip each of the center squares to the left and onto the adjacent strips, lining up the edges. Chain piece them together. Press open, with seam allowances toward the lattice strips.
Align the remaining strips with the raw edges of the center squares, right sides together, and chain piece. Press open.
The direction of seam allowances is an important factor in the construction of a quilt top, especially when working with more complex designs. Planning ahead takes some extra time, but it’s well worth it in the end.
Now align the seam intersections of the first block row with a lattice row, right sides together. Pin in place and sew together.
Notice how the seam allowances face in opposite directions, allowing you to match them easily as they butt up against each other and evenly distribute the bulk.
Align the second block row with the first lattice strip, pin, and sew together. Continue until you have finished sewing all of your block rows to lattice rows.
The main section of your quilt top is now complete. Doesn’t lattice set the blocks off nicely?
To complete the quilt top, I added 6 ½” borders to the left and right sides of the quilt, and then added 2 ½” borders to the top and bottom. These borders were cut from a plain blue fabric. When that was completed, I added an additional 5″ border to the left and right sides. I cut this from a darker blue dragonfly print that also appears within my blocks.