Quilt Class: Foundation Piecing pt.2

New York Compass
New York Compass

We are learning foundation piecing (also called paper piecing) using a pattern called New York Compass. If you are just finding this tutorial, go to part 1 to see the supply list and learn how to prepare your pieces.

Cut rectangles for foundation piecing 2.5"
Cut rectangles for foundation piecing 2.5″

I am using an aqua with white dots for my background and a red with white dots for my foreground. You should have already cut your rectangles for both foreground and background at 2.5″x6″. If not, do it now, as you will need them almost immediately.

The sections of Section C are marked in the order in which you should piece them. Start with C1. Odd numbers are the background and even numbers indicate you should use the foreground (spikes) fabric.

You will be piecing from one side (C1) towards the middle to the other side, ending with C17.

  1. Set up your sewing machine with an applique’ foot or similar. You will not need your quarter inch foot for the foundation piecing part of the process.
  2. Shorten the stitch length. If you can’t shorten the stitch length, remember to backstitch at the beginning and end of each line of stitching.
  3. If you are a speed demon, and the option is available on your machine, slow down your machine a little bit. You will need to control the speed at the beginning and the end of the stitching lines.
  4. Place your Section C pattern face down on a flat surface.
  5. Lay Section C Face Down
    Lay Section C Face Down

    Cover piece C1 on the paper pattern with one of the background rectangles you cut in Part 1. Place the fabric in such a way to leave at least 1/4″ of fabric around each piece. You get extra bonus points if you line one long straight edge with the straight line at the end of the pattern.

  6. Now, hold the pattern and the foreground fabric in one hand (optionally you can clip them together with a WonderClip) and hold the whole piece up to the light (facing a window or a lamp or on a light box). Take note of where the line is between C1 and C2.
  7. Add second fabric
    Add second fabric

    Still holding your pieces up to the light, take one of your foreground rectangles and place one of its edges 1/4″ from the line between C1 and C2. This will be the seam allowance and that quarter inch should hang over the line into C2.

  8. Put all the pieces carefully back down on your table.
  9. Pin the two fabrics to the paper, keeping the pin well away from the line between C1 and C2. You want enough space so the pin doesn’t interfere with the foot on your sewing machine. I also like to pin parallel to the sewing line and within the seam allowance to so I can test to see if the fabric covers the other pieces. I like to pin on my cutting mat so I don’t damage the furniture.
  10. Fold the foreground piece back to make sure that it covers C2. You will fold it on the line between C1 and C2. That will be your sewing line. You can move the pins to the front for easier sewing.
  11. Flip the whole thing over
    Flip the whole thing over

    Flip the whole thing over and take a look.

  12. Once pinned, check again to make sure that you have at least 1/4″ all around C1 (background) and C2 (foreground).
  13. Take your piece to the sewing machine and sew on the line between C1 and C2. Do not go over. Only sew on that line.
  14. Stitched on line
    Stitched on line

    Back stitch at the beginning and the end. One backstitch is fine.

  15. Fold over to check coverage
    Fold over to check coverage

    Remove the piece from under the presser foot and fold your foreground over to check and make sure it covered C2. You might need to hold it up to the light.

    Why you need to trim
    Why you need to trim

    You can see the foreground fabric through the background, which is why you need to trim. Depending on the colors you use, this may not be the case, but you don’t want to build up so many layers that you cannot quilt through the piece.

  16. Take Section C back to your cutting mat and place it so the paper part of the pattern is on top.
  17. Fold the paper back
    Fold the paper back

    Fold the paper back on the seam line so the excess seam allowance is exposed. You are going to cut this off, so it is worthwhile to take a minute and make sure you are not cutting off the wrong part, eg the part you need to cover your background and spikes.

  18. Trim Excess Seam Allowance
    Trim Excess Seam Allowance

    Line up your ruler with the 1/4″ line on the seam line and trim the excess seam allowance.

  19. Press
    Press

    Take your piece to your ironing surface and place it with the paper down. Press towards the foreground, so you get rid of as much of the “bump'” from the seam as you can. Press towards the middle of your pattern. You want the foreground fabric to be as flat as you can get it. Pressing is very important. It is possible that there will be a bump when you put the next piece over the previous one, if you don’t press well.

  20. Your foreground piece should cover the line between C2 and C3 and give you a 1/4″ seam allowance.
  21. Once you have pressed the foreground flat, you are ready to put on the next background piece.
  22. Take one of your background rectangles and place one of its edges 1/4″ from the line between C2 and C3, smoothing (without stretching) the foreground piece you sewed, so it is as flat as possible. Again, this will be the seam allowance and that quarter inch should hang over the line into section C3. You may need to hold it up to the light again to position the piece correctly.
  23. Once you have the correct placement, pin in place.
  24. Once pinned, check again to make sure that you have at least 1/4″ all around C2 (background) .
  25. Sew on black line
    Sew on black line

    Take your piece to the sewing machine and sew on the line between C2 and C3. Do not sew beyond the end of that line. Only sew on that line.

  26. Repeat
    Repeat

    Repeat this process, alternating between foreground and background until you reach the other end of Section C. As you move down the pattern, your Section C will start to look like something you could put into a block.

  27. Trim Straight Edges
    Trim Straight Edges

    Use your rotary cutting kit to trim the straight edges of Section C.

  28. Trim with Sharp Scissors
    Trim with Sharp Scissors

    From the paper pattern side of Section C, I eyeball a 1/4″ and trim the curves with very sharp scissors. There are some serious layers here, so I am not fooling when I say sharp.

Finished Section C
Finished Section C

The finished Section C is a sight to behold. Even after making several of these sections, I amazed each time it turns out.

Tips:

  • If you have to rip out stitches, rip them out from the fabric side, not the paper side.
  • Pay attention to putting the next piece on the foundation.

Resources:

Part 3 is coming soon.

Quilt Class: Foundation Piecing pt.1

I hope you are enjoying this class! I am really appreciating the opportunity to update the tutorials. I hope to do more updating and keep making them better.

Today we are going to start another series of tutorials to learn foundation piecing. Foundation piecing is a technique where the pattern is printed on paper or fabric (the foundation) and the maker sews directly on to that foundation.

The block we will use is called New York Compass, a variation of the New York Beauty pattern. It is a little more complex than the patterns we have been working on, but I decided to throw caution to the wind and nudge you to step up. You have done curves, so I am confident you can sew this block.

New York Compass
New York Compass

In part 1, we will prep everything.

Supplies:

  • Notebook for notes
  • Pen to take notes 😉
  • Sewing Machine
  • applique’ foot (preferably one with a mark showing where the needle will stitch)
  • 1/4″ foot
  • thread
  • fabric
  • fabric scissors
  • paper scissors
  • foundation piecing paper like Toni’s Disappearing Paper or Carol Doak’s Foundation Paper – you can just use printer paper, but it might be harder to rip off. Tracing paper can work, too, but it is good to be able to send the paper through the printer
  • pins
  • Rotary cutter
  • rulers
  • template plastic
  • template plastic friendly pen (Bic works)
  • glue stick
  • iron and ironing surface
  • thin pressing cloth
  • New York Compass pattern
  • Optional: Wonderclips
  • Optional: Lightbox
  1. Pattern in 4 Pieces
    Pattern in 4 Pieces

    Print the pattern sheets (all 4). I only have 8.5″x11″ paper so the pattern comes out on 4 sheets. Use some kind of foundation piecing paper to print the pattern. Nota Bene: I keep a folder for all of my projects, so I like to print at least 2, if not 3 copies of the pattern. One I use to make the templates (yes, we will need a few templates), one I will tape together and keep whole (you can use regular copy paper for this one) and one I will use for the foundations.

  2. Tape pattern together
    Tape pattern together

    Trim off the margins and tape the parts together. Note, the tape will not play nicely with your iron when you press the foundation pieced parts so USE A PRESSING CLOTH. A scrap of fabric or ugly fabric work great. Guess how I found this out?

  3. NY Compass Templates
    NY Compass Templates

    Above is how the templates shake out: 3 regular plastic backed templates and two foundation templates.

  4. Cut Paper Pattern Apart
    Cut Paper Pattern Apart

    Cut the parts of the pattern apart. You will have 5 parts. Two of them will be foundation piecing patterns and 3 of will need to be made into regular templates with template plastic.

  5. NY Compass Sections
    NY Compass Sections
    NY Compass Outline
    NY Compass Outline

    I am going to refer to the skinny spikes piece as Section C. Section C is in the middle.

  6. Make your templates. You must add a quarter of inch to your paper templates (not the ones that will be foundation pieced. If you don’t know how to make templates with template plastic, refer to my tutorial on Machine Applique’ Part 1. Make sure you place the template on the wrong side of fabric when tracing. Set the templates aside
  7. Cut rectangles for foundation piecing 2.5"
    Cut rectangles for foundation piecing 2.5″

    Cut rectangles for foundation piecing 2.5″x 6.5″. This is a generous rectangle. You aren’t going to save any fabric with this technique and you should worry more about coming up short, because ripping out stitches when using this technique is a real pain.

  8. There is one tricky part about these templates. You will need to add a 1/4″ to the curve. The way you do that is to: A) glue the paper template to the largest piece of template plastic you have (you may have to piece the template plastic). B) Take your ruler and start at the left end of the paper template. Line the ruler’s 1/4″ mark up with the dark outline on the paper template (you should still have a rough cut paper template before you glue the paper to template plastic). C) Make a mark with a template plastic friendly pen at the 1/4″. D) Move your ruler slightly to the right and make another mark at the 1/4″ point. E) Follow the curved line of the paper part of the template with your ruler until you reach the far right side of the ruler. F) Cut along the dots you have made in as smooth a motion as you can using your paper scissors. You should now have a quarter inch seam allowance along your template. Repeat for all curved templates.
  9. Cut your fabrics. Nota Bene: When you cut the fabrics for Section C, cut rectangles for these spikes at 2.5″ wide.

