This idea is not original with me, but, having seen some quilts done this way, I have decided to spend a day teaching my guild members how to create the cathedral window look in a new way. You can make any size block, any size quilt, any combination of colors, and any order of base and top pairings. Here's how it starts.
I wanted to make a 24" square table topper. I had in mind four corner sections and a separate center with the cathedral windows in it, surrounded by my background color and then bordered by more cathedral windows.
I decided to use white as my background fabric and twelve 3 1/2" strips of Kaffe Fassett yummies. This particular way of combining the fabrics will be the reverse of what you usually see in cathedral windows, where the outside (or top fabric) is white and the leaf (or arced) section is in colored fabric.
Because I wanted a 24" topper, I divided my top into 8 x 8 sections in my square. Each section, therefore, measured 3" x 3". This allowed me to have a four section cathedral window block (finished size = 6") with the white peeking out from under the folded back colors. But more of the design as the pattern emerges.
What you see above is cut from 3 1/2" strips, one from each of 12 fat quarters: Eighty Kaffe Fassett squares 3 1/2 x 3 1/2", 40 white squares the same size plus four more 3 1/2" white squares for the corner treatments, six white 3 1/2 x 6 1/2" rectangles and two white 3 1/2 x 12 1/2" rectangles. You can use as many colors or fabrics as you wish, and nothing has to match if you want it to be nice and scrappy. At the very least, however, use four different colors and eight different fabrics to get some texture into the finished project.
You fold each of the colored squares in half right sides out and press them so that they form triangles. That's what you see so far in the first picture.
Next I placed two of the colored fabric triangles over each of the 40 white squares and pinned them so that the outer raw edges met and the center folds touched but did not overlap. The last step for this first part of the preparation for assembling the cathedral window block is to sew the outer edges with a basting stitch about 1/8" in from the edge. This will keep the triangles from slipping in the next part of the project, which I will publish in a few days.
Here's a picture of the first PCW block I made earlier this year, with some of the top triangles pinned back in preparation for sewing those edges to reveal the white fabric underneath. This is NOT the design for our January project, but it gives you a hint of how things are going to evolve, in case your curiosity is killing you.