Friday, September 14, 2012

do.good.stitches October; a block tutorial

I'm super psyched for my first month as a quilter in the Happiness circle of do.good.stitches.  I wanted to make a quilt for Project Linus that would make a boy or girl happy and I think this one might just do the trick. 

I was really inspired by this bundle that Nicke put together for Pink Castle Fabrics.  Hopefully the girlies in my bee have bits and pieces in their stash that will work.  It's a perfect way to bust some of those scraps, though I've got to admit my scrap bins are towering infernos of terror so I cut strips from yardage.

The blocks we're making are 12" finished but I discovered after making my first one that it's a lot easier to draft the pattern at 13" then cut down to 12½", it gives a little more wiggle room.  So start by drawing a 13" square on the dull side of some freezer paper.  If you don't have freezer paper you can use other wide paper, even newspaper.  The great thing about using freezer paper is you can use the pattern twice and there's no paper to tear away.

Once you've got your paper piece measured out pick a spot that will be your center point and mark it with a dot.  This should be offset from the actual center of the square by at least 1" so that it looks deliberate.  Draw 4 lines going through the dot, dividing it into your wedges.  Piecing will be a lot easier if none of them go right through the corners of the block, but if that's the look you want, go for it.  Mark the pieces so that you can figure out how to reassemble them.  I marked mine as sections A and B then pieces 1 - 4 in each section, but do whatever makes sense to you.  Cut the block apart along the lines and you're ready to piece!

I like to start piecing at the point of each section, that way I know I'll have enough fabric there that the seam won't get too bulky.  If you went the freezer paper route, iron your piece of fabric to the shiny side of the freezer paper, leaving about 1/4" not stuck to it where you'll be adding your next piece of fabric.  If you've used regular paper, pin or glue stick this piece in place.

Now fold the freezer paper back so that the seam allowance is visible.  Add your next piece of fabric and sew it on, using the freezer paper as a guide but not actually sewing on the paper.  If your presser foot is sticking to the freezer paper and causing drag you might want to try ironing your freezer paper pieces to your ironing board cover then peeling them up.  The freezer paper will get a little linty then and your foot will travel along it much more easily.

Flip your newly added strip of fabric over and press it down.  If you're using regular paper or newspaper you'll have to sew the strips to the paper.  It's a good idea to use a smaller than usual stitch for this since pulling off the paper at the end often pulls out stitches, too.

If you look at the back of the freezer paper you'll see that nothing is actually sewn to it, it's just holding the pieces in places.

Keep adding strips of fabric until you pieces are covered, then trim your seam allowances.  You'll need ¼" seam allowances for all the interior seams.  Outside edges of the block can be cut flush with the paper.

Reassemble your block using the marks you made earlier as a guide.  When I sewed my blocks back together I did them in subsets, sewing A1 + A2, A3 + A4, then sewing both A chunks together.  I repeated this with the B pieces then sewed everything together. 

To reduce bulk only sew to the triangle tips, and press seams open.  Then when matching pieces don't worry too much about the outside edges and concentrate on making the 8 points at the center come together fairly well.

Once all your pieces are sewn together trim down to 12½" and remove the paper.  Your freezer paper pieces can be reused for your second block or you can draft another one for more variety.

Thanks so much to everyone in the happiness circle for working on this with me!


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  1. This is great! I've never worked with freezer paper, but I'm confident that with your tutorial I would be just fine. I love the scrappiness of this block. :)

  2. I've been waiting for this! It's so pretty, thanks for the tutorial. It looks like when you sew the edge of the triangle to the tip that you tied off, is that right? Thanks! (and pinned it!)

  3. Fun block, Chelsea! I can hardly wait to get started and I've got tons of freezer! Your tutorial is really well done! I just want to make sure I have the colours right. Are you wanting blue, orange and yellow? Actually, I should go and check your instruction in our circle!

  4. Love the tutorial and I love the block! The colors are so fun!

  5. that is such a lovely block - can't wait to get started!

  6. These are so fun! Thank you for sharing the tutorial.
    ; )