Alter Ego Tutorial Reboot Featuring Simple Simon and Co.

Alter Ego Tutorial Reboot Featuring Simple Simon and Co.

Hello we are Elizabeth Evans and Elizabeth Evans… two girls who married brothers and ended up with the exact same name! We also are the same age, have the same number of children and, are both former school teachers. Together we blog over at Simple Simon and Company where we love to write about sewing, quilting, and the art of homemaking.


Today it’s me (liZ…short name, short hair) that gets the chance to share some thoughts about quilting with you. And the quilt I’m talking about is one that is a current work in progress that I started after being inspired by Jenny’s Alter Ego Quilt Tutorial.

There are two things that I really love about this quilt top tutorial:

#1. How the finished product looks complicated and time consuming when in actuality it is simple enough to be completed by even a novice quilter! (Over at Simple Simon and Company we love simple, beautiful projects….so this tutorial was right up my alley!)

#2. How versatile this tutorial really is. Just by changing up fabric styles and combinations you could make this top countless times and have an entirely different looking quilt each and every time. (And because most of us who quilt are making quilts for others rather than ourselves I can see this fast becoming a go-to quilt top to make for gifts.)

Alter Ego Full Quilt

So let’s get down to brass tacks…the making of this quilt top.

For this quilt I used 16 fat quarters from RJR’s “Everything But The Kitchen Sink” fat quarter bundle along with 2 yards of plain white fabric and a ½ yard of Riley Blake Design’s basic black and white Swiss Dot.

Everything But the Kitchen Sink by RJR

(I love this fabric. It has such a happy, vintage vibe and working with it is a pure delight. Yes, a pure delight…some fabric just is that fabulous.)
But before I made my first cut into this fantastic fabric I came up with a plan. Even when I am following a pattern or a tutorial I jot down notes or sketch out my plan in a notebook.

Alter Ego Plan

It’s not fancy but it helps me collect my thoughts and gives me a direction for what fabrics I would like to place where. And for this quilt I wanted to try something a little different.

The Alter Ego quilt top is made using alternating 4 Patch and Hourglass quilt blocks. Each of these blocks have 4 different areas or zones. And my idea was to start in the center of the quilt with solid patterns…no white…and slowly add white into the mix until the rows on each end were solid white.

So you can see in my plan where the middle two rows were constructed of solid patterns.

Then the next row on either side of the middle would have ¼ of each block be constructed out of white.

The rows after that would be constructed from blocks where ½ of the area would be made from white.

And finally the two rows on each end would be solid white.

That was my plan but when I got to here I stopped:

Alter Ego Full Quilt Chopped

I’m not sure I feel like only ½ of the blocks done in white gives the quilt enough white space to transition into an all white row.
Which is where you come in…what do you think?
Here is the original plan:

Alter Ego 4 square with 1 fourth

Solid, ¼ white, ½ white, all white.

But here is what I am thinking I should do instead:

Alter Ego 4 square collage with 2 fourths

Solid, ¼ white, ½ white, ¾ white, all white.

So that would mean adding two more rows (one on each end of the quilt before the all white row.)

I think this would make the flow better…and I have exactly enough little squares already cut to make it happen.

But here is what it would do to my quilt size:

If I stick with my original plan the quilt will finish at roughly 72” x 72” (which I like…because I LOVE square quilts). However, if I add the two extra rows it will become about 72” wide and 90” long…kind of a strange size.

Which leads me to my question (and the reason my quilt top construction has come to a halt): Do I go with the better design and weird size or better size and a design that is not as strong?

I am leaning toward the stronger design….what do you think?

Here’s where I am at…and can go either way:

Alter Ego Full Quilt

While you are thinking you can check out Jenny’s terrific tutorial for The Alter Ego quilt and then you can pop on over to Simple Simon and Company and read about a quilt making tip that saved my marriage when making this quilt top!


(And when I decide which way to go I will be sure and share photos the finished quilt with you!)

Alter Ego Quilt Step by Step Tutorial

Visit Simple Simon and Company:

Read more about this quilt from Simple Simon and Company:

  • Peggy Giese

    I really like the stronger design. So if it is an odd shape, it will still be a nice coverlet for a bed!! Love it by the way!!

  • threadbndr

    70 by 90 inches is my preferred size for a quilt for twin bed, so it’s not so ‘weird’ of a size. I’d go with the stronger design.

  • Echo Combs

    This is a beautiful creation! I like the stronger design. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  • Cheryl

    Looking at the completed colors, start on the left edge with 3/4 white and migrate across transitioning to full white. It will keep size and add a twist to the quilt visually.

  • Amanda Procter

    I would just leave out the solid white and go with 3/4 white for the last rows, and bind in white

  • Linda Bingham

    Definitely stronger design, but there have been some interesting alternative suggestions!

  • Patti

    Add the row of 3/4 white as you originally planned, then add a small white border for the effect you want while keeping the quilt closer to the size you like.

  • Brenda A

    If you have enough fabric and you really like the last row all white (which I really like the stronger design) you could add an extra vertical row of blocks on either side as well and have a 90 x 90 quilt! But I also like the idea of making the final two rows partial 3/4 white into solid white – kind of like a lead-in and exit of white!

  • Karee

    Pros for adding the 3/4 row and then the all-white row: a) it will produce a great twin size quilt; b) you accomplish the transition desired; c) you have the fabrics.
    Cons: a) not square, UNLESS, you only add additional rows to the bottom; add no more rows to the top edge.
    Ensure the binding on the last 2 rows is white on white.

