Charm Pack quilts Charm School book

Charm School – 18 Quilts from 5″ Squares

I still remember the day I first came across Moda charm packs. It was almost exactly seven years ago; I remember it well because I had just found out that the sweet little bun-in-my-oven was, in fact, a “she.” To celebrate, I drove straight from the doctor’s office to the quilt shop to pick out fat quarters for my baby girl’s quilt. As I was getting ready to check out, I stumbled upon those beautiful little precut stacks of 5” squares. I had no idea what I would do with them but I could not resist buying a few, just to see what I could make.

I found that playing with 5” squares was such fun–and that there were endless possibilities with what I could do with them. I used them like building blocks and discovered a whole new world of creativity. I’m happy I finally get to share my love of these 5” squares with you in my new book Charm School–18 Quilts From 5” Squares. (It’s due in shops March 1 2017 but I’ve heard people have already been able to get copies from Amazon.com.)

Charm School - 18 Quilts from 5" Squares by Vanessa Goertzen of Lella Boutique.

Even though the precut charm squares were inspiration for my book, it is easy to make other fabric substitutions 🙂 All 18 projects include instructions to use not only precut charm squares, but also fat quarters, scraps, and more!

Charm School  fabric. Make these quilts with charm packs, fat quarters, or layer cakes!

The Charm School book is intended to be more than just a collection of patterns–each chapter contains a schoolhouse “lesson” or technique to apply to the 5” squares. Start with the 5” squares as they are, and gradually learn how to make simple alterations.

The thing I love about simple quilts is the opportunity to let beautiful fabric do the talking. Of course, it doesn’t get any simpler than a basic block quilt–my Modern Basic quilt is a project anyone can tackle. By keeping those 5” squares as is, there is an opportunity to really play around with fabric choice, fabric placement, and the finishing touches to make a bold statement. (Check out that crazy-fabulous custom quilting by Natalia Bonner!)

Modern Basic beginner quilt pattern by Lella Boutique. Fabric is Arizona by April Rhodes for Art Gallery. Exquisite custom quilting by Natalia Bonner
Modern Basic quilt from Charm School

It was a fun challenge to see what sort of things I could dream up with the most basic of shapes. My Snowfall quilt below was made with just squares and rectangles! Fabric is Evergreen by BasicGrey for Moda Fabrics. Quilted by Abby Latimer.

Snowfall snowflake quilt pattern by Lella Boutique. Fabric is Evergreen by BasicGrey for Moda Fabrics. Pattern found in Charm School - 18 Quilts from 5" Squares (Stash Books).
Snowfall quilt from the Charm School book

Gradually, we add triangle shapes to our designs. In Scrap Happy (below) triangles are incorporated to form charming little sawtooth stars in the sashing. Fabric is Farmhouse by Joanna Figueroa. Quilting by Abby Latimer.

Scrap Happy scrappy quilt pattern by Lella Boutique. Fabric is Farmhouse by Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree Quilts for Moda Fabrics. Pattern found in Charm School - 18 Quilts from 5" Squares (Stash Books).
Scrap Happy quilt from the Charm School book

Using the same easy corner triangle method, we see a whole new world of possibilities opens up with quilter basics like snowball blocks and flying geese!

Up Ahead flying geese quilt pattern by Lella Boutique. Pattern found in the book: Charm School - 18 Quilts from 5" Squares. Fabric is Fancy & Fabulous by Fancy Pants Designs for Riley Blake
Up Ahead quilt from the Charm School book

Eventually, this easy corner triangle technique can help us build up to some pretty impressive block designs–Madame Butterfly being a prime example. (I’ve adapted my Social Butterfly Mini quilt into a full quilt pattern and made it charm-friendly 🙂 Woohoo!)

Madame Butterfly quilt by Lella Boutique. Pattern found in the book: Charm School - 18 Quilts from 5" Squares. Fabric is a variety of Cotton + Steel fabrics
Madame Butterfly quilt from the Charm School book

In another chapter, we examine how to make individual triangle units called half-square triangles. I share my favorite two methods to get them from 5” squares, as well as my secret to getting them flawless every time.

Rock Star quilt by Lella Boutique. Pattern found in the book: Charm School - 18 Quilts from 5" Squares. Fabric is Fresh Cut by BasicGrey for Moda Fabrics.
Rock Star quilt from the Charm School book

And of course, half-square triangles lead to quarter-square triangles…

Somersault charm pack quilt by Vanessa Goertzen of Lella Boutique. Pattern found in the book: Charm School - 18 Quilts from 5" Squares. Fabric is Daysail by Bonnie & Camille for Moda Fabrics. Cute use of quarter-square triangles
Somersault quilt from the Charm School book

And finally, we delve into some wonky cuts to mix things up a bit.

Lunchbox quilt pattern by Lella Boutique. Pattern found in the book: Charm School - 18 Quilts from 5" Squares. Fabric is Serenity by Amy Ellis for Moda Fabrics
Lunchbox quilt from the Charm School book

I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek. Of course, these are just a few of the quilts–the book contains 18 design totals–I hope you’ll pick up a copy to see the rest. You can see all of the Charm School quilts in the product listing here.

As you may imagine, a book is a huge undertaking. I could not have done it without the amazing team at C&T Publishing, my amazing quilters (thank you Abby and Natalia!), or Susan Vaughan who was my second pair of eyes in the editing phase. Thank you for listening to my ideas and giving them wings. And of course, a big thanks to my mom for being an invaluable sounding board and wrangler of children amidst crazy deadlines.

21 Comments

  1. Unknown

    February 15, 2017 at 10:48 am

    I love the book! I received my copy from Amazon Saturday. I had preordered it a few months ago.
    I am now waiting for a few fabrics so I can get started.

  2. Judy

    February 15, 2017 at 11:55 am

    What a great book! Love Rock Star!

  3. Unknown

    February 15, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    Thank you – I will check it out – I have just been trying to figure out what to make with a moda charm pack (Wing and Leaf) so this would be perfect…..!

  4. Pam L

    February 15, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    I'm going to buy a couple extra books to give friends just starting to quilt! Cannot wait to get my hands on this. Congratulations 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

  5. Becky S.

    February 15, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    Your Charm School quilts are gorgeous! I can't wait to get a copy of the book.

  6. Little Quiltsong

    February 16, 2017 at 5:29 am

    This book sounds wonderful – I definitely have to check it out. Love the sneak peek quilts you have shown :)!

  7. Mary Ann

    February 16, 2017 at 9:30 am

    I will most definitely have to check out your book as I have been buying charm squares since Moda first brought them out in these tins. I love,love my charm packs. survivor972002@midco.net

  8. Mary Ann

    February 16, 2017 at 9:30 am

    I will most definitely have to check out your book as I have been buying charm squares since Moda first brought them out in these tins. I love,love my charm packs. survivor972002@midco.net

  9. Mary Ann

    February 16, 2017 at 9:31 am

    I will most definitely have to check out your book as I have been buying charm squares since Moda first brought them out in these tins. I love,love my charm packs. survivor972002@midco.net

  10. Anne D

    February 16, 2017 at 11:48 am

    I love charm squares and your book looks gorgeous. I will definitely have to buy it!

  11. Helen L

    February 16, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    Looks like an amazing book: so many fun looking quilts in it! And your portrait on your blog: that's you just as you finished the book, and you're thinking, "Whew! I'm exhausted, but it's done!!" (Happy Smile) Hugs, H

  12. Janan Doster

    February 18, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    Congratulations on your new book. Looks like you have added a sweet new touch to basic squares! I have been in love with charm packs ever since the beginning when Moda introduced them in "tins" with cute little patterns. Charms are so much fun plus they allow you to get a bit of the entire fabrics in a collection without breaking your checkbook! I will be looking forward to your book.

  13. Julie Cefalu

    February 27, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    This book just arrived at my local quilt shop and now I own it! I love 5" charm squares and I was so happy to see the beautiful patterns you've made for them. Congratulations!

  14. susane

    March 2, 2017 at 6:13 am

    My best congratulations for your superb site! Perfect !!!

    voyance gratuite

  15. Karen @dixielandcrafts

    March 27, 2017 at 1:04 am

    Congrats on the new book. I love it and yes already own it. I'm so excited to make the chandelier quilt and just trying to decide which of my lovely charm packs to use. I also absolutely love your fabric lines; especially Little Miss Sunshine. It's my all time favorite. Keep up the excellent work.

  16. Cynthie M

    October 9, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    I saw the Rock Star quilt on Pinerest, so I was able to get the book to make one for my grandson. The other quilts in the book are great, too. My disappointment with the Rock Star quilt is in the instructions for construction. They're confusing and seem to produce "Y" seams if done as described (at least my interpretation). It will be a little challenging to put together, but I have enough sewing experience to pull it off myself. For the novice, however, it is not a good quilt to start with.

  17. Vanessa Goertzen

    April 3, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    You are so right. I don't know if you ever saw that a correction was added to clarify how it ought to be assembled–it just requires sewing a few other things together before you can sew the rows together. Here is the link:
    https://lellaboutique.bigcartel.com/charm-school-corrections

  18. Connie

    March 1, 2021 at 11:56 am

    Vanessa- I bought your Charm School book and am making the chandelier quilt. But there’s no info on how big to cut the triangles for the edges. I’m a newbie and I don’t wanna waste fabric. Can you tell me that info?

    1. Ann Hawkes

      August 14, 2021 at 5:35 am

      I’m so glad you brought this up! It’s an important part of the instructions that were left out??? Guess I won’t buy the book!
      Thank you!

  19. Christine Chamberlain

    November 16, 2021 at 5:41 am

    Thank you for the Chandelier quilt pattern! I plan on making this one soon!

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