Marimekko & Monochrome Quilt Tutorial

marimekko quilt tutorial 1


Have you heard of Marimekko? They are an iconic Finnish design house who are famous for textiles and interiors. You will probably recognise the fabric I’ve used for this quilt – the famous Unniko or poppy print, which was designed in 1964 and has enjoyed continued popularity ever since.

But what can you do with such large scale prints? Of course, you could use them as a backing, but I think when you are paying a premium for designer fabric, you want to make a feature of it. Rather than get too tricky and add more fuss, I decided to keep it simple with a monochrome palette and create a quilt top with a retro feel.

Here are the details so you can make one too.

All seams are 1/4″. The finished quilt is 47″ wide by 65″ long.

Materials needed:

1 metre of Marimekko Unikko   – I just squeezed enough out of this amount – you might want another 1/2 metre just to be sure. I got mine from Yulki’s Marimekko Fabric Australia– a fabulous new Aussie seller who specialises in Scandi fabric.

1 metre white solid fabric

1.5m black solid fabric for quilt top and binding

2-4m of fabric for backing – this is similar to what I used

Cotton quilt batting

Good quality white thread for piecing

Good quality black thread for quilting

45mm Rotary Cutter

Quilting Rulers – I used three different ones. A 6.5″ square, a 12.5″ square and a  6″ x 24″ruler.

A hera marker (for accurate quilting)

I pressed my fabric with a good quality starch style spray before cutting.

marimekko quilt 9


Cutting – 

18 x 10″ squares from the Marimekko print (use the 12.5″ quilt ruler for accuracy)

34 x 5 1/4″ squares from white (use the 6.5″ quilt ruler for accuracy)

34 x 5 1/4″ squares from black (6.5″ quilt ruler)

Quilt assembly – 

Checkerboard units:

Take a black and white square and sew them together. Repeat with another black and white pair and then sew the two pairs together to create one of these checkerboard units.

marimekko quilt 8


Repeat with all the black and white squares until you have 17  checkerboard units. Use your 12.5″ square ruler to ensure the units are 10″ square. Trim if required.

Lay out your Marimekko and checkerboard units until you have a pattern that works for you.

marimekko quilt 7

For this particular quilt I started with 3 Marimekko units and 2 checkerboards in the top row, so the Marimekko would form the corners of the quilt. I alternated squares until I had 7 rows, giving me Marimekko corners at the bottom of the quilt.

Stitch together each row using a 1/4″. I find my 1/4″ piecing foot very helpful for achieving accuracy.

Once your rows are assembled, sew the quilt top together.

Put together your quilt sandwich with the backing, batting and quilt top. Baste either with pins or spray.

Quilt as desired. I have used a simple cross hatch design though the corners of the smaller squares.

marimekko quilt 3

Using black thread, there was no room for uneven lines or error – there is nowhere to hide with black on white quilting!! I prefer not to use disappearing ink pens in this circumstance as I’ve heard to many stories of the ink not disappearing and leaving marks!

To get accurate quilting lines, I used my long quilting ruler and a hera marker. A hera marker is a tool that you use like a pen, and it creates a sharp crease in the fabric. Ideal for straight line quilting and no residual marks!

Once you have quilted your quilt, trim up and bind in your preferred method. I like to make my own straight edged binding, machine sew it to the front and hand stitch to the back. I learned this method from the book The Practical Guide to Patchwork by Elizabeth Hartman, and it works well for me.

Another tip – you might find that quilting with black fabric is a pain because the fluff from the batting gets all over it. Don’t stress – finish the quilt, then at the end run a cheap adhesive lint roller over the quilt. They are available from dollar stores and your black patchwork will come up as good as new!

marimekko quilt 2


I pieced together two black and white prints for the back. I love the result and the modern style.

marimekko quilt 5


Make sure you pop over and check out all the Scandi fabric loveliness at Yulki’s – it will probably give you some great Christmas gift ideas for a fabric-a-holic (or just to add something special to your stash!)

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial – there are lots more on my tutorial page and I send out regular updates and information about new projects and tutorials in my newsletter.  Happy sewing!

24 thoughts on “Marimekko & Monochrome Quilt Tutorial

      1. Confused. Your measurements start out in Meters. Got that. But now your cutting measures indicate a 18 X 10″ and 34 X 5 1/4″ So are you saying cut them 18 inches X 10 inches? And 34 inches X 5 and 1/4 inches?

        1. Hi PJ, the reason my yardage information is in metric measurements is because I live in Australia and that is how we have to buy fabric – in metric cuts. The cutting guide is in inches because that seems to be the universal measurement for quilting. If you look closer, the cutting guide tells you how many you need first. So in the case of the Marimekko fabric you need 18 pieces. The next measurement says 10″ squares. So you need 18 lots of 10″ x 10″ squares. In the case of the black and white squares, you need 34 pieces of 5 1/4″ x 5 1/4″ squares. Sorry this was unclear for you.

  1. I love your Marimekko quilt. I’m a Finn, living in Finland and happy to see Finnish design. And your quilt is really nice!

  2. Oh, how beautiful. Love it. Love it. Love it. Wish I was down under. It is on my bucket list. Keep creating.

  3. Are you still around??? Have not heard much from you since you moved to China. Hope you are okay. Just missing your emails and blog.

  4. this is so beautiful! Simply lovely design with lovely fabric – I LOVE Marimekko – so expensive, but I did splurge and now have some of the fabric just sitting because I can’t figure out what to do with it. I want to make a quilt, so I was looking around the internet for some inspiration and found your beauty! thanks for the tutorial, also!

  5. I was looking for a baby quilt that was fast to put together. Well, I found it in this quilt! I cut everything last night,and finished sewing the top just now. Love it! I’d send a picture, but don’t see anyplace to add it.

  6. This is the 4th one of these I’ve made..I love how easy they are and how pretty! I made 2 for friends that had cancer and one for a friend just because. Next I’m making one for my son who also is a cancer patient, The size is perfect for a wheelchair but my son is tall..6’3″ …so I’ll be adding a couple more rows I think. Thanks for sharing it with us!

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