  10. Check fabric strips
    Check fabric strips

    Check to make sure you have cut your rectangles large enough. Take your Section C and lay it face up. Cover the first section (labeled C1 on my pattern) to make sure your rectangle covers the entire section C1 plus 1/4″ seam allowance around all sides.

Part 2 will be posted soon so you can learn the actual foundation piecing.

Tips:

  • If you have to rip out stitches, rip them out from the fabric side, not the paper side.

Resources:

Quilt Class: Flower Basket pt.2

Flower Basket
Flower Basket

As mentioned in part 1, above is the current block in our Sampler Quilt Class. These directions are for machine sewing your Flower Basket and include a little applique’. The applique’ can be done by machine or hand.

Are you playing along? If you are just starting, below is the complete supply list. You won’t need everything for this step, but you will need to start with part 1 and that part requires more supplies.

Supply List

  • Flower Basket Directions & Templates
  • paper scissors (part 1)
  • mechanical pencil
  • thin Pigma pen (or similar) (part 1)
  • template plastic (part 1)
  • glue stick (part 1)
  • 2 (or more) foreground fabrics
  • 12.5″ x 12.5″ piece of background fabric, which you will cut in half
  • FQ of same background fabric
  • Rotary ruler, including a long one, such as Creative Grids 4.5″x 18.5″
  • Rotary cutter
  • Fabric scissors
  • thread
  • pins
  • Stiletto
  • Design wall or sandpaper board
  • sewing machine in good working order
  • Sharp or top stitch sewing machine needle

Optional

Important information:

  • Block is 12.5″ unfinished / 12″ finished
  • These directions use a quarter inch seam allowance. Check your seam allowance before you begin. If you don’t know how to do that, there are resources available, including one from Connecting Threads and Craftsy. Search the web for others if you don’t like these tutorials.
  • You will be directed to use the Triangle Technique. Make sure you have the chart as well as the instructions handy.
  • Respect the bias.

After working through part 1, you have already chosen your fabrics, made your templates and cut your pieces. You are ready to sew.

Sewing

Carefully stitch along the hypotenuse of the large background triangle, about 1/8″ from the edge, to stabilize it. This stitching will be covered up when you stitch the handle part of the block to the basket part of the block.

Triangle Technique

Use the Triangle Technique to make your half square triangles. Make sure you have the HST Size Chart available to confirm sizes. A brief overview is:

Draw an X from corner to corner diagonally on the wrong side of each of your 6.25″ x 6.25″ squares.

Place them right sides together and sew 1/4″ on each side of the diagonal lines.

Nota bene: Pin far away from any of the diagonal lines.

Now you have a piece with four seams forming an X.

Next cut the ‘Plus’ of your sewn piece. This means that you are cutting horizontally down the middle and vertically down the middle using the center of the X as a guide.

  • Line up your ruler with the edge of the fabric and the point in the middle where the two lines forming the X come together.
  • Cut vertically.

Do NOT move your fabric.

  • Reposition your ruler and then cut the piece horizontally.

After you cut the “PLUS” (the vertical and horizontal cuts), you will have four squares, each with a line drawn diagonally across the middle. Cut the squares in half diagonally. You can use the line as a guide. It is more important to line your ruler up corner to corner.

Triangle Technique HSTs
Triangle Technique HSTs

The result is 8-2.5″ half square triangles. The above are actually a thread or two larger than 2.5″, which leaves the perfect opportunity for trimming to make them an absolutely perfect 2.5″.

  • Trim your HSTs to an absolutely perfect 2.5″.

Now you have 8 beautiful HSTs. You will need to make one additional HST.

Of course, you can use whatever technique you like to make the half square triangles.

Layout and Assembly

Pieces cut and ready to sew
Pieces cut and ready to sew

Now that you have cut all of your pieces, lay them out on your sandpaper board, or put them up on your design surface. It is great to be able to see where all the pieces belong and adjust any pieces that need adjusting before you sew.

Sew Handle to Background

Template on Handle, ready to trace
Template on Handle, ready to trace
Traced & Adjusted
Traced & Adjusted

Because I decided to use the method described below, I made another handle template with NO seam allowance. I placed it on the handle I had cut from the striped fabric carefully so there was an even seam allowance on all sides. Then I traced around it with my thin black pen. I thought the template was a little wide at the end so I adjusted the line a bit to make the seam allowance larger.

Handle & Background Triangle Cut, Laid Out
Handle & Background Triangle Cut, Laid Out
Pieces Laid Out
Pieces Laid Out

My pieces look a little weird-not the right size, etc when I laid them out. Have no fear! They will improve.

Press seam allowance under
Press seam allowance under
Press with hot iron
Press with hot iron

I was using my stiletto to adjust the seam allowance, but it was impossible to hold the stiletto, the camera and the iron all at once. Press carefully, so as not to distort your pieces. This is where a mini iron comes in handy.

Watch out for corners
Watch out for corners

Pay attention to the corners. The layers of fabric will want to pooch in weird directions. Again, this is where a mini iron comes in handy. I used my regular iron and a stiletto.

Press seam allowance on handle under
Press seam allowance on handle under

Take your handle and press the the seam allowance under on both sides of the piece. Press so that the drawn line is on the inside of the handle and is covered by the piece once the handle is sewn.

Nota bene: the orange fabric is laying on my ironing board and was selected for good contrast so that the steps would show up well

Finger press patches in half
Finger press patches in half

Fold the handle in half with wrong sides together and finger press on the midpoint. Unfold.

Fold your large triangle in half with right sides together and finger press. Unfold and layout.

Nesting handle & background
Nesting handle & background

Nest the handle into the triangle with the right sides up using your finger pressed marks.

Line up the bottom edges of the handle with the hypotenuse of the background triangle. If the handle ends are a little over, it will be fine. You can trim them later.

Eyeball your piece to make sure everything looks good and even.

Pin the handle to the background down the center of the handle. Remove the pins as you sew. Try not to sew over them.

  • Using a lot of pins will help keep the handle in place as you sew
Sew carefully
Sew carefully

Sew slowly and carefully along the drawn line around the curve. I chose a matching thread, an applique’ foot and a topstitch/sharp needle.

You will either need to hand applique’ the other side down or using a machine stitch that suits you.

Sew both sides down with a straight stitch.

Optional: You can satin stitch (see the Machine Applique’ tutorial) or blanket stitch or use some other decorative stitch to machine sew the handle to the background triangle piece. If you use one of these stitches, you may need some tearaway stabilizer

Optional 2: you can hand applique’ the handle to the background triangle.

Handle sewn to background with straight seam
Handle sewn to background with straight seam

Once the handle is sewn you are ready to move to sew the woven part of the basket.

Basket Sewing Layout
Basket Sewing Layout

Sew Basket Together

The block can be broken down into two pieces: the top half with the handle and the bottom half with the basket.

The parts are labeled as follows:

  • HSTs: 1-9
  • Single triangles A-G
  • Square: 10
  • Background pieces: B1-B3

Get ready to Chunk it, Baby! This is where numbered pins would come in handy.

First 2 patches sewn!
First 2 patches sewn!

Sew A to HST/1. Press towards Triangle A.

Sew B to the A-HST/1 combo. Press.

Start sewing basket together
Start sewing basket together

The two colored HSTs are supposed to give the illusion of a woven basket.

Trim off dog ears
Trim off dog ears

Trim off dog ears from the A,B-HST/1 combo.

Sew Basket parts together
Sew Basket parts together

Sew HST/2 to HST/5. Press towards HST/5.

Using the diagram above to confirm placement, sew your A, B-HST/1 combo to your HST/2-HST/5 combo. Press towards the red.

Sew basket parts together
Sew basket parts together

Sew HST/8 to Square 10. Press towards the Square 10.

Sew HST/6 to HST/9. Press towards the red part of the HST.

Sew 2 sets of woven basket parts together
Sew 2 sets of woven basket parts together
Sew basket parts together
Sew basket parts together

Using the diagram above to confirm placement, sew your HST/6-HST/9 combo to your HST/8-Square/10 combo. Press towards the HST/6-HST/9 combo.

Sew Triangle to HSTs
Sew Triangle to HSTs

Using the diagram above to confirm placement, sew C to HST/3. Press towards the red.

Sew triangle D to C-HST/3 combo
Sew triangle D to C-HST/3 combo

Using the diagram above to confirm placement, sew D to your C-HST/3 combo. Press towards D.

Trim your dog ears
Trim your dog ears

Trim your dog ears.

Sew HST/4 to HST/7. Press towards HST/7, making sure your seams will nest with the seams you have already pressed.

Sew parts of the basket together
Sew parts of the basket together

Sew HST/4-HST/7 together and then sew the HST/4-HST/7 combo to E. Press towards E.

Four sections of the Basket
Four sections of the Basket

Using the diagram above for placement, sew your HST/4-HST/7-E combo to your C-D-HST/3 combo. Press.

Trim dog ears.

Sew 2 Sections together
Sew 2 Sections together

Sew your A,B-HST/1-HST/2 segment to the HST/6-HST/9 segment.

Trim Your Dog Ears
Trim Your Dog Ears

Trim your dog ears!

Sew last two segments
Sew last two segments

Sew the last two segments of the basket part together. You may have to re-press some seams.

I didn’t move the borders the whole time I worked on the quilt See how much the basket part shrank? That is seam allowances for you! The more seams the more the piece shrinks!

Trim the dog ears
Trim the dog ears

Trim the dog ears, if you haven’t already.

