More Bias Rectangles (HRTs) Resources

Last week, I wrote a post on HRTs. After writing it and concentrating, mostly, on tutorials, I thought of rulers. Yes, I mentioned the Tri-Recs ruler, but I thought there might be others. I am not sure why I didn’t think of it myself.

BlocLoc HRT ruler
BlocLoc HRT ruler

This idea got legs when one reader (Thanks, Libby!) told me that the BlocLoc ruler system has an HRT ruler. I saw them in an online shop and they look similar to the BiRangle, though different as well.

I am not familiar with this system of rulers, not because there is anything wrong with them. I haven’t used them, mostly because I don’t want to get sucked in to another type of ruler! I do want to support small quiltmaking businesses and I feel the urge to just try them all the time. It is hard since I am such a ruler lover.

Creative Grids HRT
Creative Grids HRT

After finding the BlocLoc rulers I went searching for others. I found a Creative Grids triangle ruler that will help you make HRTs in a variety of different sizes. It is similar in shape to the Tri Recs, but looks like you can make more sizes using it.

I think you could also make blocks with super skinny triangles like Storm at Sea or 54-40 or Fight.

This CG ruler is a little pricey – $18.95. Think of how many quilts you could make! 😉

Accuquilt-HRT die
Accuquilt-HRT die

It also occurred to me that Accuquilt may have a die. They do. The die (#55411) cuts two skinny triangles in a 3 x 6 inch size. You must have a Go! machine to use this die. It is compatible with the Studio, Big and Go! Baby, though you might have to use an adapter. This die is also included in the Accuquilt GO! Qube Mix & Match 12″ Block set. The obvious drawback is that you get only one size.

I went to the Cotton Patch a few weeks ago and they had a whole Accuquilt Center in their store now! It made me want to swoon. If I only had unlimited funds and space! I suppose more time would be useful as well. 😉

Happy HRT making!

Bias Rectangles (HRTs) Resources

I have an idea to spice up the latest batch of 16 patch blocks I made for the BAMQG charity project using HRTs.

HRTs are half rectangle triangles, which are similar to half square triangles. This shape/block is also called a Bias Rectangle. I wanted to make them using a method similar to the Triangle Technique. Wouldn’t that be great? DH and SIL worked on the math, but they could only get one rectangle and a kite shape out of a similar method.

Sigh.

I went looking for tutorials.

Adrianne of ilovefabric.com and Little Bluebell blog uses one part of the Tri-Recs ruler. She shows a top in the post that she made and details how the ruler works. If you are doing Bonnie Hunter’s 2016 mystery quilt, you need this ruler set anyway. You can buy it for the mystery quilt and have it for HRTs.

It might be easier to cut these shapes if you had a cutting mat turntable. Martelli has one that includes an ironing surface.

The Modern Quilt Guild posted a tutorial on bias rectangles. The tutorial shows how to make 4.5 x 6.5 inch final block size, but notes that the tutorial works for any size as long as you use the same sized rectangles. The tutorial includes directions for “squaring” up the blocks (a rectangle made up of two triangles).

Wayne Kollinger also posted 3 (yes, THREE) different tutorials for making HRTs. First, he talks about just cutting fabric. No tools or special rulers. Wayne’s second method also uses the Tri Recs ruler. The third tutorial uses freezer paper. One thing Wayne says is “the rectangles are twice as long as they are wide. This means that for a 6″x6″ block the rectangles would have a finished size of 2″x 4″. For a 9″x9″ block the rectangles would have a finished size of 3″x6″.”, which is very helpful information moving forward.

Heidi at Buttons and Butterflies posted a tutorial includes what not to do, which is a great illustration of what I found out from DH’s mathematical adventures. From the tutorial you can see what happens without having to do it yourself. 😉 There are a few different techniques included in this post including an Accuquilt technique. The Accuquilt die has the tips cut off for easier matching of patches. She finishes up with a tutorial similar to the Modern Quilt Guild tutorial. Heidi also talks about the differences in HRTs, which I was glad about since I didn’t realize some of the things she discusses.

Kristi of the Schnitzel and Boo Blog uses a similar technique to Heidi, but sews on each side of the center line to make her HRTs in her post. The post includes a quilt tutorial/pattern as well.

Marjorie Rhine from Quilt Woman has a PDF discussthe topic, including three options for making the blocks. One is to use a template, similar to my tutorial on using templates. I supposed the Tri Recs ruler discussed above would also work. Also mentioned are the Marti Michell’s Template Set D or Margaret Miller’s AnglePlay Template. The latter is a companion to a couple of books. She includes paper piecing and using templates as techniques. The PDF includes a lot of useful information.

These can also be made using foundation piecing. Printing a template from EQ7 or drawing the paper template is also possible.

BiRangle ruler
BiRangle ruler

Finally, I have a ruler called a BiRangle ruler. It is by Martingale (I bought it when the company was called That Patchwork Place).

Sew Mama Sew has a tablerunner pattern. She talks about why the Triangle Technique does not work for HRTs.

 

Quilt Class: Rose Wreath pt.3

We are making the Flower Wreath block. To find out how to make templates, including the ring, see Part 1 for making templates and Part 2 for making the ring and positioning the ring on the background.

Flower Wreath
Flower Wreath

Now we are going to stitch the ring. If you haven’t started, check the Supply List in part 1 and grab your 3″x5″ tearaway backed fabric. Your ring should be applied to the background and ready to stitch. If your ring is not fused and ready to stitch, go back to part 2.

I stitch in layers, so that the stitching is easier, there are fewer starts and stops and the piece looks more finished. Now that you are ready to stitch, it is time to choose your thread.

Choose thread
Choose thread

Whenever you choose thread, you must consider the stitch. If the stitch will be dense like a satin stitch, you should choose the color by looking at the thread wrapped around the whole spool. That will give you a better sense of the color the satin stitch will end up.

It you will be using a straight stitch, you should unreel a bit of the thread and look at one strand on your fabric. You may need to pool a little of the thread together – less dense than the whole spool and more dense than one strand.

Now set up your machine for zig zag stitching. You will need to choose a stitch density. I like a semi-open zig zag that is not too wide. Dense satin stitching, however, can really highlight and outline each piece. I use the following settings on my machine:

  • Ring: width: 3.0, density: 0.45
  • Flowers: width: 3.0, density: 0.45
  • Leaves: width: 2.0, density: 0.5
  • Flower centers: width: 2.0, density: 0.5

YMMV: Your machine will vary so use the test piece and try out your settings.

Even if I haven’t chosen all the fabric, I like to get the ring stitched down first, so I can audition the other fabric without worrying about the ring. Yes, it is fused and shouldn’t go anywhere, but I still like it to be stitched down.

In order to choose the stitch density, you will need to test. Get the tearaway backed sample piece you have prepared and start testing with the width and densities I have provided above. Stitch lines of zig zag stitching 2-3″ long using a contrasting thread similar to the thread you will be using to stitch the ring. Adjust the width and density on your machine until you are pleased with the look.

Stitch ring
Stitch ring

Put the ring on the machine and start stitching. I always leave a long tail that I can pull to the back and tie shut later. My zig zag does not automatically tie the ends. If your machine is more advanced you may not have to tie a knot on the back. I don’t want my zig zag to come out if it gets snagged while the quilt is being used, which is why I tie the ends.

I use my applique’ foot, which has a red arrow in the center to stitch out the zig zag. I place the tip of the red arrow on the raw edge of the ring and follow it around. You want a smooth curve, so you should stitch with needle down or use the hand wheel to put the needle down when you stop. If the center point on your foot gets off the raw edge of your ring, stop and readjust. Stop with the needle down on the outside of the ring’s curve whenever you need to readjust the needle to accommodate the curve. Turn the fabric to the left to get the center point of the foot back on the raw edge of your ring. The stitching will be slightly closer together on the inside of the shape, when the needle punches the fabric to the left, and more open on the outside of the shape or when the needle hits the background.

