Tag Archives: quilt block tutorial

Mini-Tutorial: No Waste Granny Square Quilt Blocks

No one likes waste, especially of fabric. When you’re making Granny Square blocks out of 2.5″ squares, a bit of waste isn’t really that big of a deal. But I bought 2 Summersville charm packs to use for huge Granny Square blocks, and the thought of throwing away all that background fabric waste was enough to persuade me to look for a better way.

In a way, a Granny Square block is a small on point quilt. The finished sizes of the inside ‘blocks’ determine what size triangles you need to make those outside components. Quiltville has an excellent article about the maths of On-Point quilts, which is where I got the information to make this block (& tutorial).

The ‘block’ size in this tutorial is 4.5″ square (finished) – if you are making yours larger or smaller, I recommend printing the Quiltville article. This quick tutorial is for using 5″ charms.

What you’ll need for one block:

  • {13x} 5″ x 5″ charms for the centre
  • {2x} 7 5/8″ x 7 5/8″ background for side triangles (I used black)
  • {2x} 4 1/8″ x 4 1/8″ background for corners

Cut the LARGE squares twice diagonally. Yield = 8 side triangles. Cut the SMALL squares ONCE diagonally each. Yield = 4 corner triangles.

Here’s the layout. Sew the centre squares together into strips, then add the side triangles. The middle (longest) strip will need 2 of the corner triangles, and then you can add the other corner triangles where you need them. The triangles are intentionally sized generously so you can trim to a generous 1/4″ on the sides. I promise you won’t have to trim very much.

Ta-Da! And with the On Point maths already worked out for you, you can adjust this mini tutorial to accommodate any size of square.

© Copyright J C Excell, 2012. You are welcome to use any SewHappyGeek tutorial for personal use. 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.

P.S. Because the Google Overlords want to force the entire planet into using their crazy social application, my Google Friend Connect widget has been cancelled. But you can still get me in your Google Reader (or any other reader) by clicking on the Feedburner (RSS) link below. :)

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© J C Excell, 2012

Posted in Quilt Block Tutorials, Tutorials, UK craft blog, UK Modern Quilt Blog, UK quilt blog, UK sewing blog | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Tutorial: Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL – Dresden Quilt Block

{Manic Monday Linky Party is still open!} Holy cow, it’s the last tutorial of the Sew. Happy. Quilt. Quilt Along! *sniff, sniff* I can hardly believe it – the ladies in the Flickr group have been SO amazing and I’m so proud of them. Many of them are totally new to quilting and Quilt Alongs and they’ve done some fantastic work.

So here it is, the Dresden block. Not anywhere near as tricky or difficult as last week’s QuatraStar. BTW, I’ve updated the QuatraStar pdf download to one that should print out at exactly 6″ square. It seems my printer interprets ‘borderless’ as ‘Let’s see if we can shrink this a bit’, so you guys were getting bigger printouts than I was. The wonders of technology. Sigh.

If you want to link to this page, that’s fine. But please don’t link directly to the pdf or the Word doc – link to THIS page and people can follow the link to the pdf. That way I get an idea of how popular it is, which enables me to provide more free stuff in the future. So it benefits you to play politely. And I’ll know if you’re cheating.

Print the PDF WITHOUT BORDERS and check the 1″ scale mark. Cut the Dresden template right on the line. As with all patchwork, the Seam Allowance is 1/4″ throughout.

Dresden_Template - the 1/4″ Seam Allowance in already included in the template. You DO NOT need to add 1/4″ to the sides.

Dresden Block Tutorial- Here’s a Microsoft Word version if you want to print and go.

Ingredients:

{1x} 12.5” x 12.5” Background Square

A total of {5}Dresden wedges

{1x} Quarter Circle Unit

A little of how dresdens work: To count up how many dresdens you’d need for a full circle, you need to know what degree the angle is on yourdresdentemplate/ruler. Ours is 18°. Divide 360 (there are 360 degrees in a circle, remember?) by the degree of your ruler. In our case that’s 360° divided by 18° = 20. And if you want to make only one block (which is ¼ of a circle) – like ours – you divide by 4 to discover how many blades you’ll need. Thats 20 divided by 4 = 5. So you need to cut 5 wedges.