Sew 2 halves together
Sew 2 halves together

Now you have two halves of the basket. Sew the woven part to the handle part by placing the woven part on top of the handle part, lining them up and then sewing carefully. You can fold the two sections in half, bisecting the handle, to match them up if you think that you need to trim the handle portion later.

Ready to sew last borders
Ready to sew last borders

Now you are ready to sew on the borders.

Sew triangle to border
Sew triangle to border
Sew next triangle to border
Sew next triangle to border

Sew the B2-G background section by placing the red triangle (G) face down on top of background piece B2 and sew the short end of the background to the triangle, as shown in the picture.

Sew on background B2/Triangle-G
Sew on background B2/Triangle-G

Take the basket piece that you sewed together above and place the B2-G background section on top of the basket section. Line up the red triangle’s seam from the B2-G background section with the HST/8-Square 10 section. You want the seams to match, so pin. Press towards background piece B2.

Only one more border to go.

Take the basket piece that you sewed together above and place the B1-F background section on top of the basket section. Line up the red triangle’s seam from the B1-F background section with the HST/9-Square 10 section. You want the seams to match, so pin. Press towards background piece B1.

Sew on Final Triangle
Sew on Final Triangle

Now you are ready to sew the last piece.

Trim dog ears
Trim dog ears

First, trim the dog ears.

Basket almost complete
Basket almost complete

Your basket is almost complete.

Line up triangle with borders
Line up triangle with borders

Complete your basket half by sewing background piece B3 to the basket. You have already snipped off the corners using a Judy Martin Point Trimmer.  Just line up the triangle piece with the borders already sewn to the block. Press towards the background piece B3.

Your half is complete.

Take the top half of the basket, the piece with the handle, and carefully sew it to the basket half.

Completed Basket Block
Completed Basket Block

Your block is complete! Hooray.

Quilt Class: Flower Basket pt.1

The Flower Basket block is the next block in our Sampler Quilt Class. This is a three part tutorial, so be sure to come back for the next parts.

Flower Basket
Flower Basket

These directions are for machine sewing your Flower Basket and include a little applique’, which can be done by machine or hand.

Supply List

  • Flower Basket Directions & Templates
  • paper scissors
  • mechanical pencil
  • thin Pigma pen (or similar)
  • template plastic
  • glue stick
  • 2 (or more) foreground fabrics
  • 12.5″ x 12.5″ piece of background fabric, which you will cut in half
  • FQ of same background fabric
  • Rotary ruler, including a long one, such as Creative Grids 4.5″x 18.5″
  • Rotary cutter
  • Fabric scissors
  • thread
  • pins
  • Stiletto
  • Design surface or sandpaper board
  • sewing machine

Optional

Important information:

  • Block is 12.5″ unfinished, 12″ finished
  • These directions use a quarter inch seam allowance. Check your seam allowance before you begin. If you don’t know how to do that, there are resources available, including one from Connecting Threads and from Craftsy. Search the web for others.
  • You will be directed to use the Triangle Technique. Make sure you have the chart as well as the instructions handy.
  • Respect the bias.

Templates

You really only a need a template for the basket handle. If you are using templates for all of your pieces, then prepare all the templates for pieces in the patterns as directed below.

Prepare pattern for your basket handle template by printing two copies of the pattern. I prefer to do this first so when I get into the throes of sewing I don’t have to stop and fiddle around with templates.

You will eventually place one copy of the pattern in your binder, but keep it handy so you can use it as reference.

Nota bene: You probably know how to make templates. However, I am including a quick refresher.

  • Rough cut* the handle pattern out of the second printout.
Rough Cut Pattern
Rough Cut Pattern
    • Glue the paper pattern (with seam allowances) using the glue stick to the template plastic.
It's ok to use scraps of template plastic
It’s ok to use scraps of template plastic

It is okay to use scraps of template plastic. Put a piece of tape on seam lines to keep the joins stiff.

Fine cut templates
Fine cut templates
  • Fine cut** the paper pattern and template plastic you have adhered so you have an accurate template, cutting off any seam allowance that may have printed.

DSCN0125smIf you plan to machine sew the handle, prepare another basket handle template, in the same manner, without seam allowance.

Fabric

Gather your fabric and press it all. Rough cut some pieces and press them with Mary Ellen’s Best Press to help deal with the bias. Treat the large background triangle and the basket handle in the same manner.

Cutting

Flower Basket
Flower Basket

Basket Handle
In my example basket, above (same as at the beginning of the post), this fabric is the medium blue.

Lay out template piece
Lay out template piece

Place fabric large enough for your basket handle wrong side up on your table or cutting mat.

Place template face down on fabric
Place template face down on fabric

Place your handle template right side down on the wrong side of the fabric.

Trace around the template carefully with your Pigma pen. Trace carefully without pulling or tugging at the fabric. You will be dealing with some bias on the curves. You will need to carefully move your hand along the template to keep it in place while you trace. Use the Pigma pen with a light touch.

Cut out handle
Cut out handle

Using your fabric scissors, cut around the traced image, cutting the drawn line off. If you are using a template with no seam allowance, leave approximately a quarter inch seam allowance on all sides.

Set the handle aside.

Background:
In my example, above, this fabric is the blue Michael Miller Ta Dot with white dots.

Measure background
Measure background

Measure the template for the large triangle of background fabric. It should be 10″ on each of the outside edges WITH seam allowance. Cut a square 10.5″ x 10.5″. You can trim it later. Better safe than sorry. Press the square with Mary Ellen’s Best Press.

Cut square on diagonal
Cut square on diagonal

Cut the square in half along the diagonal.

Cut the following additional pieces according to the measurements given:

    • 2 patches: 2.5″x8.5″
Nip off Bunny Ears
Nip off Bunny Ears
  • 1 patch: square 4 7/8″x 4 7/8″. Cut in half. Nip off the bunny ears with the Judy Martin Point Trimmer
  • 1 square: 5″ x 5″. Cut in half on the diagonal and set your second triangle aside
Cut some pieces from extra background triangle
Cut some pieces from extra background triangle

You can cut some of the background pieces out of the leftover triangles.

Foreground fabric:

The foreground fabric is used for the basket. You will need at least two fabrics for this part. In my example I am using a scarlet red and a medium blue. See picture above for placement of foreground fabrics.

    • 1 square: 2.5″ square
    • For the HSTs, you will need 2 squares from different fabrics, according to the HST Size Chart, 6.25″ x 6.25″.
      • Nota bene: The above Triangle Technique only yields 8 HSTs. You can make another set using the Triangle Technique directions and have some extras, or you can cut the triangles themselves
    • 1 square 2.5″ x 2.5″
Cut triangles
Cut triangles
Cut squares in half
Cut squares in half
  • Cut 4 squares 2 7/8 in. by 2 7/8 in. the second background fabric (red in my project). Cut in half. These are the base and top line of your flower basket.
Cut Pieces
Cut Pieces

You should now have all of your pieces cut. Look for the next part of the tutorial on sewing the block together. It will be available tomorrow.

Terminology:

* Rough cut means that you cut around the outside line and a little away from it, leaving some extra paper. This helps to position the template properly and eventually cut it accurately.

** Fine cut means that you cut the template out very exactly and carefully getting rid of any extra paper and template material used when you rough cut. This is the shape you will use to cut your fabric so prepare this step with care.

Quilt Class: Dresden Plate

Dresden Plate
Dresden Plate

The next block is the Dresden Plate, which we are making using templates. As you have probably guessed, there are a large number of methods of making blocks. If you would like to see a wide variety of Dresden Plates, you can do a Flickr search to see what others are doing.

Supply list:

  • pen
  • heat resistant template plastic
  • Glue stick
  • paper scissors
  • Pilot SCUF black thin point pen or Pigma Micron or Sewline pencil
  • magazine subscription postcard or small piece of scrap card stock
  • pins
  • 12.5″x 12.5″ or larger square rotary cutting ruler (I like Creative Grids)
  • fabric
  • Mary Ellen’s Best Press (or similar)
  • stiletto or similar (skewer might work)
  • sharp fabric scissors
  • thread for piecing
  • sewing machine
  • basic sewing kit
Auditioning Fabric
Auditioning Fabric

1. Select your petal fabrics. You can use 2 or many. You want to be able to see the work you have put into this block. Above are all of my options. I didn’t end up using all of them.

2. Print 3 copies of Dresden Plate Templates pattern. Two you will cut out and one you will keep for future reference.

Rough cut templates out of pattern sheet
Rough cut templates out of pattern sheet

3. From one pattern sheet rough cut around the petal and the circle including the seam allowance.

4. From one pattern sheet rough cut around the circle template and the petal template excluding the seam allowance. On the petal, cut off the thick black line. For the circle, leave the thick black line on the template.

Optional: Write ‘Dresden Plate” on each piece (or some way of identifying why you made these templates for later). Make a notation on the circle with no seam allowance so you don’t it mixed up with the other circle.

Glue paper patterns to template plastic
Glue paper patterns to template plastic

5. Glue circle and petal templates to template plastic

Templates Cut Out
Templates Cut Out

6. Carefully cut templates out of template plastic just outside of thin outside line.

Extend Lines
Extend Lines

7. Extend the straight line into the seam allowance with a ruler and a very sharp pencil or pen.

8. Right where the curve starts to move away from the straight line of the template, draw a line between those two points.

Poke Corners
Poke Corners

9. At the intersection, poke the corner of the petals to mark sewing start and stop points. I used a pin and then enlarged the holes with a seam ripper.

Cut your fabric into rectangles larger than your petal templates.

Optional: Spray rectangles of petal fabric with Mary Ellen’s Best Press to control the bias.

Trace Around Petal Templates
Trace Around Petal Templates

10. Place fabric wrong side UP on your table or cutting mat. Trace around the petal template, which is face down on the wrong side of the fabric. In order to keep that template still, hold the template tight down on the fabric with your fingers near where your pencil or pen is moving around the template.

