Self-Bordering is a technique that I use pretty frequently, though I don’t always know what I am doing. Basically, self-bordering means that you treat the border blocks the same as the blocks in the main part of the quilt. You piece them in as you would regular blocks rather than as a long row.
I don’t know if I made this technique up. I am sure others have done it. If they have, I am not sure what else it would be called.
There are several advantages to using a self-bordering technique for adding borders:
Precision is improved, because you are adding a block or so at a time
It makes it easier to get the border lined up correctly
Eliminates long lines of stitching
Makes adding pieced borders much easier
This technique works with Chunking. If you are sewing all your blocks, for the whole quilt, together in rows, then don’t bother with Self-Bordering.
As you have seen recently, I am working on the En Provence quilt by Bonnie Hunter. The border is optional, but I am putting a pieced border on the quilt using self-bordering technique. In the photo, left, you can see the border on the bottom. It is made up of one row of four patches (or 3.5″ squares) all the way around the quilt.
All the blocks in this quilt are, essentially, nine patches. As I sew the blocks together, I work in threes – I sew three blocks in a horizontal row together. Once I have three rows made up of three patches, I sew two rows together, then I sew remaining row to the set of two I have just sewn together.
On the border, there is an extra 3.5″ piece. It is either a 4 patch or a 3.5″ patch. Instead of sewing 3 rows of three blocks together, I sew 3 rows of 4 blocks together and then sew three rows of four patches together.
The corner block ends up looking fatter, because of the extra patches. Once the corner and border blocks are integrated into the quilt, they look like blocks and a pieced border.
You cannot tell which way a border was made, if it was well done.
I like this method because I don’t like putting on borders. I also really like pieced borders. Depending on the design, of course, they really add additional interest to a quilt.
Once I finish a quilt, there is really no way to tell where the blocks end and the border begins from a quick glance.
The top arrow, left, shows the very edge of the border – the seam line between block and border.
The bottom arrow shows the border.
As I have said, they integrate so well that a casual viewer can’t tell where the border is. I really like that.
We are going to talk about partial seams. Partial seams are a way to create a more complex looking block without using truly difficult piecing techniques. Even a relative beginner can navigate partial seams successfully.
2. Select fabrics to fit the color scheme of your other blocks. You need contrast between the various pieces.
The one red triangle with the white curves might not be exactly right, but it will look fine in the overall quilt.
3. Cut out pieces using the chart. Press as you cut if necessary.
4. As we discussed before, sew smallest to largest. I started with the matching small triangles. Sew carefully without yanking the bias.
5. Press flat and then press to the red. Press carefully without distorting the bias.
6. Place the newly sewn triangles back in place back on your design wall.
7. Sew the similar triangles, press and place back in place.
Remember, you are sewing from smallest to largest. This means that you are creating larger and larger sections until the whole block is done.
8. Once the newly sewn patches are back in place, it is fairly easy to see the next logical step. The large turquoise triangles (mini-Pearl Bracelets fabric in the example) should be sewn to your two triangles. This will make a square.
9. Sew the two small triangles, which are now sewn together (step 4-7), to the large turquoise triangle. This step makes the triangles into a square.
10. Press flat and then press to the larger triangle. Press carefully without distorting the bias. Place the squares back on the design wall.
11. Sew the solid, rectangle-ish pieces to the squares you just sewed.
12. Place the sewn sections back on the design wall.
13. Sew small red triangles to solid triangles
14. Sew new section to your squares.
15. Place the sewn sections back on the design wall.
Now you have 4 major sections plus the center and 4 corner patches. Now we are going to get serious with partial seaming.
16. Take the center and section 1.
17. Put section 1 under the needle with the center square on top. Line the center square up with the intersection of the red triangle and the Pearl Bracelets triangle (my fabrics used as a guide).
Backstitch at the end of the seam to secure the seam since you will be playing with it.
18. Press seam towards center square. Press carefully since the whole seam isn’t sewn.
The sewn piece will flip up. You can see about how much to sew in the picture above.
19. Take section 2 and lay it over section one and the center square with right sides together. The lengths should be about the same.
Completing the sewing of section 2 makes the section look like it is possible to sew on section 3.
20. Lay section 3 over section 2 and the center square. Line up the edges so they are event.
Now your center section is almost done.