Tail of thread
Tail of thread

When you have done about half – 3/4s of the stitching on the ring, stop and pull the beginning thread to the back and tie it off.

I tie the beginning off before I get to the end, because the beginning and ending threads can get tangled up and make it impossible to make small, neat knots. I have tied all four ends together in a pinch, but prefer to make the knots as small as possible.

Fold work back to tie
Fold work back to tie

I also use this technique also if I have to stop and pull the work out of the machine because of thread breakage or necessary bobbin refill.

I fold the work back (I only used my pincushion so I could photograph what I was doing. Normally, I just hold it with my wrist as pull the front through to the back and tie the ends together.) I don’t take the work out of the machine unless there is a good reason – like a big knot, or thread breakage, etc.

Completely stitched ring
Completely stitched ring

Once your knot is tied, continue stitching to where you started. I don’t overlap much once I get to the beginning, perhaps only a stitch or two, because I don’t want the look of the stitching to be too different.

I pull the work out of the machine and tie off the ending threads. Again, you may not need to do this if your machine does it for you.

Now follow the same steps, but on the inside, to finish stitching down the ring. Once you have stitched both the inside and outside of the rings, your ring will be complete and you will be ready to place the leaves and flowers on the ring.

Choose fabrics by putting scraps on background
Choose fabrics by putting scraps on background

If you have not already done so, choose the rest of your fabrics. You will need fabric for the flowers (1-4 fabrics) and leaves (1-20 fabrics). If you have not cut out and fused the wreath to the background, please go back to part 2. The leaves can be the traditional green or you can use something else. If you use one color, you might want to mix up prints to increase interest. You can also use different colors. Make the block your own.

Make visual decisions visually
Make visual decisions visually

I thought about making the leaves green to make them more realistic, but decided I still wanted to use a variety of turquoises and aquas and to stay with my quilt’s color scheme. I found more fabrics to use in my scrap basket.

It is important, with my limited color scheme, to make sure the viewer can see the individual leaves. For that, I need to have enough contrast between the various aquas and turquoises. Remember, when choosing your fabrics, to make visual decisions visually. Put your potential fabrics on the background and step back to look at them. From my test piece (right) you can see that there are a variety of tones of aqua and turquoise. Some of them blend a bit into the background. I want movement and interest.

Cover fusible with fabric
Cover fusible with fabric

Once you have chosen all of your fabrics press the fabric. Add fusible to the wrong sides.

Use the pressing cloth or applique’ pressing sheet to keep the fusible from sticking to your iron.

Follow the directions on your fusible’s packaging.

 

Trace leaves & Flowers
Trace leaves & Flowers

Mark all of your leaves and flowers. Flip the fusible so that paper side is up. You will be able to see your different fabrics through the paper. Place a template face DOWN on the appropriate fabric and trace with a writing implement. I use a Sewline pencil, but you can also use a pen, regular pencil or anything. I wouldn’t use a Sharpie even though I don’t think the paper will allow the marking to bleed through to the fabric.

Once you have traced all pieces**, cut them out right inside the drawn line. You should have 20 leaves, 4 flowers and 4 flower centers.

  1. Take all of your pieces and arrange them the pleasing way. Arrange them into the final position. You are using this try-out to look at the overall effect of the whole block. Once you are pleased with the arrangement, take a photo or sketch out placement.
  2. Fuse & Stitch Flowers
    Fuse & Stitch Flowers

    You will need to stitch the flowers first, then the leaves and finally the flower centers. The flowers and leaves are on the same layer, so you can stitch them in any order. Anything that will be covered by another piece will need to be stitched before you fuse the covering piece.

  3. Place the flowers on the ring using the press marks you used to place the ring on the background (or fold the background in quarters and finger press again). Place them symmetrically along the ring, or in a pleasing way to your eye.
  4. Fuse them into place and get ready to stitch. You can also reference the machine applique’ tutorial for more information. Again, pay attention to where the layers of the design are placed. If there are leaves that you want to place under the wreath, you will need to satin stitch them before you fuse the wreath down entirely. For the flowers, you will need to satin stitch down any parts of the design that will be covered by another piece of fused fabric, such as the centers. The design will look better if you satin stitch a layer and then fuse the next piece down.
  5. Flower Wreath Layers

    Place the interfacing under the background. You could use a machine basting stitch to stitch the interfacing (Pellon Stitch & Tear or similar) temporarily to the background, but pinning works fine, too. You will need to zig zag with the interfacing under the background.

  6. Stitching flowers
    Stitching flowers

    Satin stitch all the other pieces down using the thread you chose. When you stitch, the middle of the stitch will cover the outside raw edge of each piece. I line up the red arrow on my foot (see photo) with the sharp edge of that raw edge. The pieces you will satin stitch have curves, thus you will need to manipulate the stitch so it is smooth. Stitch with needle down.

    Stop stitching to create smooth curves
    Stop stitching to create smooth curves

    Stop with the needle down on the outside of the curve for the leaves and flower petals. For the inside point between the flower petals stop above that point on the inside. If you do not have a machine that automatically stops with the needle down, again, you can use the hand wheel to move the needle into the downward position when you stop. Do thisMove the handwheel carefully without moving the fabric. Once the needle is down you will need to assess the way to turn the fabric. Always turn the fabric very slightly to ensure a smooth curve. You may only need to take one stitch before adjusting the fabric again in order to get around the curve smoothly. For the outside curves, generally, you need to turn the fabric to the left to make a smooth curve. (Updated 10/30/2012: My engineer SIL says: You turn it clockwise for outside curves and counter clockwise for inside curves. YMMV) The stitching will be closer together on the inside of the shape and more open on the outside of the shape when you move in this direction. For the inside point of the flower, between the petals, you will need to take a slight adjustment of the background to the right. For the pointy ends of the leaves, stop the needle on the outside of the leaf near the point and adjust the fabric to the right very, very slightly. Take one stitch, stop on the outside of the point again. Adjust very slightly to the right. Your goal should be to get the needle into the same hole on the inside of the leaf until the arrow or line on your machine’s foot is in line with the raw edge of the other side of the leaf. When you move the fabric always keep the needle down. Before starting, take a few of the templates, e.g. a leaf and a flower, make some test pieces and do a test with junk fabric so you get the feel of the procedure. This is not skill you should work on when you are pressed for time.

  7. Arrange leaves
    Arrange leaves
  8. Once you are finished with the flowers, change your thread and adjust the width and density of your stitch, if desired.
  9. Arrange the leaves in a pleasing manner. I placed 5 at a time on the background and stitched them down.
  10. Stitch leaves
    Stitch leaves

    Arrange and stitch all of the leaves. My photo shows only 10 sewn leaves, but I did eventually stitch all of them.

  11. Place the centers on the flowers and stitch them down. Follow all the directions above for tying off and moving the needle to create a smooth curve.
  12. Back of block
    Back of block

    Once you have stitched all the pieces, rip off the tearaway. I use a seam ripper to get the ripping started on pieces that are surrounded by stitching. Try not to distort the block while you are tearing out the stabilizer.

  13. Once you are finished with the entire stitching and ripping out the tearaway, trim the background down to 12.5″
Fusible Machine Applique' Block
Fusible Machine Applique’ Block

Finished block! Hooray! You did it!

**Nota bene: These pieces have no right direction. You can trace them any way and apply them anyway and they will look fine. Pay attention if you are cutting out letters or another motif that has a special direction. Put the right side down on the paper backed fusible and trace the motif backwards.

Quilt Class: Rose Wreath pt.2

We are making the Flower Wreath block. To find out how to make templates, including the ring see Part 1.

