Tag Archives: HST tutorial

Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL Fireflies Block #6 – Guest Tutorial Melissa of SewBitterSweet!

Did you want to leave a link on Manic Monday Linky Party? It’s still open!

I’m really thrilled to present Block #6 of the Sew. Happy. Quilt. Quilt Along! My friend Melissa agreed to do a tutorial for the Fireflies block, and I’m sure you are going to love it! If you’re wondering what I’m on about, here’s the Quilt Along information page. Most of the blocks are fairly simple, so anyone can join anytime.

Hi Everyone! My name is Melissa and I blog at Sew BitterSweet Designs. Last year I worked on a Vintage Christmas Sampler quilt and one of the blocks was the Fireflies block. When Jenna asked me if I would like to do the tutorial for her QAL – I was tickled and honored at the same time!

So here we go!

Let’s start with the cutting instructions:

Usually when I make HSTs I cut my squares larger, but for this block, I find my results are more accurate if I cut to these measurements and starch like crazy. (If you’re nervous about that, you can cut them 1/8″ larger than called for and then trim down. Eg cut the large red square to 7″ instead of 6 7/8″)

All seams: 1/4 inch

Start by Assembling your 6 blue & white HSTs – I like to chain piece. Sew section after section without cutting your threads until you are done.Then cut them all apart – for newer quilters – this will save you lots of time.

Next – take 2 of your HSTs and assemble your large triangle sections (make 2):

Next – take your large red triangles and assemble two 6.5″ blocks:

(Hint) – place the pieces right sides together – line up the points and sew – then trim down to 6.5″

Next assemble two 4-patch blocks:

Layout your block and sew together – voila – you’re done!

If you have any questions – don’t hesitate to ask! melissa (at) sewbittersweetdesigns (dot) com.

PS. If you are interested – I have a giveaway on my blog right now from Fat Quarter Shop – stop by and enter!

See? Wasn’t that easy? Ok, maybe not easy, but definitely not as hard as you might have thought. When you get your block done, pop a pic in the Flickr group!

Posted in Craft Tutorial, Quilt Block Tutorials, Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL, sewing tutorial, Tutorial Tuesday, Tutorials, UK craft blog, UK quilt blog, UK sewing blog | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL Tutorials: Friendship Star & QST Pinwheel Blocks

Welcome to the fourth week & second tutorial of Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL! I’m so glad you’re here! If you haven’t joined yet but are interested, this is the Flickr group and here’s the QAL info page with all the other links. This is the last week that we’ll be doing two blocks in one week, and they’re pretty easy so anyone can join at anytime.

Quick Note: I use starch enthusiastically when piecing. I starch everything after I’ve cut it. If I leave it overnight, I starch it again before sewing with it. It literally brought my piecing from zero to hero. So go get some. Use light coats, and iron it in. Small pieces of fabric are much easier to handle when they’re a bit stiff. And no, it doesn’t hurt your machine, or fabrics, or quilt.

Let’s tackle the Friendship Star first:

For this block you’ll need at least 3 fabrics. The number of squares and their measurements are above. You can set aside those 4.5″ squares for now, as we’re going to make HSTs (Half Square Triangles) with the 5″ x 5″ squares first:

Take two of your squares and draw (in pencil) a diagonal line DOWN THE BACK (not the front!!!) and then draw additional lines 1/4″ on either side as shown above. Then lay those RST (right sides together) with your other 5″ squares – if you look at the one on the left you can see the aqua square just peeking out.

 Sew on the 1/4″ lines you drew. In all you’ll do 2 seams per square. Then cut carefully along that middle diagonal line, as shown on the left. When you open them up and press the seams, they’ll look like the ones on the right.

A WORD ABOUT HSTs: Here’s the deal. If you want your HST to be, say, 4″ finished, you need to use squares cut one inch larger (it’s a little more complicated than that, but let’s not go there). Then, after you open them and press the seams, you need to trim them down to a perfect 4.5″. If you’re puzzled about trimming, there’s a picture in the next block that shows what I mean. Once you see the pic you’ll get what I’m on about. Honest.

 Now line up your HSTs and your 4.5″ squares so they look like this.

  Then sew them together in rows like this. Make sure your 1/4″ SA is as near perfect as possible so they line up in the next step.

Then sew the rows together to make your Friendship Star! Woohoo!

Now on to the QST Pinwheel Block:

 You’ll need 3 different fabrics for this one as well – and 4 squares in all. The measurements are above. I got ahead of myself and also cut my 7″ x 7″ squares on the diagonal. You can go ahead and do that too.

Now take your 7.5″ x 7.5″ squares and cut them diagonally. Cut them again diagonally to reveal 4 little triangles. CAUTION: You are now exposing the bias (horror!!) and therefore need to proceed carefully. Don’t pull the triangles in any direction. Do not steam. Do not rub back and forth with the iron. Starch like crazy if you have starch (or sizing, etc). Like 2 or 3 coats on the back of the fabric. That way your fabric and the bias will behave and perfect points will be MUCH easier to achieve.

 Lay your pieces out as shown above.

 Now sew those smaller triangles at the point shown above. Sew all 4 sets and press seams {open or whatever you prefer}. Lay them back in the formation, because it looks pretty and you’re proud.

 Here’s the back of mine for educational purposes. I press open. Because I’m a rebel.

 Ok, now you want to attach your seamed triangles with your unseamed ones (aqua in my case). Then open them up and press seams.