Fabrics Ready to Trace
Fabrics Ready to Trace

11. Use at least 2 different fabrics to trace 16 petals. You can use many more. If you use two, alternate them. You want to be able to see the work you have put into this block, so select fabrics with contrast.

Trace Circle on Fabric for Center
Trace Circle on Fabric for Center
Cut out Center Circle
Cut out Center Circle

12. Trace a circle using the template with the seam allowance. Cut out the fabric circle with a generous seam allowance (more than 1/4″).

13. Cut fabrics using very sharp fabric scissors OR cut straight lines with rotary cutter and curved seams with fabric scissors.

Mark the holes you cut near the curves.

Petals on Dots
Petals on Dots
Petals on Flowers
Petals on Flowers

14. Choose your background fabric by laying the petals on the possible background fabrics, approximating the shape of the Dresden plate.

15. Cut a larger block, because the sewing of the block may make it shrink up. Cut a 13.5″x13.5″ background piece. Your Dresden Plate will be appliqued to this piece. Make sure it is square. You will trim the background piece once your block has been completed. Set this aside for now.

16. Line up two petals, right sides together.

17. Pin pieces together by lining up the holes you made when you traced around the template.

Sew from Point to Point
Sew from Point to Point

18. Sew from point to point, back stitching at each end. DO NOT sew into the seam allowance.

19. Press seams open.

Group of 4
Group of 4
4 Groups of 4
4 Groups of 4

20. Sew petals together in groups of 2, then sew the groups of twos to each other to make groups of 4, etc.

21. Sew between points, back stitching at each end. DO NOT sew into the seam allowance.

Completed Plate
Completed Plate

22. Sew all petals to each other, back stitching at each end, making a ring.

23. Press all seams open.

24. Trim threads.

25. Lay petal ring face down on your ironing board.

Plate face down
Plate face down

26. Lay the petal template without the seam allowance (which must be made from heat resistant template plastic or cardboard. Don’t use something that will melt) on the back face up.

Press Curve
Press Curve

You probably won’t be able to get the seam allowances flat, but press enough so the fabric knows where the curve is. It will help you when you are ready to stitch it down.

Press Curve
Press Curve
Finished Pressing all Curves
Finished Pressing all Curves

27. Press the curve into the outer edge of each petal. Use the stiletto to hold down the edge and iron right over the stiletto tip and the template. This is the miserable step, so intersperse eating some chocolate or some other sewing. Lay aside.

28. Take your cut piece of background fabric. Fold it in half and press lightly.

Fold Background in 1/2, then 1/4s
Fold Background in 1/2, then 1/4s

29. Fold your background fabric in half again (in quarters) and press lightly.

30. Open and you should be able to see the cross you have pressed into your background piece.

Center Plate on Background
Center Plate on Background

31. Take your plate of petals and line up 4 of the seam allowances with the pressed cross on your background fabric. This will center the plate on the background. Make sure you pay attention to the vertical as well as the horizontal.

32. Pin in place

33. Use thread that matches the plate or is neutral for hand applique’ or a blanket stitch to sew plate to background. You can also machine applique’ the plate to the background. We will cover that technique in another lesson, but there are many other tutorials available.

Move Pins as you Stitch
Move Pins as you Stitch

34. Pin curved edges of plate as you move around the plate to applique’.

35. Knot the thread sufficiently so the knot does not pop through the background.

36. Bring the thread up from the back through the fold of the plate (where you pressed the seam allowance).

37. Tug gently and put the needle into the background, just catching it, and pull the needle tight through the fold of the plate again.

38. Go around the entire plate in this manner, using the needle to tuck in the seam allowance so it has a smooth round shape.

Trace
Trace

39. Trace the circle template without the seam allowance onto the magazine subscription card.

Cut out Circle
Cut out Circle

40. Cut out the magazine subscription card circle, being sure to cut off the pencil/pen line.

41. Take the circle fabric you have cut and wrap it around the magazine subscription card circle.

Use a Running Stitch to Draw up the Circle
Use a Running Stitch to Draw up the Circle

42. Using any thread, take a running stitch in the seam allowance of the circle fabric and tighten it, keeping the magazine subscription card circle flat. If the magazine subscription card does not have enough body, you can also use the circle template without the seam allowance.

Pressed, Drawn up Circle
Pressed, Drawn up Circle

43. Press the drawn up circle well, so it is flat and a perfect circle. You will need to tug on the thread to draw the circle up as you press the first time. Once the fabric knows it needs be pressed you can pull the thread tight and make a knot.

Center Circle Ready to Applique'
Center Circle Ready to Applique’

44. Pin the circle to the center of the block, covering the raw edges of the center petals.

45. Applique’ using the same directions you used to applique’ the plate.

46. Trim block to 12.5″x12.5″. You might want to wait until on this step until you start assembling the quilt.

Dresden Plate Sample
Dresden Plate Sample

The green, turquoise, black and pink sample Dresden Plate was made for the class I taught in 2006/2007. I did this one a little differently. I machine stitched the plate to the background and the circle to the center.

As you can see, I also fussy cut fabrics to take advantage of larger spaces in the quilt block.

Dresden Plate detail
Dresden Plate detail

In the solid Dresden Plate, I placed like fabrics into groups of two for a slightly different look. The center circle was a good showcase for a bit of hand quilting.

Store Templates in a Ziploc Bag
Store Templates in a Ziploc Bag

 

I store my templates in a ziploc bag with a picture of the block or a label with the name and size of the block on it.

There is a link to this tutorial from the Artquiltmaker Info–>AQ Tutorials link under the header (see above).

Quilt Class: Curves

In this lesson, we will make a block called The Dove. It is a baby version of the Drunkard’s Path. I like to use the Drunkard’s Path block in this class, but is very fiddly and be frustrating for new quiltmakers. The Dove gives you practice in sewing curves and has larger pieces. If you make this block, the next logical curve practice piece would be a Drunkard’s Path block.

Curves-The Dove
Curves-The Dove

Supplies:

  • The Dove pattern
  • paper scissors
  • template plastic
  • glue stick
  • fabric (at least 2 different)
  • pen (I like the Pigma Micron & the Pilot Ultra Fine Point)
  • Fabric scissors
  • pins
  • Sewing machine
  • quarter inch foot or other marking system
  • thread
  • Iron and ironing surface

Use a quarter inch seam allowance.

Key to Pieces
Key to Pieces

This block, as well as the Drunkard’s Path block is made from two types of pieces: a concave ‘L’ and a pie shape. The pie shape forms the circle in the center and the concave ‘L’ can be considered the background. This design has a very strong focal point.

  1. Take the The Dove pattern and rough cut the paper templates.
  2. Use the glue stick to stick the paper templates to the template plastic. You won’t need heat resistant template plastic as we won’t be ironing over the templates. It is fine to use, though, if that is the only kind you have.
  3. Rough cut the templates you have glued to the plastic.
  4. Carefully cut out the template on the seam allowance line, cutting off the rough cut paper and plastic.
  5. Place your fabric wrong side up on a hard surface.
  6. Draw Around Templates
    Draw Around Templates

    Place the templates wrong side up on your chosen fabric. Nota bene: If you are using symmetrical templates, then it doesn’t matter whether they are right side or wrong side up, but it is good to get in the habit of doing it the right way in case you use non-symmetrical templates in a future project.

  7. Draw around the template with your marking implement of choice. You will need to hold your template firmly so it doesn’t shift. You can also rough cut out the fabric pieces if trying to cut precisely with a long length of fabric draped over the cutting table is too difficult.
  8. Rotary Cut 90 degree angles
    Rotary Cut 90 degree angles

    Cut the fabric out carefully using your fabric scissors, especially the curves. Cut the drawn line off the fabric. I used a rotary cutter for the 90 degree angles.

  9. Check to make sure that the fabric you just cut out is the same size and shape as your templates. You can lay the template over your fabric to check.
  10. Fold Pieces in Half
    Fold Pieces in Half

    Take a pie shape and a concave ‘L’ shape and fold them in half. Line up the edges carefully. The halfway point that you create will be used to make sure the pieces are sewn together evenly. You will want to make the marks so the patches nest. That means you fold the concave piece in half with right sides together and the pie shaped piece in half with the wrong sides together. Mark the halfway point with a pin or through finger pressing.

  11. Nestle the pieces right sides together.
  12. Pin in Middle
    Pin in Middle

    To do this, line up the middle mark where you have finger pressed to align the blocks accurately.

  13. Place a pin in the middle at the finger pressed center
  14. Pinned 3 times
    Pinned 3 times

    Line up the outside edges and place a pin close to the two outside edges. Because of the seam allowance, the piece will look misshapen.

  15. Fill in the area between the middle pin and each outside pin with pins. Ease the area between the outside and middle pins into smoothness with your fingers, lining up the edges of the fabric as you do so. Place as many pins as you need between the middle pin and the outside pin. Make sure the fabric is flat and there are no pooches. You may have to ease a bit, but do it very gently so as not to stretch the pieces. If you have to stretch and tug and pull, there is something wrong and you should check to see if your templates match your fabric pieces.
  16. Completed Pinning
    Completed Pinning

    Do the same with the second section between the middle and the other outside edge until you have used a lot of pins.

  17. Sew Pie to Concave Piece
    Sew Pie to Concave Piece

    Sew Pie to Concave piece, removing pins before you sew over them. You may want to use a stiletto or the point of a pin to keep the edges of the fabric lined up until you sew over the area where the pin was. I also use a seam ripper as a stiletto to keep the two pieces in place after I remove the pins.

  18. Dove Block in Process
    Dove Block in Process

    Press carefully.