The quarter circle: I have given you a quarter circle template. I recommend you trace it onto freezer paper. There are 2 lines drawn in a circular/arc shape, and a right angle. You need to iron that template onto the back of a square of fabric and cut along the outside edges. Then, carefully pull away the top of the circle from the fabric and trim the paper to the inside curved line. Now re-iron the template to the back of the fabric. Spray the whole thing lightly with starch and VERY CAREFULLY – SERIOUSLY, DO NOT RUSH THIS – fold and iron the edge of the fabric over the edge of the template. Set it aside – you’ll use it later.

Now move on to the blades themselves. As the photo caption says, fold the top edge of your dresden wedge in half, lengthwise, with RST. Sew ¼” seam and clip the inside corner (to make turning it out easier). GENTLY press the seam open. GENTLY!!!

Flip the pointed edge you’ve just made towards the back of the wedge (the wrong side). Try to centre it so the seam is pointing straight down, then press the edges in place.

Repeat for all 5 wedges.

Sew the edges of the blades together in your chosen order. When you are aligning them, match the tops and do not worry about the bottoms of the wedges. You will cover that in the next step. Press seams open to prevent bulk (to the side is probably ok too if you prefer it.)

Take the quarter circle you made earlier and carefully remove the freezer paper, making sure the folded edge stays neatly folded. Press it again if it needs it. Now pin the blades on their edges, and pin the quarter circle well too.

Using a sewing machine foot which allows you to see the needle clearly, sew carefully along the edges of the blades and the quarter circle. If you want, you can also baste the outside edges of the fan 1/8” from the edge. Just make sure you don’t baste more than ¼” from the edge or your stitches will be visible in the quilt top. DONE!

© Copyright J C Excell, 2012. 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, Tutorial Tuesday, Tutorials, UK craft blog | Tagged , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Sew. Happy. Quilt. Quilt Along: QuatraStar Foundation Pieced Block Tutorial

We’re trying something a little different for this tutorial. Because it’s a bit more complicated, Mr. Geek and I shot a video over the weekend. I really must thank him for being so patient, holding up that heavy camera through take after take where I messed up my lines or sounded like the village idiot. Well, to be honest, I sound like the village idiot anyway and there’s not much anyone can do about it. So please be gentle on me.

Below you’ll find a link to a pdf of a 6″ finished foundation pattern designed by Carol Doak and found in her book 300 Paper Pieced Quilt Blocks, which is an excellent book and I truly recommend it. It comes with a CD which enables you to print the patterns any size you want – no photocopying or any of that rubbish. Just straight down to business.

Regarding Foundation/Paper Piecing: I am a total convert to foundation piecing over paper piecing. You can get away with smaller seam allowances, you don’t have to use a tiny stitch length which makes it impossible to unpick should you get it wrong, and it doesn’t add much bulk. You don’t have to pull the stupid paper away at the end only to find it pulls your stitches too. 1/2 metre/yard of thin calico will cost you around 3 dollars or pounds and goes a long way. So I really recommend using the method shown below:

You’ll need the pattern, masking tape, calico or very thin white cotton fabric (about a 8″ish square piece will do), and a pencil and ruler. I know it shows a heart above, but you get the idea. Tape your paper down at the corners. Tape your calico on top of it, and using a ruler, draw the lines.

If you want, you can draw the 1/4″ seam allowance lines, or just trim it down to 6.5″ square at the end. Trace and sew 4 pieces. Or if you’re more comfortable with paper, use that.

If you want to link to this page, that’s fine. But please don’t link directly to the pdf – link to THIS page and people can follow the link to the pdf. That way I get an idea of how popular it is, which enables me to provide more free stuff in the future. So it benefits you to play politely. And I’ll know if you’re cheating.

Print the pdf WITHOUT BORDERS and check it’s 6″ square.

