New to Quilting?

If you are brand new to quilting and don't know where to begin, start with the posts in September 2011 (look in the blog archive). The first four posts cover basics such as choosing equipment, choosing colors, how to sew 1/4" seams, how to use a rotary cutter, and how to press (not iron) your block during construction.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Starting Point - Quilt Block Tutorial

Here's our first block for the new block of the month quilt we are working on in our neighborhood. Please visit Quilt, Etc in Sandy UT if you would like printed directions for the block. They have monthly kits that are $5.50 that include the pattern. The blocks this year will be 8 1/2" unfinished, 8" finished and sewn into the quilt.

Starting Point
also known as Star Puzzle by Jinny Beyer
8" finished
To make this block you will need:
You will need one dark fabric (B) 7" x 14",
and one light fabric for the background (A) 7" x 14".

Cut from background fabric
(A) eight 3" squares

Cut from dark fabric
(B) eight 3" squares 

Cut eight 3" squares from dark fabric (B) and eight 3" squares from light fabric (A).

The block is made up of sixteen 2" (finished) half-square triangles. There are quite a few methods you can use to put together half-square triangles. I've used one that I use often and is easy for beginning quilters. Here is a post on two other ways to sew half-square triangles, and a third way here.

Draw a diagonal line on each of the light 3" squares. I use a pencil. We'll be cutting on the line later so use your favorite marking method.

Put a light and dark square together, light on top so you can see the diagonal line. If you haven't sewn much, place 2 pins in each pair to keep them from shifting while you are sewing.

My needle is set 1mm to the right of the center point so I can sew a scant 1/4" seam. If you change your needle position, make sure your needle does not hit the presser foot! I also have a piece of blue painters tape lined up with the needle so that I can line the point of my square up and sew accurately. My presser foot is a 1/4" piecing foot and the pencil line is just on the left side of the presser foot guide. Sew a scant 1/4" from the drawn line.
(To find out more about scant 1/4" seams, go here.)

I chain pieced down one side of all the pencil lines, then turned the stack at the end of the pile to sew down the other side. You don't have to chain piece, you can sew one set of squares at a time.

Once you have sewn all the blocks, cut along the drawn line and stack them up with the dark side facing you.

Press each block open. If you start with the dark fabric on top, the seam will be pressed towards the dark side.

Time to trim the block. Line the horizontal line along the seam line. I like the Precision Trimmer, but there are other rulers that do the same thing. The 6 1/2" Square Up Ruler by Quilt in a Day is another good one.

Trim both edges off.

Flip the block, place the trimmer on the horizontal seam line, trim off any extra. Trim each half-square triangle unit to 2 1/2".

Lay your half-square triangles out on a flannel board or something you can carry to your sewing machine.

Using a scant 1/4" seam, sew each row of blocks.

Press your seams in opposite directions so they will nest together when you sew the next seam.

If you want your seams to have the best chance of lining up, pin them together!

I want my seams to nest together so there is less bulk, and the corners of the sub-units will match precisely, that's the goal!

Pin the two halves of the block together, nesting the seams, and pin in place.
Sew with a scant 1/4" seam.

Press open and measure. If you were sewing accurately your block should measure 8 1/2", which will be 8" finished in the quilt.

Then pat yourself on the back! You did it!

Update: Reader's Blocks! Thanks so much for sending me your photos to share!
Dawn's colorway

Jaime's colorway

No comments:

Post a Comment

I've been spammed like crazy lately! Please take an extra few seconds for the word verification if you are a real person and would like to comment. So sorry for the inconvenience.