  19. Repeat for all of the quarter blocks. Once you have sewn the four curves. you have a four patch.
  20. Dove Block in Process
    Dove Block in Process

    Sew 2 quarter blocks together to make a half, then sew the other 2 quarter blocks together so you have two halves.

  21. Press so that the center seams nest
  22. Pin the two halves together, paying careful attention to the center.
  23. Sew the two halves together.
  24. Press carefully.
Finished Dove Block
Finished Dove Block

GREAT work! You did it!

In a previous class, I did a tutorial on laying out a Drunkard’s Path. The fabrics and the block are different, but you can get an idea of the opportunities available to you with different fabrics by taking a look at the tutorial.

Resources

Fresh Quilting: Curves Survival Guide by Jen Carlton Bailey – she uses glue instead of pins, which is interesting. I haven’t tried it. I don’t wash my quilts because I pre-wash my fabric, so I am not sure I want a bunch of glue in my seams. It is worth a try especially if you are not a fan of pins.

Quilt Class: Making Half Square Triangles

Some time ago, I saw an episode of Love of Quilting where Jo Morton was the guest. She was showing a technique for making half square triangles that blew my mind. Based on what I saw Marianne and Jo do on the show, I tried the technique and was pleased with the results.

I found this half square triangle (HST) technique to be one of the best I have seen. It is straightforward, there is a minimum of dealing with bias and the squares magically appear all at once.

There are a number of different tutorials for making HSTs (half square triangles/triangle squares) and I link to some of them below. My technique below makes 8 HSTs at a time and can be used for the Double Pinwheel that is part of the Quilt Class tutorials.

This is more of an informational tutorial than a tutorial related to certain blocks. HSTs are a component in many, many blocks designs, so learning to make HSTs using this method will come in handy

I started with 5″ squares, which is the size they used on the show. The 5″ squares make 8 HSTs. I thought it would be a great way to use charm packs. For other sizes, I have created the AQ HST Size Chart. You need this chart to find the sizes of the various pieces to make other block patterns.

Supply list:

  • AQ HST Size Chart
  • fabric
  • rotary cutter
  • rotary cutting ruler large enough to cut 4.5″ squares
  • rotary cutting mat
  • fabric (2 different)
  • Optional: Mary Ellen’s Best Press (or similar)
  • pins
  • sharp trimmers or scissors
  • thread for piecing
  • sewing machine
  • Iron
  • ironing surface
  • Sewline pencil** or mechanical pencil
2 5
2 5
Draw an X
Draw an X
Put 2 squares together
Put 2 squares together

First, I cut two squares according to the AQ HST Size Chart.

Next, using a ruler and my Sewline pencil, I drew an X, corner to corner, on the lighter square.

Place the 2 squares right sides together and press them.  Pin far away from any of the lines.

Next, sew 1/4″ away from each line. I place the guide of my 1/4″ foot on the pencil line, which ensures my needle is 1/4″ away. Sew on both sides of all of the lines.

Measure 2.5" from the edge
Measure 2.5″ from the edge

After sewing, I measured 2.5″ from the side of the square and cut. Don’t move the two pieces. Position your ruler 2.5″ from bottom and make another cut.

Cut in a PLUS Configuration
Cut in a PLUS Configuration

Cut the square in a plus configuration 2.5″ – use the middle of the X as a guide. This is called the PLUS cut on the chart. You can draw pencil lines in a plus configuration and cut on those, if you want.

Cut in PLUS, then X
Cut in PLUS, then X

After you cut the PLUS you will have four squares, each with a line drawn diagonally across the middle. Cut the squares in half diagonally on the line. Use the line as a guide. It is more important to line your ruler up corner to corner.

HSTs from 5" squares
HSTs from 5″ squares

The result is 8 2″ half square triangles. The above are actually a thread or two larger than 2″, which leaves the perfect opportunity for trimming to make them an absolutely perfect 2″. If you trim, you get rid of the bunny ears as well.

Trim on all four sides
Trim on all four sides

Trim the squares to 2″. Line the 45 degree angle line on your ruler up with the diagonal seam line on your HST and trim on all four sides. Trim on all four sides. Don’t be tempted to trim just on two sides.

Beautiful HSTs
Beautiful HSTs

Now you have 8 beautiful HSTs. The bias edges shouldn’t be scary for you when you use the regular HST method, but this method makes HSTs much easier. This is a fabulous method when you need to make a lot of HSTs in a short amount of time. It is similar to a tutorial that p.s. i quilt posted, but times 4.

My DH came up with a chart showing the different sizes you can make with this technique. Look at this chart to find the correct size for your project.

AQ HST Size Chart

Links:

  1. Jo Morton website
  2. Jo Morton blog
  3. Jo Morton on Andover
  4. Wet Canvas tutorial
  5. Carole’s Quilting Adventures tutorial
  6. B’s Modern Quilting Fish Tutorial
  7. p.s. i quilt HST tutorial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

**I use affiliate links and may be paid for your purchase of an item when you click on an item link in my post. There is no additional cost to you for clicking or purchasing items I recommend. I appreciate your clicks and purchases as it helps support this blog.

Quilt Class: Flying Geese

Quilt Class: Sawtooth Star
Quilt Class: Sawtooth Star

Today we will be making the Sawtooth Star block. You will use your newly formed bias skills as well as cutting. You will also learn to make Flying Geese.

I love this block. I could make tons of them and never get bored. Like the Nine Patch, there are a lot of variations of this block to keep it interesting. I made about 1,000 of them for the Star Sampler quilt. Yes, I got tired of making them, but the end result is spectacular and I would make that quilt again.

In the large size (12 inches or larger), it is good to use large prints, like I did, especially with the center. Alternatively, make one of the variations (see Star Sampler for examples of the variations) with more pieces. For now, if you have large prints, use those for this block.

Flying Geese are a unit comprised of two different kinds of triangles. One of them is the same and the other is different from the triangles we used yesterday. The Flying Geese are also used as a component in many types of blocks as well as as a design component by themselves and in borders.

This is a thinking girl’s tutorial to making flying geese. Knowing how to make Flying Geese allows you to make, not only, Sawtooth Star blocks, but also Dutchman’s Puzzle blocks, borders and many other other parts needed for your quilts.

We will be learning the very basic way to make Flying Geese – no special rulers or tricks. There are many other ways to make flying geese and I use a specialty ruler now that I know the basic method. I’ll see about a tutorial using specialty rulers another time.

Supply list:

  • Cutting instructions for Sawtooth Star
  • fabric
  • rotary cutter
  • rotary cutting ruler large enough to cut 4.5″ squares
  • rotary cutting mat
  • fabric (2-3 different)
  • Optional: Mary Ellen’s Best Press (or similar)
  • pins
  • sharp trimmers or scissors
  • thread for piecing
  • sewing machine
  • Iron
  • ironing surface
  • Sewline pencil or mechanical pencil

First print the cutting instructions (pattern) for the Sawtooth Star block.

Cut your pieces according to the instructions.

Cut 2 Squares for each Flying Geese Element
Cut 2 Squares for each Flying Geese Element

The above is the fabric I will use for the ‘wings’.

Draw diagonal line from corner to corner
Draw diagonal line from corner to corner

Turn the squares wrong side up and draw a diagonal line from corner to corner. You will need to do this on all of the squares for your Flying Geese.

Cut background
Cut background

Cut the goose, fabric. Nota bene: above is a different fabric than I used in the final block. In the finished block I used an aqua with red dots.

Lay wing 1 on goose
Lay wing 1 on goose

Lay first square that will be a wing on the goose (blue) fabric. The diagonal line should be pointing to the center of the blue piece.

Pin the square to the larger patch. Make sure the pin is out of the way. You will be sewing on that drawn line, so you will need to pin far enough away so the pin doesn’t interfere with the operation of the machine.

Sew along line
Sew along line

Sew along line and trim threads. I use a foot that has an arrow on it. I can line that arrow up with the drawn line and sew away.

Trim
Trim

Trim 1/4″ away from the sewn line as shown above. You will cut through the wing and the goose.

Press the wing so the front of the wing fabric is showing. You must press the wing into its final position before you sew the other background on to your block.

Lay 2d square on goose.
Lay 2d square on goose.

Place the second wing on the other side of the background fabric. Again, the diagonal line will be pointed towards the center of the larger patch.

Trim 2d sewn wing
Trim 2d sewn wing
Sew and trim second wing
Sew and trim second wing

Sew and trim as above. Sew so that you cross the previous sewing line.

Press back 2d wing
Press back 2d wing

Press back the 2d wing and, voila’, you have a Flying Geese element.

Now make 3 more and cut your squares for the rest of the block.

You can also make these with various rulers. I often use the Deb Tucker Wing Clipper ruler and also have the various sizes of the Quilt in a Day Flying Geese ruler. I teach this basic method so you know how to do it and don’t have to purchase a specialty ruler. If you plan to make many Flying Geese, I suggest you buy either of the rulers listed above.

You need four of these to make a Sawtooth Star or eight of them to make a Dutchman’s Puzzle.

Bonus pattern: Dutchman’s Puzzle

I found an interesting border on Instagram using Flying Geese.

Quilt Class: Triangles

Now it is time for triangles. Triangles are not hard but you do have to pay attention to the bias. There are different types of triangles and in this block you will make Half Square Triangles. Understanding how to sew triangles expands your repertoire of designs by leaps and bounds.

Double Pinwheel
Double Pinwheel

You will make a 12 inch finished Double Pinwheel block. This block is also a 2×2 grid, just like the Double Four Patch. The pinwheels make up one square in each row of the two by two grid. Plain blocks make up the other squares.