Here’s the PDF: SewHappyQuilt_QuatraStar_6inches

and here’s a larger version if your computer won’t print the pdf above any larger than 5.75″ SewHappyQuilt pattern

and here’s the video tutorial which, if you are new to foundation piecing, you should watch in its entirety before starting to cut fabrics or sew:

Or you can go to YouTube and see it there.

© Copyright J C Excell, 2012. 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 UK craft blog, UK quilt blog, UK sewing blog | Tagged , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Tutorial: Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL Diamond HST Block

Would you like to leave a link on Manic Monday Linky Party? It’s still open! I had a good response to yesterday’s knitting question and I’m still mulling over it. I’d like to do more videos, but we’ll see how the foundation piecing video goes this weekend. If it’s not a total nightmare, I may look into doing more, including knitting. That would be so fun, to knit with you all!

HST Diamond Block

For today’s tutorial, I’m going to try something a little different. Below you’ll find a link to the Word file you can download, so that if you want, you can print it off. I don’t usually do these because it makes it VERY easy for someone to rip off my work and I get very angry about it. But this is a fairly simple block, so I guess if (read: when) people steal it, I won’t be too upset. I’ve also published it in the normal way, so scroll down if you don’t have Microsoft Word or something that can read Word documents.

That said, all the same copyright stuff applies, and yes, there is a way I can check to see if someone has posted it. Feel free to link to the page though.

If you’re following along in the Sew. Happy. Quilt. Quilt Along, I’ve added a few layout ideas to the Flickr group that you might like to look at.

HST DIAMOND QUILT BLOCK TUTORIAL

HST DIAMOND QUILT BLOCK TUTORIAL

By Jenna Excell, www.SewHappyGeek.co.uk

© Copyright J C Excell, 2012. 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.

For this block you will need 4 families of fabric. The graphic above shows grey, red, aqua and white. I’ve left blanks below so you can fill in your own colours. You can either use 4 fabrics, or you can use more than one print for each family, so the number of squares listed is the TOTAL you will need for that portion of the block. For example, my inner diamond and outer diamond fabrics consist of 3 different fabrics, so I cut 2 squares of each fabric (total=6). You can do whatever you want, use as many different fabrics as you want, but you need at least 4 and you need them to contrast when placed next to each other. I’ve left big blanks so you can fill in your own colours.

CENTRE COLOUR­­­­­­­______________________________________: 2 squares 4” x 4”

INNER DIAMOND COLOUR______________________________: 6 squares 4” x 4”

OUTER DIAMOND COLOUR______________________________: 6 squares 4” x 4”

OUTER ACCENTS COLOUR_______________________________: 2 squares 4” x 4”

 

You’ll be making a total of 16 HSTs (Half Square Triangles). If necessary, refer to the HST handout to refresh your memory of how to make HSTS (https://docs.google.com/document/d/17KQucBG_0bRN8nMxqMLfFCZ2x7TF0M2GN6w70_5hjQY/edit). In essence, you’ll draw a diagonal line on the back of the squares, then draw lines ¼” on either side of the centre diagonal line. Sew down those ¼” markings, cutting the centre diagonal line to reveal 2 HSTs. Remember to trim down to exactly 3.5″ x 3.5″ for your points to match up!!!

But you’ll need to match them up to the right colours. Here’s how:

Both (2) CENTRE COLOUR________________________ get matched with 2 of the INNER DIAMOND COLOUR_____________________________.

The other 4 INNER DIAMOND COLOUR_____________________________ get matched with 4 of the OUTER DIAMOND COLOUR___________________________.

The last 2 OUTER DIAMOND COLOUR_________________________ get matched with the 2 OUTER ACCENTS COLOUR___________________________.

That’s it.

Once you have your 16 HSTS, press the seams open or to the side (your choice – I use a small stitch length and press open), then trim them to EXACTLY 3.5” square making sure you use the diagonal line on your ruler to match up to the diagonal on the HST.

Then you just need to arrange them in place:

And sew them into groups of 4:

Next, form the 2 halves of the block:

And sew those 2 halves together:

Yay! You’re done!