21. Prepare to sew section 4 to the larger piece you have made by tucking section 1 under section 2. You might want to use a pin to keep it out of the way.
22. Lay section 4 over section 3, right sides together.
Section 4 is sewn. Keep section 1 tucked under and out of the way for the next step. Get ready to complete your partial seam.
23. Fold the raw edges between section 1 and section 4 up like half of it wasn’t sewn. Use a pin near the end of the seam (edge of the section) to keep it in place.
24. Position piece so you start sewing near the pin.
Now you will sew the partial seam.
25. Once you start sewing from the pin (noted above), you will see the end of the first seam you partially sewed. Sew slowly to the end of previous seam line.
Hooray!!! You have finished the center section
Now you have to sew the corner triangles to the center section to finish the block.
26. Trim off corners of large corner triangles before you sew them on. You can trim them all at once or one at a time, which is what I do.
27. Lay triangle on the sewn section, lining up trimmed corners even with edge of sewn section.
Your piece will look like the above image. Follow steps 26-27 for all corner triangles.
You are now finished! Great job!
Other resources and patterns regarding partial seams:
Double Windmill block. I saw an example on the Swim Bike Quilt blog.
Laura Nownes tutorial on partial seams. Good tip about avoiding puckering on the last seam. I don’t agree with not pressing the seams until the end. Avoid pressing the first half seam, but press all the rest.
In my previous machine applique’ tutorials, I used designs where the direction of the motif didn’t matter. When I went back to review the tutorial (yes, I do use my own tutorials!) in preparation for doing some machine applique’. I was preparing to applique’ letters, which have a definite right and wrong way. I realized I had omitted directions for using directional motifs (where the direction of the motif matters, such a numbers or letters) for applique’, so I had to figure out how to do them again.
In order to understand this tutorial, you will need to look at How to Applique’-TJW and the 3 Fusible Applique tutorials (pt.1, pt.2 and pt.3). All of these are part of a whole.
Draw out your design. I used a pattern for the letters I wanted to applique’. You can draw or print your design. There are a lot of free clipart you can use. Since I had a pattern, I laid out the pattern, placed a piece of drawing paper over the letters I needed and drew out the design using a pencil.
Trace over the pencil lines you used to trace the design with a Sharpie. The lines should be dark. Make sure the Sharpie does not bleed through to your table.
Flip your drawing paper over and put it on your light box. You can also tape it to a window or sliding glass door. The wrong side of the letters or directional motif will show through.
Using your Sharpie, trace the letters again on the wrong side of the paper. You will be tracing the backwards image of the letters.
Leaving the paper taped to the window (or laying on the light box), tape a piece of paper backed fusible, paper side UP, over your design which is on the window or light box.
Trace the backwards design on to your paper backed fusible using a Sharpie. **Nota bene: my Sharpie tended to smear on the paper of the fusible. I couldn’t find a pen that worked well, so be really careful to keep your hand out of the way to avoid smearage.
Once finished, remove everything from the window or light box.
Place the fabric you will use for your directional motifs right side down on the ironing surface. The fabric should be sized slightly larger than the fusible.
Place the fusible on top of the fabric with the paper side up. Make sure no edges are over your ironing surface.
Place your applique’ pressing sheet over everything.
Press according to the directions on the fusible package.
Once you are finished pressing, you will have a piece of fabric with fusible on the wrong side. The motifs (letters) should appear backwards and you will see the wrong side of the fabric.
Decide on which scissors you will use. I always have a fight with myself about this. I don’t want to ruin my Ginghers, which are super sharp and great for cutting out detailed types of designs by using them to cut through paper. I also don’t want to ruin the edges of my motif with a pair of papers scissors that will not be sharp enough to cut through the fabric. I have a pair of Fiskars that I end up using for this task. Not ideal, but the best I am willing to do.
Once you have decided on scissors, cut out your designs (letters, in this case). First I do a rough cut, then I cut with more detail.
Layout your background fabric on a flat surface, right side up. I use my ironing board, so I don’t have to move the motifs in order to press. If I have to sew two pieces of fabric together to make a large enough background, I press the seam open.
Take each motif, one by one, and peel off the paper. Carefully place each prepared applique’ motifs in their desired location before moving on to the next one. With motifs such a letters, I use a ruler to make sure they are straight.
You should be able to see your design correctly. If you are using letters they should not be backwards and you should be able to read the word.
Place your applique’ pressing sheet over everything.
Press your applques so that they are stuck to the background fabric.
Set up your sewing machine with the correct colored thread and a foot suitable for zigzag or satin stich.
I set the zigzag to 3.5 (width), 0.7 (density). I like my satin stitch to be a little open, but you can adjust it to your favorite length and density.
Cut a piece of tearaway the width of your motif and twice as long
Fold the tearaway in half.
Pin the double layer of tearaway to the back of the background fabric. Pins should be out of the way of the machine foot.
Satin stitch all the way around each motif, carefully negotiating curves so the satin stitch looks smooth.
Trim and/or tie off all threads.
Tear away/cut away the excess tearaway stabilizer.
I wanted a certain kind of lanyard for my quilt guild nametag. I wanted my nametag to be near my shoulder so people could really see it. I also wanted some options to hang things from it, like a pouch for id, money, etc.
Make this lanyard fit your personality.
sewing machine in good working order
basic sewing kit (BSK)
Shape Flex fusible interfacing (scraps are perfectly fine)
2 circle metal rings (D ring or similar will work also)
1 metal hanging clip
Wash and press your fabric
1. Cut a piece of fabric 40″ x 2″. You can adjust the length to fit your height, neck size, etc.
2. Layout your strip on the ironing board wrong side up. Cover the wrong side of the fabric with Shape Flex (or similar) interfacing. I usually cut the interfacing so it only goes with about 1/8″ from the edge. This reduces bulk.
**Note the Christmas light fabric was what was laying on my ironing board at the time I took the photo.
3. Fold your ShapeFlex covered strip in half, wrong sides together, and press so the edges match up.
4. Fold both ends up about 1/8″ (WST). This will finish the ends.
**Note: I don’t know what that tool is or where I got it, but I use it to keep from burning my fingers when I iron.
5. Open the strip you have just pressed down the middle.
6. Fold both raw edges towards the center. Don’t fold past the center pressed line.
6A. Once you have pressed both raw edges towards the center, repress the whole strip together on the center line.
7. Topstitch around the whole strip using a matching thread. Of course, you can use whatever color you want, so do that. Make the piece interesting.
Topstitching encloses the whole strip so there are no raw edges visible.
8. Mark 9.5″ up from the end with a pin. This will be your sewing line, which will create the lace to clip your name tag.
9. Fold that same end at 10.25″ and insert a ring or D Ring.
10. Clip piece with a WonderClip to keep everything together while you sew.
11. Sew on your marked line. I sew between the top stitched lines. The ring will need to face out so you can clip your name tag on to it and it will not be covered by the lanyard.
12. Fold each end up 1″. Make sure that the fold on the same side as the upper ring is to the back.
13. Add a circle ring to one end and clip with a WonderClip.
14. Add the metal hanging clip to the other end and clip with a WonderClip.
15. Adjust the ends so the circle ring does not clank against the hanging metal clip when you wear it. If it does it will drive you crazy. If it doesn’t bother you, it will drive someone with auditory sensitivity crazy. I always adjust the hanging metal clip to be the longer end.
16. Sew the end of the hanging metal clip closed. Bury or clip threads.
17. Now, carefully sew all the rest of the layers together. I sew the end with the ring using a square stitch pattern to reinforce all the layers of the lanyard.
Clip your nametag on, hang your pouch and you are ready to rock.
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. Also, note, there are a LOT of photos in this tutorial.
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. You can 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.
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.
Use the Triangle Technique to make your half square triangles. Make sure you have the 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: If I had wanted to pin I would have pinned 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.
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.
Do NOT move your fabric.
Reposition your ruler and then cut the piece horizontally.
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.
Of course, you can use whatever technique you like to make the half square triangles.
Layout and Assembly
Now that you have cut all of your pieces, lay them out on your sandpaper board, or put them up on your design wall. 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
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.
My pieces looked a little weird-not the right size, etc when I laid them out. Have no fear! They will improve.
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.
Pay attention to the corners. The layers of fabric will want to pooch in weird directions. This is where one of those mini irons might come in handy. I used my regular iron and a stiletto, so I know those tools work.
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 was selected for good contrast so that the steps would show up well>
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.
Nest the handle into the triangle with the right sides up.
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 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.
You could sew both sides down with a straight stitch, like I did. There are many options.
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.
Once the handle is sewn you are ready to move to the woven part of the basket.
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 two colored HSTs are supposed to give the illusion of a woven basket.
Trim off dog ears from the A,B-HST/1 combo.
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 HST/8 to Square 10. Press towards the Square 10.
Sew HST/6 to HST/9. Press towards the red part of the HST.
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.
Using the diagram above to confirm placement, sew C to HST/3. Press towards the red.
Using the diagram above to confirm placement, sew D to your C-HST/3 combo. Press towards D.
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 HST/4-HST/7 together and then sew the HST/4-HST/7 combo to E. Press towards E.
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 your A,B-HST/1-HST/2 segment to the HST/6-HST/9 segment.
Trim your dog ears!
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!
Trim the dog ears, if you haven’t already.
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.
Now you are ready to sew on the borders.
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.
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.
Now you are ready to sew the last piece.
Trim dog ears.
Your basket is almost complete.
Complete your basket half by sewing background piece B3 to the basket. You have already snipped off the corners so you just have to 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.
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 another from Craftsy. You can search the web for others if you don’t like these.
You will be directed to use the Triangle Technique. Make sure you have the chart as well as the instructions handy.
Respect the bias.
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 am telling you to do this first so when you get into the throes of sewing you won’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. Look for a comprehensive tutorial soon. (I’ll update this post and link it from here)
Rough cut* the handle pattern out of the second printout.
Glue the paper pattern (with seam allowances) using the glue stick (or other suitable adhesive) to the 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** the paper pattern and template plastic you have adhered so you have an accurate template, cutting off any seam allowance that may have printed.
If you plan to machine sew the handle at all, you will want to prepare another basket handle template, in the same manner, without seam allowance.
Gather your fabric and press it all. You can rough cut some pieces and press it with Mary Ellen’s Best Press to help deal with the bias. Consider this step for the large background triangle and the basket handle.
In my example basket, above (same as at the beginning of the post), this fabric is the medium blue.
Draw around the template with your black fine tip marker. Rough cut a piece of fabric large enough for your basket handle.
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.
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.
In my example, above, this fabric is the blue Michael Miller Ta Dot with white dots.
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 the square in half along the diagonal.
Cut the following additional pieces according to the measurements given:
2 patches: 2.5″x8.5″
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
Remember: you have already cut the large background triangle
You can cut some of the background pieces out of the leftover triangle.
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, according to the Triangle Technique Chart, 6.25″ x 6.25″. Each square should be from a different foreground fabric. See the picture above.
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 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.
* 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.
TFQ taught me this method of putting quilts together. I have adopted it as my own and use it for block-based quilts. Very occasionally I’ll put a long border on after the center of the quilt is complete, but otherwise I try to avoid the long seams required to put quilts together in rows.
Using this method, usually I have only one really long seam to sew at the very end and 1-2 mid sized seams.
This technique improves accuracy when you have sashing and cornerstones, but also improves accuracy with just sashing. If you have no sashing, then the pieces are much easier to handle.
Occasionally you will have a quilt where chunking is not appropriate for one reason or another, thus it is good to know many techniques, so you can choose the one that is most appropriate for the creative vision you have.
The quilt starts out as a bunch of pieces waiting to be put together. In the example above:
Blocks: grey and black Sashing: red Cornerstones: grey
The basic idea is to put the quilt together as you would a block: sew smaller patches together to make larger sections. I avoid sewing the quilt together in rows as I think the quilt is more square and there are fewer out of line intersections than when the quilt is sewn together in rows.
In the example above, the border can be incorporated into the construction of the quilt. You won’t need to put it on after, which will also help line up the cornerstones with the sashing.
Nota bene: The picture below is numbered, so it will be easier for you to follow the tutorial.
First, sew #2 to #7, the top piece of sashing to the first left hand block. Press to the red piece of sashing. I press to the red, because there are fewer seams to get in the way.
Next, sew #1 to #6, the first grey cornerstone (upper left hand corner) to the first side piece of red sashing.