Supply list:

  • fabric
  • rotary cutter
  • rotary cutting ruler
  • rotary cutting mat
  • fabric (2-3 different)
  • Mary Ellen’s Best Press (or similar) is very helpful with the bias
  • pins
  • sharp scissors
  • thread for piecing
  • sewing machine
  • Iron
  • ironing surface
  • Optional: numbered pins

Steps:

Double Pinwheel - Another View
Double Pinwheel – Another View

1. Cut:

  • 4 squares 4in. x 4in. for the blades of the pinwheel AKA the triangles. Mine are red in the above photos
  • 4 squares 4in. x 4in. from the background fabric. My background fabric is aqua in the above photo. This size will allow you to have enough extra fabric to trim the half square triangles before you sew them into the pinwheel. I like trimming
  • 2 -6.5in. squares from the background fabric for the plain background squares.

2. Cut all of the 4in. squares in half on the diagonal.

Layout your patches
Layout your patches
Layout your patches

3. Lay out all of your patches on your design surface so you can see how the block will look.

The cut patches look like they won’t fit.  That is because of the seam allowances. It will all work out in the end. I promise.

4. Put one background triangle and one pinwheel triangle right sides together matching the hypotenuse (longest side) of the triangle.

4A. Spray the two fabric patches with Mary Ellen’s Best Press. Handle the triangles carefully by not yanking on them.

Gently put triangles under presser foot
Gently put triangles under presser foot

5. Sew one background triangle and one pinwheel triangle together along the hypotenuse of the triangle. I sew them with the background patch on top.

Use your hands to guide not yank
Use your hands to guide not yank

Sew all patches with the same color fabric on top. It will help you keep them organized.

My fingers are just keeping the hypotenuse up against my seam guide. The feed dogs are moving the fabric.

Chain piecing, baby!
Chain piecing, baby!

Sew one triangle after the other without clipping the thread between them. This is chain piecing. I use chain piecing to piece all of the triangles. I try and prevent them from falling off the back of my table so the falling triangles don’t yank on the ones still under the presser foot.

6. Sew all triangles needed to make pinwheels. Take them out of the machine and clip the threads between.

7. Take all of your sewn triangles to your pressing surface. First, I set the seam like Fons & Porter suggest and then open the seam and carefully press the seam towards the pinwheel fabric (red dot in my case).

8. Take the pieces to your cutting mat. Line up the diagonal line on your ruler (hopefully you are using a square ruler with a diagonal line) with the diagonal line you have sewed and trim your new half square triangle (HST) block to 3.5in.

  • You will need to make this cut twice for each patch as you cut two sides. Trim the top and the right side first. Then, turn the block 180 degrees and then trim the other two sides, which are, once again, the top and the right side.

9. Arrange your sewn HSTs on your design wall to you can be sure that they are arranged in a pinwheel block.

10. Make a note to yourself (use a pin, eyeball it, pinch it) which sides you are going to sew together. Nota bene: This is where numbered pins come in handy, if you decided to buy them.

Sew 2 HSTs together
Sew 2 HSTs together

11. Take 2 half square triangles and place them right sides together underneath your machine’s presser foot.

Nested HSTs
Nested HSTs
  • The seam allowances on the diagonal should be nested together. This will work if you have pressed all of your HSTs towards the pinwheel fabric. In the above photo you can see how the diagonal seams are lined up when I lift the corner of the fabric to show you. (Professional stunt quiltmaker! Please do not try this at home with your machine running!!!)

12. Making sure you are sewing them in the right orientation, sew two half square triangles together.

13. Press these half pinwheels towards the background.

  • You should have 2 pieces of 2 half square triangles ready to sew into a pinwheel.
Important Matching Spot
Important Matching Spot

14. Nest the 2 half pieces together. In the above photo I have put the pin in just to show you about where you should sew. Sew along the middle of the pinwheel

  • When you sew try not to cut off the point of the pinwheel center. You will see a V made by the seams you have sewn previously. Make sure you err towards the seam allowance (on your right looking at the needle of the sewing machine) and don’t cut off that V. Ideally, you want to sew one thread towards the seam allowance on top of that V.
V
V
  • You can just sew over the middle (.5in. on either side of the middle point) to make sure your points match, then you can go over the whole seam once you decide if you like the way the center looks. The ripping out is easier if you only have an inch to do.
Middle Sewn to Check Points
Middle Sewn to Check Points

When you open the block (with just the middle sewn) you can tell whether or not the center point will match.

A NOTE ABOUT POINT MATCHING: It is really important that you know your tolerance level for points not matching. My points don’t always match and either I leave them or rip them out. If my points are 1/4inch apart, I usually rip them out. If they are 1/16th of inch from one another, I will probably leave them. It is important to know:

  • what you are trying to achieve (practice block or show quilt)
  • if you are going to think about that seam not matching late into the night and it is going to prevent you from sleeping.
  • deadlines
  • whether the quilt is a gift to a prize winning quiltmaker or a baby who will drool all over it.
  • How busy the fabrics are (can you actually see the seams matching?)

Be kind to yourself when you think about whether to agonize over a seam not matching. Have fun, there is always more fabric and don’t make yourself crazy.

15. Sew the halves together, along the whole side, for both pinwheels. If you have sewn along the middle for an inch, make sure you stay on that line when you sew the whole side together.

Pressing Perfection
Pressing Perfection
  • See that nice little square that the pinwheel makes in the center? That means you did it right!

16. Press the pinwheels patches in the same direction as the other triangles. It will look like the seam allowances are spinning. It will also make less bulk in the center of the block.

17. Sew the large 6.5inch background square to each of your pinwheels. Pay attention to which side of the pinwheels they are sewn.

18. Press towards the 6.5inch square/background.

19. Nest the two pieces (which are made up of a pinwheel and a background patch).

20. Sew over the middle  starting from about .5inch on either side of the middle to make sure your seams match and you have not cut off points.

21. Sew the 2 pieces together starting on one side, sewing over the middle where you have already sewn and continuing to the end of the block.

View of Pressing
View of Pressing

22. Press whichever way the seam seems to want to go. I like to press each half of the seam towards the background. It makes for kind of an ugly pressing job, but I am not going to quilt over that center anyway, so, for me, it doesn’t matter. Pressing this seam open also works.

  • You could trim the seam in the middle, but I don’t do that. Jo Morton talks about doing that and you might want to check out her website and YouTube videos.

    3 Sampler Blocks
    3 Sampler Blocks

Look how nice the 3 blocks look together!

Quilt Class: More Squares

Double Four Patch
Double Four Patch

This is a bonus block. I would like you to make it and use your fabrics to practice the techniques you learned in making your Nine Patch block. While this block is firmly rooted in square patches, there are a lot more seams to match, but not so many that you can’t do it. You can make this block or not. Remember Practice Makes Perfect.

Use a quarter inch seam allowance

All the supplies you need were listed in the Nine Patch Tutorial

You will also need these Double 4 patch Cutting Instructions

Use the same group of fabrics you used for the Nine Patch so you can use this block in the same quilt, if you choose.

Some tips:

This block has a different grid than the 9 patch. It has a 2×2 grid. That means that there are, essentially two patch across and two patches down. In this case you make one of the patches up from a Four Patch, so you sew each 4 patch, to a two plain square and then sew the halves together.

You can do it.

Quilt Class: Nine Patch

Today we will start the actual sewing part of the class by making a Nine Patch. The 9 Patch is one of the easiest and most basic blocks a quiltmaker can make. It can be made from any sized patches and can be a component of more complex blocks. It is a good block to start with because it is fairly easy, gives practice on matching points and choosing fabrics all without making a new quiltmaker crazy. It also is a 3×3 grid, which means 3 patches across by 3 patches down. This grid is used in other more complicated blocks, so learning it’s structure will help you down the road. Knowing how to identify such a grid will enable you to dissect blocks in the future. It gives you a starting point for many skills.

Finished: Nine Patch
Finished: Nine Patch

This is usually the first block I teach when I teach beginning quiltmakers in a Sampler Class context. You will need:

Supply list:

  • fabric
  • rotary cutter
  • rotary cutting ruler large enough to cut 4.5″ squares
  • rotary cutting mat
  • fabric (2-3 different)
  • Optional: Mary Ellen’s Best Press (or similar)
  • Optional: pins
  • sharp trimmers or scissors
  • thread for piecing
  • sewing machine
  • Iron
  • ironing surface

I haven’t done a cutting tutorial. I have listed some below and you can find others if you search.

I haven’t reviewed all of the above tutorials in detail, but the brands are reputable and you should get some good information. The best way to learn is to take a class on how to rotary cut and be shown in person. Many quilt shops will give you a private lesson, if you arrange it.

Key Block
Key Block

I have marked the rows and patch with letters and numbers so I can more easily refer to them for you. You may want to enlarge the picture and make a small drawing to keep near your machine.

First, select your fabric. If you selected a large group of fabrics in the lesson on selecting fabric, you will just need a few from that group. As you can see I have chosen 3 fabrics. You should feel free to use more, if you want. The one in the middle is the only one I have placed in one square. I want this to be my focus fabric.

Nine Patch: Center
Nine Patch: Center

Step 1: Cut fabric. You need 9 squares 4.5″x 4.5″ each. I like to use a different fabric in the center of the nine patch block. It adds interest, especially to a 12″ finished size.

Adding Reds
Adding Reds
Adding Blues
Adding Blues

While this particular block is the first block I teach in the sampler series, I suppose I could make it easier by teaching a Four Patch.  I think you can handle a 9 Patch. This particular Nine patch will be part of the sampler quilt I am making. I always make a quilt along with my students.

Move Fabrics Around
Move Fabrics Around

Step 2 (above): After you cut the squares, move them around to make sure you have the placement of the fabrics in the position that is the most pleasing to your eye.

Start Sewing
Start Sewing

Step 3: Prepare to start sewing.

I usually start in the upper left hand corner (row 1 patch A and row 2 patch D), everything else being equal.

In general, if I don’t start in the upper left hand corner for other blocks,  I start by sewing smaller units/patches into larger patches. This is a good practice for blocks with sections that will later need to be sewn to other sections. Keep this tucked in your mind, but you don’t need to worry about it now.

Sew patches together in groups of 2
Sew patches together in groups of 2

Always use a quarter inch seam allowance.

If you have a needle down option, I always use it

Step 4: Place fabrics right sides together and place into machine with the foot on the fabric, but with the fabric in front of the needle. I have a quarter inch foot on my machine and I sew 2 patches together to make a unit that will fit into the upper left hand corner of the block.

Sew patches together in groups of 2 (front view)
Sew patches together in groups of 2 (front view)

The edges of the patches are lined up so that the bottom fabric is not showing when I sew. Fabrics are right sides together.

Patches Sewn
Patches Sewn
Chain Piecing
Chain Piecing

Nota bene: You can certainly take the sewn patches out of the machine, but this is a good time to talk about chain piecing. I have other bits and pieces handy so that I can keep sewing, so I will put them (see red rose fabrics above) through the machine after the patches for the block on which I am working. In the above photo, you can see scrap pieces for a journal cover. I find it is much easier to work on sewing scraps together rather than another block. For my journal covers, I sew pieces together any which way. I don’t have to worry about putting the right patch in the right place or not cutting off triangle corners. This method gives my brain space to concentrate on the block at hand. I like to use chain piecing as it saves thread and keeps the machine from eating the corners of blocks as the machine starts sewing a new patch.

Once you have done some blocks and know how you work, you can certainly put the next group of pieces for your current block through the machine after the first set. Also, if you feel confident, then go ahead and put the next set through the machine.

Cut off Chain Piecing
Cut off Chain Piecing

Step 5: After you have put your second group of patches, or your scraps, through the machine, cut off the sewn patches apart from your second group of sewn pieces. I usually just put one set of chain piecing through my machine after the patches for my current block, especially if I have a lot of fiddly placement. I would rather unsew one set of patchwork if I make a mistake than many.

Trim threads
Trim threads

Step 6: Trim threads.

I dislike a bunch of long threads hanging off the back of my finished blocks. The best way I have found to deal with that is to trim as I go along. Trimming threads is a personal preference. I find it makes my blocks look a bit better and there is less of a chance of anything getting caught in my machine as I sew further along in the project. I put threads and trimmings in a bag and use them for cat bed filling.

Set Seams
Set Seams

Step 7: Bring your 2 sewn squares over to your ironing board and press the threads on the seam allowance from the back with the patchwork closed. This sets the seams. You have not yet opened your piecing to look at it from the front.

I have no idea if this step really sets the seams. Fons & Porter do this and since there doesn’t seem to be any harm in it, I started to do it as well. If you skip this step, your patchwork will not fall apart.

Open Patches
Open Patches

Step 8: Open your patchwork so that the seam allowance is pointing towards the patch that will be in the very upper left hand corner.

Seam Allowance Points Away
Seam Allowance Points Away

Step 9: Point the seam allowance, referenced above, away from you.

You could also point it to the side (either right or left depending on which is comfortable based on the hand with which you press). Above is the way I do it, which probably depends on the size of my ironing board and habit.

Press
Press

Step 10: Swoop your iron carefully from the patch without the seam allowance to the patch which is laying on top of the seam allowance. In my case I am swooping carefully from the red towards the aqua dot.

Place Sewn Patches on Design Wall
Place Sewn Patches on Design Wall

Step 11: Place sewn patches on in their spot on the design surface.

Place Sewn Patches on Design Wall (detail)
Place Sewn Patches on Design Wall (detail)

You will notice that this newly sewn set of patches are quite a bit smaller (1/2″ to be exact) than your other cut pieces. No panicking is necessary. The patches are smaller because you have used 1/2″ of fabric for the seam allowance. You are on track, if your block looks like the two pictures above.

Sew Next Patches
Sew Next Patches

Step 12: Take the center patches (from row 1 patch B and row 2 patch E) and sew them together. Again, you will place your right sides together before you sew.

Use Chain Piecing Techniques
Use Chain Piecing Techniques

Step 13: Follow steps 3-11 for these patches and the right hand patches (row 1 patch C and row 2 patch F).

Press Opposite
Press Opposite

Step 14: Above we pressed towards row 1. After sewing row 1&2, patches B&E, you will press the seam allowance towards row 2. Patch E will be on top of your seam allowance.

Used Another 1/2"
Used Another 1/2″

Step 15: Place your pressed patch on the Design Wall. You have used up another 1/2″ of fabric.

After you have sewed all the patches for rows 1&2 together, you will need to sew the patches for row 3.

Step 16: Sew row 3 patch G to patch D. Yes, patch D is already sewn to patch A. Don’t press yet.

Step 17: Follow the directions in Step 16 for patch H and patch I. Wait to press.

Step 18: Press patch G towards patch G.

Step 19: Press H towards patch E

Step 20: Press patch I towards patch I

Nesting Rows
Nesting Rows

Step 21: Lay the column with patches B, E and H on top of the column with A, D, and G. Make sure that your seams look like the photo above – nested into each other, not resting on top of each other.

The reason to pay attention to pressing is that you can ‘nest’ the seams when you go to start sewing the rows. Nesting seams is when the seam allowances are pressed in opposite directions so that they rest against each other. It helps with accuracy in piecing.

Sew Left Column to Middle Column
Sew Left Column to Middle Column

Step 22: With the column with patches B, E and H on the bottom, sew the column with A, D, and G to the column with patches B, E and H on the right side.

I did use some pins at the seam allowances.

Step 23: Set seam between the left and middle columns.

Step 24: Press seam allowance between the left and middle columns in whatever direction suits you.

Lay Left Column on Middle Column
Lay Left Column on Middle Column

Step 25: Lay left column (with patches C, F and I) on top of the middle column.

It looks like the top row, but really is the right column. I just have it turned so the right column is on top.

Step 26: Pin at seam allowances, if desired. I usually use pins.

Step 27: Sew left column (with patches C, F and I) to the middle column.

Step 28: Set seam between right and middle column.

Step 29: Press seam between right and middle column.

Finished: Nine Patch
Finished: Nine Patch

Step 30: Congratulate yourself! You have successfully completed your Nine Patch!!!

Quilt Class: Selecting Fabric

I love fabric. I would love, as I have said, a loft as a studio so I could work on and see multiple projects at once. Mostly, I want to be able to store more fabric in a more organized manner. Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy with the space I have and feel very fortunate. If someone is fulfilling dreams, that would be mine.

It is pretty easy for me to make a quilt from fabric I have on hand. I don’t often go to a shop and select certain fabrics with a special project in mind. I do sometimes, but most of the time, I go to my fabric closet with an idea in my head and start pulling out fabrics.

A good way to start is to have an idea in your head:

  • Brights with a black on white background – this is my go to fabric option since I love brights and black on white prints make interesting backgrounds.
  • Monochromatic – choose all one color in different prints. You can also use your color wheel to get a selection of hues that are near each other. This isn’t a good choice if you have complex piecing and need contrast for it to be seen. This choice creates a subtle palette
  • Focus fabric – choose a bold print and then select colors in it in tone on tones and solids to make up your palette. This can be a little boring for me as I like a lot of different fabrics, but it is a good way to start selecting fabrics and gives guidance on color.
  • Scrappy – one of my fabrics. Use a lot of fabrics with a cohesive background and you will have a sensational quilt. My Scrapitude quilt uses this technique and is one of my most successful quilts.
  • Pre-cuts – using pre-cuts is a quick way to select fabrics. When I use a line I remove 20% of the fabrics (to use for another project) and replace them with others, especially if I need more darks or lights. This makes my quilt different from others using the same fabric line and allows me to create contrast, if I need it.
  • Civil War/Reproductions – will give you a specific look
  • 1930s – will give you a specific look that can be more cheerful than other reproduction fabrics
  • There are other methods of choosing fabrics. What works for you is the right way.

Selecting fabric is a very personal choice. I don’t always have all of my selections picked out from the start. Often, I have most, but will add in some new fabrics later to add something that is missing to the quilt.

In the example below, I had a group of fabrics for a class I was teaching. I needed to choose some background-esque fabric to go with the Four Patches for my Double Four patch block. These are 12″ blocks, which are not my favorite. I like smaller blocks, 10″ at the most, but large blocks are good for teaching.  Since the pieces are large, they are easier to handle. As you might have guessed, I don’t normally work in this size, so I found the fabric selection challenging.

To start, I got out my color wheel. I like the Studio Color Wheel from C&T and Joen Wolfrom.

Then, I fell back on Lorraine Torrence‘s advice: Make Visual Decisions Visually. That is the best advice I have EVER gotten in quiltmaking. Go take a class from Lorraine and buy her books. She is awesome.

What this saying means in this context is that you need to get out your fabric and look at it with the other choices.

Plain Jane
Plain Jane

I had some four patches made, so I laid them on fabrics I was considering. I liked the bold graphic-ness of this print, but thought the flowers were too large.

Cherries
Cherries

I thought for sure this would work, but the cherries felt too scattered. It made the block seem too chaotic. They need to be hemmed in a little.

Bliss
Bliss

Something in the turquoise/ aqua color was off with this print. The aqua in the Bliss print is more green while the small flowered print in my four patch is more on the turquoise side. I thought the difference would be distracting.

Plain Jane (smaller flowers)
Plain Jane (smaller flowers)

This fabric is the same print as the first one, but the flowers are smaller. I like the way you can see more of the flowers. Success!

Final
Final

I chose the last print and above is the finished block. I like the look.

As an added note, I also prewash my fabrics before I use them in hot water and Retayne. Recently the Modern Quilt Studio posted an example of why it is a good idea to prewash

Quilt Class 2016: Assembling Supplies

I am particular about my supplies. I don’t always buy the most expensive notion, but I buy the best quality I can afford. If you have had a terrible sewing machine and suffered through the indignities of it’s copious malfunctions, you know way. If not, trust me.

Each post will have a supply list that includes some of the basic materials (called BSK) plus any additional helpful tools or supplies.

Supplies

  • Fabric
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine needles
  • Post-it notes
  • Mary Ellen’s Best Press
  • Optional: True Grips

Materials

  • Sewing machine
  • quarter inch machine foot
  • applique’ foot
  • Color Wheel
  • Rotary cutter
  • Mat for rotary cutting
  • Rulers suitable for rotary cutting (I prefer Creative Grids)
  • Scissors
    • paper scissors
    • snips
    • fabric scissors
  • Pins
  • Iron
  • Pressing/Ironing Surface
  • Design Surface
  • Marking pen (I like the Pigma Micron & the Pilot Ultra Fine Point)
  • mechanical pencil (the sharp point improves accuracy) – I like the Sewline version
  • heat resistant template plastic
  • template plastic friendly pen, such as a ballpoint
  • glue stick
  • stiletto
  • Optional: lightbox

 

Notes on materials and supplies:

  • Use the good stuff. Don’t save your favorite fabrics for when your skills are better or for the right project. You will regret it.
  • If you want to do this class by hand, usually the templates are included or you can just add a quarter of an inch when you cut the fabric and sew on the drawn line.
  • Supplies are items you use up (fabric, thread, etc)
  • Materials are items you can use over and over (rotary cutter, sewing machine, pins)

Learning to Quilt

Sampler
Sampler

I have a number of tutorials listed on the menu above, which are free and you can access any time. Due to some large time commitments in the next little while, which will leave me little time to sew, I have decided to take some of this month (September 2016) and post Sampler Quilt block tutorials most days. I want the blog to seem like a quilt class. They will, essentially be the same as the tutorials, but I will rewrite them and, perhaps, add some information just to make it worth your while to read a revised version. This will start in a few days.

Back in the Dark Ages when I learned to quilt, everyone, or most everyone, learned by making a sampler quilt. [I know TFQ will disagree as she didn’t learn using a sampler, thus the qualifier.] I think it is a good way to learn because students learn most of the techniques required to make any block they can find.

In the class I took, we covered the basic skills of quiltmaking. We made templates and used scissors to cut them out. I have updated the tutorials as rotary cutting is de rigueur. I think it is better to learn to use them early. Also, we can make more quilts if we can cut faster.

I have added a number of additional techniques to my blog class, and I am not limiting myself to once a week. I hope to be able to finish by the end of September, but I may go into October. It will be October 4 before I can expect much sewing time.

The class will consist of the following techniques and blocks:

  • Selecting fabric
  • Nine Patch (piecing and rotary cutting)
  • Double Four Patch (smaller squares) – this is a bonus block
  • Double Pinwheel (triangles)
  • Dutchman’s Puzzle (triangles, flying geese)
  • Sawtooth Star (fussy cutting, flying geese)
  • Card Trick (piecing, layout of fabrics)
  • LeMoyne/8 pointed star (Y seams)
  • Dresden Plate (hand applique’)
  • Hexagon (machine applique’, Y seams)
  • New York Beauty (paper piecing)
  • The Dove (curves)
  • Drunkard’s Path (small curves)
  • Rose Wreath (fusible applique’)
  • Double Windmill (partial seams)
  • Pieced Backs
  • Quilting discussion and resources
  • Binding

Skills need practice. If you have done a block for each tutorial in the past, perhaps it is time to do them again? Perhaps I’ll have a drawing for those who complete a quilt top using my tutorials. We’ll see.

I hope you play along and enjoy the series!

Sampler Class: Partial Seams

Double Windmill #3
Double Windmill #3

We are going to talk about partial seams. Partial seams are a way to create a more complex looking block without using truly difficult piecing techniques. Even a relative beginner can navigate partial seams successfully.

Supply list:

Directions:

1. Prewash and press fabric

2. Select fabrics to fit the color scheme of your other blocks. You need contrast between the various pieces.

Partial Seam Final Colors
Partial Seam Final Colors

The one red triangle with the white curves might not be exactly right, but it will look fine in the overall quilt.

3. Cut out pieces using the chart. Press as you cut if necessary.

Partial Seams: Sew Triangles Together
Partial Seams: Sew Triangles Together

4. As we discussed before, sew smallest to largest. I started with the matching small triangles. Sew carefully without yanking the bias.

Press flat, then press to the red
Press flat, then press to the red

5. Press flat and then press to the red. Press carefully without distorting the bias.

Partial Seam Triangles Sewn
Partial Seam Triangles Sewn

6. Place the newly sewn triangles back in place back on your design wall.

Partial Seam: Sew other like triangles
Partial Seam: Sew other like triangles

7. Sew the similar triangles, press and place back in place.

Remember, you are sewing from smallest to largest. This means that you are creating larger and larger sections until the whole block is done.

Patches Sewn in 4 sections
Patches Sewn in 4 sections

8. Once the newly sewn patches are back in place, it is fairly easy to see the next logical step. The large turquoise triangles (mini-Pearl Bracelets fabric in the example) should be sewn to your two triangles. This will make a square.

Sew small triangles to larger triangle
Sew small triangles to larger triangle

9. Sew the two small triangles, which are now sewn together (step 4-7), to the large turquoise triangle. This step makes the triangles into a square.

Place sewn squares on to the design wall
Place sewn squares on to the design wall

10. Press flat and then press to the larger triangle. Press carefully without distorting the bias. Place the squares back on the design wall.

Sew squares to solid fabric
Sew squares to solid fabric

11. Sew the solid, rectangle-ish pieces to the squares you just sewed.

Place sewn sections back on the design wall
Place sewn sections back on the design wall

12. Place the sewn sections back on the design wall.

Sew small red triangles to solid triangles
Sew small red triangles to solid triangles

13. Sew small red triangles to solid triangles

Sew new section to square
Sew new section to square

14. Sew new section to your squares.

Place sewn sections back on the design wall
Place sewn sections back on the design wall

15. Place the sewn sections back on the design wall.

Now you have 4 major sections plus the center and 4 corner patches. Now we are going to get serious with partial seaming.

Take the center and section 1
Take the center and section 1

16. Take the center and section 1.

Sew about 3/4s of the way down the center square seam
Sew about 3/4s of the way down the center square seam

17. Put section 1 under the needle with the center square on top. Line the center square up with the intersection of the red triangle and the Pearl Bracelets triangle (my fabrics used as a guide).

Backstitch at the end of the seam to secure the seam since you will be playing with it.

Press seam towards center
Press seam towards center

18. Press seam towards center square. Press carefully since the whole seam isn’t sewn.

Partially sewn seam
Partially sewn seam
Partially sewn seam - detail
Partially sewn seam – detail

The sewn piece will flip up. You can see about how much to sew in the picture above.

19. Take section 2 and lay it over section one and the center square with right sides together. The lengths should be about the same.

Section 2 sewn to section 1
Section 2 sewn to section 1
Section 2 sewn to section 1 + center square
Section 2 sewn to section 1 + center square

Completing the sewing of section 2 makes the section look like it is possible to sew on section 3.

Section 3 right side down
Section 3 right side down
End of section 3 seam
End of section 3 seam

20. Lay section 3 over section 2 and the center square. Line up the edges so they are event.

Center section almost done
Center section almost done

Now your center section is almost done.

Tuck section 1 under section 2
Tuck section 1 under section 2

21. Prepare to sew section 4 to the larger piece you have made by tucking section 1 under section 2. You might want to use a pin to keep it out of the way.

22. Lay section 4 over section 3, right sides together.

Section 4 sewn
Section 4 sewn

Section 4 is sewn. Keep section 1 tucked under and out of the way for the next step. Get ready to complete your partial seam.

Fold center section up
Fold center section up
Fold section up - detail
Fold section up – detail

23. Fold the raw edges between section 1 and section 4 up like half of it wasn’t sewn. Use a pin near the end of the seam (edge of the section) to keep it in place.

Position piece near pin
Position piece near pin
Start sewing near pin - detail
Start sewing near pin – detail

24. Position piece so you start sewing near the pin.

Now you will sew the partial seam.

Sew partial seam
Sew partial seam
Sew partial seam
Sew partial seam

25. Once you start sewing from the pin (noted above), you will see the end of the first seam you partially sewed. Sew slowly to the end of previous seam line.

Center section sewn
Center section sewn

Hooray!!! You have finished the center section

Now you have to sew the corner triangles to the center section to finish the block.

Trim off corners
Trim off corners

26. Trim off corners of large corner triangles before you sew them on. You can trim them all at once or one at a time, which is what I do.

Lay out triangle on sewn section
Lay out triangle on sewn section

27. Lay triangle on the sewn section, lining up trimmed corners even with edge of sewn section.

First corner triangle sewn
First corner triangle sewn

Your piece will look like the above image. Follow steps 26-27 for all corner triangles.

Finished Block
Finished Block

You are now finished! Great job!

___________________________________

Other resources and patterns regarding partial seams:

  • Chain Link from Link to the 30’s: Making the Quilts We Didn’t Inherit (That Patchwork Place) by Kay Connors and Karen Earlywine. I saw it on the Patchwork Play blog made with a great red background. The maker calls it Shelburne Tartan on that blog.
  • Double Windmill block. I saw an example on the Swim Bike Quilt blog.
  • Laura Nownes tutorial on partial seams. Good tip about avoiding puckering on the last seam. I don’t agree with not pressing the seams until the end. Avoid pressing the first half seam, but press all the rest.
  • Jinny Beyer tutorial. Not sure I can compete. 😉