Flower Wreath
Flower Wreath

Supply List:

  • Notebook for notes
  • Pen to take notes ????
  • Mechanical Pencil
  • Fabric (at least 4 different, preferably more greens to create variety in the leaves; scraps work well)
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Paper scissors
  • Fusible web, such as Misty Fuse or Steam-a-Seam 2 or Steam-a-Seam Lite. My favorite is Soft Fuse.
  • Applique’ pressing sheet
  • Tear away stabilizer (the size of your background)
  • Iron
  • Ironing surface
  • Flower Wreath pattern sheets

Choose your fabrics. You will need fabric for the flowers (1-4 fabrics), leaves (1-20 fabrics) and the wreath (1 fabric). The leaves can be the traditional green or you can use something else. If you use one color, you might want to mix up the prints to increase interest. You can also use different colors. Make the block your own.

I used a variety of turquoises and aquas to keep my color scheme in the aqua/turquoise with red range. I have a few of the leaf fabrics picked out from my scrap basket, but need to find more. It is important, with my limited color scheme, to make sure the viewer can see the individual leaves.

Cut piece large enough for ring
Cut piece large enough for ring

The ring is the biggest pain to deal with so I worked on it first before I even really began thinking much about fabrics for the other parts. I decided to use one of the Pat Bravo Pure Elements solids in the turquoise range, but more on the green side. I haven’t used it in this quilt before, but it will complement the other colors. I picked it to highlight the leaves a little more.

Cover fabric with fusible
Cover fabric with fusible

Now you need to make sure that your fusible will cover your fabric.

I used a package of Steam-a-Seam 2 Lite, but there are many fusibles that will work just fine for this project. As I have said before, my new favorite is Soft Fuse. Use a product with which you are familiar or know how to use. Using what you have on hand is also a good idea.

Tear the paper carefully off of one side of the Steam-a-Seam 2 Lite (or follow directions for your fusible) and stick it to the fabric, smoothing it carefully so there are no puckers or bubbles. The fusible is sticky so you can stick to the fabric and re-position it until you are happy before you fuse it to the fabric.

Back of fusible backed fabric
Back of fusible backed fabric

Since the fusible pieces I had were 8.5″x11″, I needed to cover an extra piece (bottom of the photo above) that was wider than the 8.5″ width of the fusible. I cut a piece from the fusible (white part in photo above) and re-positioned it to cover the part of the fabric I need for the size of the template.

Once you are happy, fuse the 2 sided fusible (should have the paper left on one side) to your ring fabric. Follow the directions on the package or website. You may want to cover your ironing board and the piece with an applique’ pressing sheet to keep your iron and ironing surface clean.

Turn your fusible backed fabric so that the paper left on the fabric is face up, as in the photo above. Place your ring template face down on the paper and trace around it with a pencil.

Ring cut out
Ring cut out

Cut out the ring carefully on the line. I used an X-acto knife to start the center. I did use a pair of fabric scissors, but not my Gingher scissors. It is kind of hard to know what to do, because you are cutting both fabric and paper and you need a nice sharp edge. I use a pair of my mid-range scissors and hoped for the best. They still seem sharp even after this type of cutting.

Fold the ring into quarters and finger press lightly. Again you will be lining up the folds to center the ring.

Retrieve your background. Fold the background into quarters and finger press, so you can see the folds.

Line up ring on background
Line up ring on background

 

Remove the fusible paper from the ring.

Line up the folds of the ring with the folds of the background. If they are all in alignment, there should be a ring fold snuggled with a background fold evenly. If you want to check, measure from the edge to the ring. You do need an absolutely square block for this to work.

Press the ring with your iron, according to the fusible directions, onto the background so it sticks.

Carefully bring background with the ring stuck to it to the iron. Check to see that your ring is still in place. According to your fusible directions, press the ring into place.

Your ring should now be firmly ironed on to the center of the background.

Leave this piece on the ironing board temporarily.

Retreive the tearaway stabilizer and cut two pieces of tearaway stabilizer a little bit larger than your background fabric. Place your background on top of both pieces of tearaway and pin the background to the tearaway. This will provide stability and prevent the piece from puckering when you zig zag stitch the pieces.

You are now ready to machine applique’ your first part of the block. See part 3 for machine stitching the block.

Quilt Class: Rose Wreath pt.1

The next class is about fusible machine applique’. You had a lesson on the basics a few days ago. There are about 3 more tutorials I created to enable you to learn this technique well.

Flower Wreath
Flower Wreath

Supply List:

  • Notebook for notes
  • Pen to take notes 😉
  • Mechanical Pencil
  • Fabric (at least 4 different, preferably more greens to create variety in the leaves; scraps work well)
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Paper scissors
  • Small ruler
  • Glue stick
  • Template plastic
  • Dinner plate or compass
  • Fusible web, such as Misty Fuse or Steam-a-Seam 2 or Steam-a-Seam Lite. My favorite is Soft Fuse.
  • Applique’ pressing sheet
  • Tear away stabilizer (the size of your background)
  • Iron
  • Ironing surface
  • 3″x5″ piece of fabric backed with 2 layers of tearaway stabilizer
  • Flower Wreath pattern sheets
    1. Aqua-Red Sampler Blocks
      Aqua-Red Sampler Blocks

      Cut a piece of fabric for the background .5″ to 1″ bigger than the finished size of the block. If you have a regular background fabric, use that, if not use a coordinating fabric. I took a look at my current blocks to help me decide what background I wanted to choose. This is a coordinated scrappy quilt, but I also wanted to find a background that would work well with the applique pieces that I was planning to put on top of it.

    2. After cutting out a background, put it aside for the time being. You will need it after you make the templates and the ring.
    3. Rough cut pattern out for templates
      Rough cut pattern out for templates

      Rough cut out all the templates from the paperpattern. Feel free to adjust the design of the flowers or leaves, if you want the shapes to be a little different. It is good to make the pattern your own.

      All patterns rough cut
      All patterns rough cut

In the photo above, you can see all of them templates rough cut out, except the circles. The circles print from EQ7 on two sheets of paper. You will need to rough cut the two pieces for each circle and then tape them together. In order to tape the pieces together, hold each piece for one circle in a hand up to the light and match them up you. Before you hold them up, have have a small piece of tape ready to tack the pieces together. You can use a light box for this procedure also.

Fold circles in quarters
Fold circles in quarters

Fold circles in quarters to make a line down the centers. This will help you line them up to make the ring for the wreath.

I never did this before and had to figure it out, but it works pretty well.

Layer Circles
Layer Circles

Using the folds, layer the circles together so you can see the black line of the upper circle. Draw a line around the smaller circle, using the smaller circle as a template. You will be drawing on the larger circle. Use a soft implement (pencil or roller ball pen) that doesn’t skip to draw the circle. Once you have drawn the circle, you can put the smaller circle away with your other templates. I use a zipper bag for all of the pieces and parts.

Check width
Check width

Fold up the larger circle. Check the width of the ring of the wreath using a small ruler to make sure it is even. Once you are happy with the line. Cut along the line without opening the circle.

Complete Ring Pattern
Complete Ring Pattern

Once you have cut out the ring, open up the ring.

Now you are ready to make the templates. Grab all of your patterns, your template plastic and your glue stick.

  1. Glue the paper templates to the template plastic.
    No template plastic on folds
    No template plastic on folds

    The only tricky part is for the ring. I avoid the folds in the pattern and only put the template plastic on the parts of the ring where the fold isn’t. Why? Because I want to be able to fold this piece and put it in a zipper bag later. Also, by adding the template plastic in quarters you save template plastic and you can use smaller pieces. Finally, you don’t end up with a circle of leftover template plastic.

  2. Trim the templates to the line on the pattern.
Front & back of templates
Front & back of templates

Depending on the kind of template plastic you have, your templates will look something like the photo above.

Part 2 will talk about choosing fabrics etc.

You can find more detail about machine appliqueing directional motifs, such as letters in a separate tutorial.

Quilt Class: Basic Machine Applique’

Cake block detail
Cake block detail

This is part of the quilt class, but I will use some different patterns and fabrics to demonstrate.

When I started working on the Tarts Come to Tea after a long break I really could not remember how to machine applique’. It was the strangest feeling. I knew the general principles (trace pattern, iron it on fabric, satin stitch around the shapes), but all the details were hiding in some dark corner of my mind. I felt like I had to start over.

Being a good librarian I looked at some books, but could only find references to needle-turn and raw-edged applique’. I developed the following process. This is an overview. A future tutorial will provide more detail.

Supplies:

  • pencil
  • large sketch pad
  • favorite fusible (I like Soft Fuse)
  • black marker
  • paper scissors
  • fabric
  • thread
  • sewing machine
  • applique’ foot
Cake block pattern
Cake block pattern

First, I draw the pattern out life size on a white sheet of sketch paper. (I know this doesn’t look like white paper, but see the Weekend Work post for an explanation). I usually draw in pencil to start. When I draw the shapes in pencil I can make small changes until I am satisfied with the shapes.

Machine Applique' Pattern
Machine Applique’ Pattern

Next I trace the patterns on individual smaller sheets of paper. If there are parts that need to be in different colors or need to be separated for some reason, then I make separate patterns for them. For example, I made a separate pattern each for the main part of the cup, the coffee, the handle and the inside-back of the cup, above.

Tracing Machine Applique' Pattern
Tracing Machine Applique’ Pattern

I put the Soft Fuse, or other fusible of your choice, over the pattern and trace the pattern onto Soft Fuse.

Traced Pattern on Fabric
Traced Pattern on Fabric

After that is done, I trim the fabric to the approximate size, then press the Soft Fuse (or other appropriate fusible) on to the wrong side of that piece of fabric.

Repeat for all of the parts of your pattern.

Cake block detail
Cake block detail

Finally, remove the paper and stick the pieces to the background.

Press the fusible on to the background, according to the directions and satin stitch around the edges.

See the Fusible Applique’ tutorial for more detailed information. See the Machine Applique’ using Directional Motifs for more information on making sure your designs go the right way.

Quilt Class: LeMoyne Star

Finished LeMoyne Star
Finished LeMoyne Star

Today we will work through the tutorial on making a LeMoyne Star. This block is also called an Eight Pointed Star. The method described below is one of the methods I use to make it. There are many methods and I encourage you to try different techniques.

Alex Anderson has a great tutorial on one of the Quilt Show episodes on making a Split LeMoyne Star.

Before you do anything else, print the rotary cutting instructions below (first item under supplies). All the sizes, shapes, etc are there.

Supplies:

  • 8 Pointed Star Rotary Cutting Directions
  • 4.5″x 12.5″ Creative Grids ruler
  • 4.5 x8.5″ Creative Grids ruler
  • Jinny Beyer Perfect Piecer ruler
  • Optional: Mary Ellen’s Best Press or similar
  • Optional: stiletto
  • fabric marking implement (pencil, Sewline, Pilot SCUF, Pigma Micron, mechanical pencil, etc)
  • rotary cutter
  • mat
  • sewing machine
  • thread
  • iron
  • ironing board
  • 3 fabrics (I will name them A, B, C)
    • 3″x23″ strip of fabric A for 4 diamonds
    • 3″x23″ strip of fabric B for 4 diamonds
    • 1 fat quarter for the background (fabric C)

Important information:

  • Block is 12.5″ unfinished and 12″ finished
  • These directions use a quarter inch seam allowance.
  • You will be creating Y seams.
  • Chain piecing is not part of this tutorial.
  • Respect the bias.
  • Do not sew into the seam allowance.

Cutting

Line Up Ruler to Cut 1 Side of Diamond
Line Up Ruler to Cut 1 Side of Diamond

Cut a 3″x 23″ strips. That should be long enough for 4 diamonds (parallelograms). Cutting a 3″ strip across the width of a half yard of fabric (3″ x ~40″) will generate a strip that is long enough. You will need two of these strips. Using 2 different fabrics looks good.

As shown (above), line your ruler up so the 45 degree angle on your ruler is along the bottom of the strip.The side of the ruler should be lined up right in the corner of your strip.

The idea is to cut off the end of the strip, so you have the correct angle of one of the pointy ends of the diamond. I did try my diamond ruler, but none of the lines were quite the right size, so I couldn’t use it for this particular block.

Line Up Rulers to Cut the Second End
Line Up Rulers to Cut the Second End

I used the two rulers to make sure that the diamond were accurate. The first ruler, on the left, should be even with the far left diamond point so that it measures 4.25″ along the bottom edge. I used that measurement to line up the 45 degree angle of the second ruler so I could cut the angle in the right place. I butted the second ruler up against the first ruler (carefully) so everything was in alignment. The second ruler (on the right) must have a 45 degree angle that intersects with a corner or this method won’t work.

I removed the left ruler before I started cutting, as it was easier to cut with just one ruler on the mat. I was careful not to jostle the ruler in the 45 degree angle position. Line your ruler up exactly as shown in the photo. You don’t have to have exactly the rulers I have. You can use any rulers with the correct lines.

Cut 2d End of Diamond
Cut 2d End of Diamond

I found that the method really does work. You will need to repeat the step above 8 times to get 8 diamonds. After the first diamond, it will be easier, since you can use the 2d cut for each diamond as the first cut for the next diamond.

Aside from having to watch out for ruler jostling, I was really pleased with how easy this was and well these diamonds came out. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t have wanted to cut the 300+ diamonds for FOTY 2010 using this method, but for a LeMoyne Star, it works very well.

I cut all the diamonds at once from two strips of two different fabrics. My fabrics are:

  • background: Lil Plain Jane
  • red diamonds: Moda Bliss #55021
  • aqua dot diamonds: Moda Bliss #55023
Side Triangles
Side Triangles

Cut the squares and triangles according to the cutting directions on the PDF in the supply list. The triangles are quarter square triangles, which means that you cut the triangles so the straight of the grain will be along the hypotenuse (the long side of the traingle).

If you have some reason for not being able to cut the side triangles as shown, be careful while sewing the block together and then stay stitch the outside of the block once you are finished.

Pieces cut
Pieces cut

Once your pieces are cut, lay them out or adhere them to your design surface, so you know what you have.

Cut Diamond, Face down
Cut Diamond, Face down

I like to keep them where I can see them because it helps me to know where I am. As I sew, I put the sewn elements of the block back up on the design wall.

Once you have cut all the diamonds, you will need to mark them. You need to mark 1/4″ away from the seam line, because if you want this block to come out right, you cannot sew into the seam allowance. The biggest rule I have for making the LeMoyne/8 pointed star block is NOT to sew into the seam allowance. There are exceptions, but I am not going into those now.

Put your diamonds face down on a writing surface and prepare to mark. As you can see from the photo, I used my cutting mat as the hard surface. You can use a table or whatever else works for your work area. I used the Sewline pencil to make the marks. Pilot SCUF pens, a mechanical pencil, etc also work. A regular pencil might not have a sharp enough point to be accurate.

Get ready to mark the seam allowance on all of your pieces (squares, triangles, diamonds).

Mark with Perfect Piecer
Mark with Perfect Piecer

I like using the Perfect Piecer ruler by Jinny Beyer for marking weird angles, because I only have to move the ruler once to mark the ‘corner.’

With the Perfect Piecer (they aren’t giving me free stuff, BTW!), you put the ruler in the ‘corner’ as shown in the photo. Where I have placed the circle is a hole. Note it is a small hole, so a regular No.2 pencil usually won’t work. Stick your Sewline (or other fabric marking implement with a very thin point) in there and make a dot. Voilà!

You will need to use two different parts of

Ruler Angle Does Not Fit Side
Ruler Angle Does Not Fit Side

the Perfect Piecer ruler to make the marks on all four ‘corners’. There is no angle for the sides of the diamonds, so just use the straight edge (as I describe below). You don’t need to know the angles, if angles make you crazy. Just match up the shape of the ruler with your cut piece.

Use Straight Edge for Marking
Use Straight Edge for Marking

You can certainly use any kind of ruler. Take your regular ruler and line up the 1/4″ line with the cut edge. Make a line around where you think the quarter inch would be. Make it longer, so you don’t have to go back and make the line longer. Move the ruler to the opposite cut edge of the diamond and cross your first line with a new line. Make sure your lines make an X. I have done this numerous time and there is no problem using an X instead of the Perfect Piecer dot.

Beautiful marks!
Beautiful marks!

In case you were wondering what the marks look like, the photo (red diamond with blue circles, left) shows examples.

The upper left hand mark inside the blue circle is the mark made with a Perfect Piecer and the Sewline pencil.

The lower right hand mark is made using a regular rotary cutting ruler and the Sewline pencil. Either mark works, as I said. You will use these marks to stop and start your seam lines. NO sewing into the seam allowance!

You will need to mark the squares and the triangles, too. You can use the Perfect Piecer to mark those pieces as well.

At this point, use some Mary Ellen’s Best Press to stiffen your pieces since you will be working with and sewing along a lot of bias edges. You can either spray it on all of your pieces at once, or as you are getting ready to sew. If you don’t want to use Mary Ellen’s Best Press or spray starch, no problem. Just keep in mind that you are working with bias edges and you need to work with them carefully. You don’t need to be afraid of bias edges. Just work slowly and carefully. Respect the Bias! 😉

Position Triangle over Diamond
Position Triangle over Diamond

Sew Segments Together

Now you are ready to sew!

First, position one of your side triangles over the diamond as shown, right sides together. You are lining up the diamond with the left non-hypotenuse side of the side triangle.

Line up the marks you have made on the diamond with the marks you made on the triangles.

I used pins. I stick them through the two marks vertically one time to keep them in place until I get to the sewing machine.

You can give the pieces a little press to stick them together, if you want.

Sew from Mark to Mark
Sew from Mark to Mark

Next sew from mark to mark. Start sewing at one mark and stop at the second mark. Stay out of the seam allowance! You can back stitch, if you want, but stay out of the seam allowance. Easy!

An Aside: You are probably wondering about the lemon fabric. Short answer: ignore the lemon fabric. Long answer: I press fabric on my ironing board and if I am pressing a lot of pieces, then I will put a larger piece of fabric so that I can get more bang for my buck. As I press the smaller pieces the larger piece gets pressed as well.

Press Carefully
Press Carefully

You can press now. If you do, press carefully (remember the bias, respect the bias) towards the diamond. If you don’t want to press until later, that is ok, too. I usually create the entire segment (2 diamonds, one triangle) before I press.

Now you have your first piece. YAY!

Not hard or scary, right?

Repeat this step for all of the diamonds that will be in the same position as my aqua with white dot diamonds.

 

2d Diamond with Pieced Segment
2d Diamond with Pieced

The next step is to sew the second diamond on to the segment (above: aqua with white dot & Lil Plain Jane flower fabrics) you have just made. You will be doing an inset seam. An inset seam is also called a Y seam. A lot of people hear Y Seam and panic. Y Seams are not difficult, but you can’t chain piece them and you have to pay attention. This method is similar to sewing hexagons together. Y seams really expand the number of quilt block designs you will be able to make.

As you can see I have lined the red diamond up with the segment I sewed and am ready to line up the pieces, pin and sew.

Line Up 2d Diamond & Pin
Line Up 2d Diamond & Pin

First, line up the marks on the triangle and the diamond.

I used pins to make sure that everything was lined up before I sewed. I placed the pins through the marks on both pieces of fabric vertically. I put a pin in the middle of seam line, once all the pieces were lined up, right before I sewed to hold everything together.

You will be sewing in two stages. I like to sew the triangle to the second diamond before I sew the two diamonds together.

 

Sew 2d Diamond
Sew 2d Diamond

Next, place the group of 3 patches (2 diamonds and a triangle) under the needle, lining up the marks so that the needle misses the seam allowance and goes straight into the first mark. Only sew through 2 layers of fabric.

Sew from mark to mark. The triangle and the second diamond will now be sewed together.

Sew from Top to Middle
Sew from Top to Middle

Second, line up the new diamond with the diamond you have already sewed to the triangle.

Line Up 2d Diamond & Pin
Line Up 2d Diamond & Pin

Match up the marks on the top and sides of the diamond and pin vertically. Right sides should be together.

Put the top of the 2 diamonds into the machine. You will start sewing at the mark, which is 1/4″ in from the top of the diamond. Sew between the two marks, avoiding the seam allowance. I sew towards the triangle.

Top View of Sewing Mark to Mark
Top View of Sewing Mark to Mark

Sew down to the mark at the bottom of the diamond. If the pressed seam allowance looks like it will go under the needle, move it out of the way with your finger, the tip of some sharp scissors or a stiletto.

Stop at the second mark.

Remove the piece from the machine.

 

Segment 1 Complete
Segment 1 Complete

Once you have sewed the the three patches together, you will have one full segment completed.

Next, press the 3 seam allowances into a swirl. This is similar to what you did with the hexagon block. As a guide, use the first seam that you pressed after sewing the first diamond to your triangle.

The reason I suggest the ‘Swirl’ is that it reduces bulk later. This particular pressing point isn’t as important in terms of bulk as the center, which has a crazy number of layers, once finished. Consistency is good, though.

Repeat to make four of the above segments.

Sew Quarters into Halves

Segment and Square
Segment and Square
Sew Square to Segment
Sew Square to Segment

Line up the square to the [red] diamond, matching the marks.

Arrange your pieces like I have done.

Line up the marks in the square with the marks on the outside side of the bottom (red in the picture) diamond.

Press, if you like.

Pin, if you like. Go back to the sewing machine and sew from mark to mark.

Repeat this step for all four segments.

Sew Square to Segment 1
Sew Square to Segment 1

If you just look at the next photo, you might have a heart attack. Please don’t. Adding the square is not hard. The key is to NOT sew into the seam allowance.

Nota bene: You can actually sew into the seam allowance on any seam that will end up on the outside of the block. If this thought is going to make your head explode, then just remember my mantra: don’t sew into the seam allowance and you will be fine.

Two Quarters of the Block
Two Quarters of the Block-Once you have two segments sewn to two squares, prepare to sew the two quarters together.

 

Line up 2 Halves along the Center Diamond
Line up 2 Halves along the Center Diamond

 

Sew Diamond Only
Sew Diamond Only

Sew the [red] diamond to the aqua diamond on the bottom. Stay out of the seam allowance and sew mark to mark.

Seam Line After Sewing Diamonds
Seam Line After Sewing Diamonds

 

After Diamonds are Sewn
After Diamonds are Sewn

It looks weird once you have sewn the diamonds together, but it will work out.

Pin vertically as discussed.

Line up Square
Line up Square

Line up the square with the [aqua] diamond and sew from mark to mark.

 

You Finished Half of Your LeMoyne Star
You Finished Half of Your LeMoyne Star

Two Halves of Block

Center detail
Center detail

Finally, we are ready to sew the two halves together. You should have pressed in such a way that you can nestle the diamonds together using your pressed opposing seams.

Match up the marks with pins. I used really thin ones this time. I normally use the kind shown in the center detail photo, but switched to thinner ones as I worked on this step, because my normal pins weren’t giving me the accurate results I needed for this exacting piecing. Note that I don’t pin right in the center. I pin well where I am not going to sew and may put another vertical pin in the center temporarily. There are so many layers in the center that it doesn’t always make sense to pin there. Do what works for you.