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P.S. Because I write a non-Blogger blog, I am one of those unfortunates who will lose my Google Friend Connect widget soon. I really value you as a reader and follower, and I’d like to ask you to consider following me on BlogLovin’, a free service built specifically for people to follow their favourite blogs, or by Feedburner, which is an RSS feed. Thanks!! :)

© J C Excell, 2011

Posted in Quilt Block Tutorials, Tutorial Tuesday, Tutorials, UK craft blog, UK quilt blog, UK sewing blog | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL Tutorial: Peek A Boo Block

Did you want to leave a link on Manic Monday Linky Party? And psst…I’ll be hosting a giveaway starting tomorrow for this 9 fat quarter bundle of Sandi Henderson’s Secret Garden which is available at Hawthorne Threads, Skye Reve Fabrics, and Fat Quarter Shop , so make sure you come back tomorrow!:

And now for this week’s Sew. Happy. Quilt. Quilt Along tutorial, a block I call Peek A Boo:

You’ll need 4 fabrics:

  • {1x} 4.5″ x 4.5″ square for the centre
  • {4x} 4.5″ x 4.5″ squares for the peek-a-boo squares
  • {4x} 4.5″ x 4.5″ squares for the other squares
  • {16x} 2.5″ x 2.5″ squares to make the peek-a-boos.

Draw diagonal lines down the backs of your 2.5″ squares.

Pin 2 squares in opposite (diagonal) corners as shown above.

Stitch just a hair inside the diagonal line – this makes it fold better. Trim the excess to 1/4″ and press the triangle to the outside.

Sew squares to the other corners of your peek-a-boo squares – you should have 4 squares that look like the one pictured on the right.

Now all you have to do is line them up and stitch them together. My recommendation is to press AWAY from the peek-a-boo squares. There’s no need to press open here.

Once you’ve sewn your ‘rows’ together, simply join them into a block. Because you pressed away from the peek-a-boo squares, the middle row should slot in perfectly to the top and bottom row at the seams, making them line up perfectly!

Done!

Here’s my progress so far. Not bad, eh? I’m pleased with it!

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P.S. Because I write a non-Blogger blog, I am one of those unfortunates who will lose my Google Friend Connect widget soon. I really value you as a reader and follower, and I’d like to ask you to consider following me on BlogLovin’, a free service built specifically for people to follow their favourite blogs, or by Feedburner, which is an RSS feed. Thanks!! :)

© 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 UK craft blog | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL Tutorial: Flying Geese Pinwheel Block

Hello! Would you like to leave a link on Manic Monday Linky Party? You still can! And please make sure you’ve entered into my Fat Quarter Shop fabric giveaway too!

Welcome to the next block in the Sew. Happy. Quilt. Sampler Quilt Along! Today’s block isn’t very hard – I promise! No bias exposed, no triangles. Just squares and rectangles.

 You’ll need 4 fabrics for this block, and here are the measurements:

  • {4x} 3.5″ x 3.5″ which will be your little pinwheel (mine are aqua)
  • {12x} 3.5″ x 3.5″ which will be your other ‘wings’ (mine are white)
  • {4x} 3.5″ x 6.5″ for your large pinwheel (mine are orange)
  • {4x} 3.5″ 6.5″ for your other geese (mine are grey)

First things first: With a pencil, draw a diagonal line on the back of ALL of your 3.5″ x 3.5″ squares. Then, because it always helps to lay things out, take your 3.5″ x 6.5″ rectangles and lay them out as shown above. Take your 4 little pinwheel squares and arrange them so the lines make an X – like in the picture.

If you’re really paranoid, you can test your layout by folding the squares over where you are planning to sew them just to make sure they’re all going the right way. Hint: You’ll be pressing them toward the outside edges of the block.

Then sew along those 4 lines. You can chain stitch these. After you’ve stitched the squares down, you can trim. I’ve only trimmed one edge here, but you can trim both edges if you’d like. (I leave mine in because I’m weird and it helps me sew more accurately.)

Now you’ll be adding the 12 other squares to all the corners. Once you get side done you MUST press and trim before moving on to the other side! Then you’ll overlap the centre with the next square, making sure that your pencil line is in the right direction, as shown above. Sew those squares, press and trim.