  • Shasta

    Is your center area sewn together? I would be tempted to put some more black dot out at the sides because, to me, the outsides seem to fade away. And maybe something more striking at the center.

  • Cindy Holman

    I would choose one of the light fabrics to do the border. The black is so overwhelming you need to pop those light fabrics and bring them out.

  • Katie

    I’d stick with the stronger design every time. I agree with Patti. Add the row of 3/4 white (which transitions into a full white more naturally and smoothly) and perhaps a border of white (which would add some inches evenly all the way around, without another solid white pieced row but give the same effect) and a binding in the black/white polka dot. That would make all the white pop along with the black/white pieces. Or stick with a solid white binding for the original effect you wanted. Your quilt would be larger than 72″ and smaller than 90″ but still square.

  • Judy

    Stronger design and 72×90 is pretty much a twin size!

  • Diana Fackler

    stronger design definitely. before I was even to your dilemma I was thinking, “she can’t go solid, one, two, four…she needs to go solid, one, two, three, four….makes sense and will fit on a bed nicely.

  • Mary Cortez

    I would go with stronger design; you want to love it when you are done!

  • Lana Armstrong

    I agree with the stronger design versus size. However as I was looking at the portion you have finished, I feel that the top is strong as it is. Why not just add two rows to the bottom using your 3/4 and full white? Add nothing to the top and still have your square quilt. Just thinking outside the box.

  • Barb Johnson

    I agree with Katie’s suggestions. If you want it square just add more blocks vertically or a white border. Isnt 90x 90 approx. Queen size? You have received some very good suggestions, cant wait to see the finished quilt!

  • Chris

    Stronger design is always my choice as long as I have enough fabric for the changes needed.

  • Tsim

    No time to read the rest, but I think you should go 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and forget 4/4! If you want to add a white border, it might work. I just don’t see the need for the all white. The fading is obvious.

  • April Spolnicki

    Definitely add the extra rows. An odd sized quilt wouldn’t be a big issue to me. I think it will look great!

  • Carole S Vrshek

    I vote for the rectangular size – but that’s just me because I am not so much for square! And I think the extra rows to white would make the quilt look really sharp and draw your eyes back into the middle.

  • Sheila

    I would make it large enough to fit a full or queen bed. I’m tall, so I personally like rectangular quilts.

  • Marcia Berbeza

    It seems like I’m going to be the lone dissenting voice. I think that the pattern in the middle is stronger. I don’t care for a lot of white and it rather lost my interest when more white started creeping in. BUT – if you have a vision, implement your vision. Most beds need a quilt that is 90 inches long just to accommodate toes. 72 sounds like a twin size, so I would think your size should be fine.

  • Linda Glae

    To me, an ‘alter ego’ should go from bold to weak – dark to light – instead of the ‘bold’ being scattered all over. All the black dots draw the eye to the center of the quilt. If you continue with the ‘fade out’ to white, it should be square – with white or almost white all around the border. BUT, you need a strong color to stop the eye from wandering away from the quilt’s white edges. A bold binding or border seems necessary to me. You really need to repeat the black dots in the border – maybe a scrappy border or binding. I just get the feeling, in looking at the overall quilt, that it is not balanced.

  • Tina

    I’ll give contrary advice, but that’s just what I do! Instead of fade to all white, why not more of a wave and reverse your fade back into the darker colors, to keep the eye engaged. Or end it at 3/4

  • Theresa

    I like the idea of going with 1/4, 1/2, but using the black and white swiss dot instead of white, go with a white inner border to frame it and draw out the white in all the fabrics, and finish with the swiss dot outer border and binding.

  • Dottie

    The dark pieces stand out as not belonging with the rest. The white is distracting by its placement. It is time to redo the whole thing by keeping less colors and more of a system of coordinating colors. We all have what we think are great ideas that eventually fall flat.

  • Barbara Wiggins

    Love the polka dot border idea. I was also thinking a black and white stripe but cut on the bias so you have the angles working for the quilt.

  • Barbara Wiggins

    I’m not a big fan of all the white and would stick with the colors as you have them, then add a white inner border, black outer border. The suggested polka dot binding sounds good or a stripe binding cut on the bias would also sing. Black and white for the binding with a bit of bold (not tiny dots or stripes). Remember, if it is worth doing, it is worth over doing.

  • Susan

    I don’t know why I just saw this post and you have probably moved on and solved your problem completely. If so, congratulations. The black in the quilt keeps pulling my eye. What if you took off the bottom two rows, with the prominent two black squares and played with putting them at the top of the quilt with the black squares at the opposite end of the quilt. I don’t know if you would want the ones from the bottom at the top or put under the current top two rows. It might give you some much needed symmetry. You might just put the right ends of the bottom two rows on the left instead of the right. There is something that just doesn’t quite fit right to me. I could be all wet, too. Good luck!

  • Nellie Flanders

    Sorry, not a fan of this design, looks like a really bad hair day with everything scattered everywhere. Sorry

  • Donna Mosher

    Colors don’t seem to be well balanced with so many strong yellows on one side. With the over abundance of pattern and color this is one quilt I would never like or use. My question is, “Was not finishing the quilt the result of its content”.

  • Kristin Jackson

    I am in agreement with you Nellie :/