Le Pic De Trim: This is what you’ll end up with. Now, see how much I trimmed away? You pretty much have to trim down to exactly 6.5″ x 6.5″ if you want your points to line up. Lining up the diagonal with the line on your square ruler is good too.

And sew it all together. That’s it.

P.S. I’m sure there’s an easier way to make them, but it’s only one block so I did it this way.

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© Copyright J C Excell, 2011. You are welcome to use any SewHappyGeek tutorial for personal use. You are even welcome to make a couple to sell, but you are not given permission to use my pictures or my words without giving me credit and linking back to the original. You are NEVER allowed to copy an entire tutorial or post.
Sometimes my pictures have my family in them and they are never intended for public use. Also, I work very hard to provide free tutorials for my lovely readers, and anyone copying or selling my tutorials is guilty of copyright infringement.
This website is protected by Copyscape and is checked regularly, which means I WILL find you.
Posted in Quilt Block Tutorials, Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL, sewing tutorial, Tutorial Tuesday, UK craft blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Tutorial Tuesday: Churn Dash Redux {Quilt Block}

Did you leave a link on Manic Monday Linky Party? No? Well, you better get over there right now and do so!

Psst….Have you made something from a SewHappyGeek tutorial? Why not add it to the I’m a SewHappyGeek too Flickr page?

Today I’m sharing a quilt block tutorial. I’m sure there’s a true ‘accepted’ name for this block, but I have no idea what it is, so I’m calling it Churn Dash Redux. It’s a great block to use for a virtual quilting bee, and in fact this tutorial is for the benefit of my lovely bee mates in the {Sew Bee It} bee run by my good friend Shanna of Fiber of All Sorts. (If you want to print out this tutorial, one is available through Google Docs. PLEASE read the terms at the bottom of it before you print it. I’m really tired of having my tutorials stolen.)

© Copyright, J C Excell 2011

So, what you’ll need for a block:

© Copyright, J C Excell 2011

  • 1} 4.5″ x 4.5″ square for the center
  • 4} 2.5″ x 4.5″ (white) pieces for the flying geese units
  • 8} 2.5″ x 2.5″ squares for the flying geese units
  • 4} 2.5″ x 4.5″ pieces to go next to the flying geese units
  • 4} 5″ x 5″ squares for the corners (2 of each colour)
Before I begin, I have a tip to share with you. Do you know what spray starch is? Some of you already know to use it when you’re piecing, but for those who don’t, let me tell you: It IS the best product to use to ensure you get perfect seam allowances and perfect piecing. I spray my fabric so much it’s nearly stiff before I sew with it. It took my piecing from ‘okay’ to nearly always perfect with no other effort. No, it does not gum up your needle or machine. So go get some!
(I press all my seams open to prevent bulk)
The first thing to do is make the HSTs (half square triangles) for your corner pieces. Take 2 of your 5″ x 5″ squares (the white ones in this case), and on the back, draw a line in pencil from one corner diagonally to the other one. Then place them RST with your other squares and sew two seams, 1/4″ on either side of the diagonal line. ***I am paranoid, so I draw a middle diagonal line, then I draw two additional lines 1/4″ away from the middle one, so I know when I’m sewing that I’m getting it just right.***

©, Copyright J C Excell, 2011

Now carefully cut down your middle diagonal line, press the seams open and voila! HSTs! Do the same for both sets of squares.

© Copyright J C Excell, 2011

Once you’ve opened and pressed them, it’s time to trim. Trim them to exactly 4.5″ x 4.5″ and set aside.

© Copyright J C Excell, 2011

Now we’re going to make our flying geese units. Take your little 2.5″ x 2.5″ squares and draw a line in pencil (on the WRONG side!) diagonally from one corner to the opposite one, as shown above. ***Some people are so good they don’t have to draw a line. I am not one of those people. If you are, feel free to stitch away!***
Now lay your square RST on your white (or whatever you choose) 4.5″ x 2.5″ Flying Geese unit piece. Pay attention to the placement of the line in the left side of the pic. Sew down that line, press it over, then trim that excess corner. Make sense?

© Copyright J C Excell, 2011

Now do the same again on the other side of your white piece – again, pay close attention to the direction the penciled line is going in.

© Copyright J C Excell, 2011

Now that your FG units are finished, you can sew them to your 2.5″ x 4.5″ prints (or whatever you chose). Sew those prints together on the side of the point. See pic above.

© Copyright J C Excell, 2011

So, now it’s time for the final assembly. Do you like my iron? I love it. But it is funny looking! Anyway, you’ll want to assemble your block in the way I’ve shown above. Make 3 pieces, then sew those 3 together to get the final quilt block.
And here’s what you can make using that block:
This is a little mock up I did on my EQ7 just to see what it looked like. Cute, no?

© Copyright J C Excell, 2011. You are welcome to use any SewHappyGeek tutorial for personal use. You are even welcome to make a couple to sell, but you are not given permission to use my pictures or my words without giving me credit and linking back to the original. You are NEVER allowed to copy an entire tutorial or post.
Sometimes my pictures have my family in them and they are never intended for public use. Also, I work very hard to provide free tutorials for my lovely readers, and anyone copying or selling my tutorials is guilty of copyright infringement.
This website is protected by Copyscape and is checked regularly, which means I WILL find you.

Posted in Craft Tutorial, sewing tutorial, Tutorial Tuesday, Tutorials, UK craft blog, UK quilt blog | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments