Any quilt that is meaningful—to the person quilting and the couple getting married—can be a ‘wedding quilt,’ but the quilt design with the longest traditional connection is the Double Wedding Ring quilt, which has been a classic ‘wedding quilt’ gift to newlyweds for generations. The interlocking ring design, and its role as a symbol signifying the union of two people, actually pre-dates cotton quilts by a millennia or so; you’ll see it used on metalwork, weavings, carvings, and other art from previous ages.
In its patchwork form, as the Double Wedding Ring, those interlocking rings are magnificent.
While gorgeous, it is definitely not a beginner quilt.
Very few staffers here have made the attempt. And the ones who have, well, they’ve managed to impress us all, but not a single one said it was easy!
The Double Wedding Ring has curves, and thousands of pieces, and many fiendish seams. It requires lots of fabric, lots of cutting, and lots of planning—from color placement to timing to physical space in which to work.
If you’re going to make a Double Wedding Ring—and it’s worth it—here are some resources that help you on your journey. Pick the approach that works for you, whether that’s a few helpful tips, a ruler, some notions, or technique videos.
Say “I Do” to the Right Tools: Templates and Other Notions
If you’re planning a Double Wedding Ring quilt using traditional, 1930s-style fabrics, or perhaps something a bit different (think, batiks), you really need to look into tools and templates to make the process go as smoothly as possible. There are several options out there. The Marti Michell template set has seven full-size template pieces to create the type of Double Wedding Ring quilt you’re looking for. We also like Darlene Zimmerman’s Simpli-EZ Double Wedding Ring Template, which only has three template pieces, and once you get the hang of it, works great!
If you’re using templates, a smaller rotary cutter (18mm is ideal, 28mm is great) and a spinning mat are truly wonderful. You can get accurate cuts in the curved sections and can cut all the way around a template without walking around a table, or shifting your fabric and templates.
When it comes to sewing curves, a stiletto is very useful for carefully feeding your pieces under the presser foot. And when it comes to planning, a design wall is so very helpful. If you’ve got the time and space, make your own design wall by following a simple tutorial from the Quilting Company staff!
Building on a Foundation: Paper Piecing
There are a number of foundation piecing patterns for Double Wedding Ring quilts out there, and that’s a good option for achieving accuracy. You still have to cut quite a few pieces of fabric, planning carefully in regards to color placement, but your cuts don’t have to be as accurate as with the template method. We have a foundation piecing version of a Double Wedding Ring in our free eBook. You’d need to print out and/or photocopy the foundations onto printer paper or use a specialized, printer-friendly foundation paper, like those from Carol Doak or That Patchwork Place. There are a couple of manufacturers that produce leave-in foundations or wash-away foundations that are pre-printed with a Double Wedding Ring design, which is nice because you don’t have to tear out all the paper, putting stress on your many, many seams.
Not everyone is a fan of foundation piecing, though; it takes some mental re-jiggering. (Right side? Wrong side? Which side?) If you need a refresher, we have a tutorial that’s helpful. We would NOT recommend trying foundation piecing for the first time with a Double Wedding Ring.
The Ties That Bind Us: Binding
Making bias binding is a MUST for the curved edges of a classic Double Wedding Ring quilt. Straight grain binding just will not curve into the dips and around the arcs as well.
Advice from Well-Wishers: Video Tutorials
In general, reading about Double Wedding Ring quilts, and looking at the options out there is good. Learn from those who went before! Liz Porter and Marianne Fons have some great tips, as always. Victoria Findlay Wolfe, known for her modern approach to a Double Wedding Ring, might inspire something a little different.
Find the right tools, the right look, and the right approach to make your Double Wedding Ring. After all, when you decide to commit to something of this scale, for better or for worse, you want it to be right.