Simple Rainbow Gradient Strip Quilt

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Have you ever found some really beautiful gradient fabric but wondered what you could make from it?

There are just some fabrics that look amazing as a big piece. You may not want to cut it into tiny bits because that takes away from the look of the whole piece. Or maybe you just really want to showcase the fabric all on its own.

Sometimes minimalism is the best solution to situations like these.

Today I want to show you how you can use a yard of gradient fabric to make a super simple modern lap quilt top!

Ice dyed rainbow gradient strip quilt

What you’ll need for the quilt top:

  • 1 yard of gradient fabric (I used my ice dyed Rainbow Unicorn)
  • 1 1/8 yard of white fabric

This ends up roughly 44” x 58” which I felt was just big enough for a lap quilt. If you want it larger you’ll need to add a border, so adjust your yardage as necessary.

Step 1:

Cut out 14 – 2 ½” strips from the gradient fabric and 15 from the white fabric.

Strips of white and rainbow fabric

Measure carefully before cutting! There’s just enough gradient fabric to make this, so there’s no room for miscuts!

Step 2:

Alternating colors (starting and ending with white), sew the strips together along the long edges.

Quick tip for sewing lots of long strips: don’t sew the whole quilt in the same direction (meaning don’t sew every strip from red to purple) or you can end up with a curved quilt top. By sewing in opposite directions each time (in the direction of red to purple the first time, then next time sew purple to red) you’ll have a much straighter quilt top!

Step 3:

Iron the quilt top and press seams in your preferred orientation. I always iron seams open to reduce bulk, but no judgement here if you do it different!

And that’s it for the top. Really simple right?

I love how using the white really draws attention to the unique color patterns that you get from ice dyeing!

Red and orange ice dyed rainbow strips
Yellow and green ice dyed rainbow strips
Purple and blue ice dyed rainbow strips

I know, I know, if you want to actually use it as a lap quilt you still need to back it and bind it, but it’s nice to be able to cut and sew an entire top in just an afternoon!

You can change up how the quilt looks but just changing how you lay out the strips. I kept the rainbows all going in the same direction (though I did mix the strips up so they weren’t sewn in the same order as they were cut – I think it makes it a little more interesting). 

Ice dyed rainbow strips quilt top in same direction

But then look at how much the whole quilt changes just by flipping the direction of each row:

I hope these two layouts inspire you to make something of your own!

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