Sew Halves Together
Sew Halves Together

Line up your piece carefully.

Hold on to your pinned halves tightly.

Sew over the center only . Start about an inch from one side of the center and stop about an inch after the center- ~2″ with the center point at the 1″ mark.

Sewing only a couple of inches makes it much easier to rip out. You might think that this will be a piece of cake, which it might be for you. It can be tricky also, because of the many layers of fabric that you are sewing through. My sewing machine did not want to go straight over that center section, which is why I had to rip the stitching out the first time.

Take the piece out of your machine, open it and see if you were able to match the center.

Once you have the center matched to your satisfaction, sew from the edge of one diamond across the entire center to the edge of the opposite diamond. Remember the mantra? Refrain from sewing into the seam allowance.

Finished and Pressed (full)
Finished and Pressed (full)

Once you have sewn the squares to the last sides of the last diamonds, pressing becomes very important. I have indicated with the circles how your pressing should look. If you need to re-press, spray the piece with water and that will make it easier.

By creating a swirl during the pressing of the center, you will reduce bulk for your later quilting step. You will thank yourself if you quilt your own quilts. Your quilter will thank you, if you have a longarmer quilt your quilts.

Finished and Pressed (detail)
Finished and Pressed (detail)

 

Finished LeMoyne Star
Finished LeMoyne Star

Once you have sewn the squares to the last sides of the last diamonds and pressed the piece, you should have a gorgeous block and feel very proud of yourself.

Quilt Class: Hexagons

Hexagon Block
Hexagon Block

Here is the next block in our Sampler Quilt Class. These directions are for machine sewing your hexagons.

Supply List

  • Hexagon Template
  • mechanical pencil
  • thin Pigma pen (or similar)
  • template plastic
  • glue stick
  • foreground fabric
  • 13″ x 13″ piece of background fabric
  • Perfect Piecer ruler by Jinny Beyer
  • Small rotary ruler such as the Creative Grids 4.5″x8.5
  • Fabric scissors (see note on using a rotary cutter**)
  • thread
  • pins
  • Design surface or sandpaper board
  • Wooden kebab stick, stiletto or similar item you can use with your iron
  • sewing machine

Optional

  • Mary Ellen’s Best Press
  • hand sewing needle
  • hand sewing thread

Important information:

  • Block is 12.5″ unfinished, 12″ finished
  • These directions use a quarter inch seam allowance.
  • You will be creating Y seams.
  • Chain piecing is not part of this tutorial.
  • Respect the bias.
  • Do not sew into the seam allowance.

Templates

1. Prepare pattern for your hexagon template by printing two copies of the pattern.

Place one copy of the pattern with your other notes for reference or in your binder. Use it as reference first. Rough cut the hexagon pattern out of the other sheet.

Add Seam Allowance if it doesn't Print
Add Seam Allowance if it doesn’t Print

Nota bene: Sometimes the seam allowance doesn’t print out, so you may need to add 1/4″ seam allowance to the pattern before rough cutting.

Create Template

Glue the paper pattern (with seam allowances), using the glue stick (or other suitable adhesive), to the template plastic.

Create an Accurate Pattern

Fine cut the paper pattern you have adhered to the template plastic so you have an accurate template.

Gather your fabric and press it all. You can rough cut some pieces and press it with Mary Ellen’s Best Press to help keep the bias from stretching. The MEBP won’t prevent the bias from stretching, but it will add a bit of stiffness and help.

Cutting

Place Templates Face Down
Place Templates Face Down

Place your template face down on the wrong side of the fabric and trace carefully around your template directly on to the fabric.

Cut using scissors.**

**PLEASE Do not cut around your template plastic template with a rotary cutter. I want you to be able to finish the block with no blood. There is not enough protection for your fingers. A rotary ruler gives your finger some protection from the blade of your cutter cutter. If you use a rotary cutter, you may want to use a hexagon ruler, such as the Fons & Porter Hexagon ruler. The smallest hexagon on that ruler is larger than my template, but you can alter the pattern slightly by using 19 of those hexagons, which fit in the 12.5″ block. You can also cut using a rotary ruler and rotary cutter by lining up the ruler on the line you drew around your template.

Cut 19 Hexagons
Cut 19 Hexagons

Cut 19 hexagons from your fabric.

Mark your hexagons
Mark your hexagons

Marking

Now, mark your hexagons so that the Y seams will be easy to sew. As mentioned in the supply list, I use the Jinny Beyer Perfect Piecer.

 

Hexagon Markings
Hexagon Markings

Line up your ruler in every angle in every hexagon and make a dot.***

You can also make a cross at the seam allowance by lining up a regular ruler along your cut edge and drawing a line near the angle. See the tutorial called Hexagons -Preparing to Sew, which gives more information.

***Nota bene: I used a different color fabric so you could sort of see the dot.

Sewing

Remember: you will sew between the dots only NOT into the seam allowance. This is how you sew Y seams and we have done that in other tutorials.

Arrange Hexagons
Arrange Hexagons

Arrange your hexagons in a pleasing manner on your design surface or on a sandpaper board.

Hexagons right sides together
Hexagons right sides together

Take two hexagons, that will be next to each other in the final block, place them right sides together.

Put them under the presser foot, lining up your Perfect Piecer mark under the needle

Sew a few stitches, then backstitch.

Sew the entire seam to the second Perfect Piecer mark. Backstitch*+ to secure.

*+Nota bene: You want to backstitch even though it is a bit tedious, because no other seams will cross the seams stitching the hexagons together. If you do not backstitch, there is a chance your stitches will come out before you get to the quilting part. You can also leave long tails and make a knot at every intersection.

I like to to sew my hexagon patches together in groups of three, thus we will need to add the third hexagon to the two you just sewed together.

Add 3d Hexagon -seam 1
Add 3d Hexagon -seam 1

Lay the piece of two hexagons you just sewed on the table and place the third hexagon patch on top of top one, right sides together. Sew the third hexagon to the piece of two hexagons starting at the dot marked Start and stopping at the Perfect Piecer mark indicated as Stop. Backstitch as described above.

Remove from the machine and clip your threads.

Add 3d Hexagon -seam 2
Add 3d Hexagon -seam 2

Now you are ready to sew the last seam to make a larger patch out of the three hexagons. Line up your third hexagon with the hexagon you didn’t sew a minute ago.

Pin. I put the pin in a place closer to the stop mark, so I can fit the sewing machine foot on the Perfect Piecer Start mark.

Nota bene: I don’t normally pin small hexagons, but when I am sewing the last seam it is useful.

The second hexagon will be kind of rolled up. Just keep it out of the way of the needle. You don’t want to sew it to the underside of the other hexagons.

Sewn hexagons on the design wall
Sewn hexagons on the design wall

I keep my pieces on the design wall as I sew them in order to keep them in order.

Sewing patches together
Sewing patches together

Keep sewing your patches together in chunks, then into larger chunks until you get all of them sewn together. Sewing groups of hexagons together is like sewing 2 or three together. Sew between Perfect Piecer dots. You just have to be carefully to keep the other, already sewn, hexagons out of the way. Just keep looking at the finished pieces to make sure they are in the right shape.

Nota bene: It is useful to have a digital camera handy and take a photo of your layout in case of confusion while sewing. You can also number your patches with numbered pins or Post-it notes.

More on sewing hexagons can be found in a previous post.

Press

For small hexagon blocks, I usually don’t press until I am done sewing all of them, because I want all the swirls to be orderly.

Press in a circular motion
Press in a circular motion
Press in a swirl to create mini hexagons
Press in a swirl to create mini hexagons

Press from the back, one seam at a time so all of the seams look like they are pressed in a circular motion. While pressing from the back you will need to make sure the front is smooth. The center where the patches meet will look like a mini hexagon.