Here it is with all the squares attached, ready to be put together. Now you just need to sew them in blocks of two, and sew them into a square. SEAMS: I pressed to the outside, not open, when joining them to each other.

Here they are joined in blocks of 2 flying geese units.

Now you need to join them together as shown above.

And your block is complete! Well done!

Here’s the back of mine because I’m weird and happy to declare it. You can trim those if you want!

© 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.

 Subscribe in a reader

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P.S. Because I write a non-Blogger blog, I am one of those unfortunates who will lose my Google Friend Connect widget soon. I really value you as a reader and follower, and I’d like to ask you to consider following me on BlogLovin’, a free service built specifically for people to follow their favourite blogs, or by Feedburner, which is an RSS feed. Thanks!! :)

Posted in Quilt Block Tutorials, Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL, Tutorial Tuesday, UK craft blog, UK quilt blog, UK sewing blog | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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. Tutorial #3 – Template Star Quilt Block

Pssst…Manic Monday Linky Party is still open if you want to leave a link!

Hello! Welcome to the 3rd tutorial of Sew. Happy. Quilt. From now on, we’ll only be working on one block per week. This week’s block is fairly simple to put together, but you’ll be using a template to cut it out, and there is a bit of a trick to getting it to come out right when you sew it, so I’ve put this in the Slightly Advanced Beginner category.

SewHappyGeek

I have a Lazy Angle ruler which for you North Americans is available at Fat Quarter Shop, and for those UK/Europeans, it’s available at Creative Grids. I’m not saying you HAVE to have one, but if you like the look of this block, it might be worth investigating it.

First, you’ll need to print these PDFs I made. I don’t think you need any special settings on your printer, but you can check they’re the right size by making sure they’re 6.5″ high. Make sense? Here they are:

***UPDATE: Apparently, I screwed it up (what’s new?), so DH has fixed it – So when you print this, make sure you’ve got things set to NO SCALING . You can easily check that it’s right by checking that the template pieces are 6.5″ tall. The large S is toward the top of the skinny template piece, and the large B is toward the top of the background piece. Please read the whole tute before cutting as there are more pictures to help you below. If you have trouble, please email me at jenna@sewhappygeek.co.uk If you want to link to the template, that’s fine, but PLEASE link back to this page, NOT the PDF. And I’ll know if you’re cheating.***

Star_Templates

Then you’ll need 3 fabrics – one for the inner star, and two for the background parts of the block. (You could do it with just one background fabric if you want.)

From your inner star fabric, cut a piece measuring 6.5″ x 8.5″

From your background fabrics, cut a piece of each measuring 6.5″ x 10.5″ (or one 6.5″ x 21″)

A word about templates: if you were doing a whole quilt using these templates, I’d recommend you buy the plastic template sheets that are designed to do jobs like this. But you’re only doing one block, so I don’t think it’s necessary. Since you’ll only be needing to cut one side, you could use a little double sided tape or tape rolled up on the paper template piece. Then you can ‘stick’ the template to the fabric and use your regular ruler to make the cuts necessary. Then transfer the tape to the other side to make the next cut. This will make more sense when you’re doing it.

So here’s how you cut for the star. If you’re right handed, you’ll start at the left hand edge and cut 4 pieces, rotating the template piece to upside down so they come out like this. If you’re left handed, start at the right side. You may have an extra bit leftover from the 8.5″ length. That’s ok.:

Do the same with the larger piece on your background rectangles (6.5″ x 10.5″). You’ll need two of each fabric. You might have a bit leftover after cutting them, too. That’s ok.

You’ll need to sew the star pieces to the background pieces like this (Right Sides Together – I’m not sure if you can tell the from the picture & my crazy orange fabric). But there’s a trick to getting it to line up, so keep reading and reference the pictures below.

You only want the TOP (dog ear) of the STAR piece just barely above the top of the BACKGROUND piece:

And the bottom dog ear just barely goes past the bottom of the background piece, with the background just barely peeking out. If in doubt, use a long stitch so you can undo it. When you’re happy with it, stitch over it again with a smaller stitch setting.

When you’ve stitched it, press the star portion and seams to the right.

Repeat until you have 4 pieces:

Stitch them together into twos:

And stitch again, making sure to line up the middle seams:

That’s it! You’re done! You totally rock!

© 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.

 Subscribe in a reader

bloglovin
P.S. Because I write a non-Blogger blog, I am one of those unfortunates who will lose my Google Friend Connect widget soon. I really value you as a reader and follower, and I’d like to ask you to consider following me on BlogLovin’, a free service built specifically for people to follow their favourite blogs, or by Feedburner, which is an RSS feed. Thanks!! :)

Posted in Quilt Block Tutorials, Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL, Tutorial Tuesday, Tutorials, UK craft blog, UK quilt blog, UK sewing blog | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 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

Sew. Happy. Quilt QAL Week 1 – Woven & Snowball Block Tutorials

Whoa! I can hardly believe it’s here! I’ve been looking forward to the Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL for so many weeks it kinda seems unreal. I really hope you like the first two blocks and for those beginners out there, I hope you find them fairly easy to construct.

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N.B. Seam Allowance in quilting is 1/4″. The better you are at maintaining a precise 1/4″ SA the better your blocks will turn out. Also, I use spray starch on all my pieces before I sew them because it makes precision MUCH easier. Try it!

First up is what I call the Woven Block. Like most of the blocks in this QAL, it’s made of four identical parts. Here are the cutting measurements:


4 background squares 3.5″ x 3.5″

From each of four fabrics: {1} 3.5″ x 3.5″ square and {1} 3.5″ x 6.5″ rectangle

Construction: Lay out your fabrics and decide on placement. Sew your 3.5″ x 3.5″ background squares to the 3.5″ x 3.5″ feature fabric square next to it.

 Then you’ll sew those pairs to the rectangles.

Then sew those rectangles together as above.

And sew those rectangles together. Done!

Here’s the back – I gently press my seams open.

A WORD OF CAUTION FOR BEGINNERS: Let’s talk about what you do with your seams in quilting. When I say I GENTLY PRESS them open, I really mean gently press. You know how when you’re ironing your socks and underwear (isn’t that what people use irons for when they’re not quilting?) you use a back and forth, sweeping motion? You don’t do that when you’re piecing quilt blocks. The fabric is kinda flimsy and can easily stretch, which is what you really DON’T want! So if you are gentle and trust that the heat of your iron will do all the work, your patience will pay off. Now, many quilters will tell you that pressing your seams open is asking for disaster. The thinking is that if you press them to the side, there will be fabric underneath the seam. So if there’s any stress on the seam, the 2 layers of fabric under it will take most of the stress and the seam stays intact. What I don’t particularly like about pressing to the side is you always get this kind of fold thing. I’d rather everything lays flat, and it makes it easier for me to line seams up for blocks so they’re perfectly matched up.  So I guess it’s best to experiment to find what you prefer.

The next block is the Snowball Block.

You’ll need 4 fabrics.

From the snowball fabrics, cut {2} 6.5″ x 6.5″ squares of each as shown above.

From the two other fabrics, cut {4} 2.5″ x 2.5″ squares of each (for a total of 8 squares).

Draw diagonal lines across your squares and pin them in place as shown.

Sew along the diagonal line of each of the smaller squares. Then trim the excess to 1/4″. Press those squares to the outside as shown.

Sew the little snowballs together to make a bigger block.

When you’re lining them up to sew the two large pieces together, check your middle seams to make sure they’re lined up perfectly. Because that’s the centre, that’s where the eye will be drawn so you want to get it as close to perfect as possible.

Ta-Da! Remember to pop a pic into the Flickr group!

You’ve finished them both! I think they’re really quick to put together – even with all the picture faffing I was done fairly quickly, but I’m interested to know how you get on with them. So if you get a chance, leave me a comment letting me know! That makes future QALs easier to plan, time-wise.

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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, Tutorial Tuesday, Tutorials, UK craft blog | Tagged , , , , , , | 18 Comments