Pressed back of hexagon piece
Pressed back of hexagon piece

When finished the block will have a lot of mini hexagons on the back.

Applique’

In order to prepare for applique’, you have to do something with the edges. If you want to do raw edge applique, you will need to trim the seam allowance off the outer edges, using the Perfect Piecer marks as a guide.

My preferred method is pressing the seam allowance on the outer edges in to make a clean edge.

Lay your hexagon piece right sides down on ironing surface
Lay your hexagon piece right sides down on ironing surface

Lay your hexagon piece right sides down on your ironing board.

Use the Perfect Piecer marks as a guide. Fold and finger press the outer edges in.

Press edges in
Press edges in

Next, get your fingers out of the way and press using a hot iron so the edges are pressed permanently under. Use a stiletto or kebab stick to hold the edge under the iron.

Once all of the edges are pressed under you are ready to place your piece on the background.

If you have not already done so, cut a background piece 13″ x 13″. It is cut a little larger to accommodate any take up from the applique’. You will trim it to 12.5″ x 12.5″.

Fold background into quarters
Fold background into quarters
Fold background into quarters
Fold background into quarters
Fold background into quarters
Fold background into quarters

Fold in quarters and finger press just so you can see the lines. DO NOT press with an iron. These press lines are a guide and shouldnät become permanent.

Using your finger pressed lines, center the hexagon piece, right side up, on the background.

Sew down either by hand or by machine using the applique’ tutorial.

Finish Line

YAY! You have completed your block! Good job!

Finished Hexagon Block
Finished Hexagon Block

You can find more information in the Hexagon Clarification post.

Remember: no sewing into the seam allowances!

 

Quilt Class: Foundation Piecing pt.5

This is a daunting tutorial. You have made it to the last section! Good job!

New York Compass
New York Compass

This segment discusses sewing the block together. In order to get to this point, you should have completed parts 1, 2 and three as well as part four.

Like piecing all other blocks, you want to sew smaller pieces together to make larger pieces, then sew the larger pieces together to complete the block. In part three, you should have cut any fabric for templates that did not have matching fabric patches already cut. Inventory your templates and make sure you have a fabric patch to match each template. If you don’t, go back to part three.

In part 4 you also pinned:

Pin sections together

Now, following the skills you learned in the curves tutorial, sew the two patches together. Remember that the edges are not quite as smooth on the other (blue) side, but that is ok. Just remember to sew slowly and carefully.

Outer patches sewn
Outer patches sewn
Outer patches sewn - blue side up
Outer patches sewn – blue side up

Once those two patches are sewn, they might look a little rumpled, but once you turn them both right side up and carefully press the section, they will look great.

Outer sections pressed
Outer sections pressed

Press which ever way you think will work best for your block.

Section D
Section D

Next, we will sew the corner section to the small pieced strip (Section D).

Nota bene: if you did not foundation piece the small strip, follow the directions in part 4 or part three to do so. If you haven’t done any foundation piecing you might want to start with this piece as it is smaller and less complex than the pointy triangles section.

Again you will need to pin. This time you are pinning your quarter circle corner piece and your small foundation pieced strip.

Pin ends horizontally
Pin ends horizontally

Take your quarter circle corner piece and your small foundation pieced strip and pin them together. Line up the straight edges on the ends and pin them together (horizontally-see photo above). I make sure the horizontal pins are out of the way of other pins and the sewing machine foot. They are used just to make sure my piece is in place while I put the other pins in.

I use a lot of pins. It works for me. I know there are other tutorials that are pinless or use minimal pins, but I want precision and pins give me precision. Put these two pieces together the way it works for you. Remember: you only have two hands.

Sew 2 patches together
Sew 2 patches together

Once you are happy with your pinning, get ready to sew. I put the non-pieced corner quarter circle on the bottom and the pieced part on the top. I try to make this a habit, though it doesn’t matter with this particular foundation pieced section. In some sections, like our spiky triangle section, it matters.

You can rip off the paper before you piece or not. I was having some other problems, so I ripped it off, but normally, I leave it on until the very last second, e.g. before I took the pieced top to the quilter!

Attach your quarter inch foot and sew your small foundation pieced strip to your corner quarter circle. If you don’t know how to sew curves, take a look at the curves tutorial.

Corner with 2 sections
Corner with 2 sections

Once you are finished, press carefully. I press to the side with the least number of seams, or to the side that the fabric seems to be naturally inclined to lay. Your corner will look gorgeous like the one above.

Once you have the small foundation pieced strip attached to your quarter circle, you will sew it to your spiky triangles piece. You will, again, pin a lot, using the horizontal pin trick to stabilize the piece.

Sew Sections Together
Sew Sections Together

Again, as shown in the photo above, I put the foundation pieced part on top. In this case, you are sewing two foundation pieced sections together, so you can choose which you want on top. I chose the spiky triangles section to go on top, but it doesn’t really matter, since there are no points to worry about cutting off.

Next sew the two remaining sections together, press, again, towards the piece with the least number of seams and you should have a piece like the one below.

Finished: Foundation Pieced Block
Finished: Foundation Pieced Block

After all that work, you have a beautiful foundation pieced block. Pat yourself on the back!

Quilt Class: Foundation Piecing pt.4

New York Compass
New York Compass

We are nearing the last part of the foundation piecing class. I know this is a long tutorial, but there are a lot of steps and it is difficult to explain when I am not in the same room with you. I also don’t have a crew, so photographing every single step with only two hands is a challenge.

Mostly this segment discusses getting ready to sew the major parts of your block together. Yes, there is more prep before you can sew your blocks together. I will give some template tips as well. In order to get to this point, you should have completed parts 1, 2 and part 3. All of the supplies are listed in part 1.

Like all other parts of piecing, your goal is to sew smaller pieces together to make larger pieces. First, inventory your templates and make sure you have a fabric patch for each template.

NY Compass Outline
NY Compass Outline

For any templates that do not have matching fabric patches, cut your fabric.

parts and templates

Based on the photo above, I need to cut 3 pieces. In some New York Beauty related patterns, these are pieced, but in ours we are using one fabric. You can certainly modify any of these pieces to do more foundation piecing.

Cutting fabric patches

To cut out these templates, I place my fabric right side down and the template right side down and draw on the back of the fabric. This is the same for all three of the templates.

Patches should look similar to template

Your patches should look similar to your template once cut out. All of these templates have an element of bias, so handle them carefully.

Outer Edge Patch half cut out

Once you have drawn your template shape on the fabric, you can cut it out. Where possible, I use a rotary cutter and ruler. If I cannot use those tools, e.g. for the curves in the pieces of this block, I use very sharp scissors and cut slowly and carefully. Above you can see that I have cut as many parts of the patch as possible with my rotary kit and am ready to cut the curve with scissors.

Corner template on fabric
Corner template on fabric

As with the previous piece, lay your fabric right side down and place the corner template on top, also right side down. Draw around it with a thin point Pilot Scuff, Pigma Micron, or similar, pen.

Line drawn on fabric
Line drawn on fabric

Once you have drawn carefully around the template, remove it and make sure your line is continuous. If it is not continuous, carefully replace the template and fix the missing segments.

Line up ruler along 90 degree angle
Line up ruler along 90 degree angle

Line up your ruler with the corner of the fabric patch. You may need to rough cut your fabric first, if there is too much yardage skewing the fabric as you try and cut.

Cut using rotary kit

The corner quarter circle template has a quarter inch seam allowance, so you don’t have to do anything, but cut the line you drew (and all the fabric on the other side) off. You will want to cut so that the line is cut off, but you need to cut ONLY the line off.

Also, these pieces are large, so make sure you can hold your ruler down tight as you are cutting. You want to avoid ruining a whole large piece of fabric because your ruler shifted.

Cut any other pieces you might need.

Fabric patches cut

Once you have cut out your fabric patches, you will have pieces that look like those in the above photo.

After seeing the above patches laid out, I decided to sew the two outer pieces together first. Again I want to join smaller pieces into larger sections. Also, the very outer piece has very skinny ends. I want to stabilize them a bit by sewing them to another piece before sewing them to the foundation pieced Section C.

Pin sections together

The first order of business is to pin them together. I apply horizontal pins on the ends and a lot of pins in the middle. My goal is to make the seam smooth. You are working on the bias, so don’t yank too much.

Horizontal pin - close-up

For my advanced students: if you put the horizontal pin in the two fabrics as shown above, the horizontal pins on each side should be out of the way of your 1/4″ foot.

Pinned End
Pinned End
blue side up
blue side up

It is not quite as smooth on the other side, but that is ok. Set this piece aside for now, but remember that when you are ready to sew, sew slowly and carefully. Next, we will sew the corner section (quarter circle, Section D) to the small pieced strip.

If you don’t know how to sew curves together, check out the curves tutorial.

Nota bene: if you did not foundation piece the small strip, follow the directions in part 3 or above to do so. If you haven’t done any foundation piecing before you might want to start with this piece as it is smaller and less complex than the pointy triangles section (Section C).

I use a lot of pins and I know there are other tutorials that are pinless or use minimal pins. Put these two pieces together the way it works for you.

Now you are ready for part 5, which is the last part, I promise. 😉

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 fabric piece on the foundation.
  • Avoid the bump by pressing!

Resources:

Quilt Class: Foundation Piecing pt.3

New York Compass
New York Compass

We are midway through the foundation piecing class making a New York compass block. This is a long tutorial, but there are a lot of steps and I want all of the parts to be clear.

This segment discusses more foundation piecing. In order to get to this point, you should have completed parts 1 and 2. All of the supplies are listed in Part 1

Remember our goal:

NY Compass Outline
NY Compass Outline

Next, we need to foundation piece the small strip called Section D.

Cut fabric
Cut fabric
4 Pieces of fabric
4 Pieces of fabric

Cut 4 pieces of fabric that coordinate with the fabrics of your block. The pieces should be about 2.5″x 1.75″, which is generous. You may be able to use scraps for these pieces.

Place fabric on pattern
Place fabric on pattern

As you did in Part 2, you will work on placing 2 fabrics on the line between D1 & D2 with about a quarter inch hanging over into D2 as a seam allowance. Note the printed part of the pattern (the lines on which you sew) are face down for this step.

Pin fabric
Pin fabric

I like to pin the first piece of fabric to my pattern. It helps keep the fabric from shifting as I work on the second piece of fabric. Note the printed part of the pattern (the lines on which you sew) are face up for this step.

Position 2d piece of fabric
Position 2d piece of fabric

Flip Section D back over and position the second piece of fabric over the first. I often hold the pieces up to the light (or use a lightbox) to position the second piece.

Ready to Sew
Ready to Sew

When you have both of your pieces placed like you like them, pin in place. I like to use thin pins. Your piece should now look like the above photo.

Sew on line
Sew on line
Sew on the line (#2)
Sew on the line (#2)

With the applique’ foot on your machine. Sew on the line between D1 & D2. Do not cross the perpendicular line at the top or bottom. Back stitch one stitch at the beginning and the end.

Section D sewn
Section D sewn

Once you have sewn on the line, your piece should look like the above photo.

Press first sewn pieces
Press first sewn pieces

Open up both pieces and make sure they cover D1 & D2. Once you are convinced that you have covered both D1 & D2 with your fabric and there is a 1/4″ seam allowance, press your piece. Press with the pattern on top. Note the pattern is face up and you can see the sewing lines. (Nota bene: if you have taped your pattern, use a press cloth so that you do not get melted tape on your iron)

Sewn, pressed Section D back
Sewn, pressed Section D back

Flip your Section D over again, so you are ready to trim.

Ready to trim
Ready to trim

Lay your pattern, with sewn fabric, pattern side up (fabric down) on your cutting mat. The inside part of the curve will be facing your body. You may want to flip Section D around if you are left handed.

Fold the longer piece of the pattern over to the left using the seam line as the fold line. This will expose the fabric that will be your seam allowance.

Place ruler on sewn line
Place ruler on sewn line

Line up your ruler’s 1/4″ mark on the seam/fold line and trim your seam allowance to 1/4″.

Trim
Trim
Trimmed
Trimmed

Trim seam allowance to 1/4″.

Ready to press pieces into place
Ready to press pieces into place

Go back to the ironing board and position your piece so the fabric is up, pattern side down and smooth the fabric towards D2, lightly finger pressing.

Press towards D2
Press towards D2
Press towards D2
Press towards D2

Take the piece to the iron and press carefully towards D2.

Place D3 fabric
Place D3 fabric

Place your next fabric with the longer part towards D2 and the future seam allowance closer to D3. Hold the whole piece up to the light to make sure your placement is correct.

Place D3 fabric in place
Place D3 fabric in place

Pin in place.

Get ready to sew on the line between D2 & D3.

Sewn D3
Sewn D3

Once sewn, your piece should look like the photo above.

Check to make sure fabric covers D3
Check to make sure fabric covers D3

Check to make sure your fabric covers pattern section D3. You do this by folding the fabric over and looking to see that you have about 1/4″ on all sides.

Pattern side up
Pattern side up

Now, get ready to trim. Put your piece on the cutting mat pattern side up.

Folder pattern back
Folder pattern back

Fold your pattern to the left again, like you did before.

Ready to trim
Ready to trim
Trimmed
Trimmed

Line up your ruler’s 1/4″ mark on the seam/fold line and trim your seam allowance to 1/4″.

Avoid the bump
Avoid the bump

See that bump in the photo above? You do not want that bump to show once you have pieced D4 on to the parts of Section D you have already pieced. Press again, this time towards D4. Avoid the bump by pressing!

Press towards D4
Press towards D4

Press towards D4. No ironing!

We are heading to the home stretch!

Position D5
Position D5

Position your last piece as you have done before. It is going to look at little weird and out of alignment, because you are working with a curve. Remember to position the fabric so it covers D5 plus 1/4″ seam allowance. Pay no attention to the edges of the other pieces, such as D4, that you have already sewn.

Check placement
Check placement

It is easier for me to see whether or not piece D5 was in the right position by pinning it. Note, I would pin it on the pattern side to sew, because then I can see where the pin is in relation to where my sewing machine foot and needle are. The pin in the photo is temporary.

Sewn D5
Sewn D5

Once you have the placement finalized, go ahead and sew.

Fold back pattern and prepare to trim seam allowance
Fold back pattern and prepare to trim seam allowance
Align ruler for 1/4" seam allowance
Align ruler for 1/4″ seam allowance

Now you have to fold back the pattern one last time and prepare to trim the seam allowance.

D5 trimmed!
D5 trimmed!

Trim!

Section D Complete!
Section D Complete!

Now your piece is done. Fold back the D5 fabric and press. Place your ruler on the lines at the end of the pattern and trim a 1/4″ seam allowance. I know you can do this without photos.

Now you have to trim the curved parts of Section D

Untrimmed Section D
Untrimmed Section D

It is too difficult to sew the untrimmed Section D, so you will have to trim.

Dots mark 1/4"
Dots mark 1/4″

To trim, mark 1/4″ away from the dark line. The dots in the photo above mark 1/4″. I have trimmed the straight ends with a rotary cutter and I am ready to play “dot to dot” with my scissors. I am going to cut from dot to dot to create a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Section D
Section D
Finished Section D
Finished Section D

On to part 4!

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.
  • Avoid the bump by pressing!

Resources:

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.