Now you have two sections which you should now sew together. This is how you sew the border on. If you had a second border, you could also incorporate that into the piece, but this technique works best when the border is broken up into pieces (e.g. sashing and cornerstone). You can always put additional long borders on later.
You now have your first ‘chunk’! Hooray!
Now sew patch #10 to #11, the bottom cornerstone to the bottom piece of sashing. Then sew that 10-11 cornerstone-sashing bottom pieces combination to the first chunk.
Voila! You have a chunk fully sashed!
Pin sashing piece #15 to block #16. Now sew the sashing to the block.
Generally, there will be a piece of sashing that needs to be sewn to a block alone before you can sew a sashing-cornerstone combo to a chunk. You make the ‘chunk’ by sewing a piece of sashing alone to the block.
The center ‘chunks’ are just comprised of one cornerstone, 2 pieces of sashing, and a block. Sew the side sashing to the block. Sew the cornerstone to the bottom sashing, then sew the bottom cornerstone-sashing combo to the sashing-block combo for another chunk.
<Insert photo of 2 chunks sewn together> At this point, you can sew your two chunks together.
Now that you have two chunks sewn into a larger chunk, the next step is to prepare your next chunk. You do it the same way you prepared the two chunks above.
Pin sashing piece #25 to block #26. Now sew the sashing to the block.
Now sew patch #30 to #31, the bottom cornerstone to the bottom piece of sashing. Then sew that 10-11 cornerstone-sashing bottom pieces combination to the first chunk.
With two pieces of sashing and a cornerstone sewed to block #26, you have your third chunk. You could sew the #25-#26-#30-#31 combo to the chunk you sewed together before, but I suggest you wait until you have more pieces sewed together.
Refer to the drawing of your pieces in Step 1. Now we move up to the top of the section again and sew #3 to #4.
Sew piece #8 to block #8**. This puts a piece of red sashing on your block #8.
Next, sew cornerstone/sashing #3-4 to sashing/block #8.
Sew cornerstone #12 to sashing #13 and then to the block. I don’t have a picture of the two pieces sewn together before I attached them to the block, but you do have to sew them together before you sew them on the block. Now, sew that combination to the block.
Follow the same steps for block #18 as you did for block #8. Sew sashing #17 to block #18. Press. Next, Sew cornerstone #22 to sashing #23 and then to the block.
You will have two new chunks, one with sashing on three sides and another chunk with sashing along two sides.
Sew cornerstone #5 to sashing #9 (upper right).
Sew cornerstone #14 to cornerstone/sashing piece #5-9. You will have a piece made from three patches.
When you press, press the cornerstone seams in the opposite direction as you have pressed the other sashing already applied to block #8. This will allow you to piece your seams more precisely.
Sew the long thin piece made up of three patches (2 cornerstones and a piece of sashing) to block #8, which already has sashing on three sides.
Sew cornerstone #24 to sashing #19. I don’t have a picture of the two pieces sewn together before I attached them to the block, but you do have to sew them together before you sew them on the block. Now, sew sashing/cornerstone piece #19-24 to block #18 (middle right).
Sew sashing #27 to block #28.
Sew cornerstone #32 to sashing #33. Now sew combined piece #32-33 to block #28. This will give you a chunk that is sashed on two sides (left and bottom).
Sew sashing #29 to cornerstone #34, then sew that combined strip to block #28. Pay attention to seams so you can line them up.
You now have five chunks and are ready to sew them together.
Sew the two blocks on the upper right side together.
Sew the two bottom blocks together. Now you have three chunks.
Sew the top two chunks together, which is four blocks.
Sew the bottom chunk, made up of two blocks to the top chunk, which is made up of four blocks.
I have used a small piece as an example, but the same principles apply to a larger piece. I start in the upper left hand corner and work my way to the lower right hand corner, making chunks and eventually sewing them together into larger chunks until the quilt is finished.
**Nota bene: I accidentally labeled two pieces of fabric with the number 8 in Step 1. Note that one is a piece of red sashing and the other is a block. Please look at the photos to assist you with the correct sequence of piecing.
Do you remember the Corner Store quilt? I started this tutorial back in 2012 and decided that I would post it. I don’t know why I never finished it, but here it is, a blast from the past. Good topic for a Throwback Thursday, don’t you think?
I thought a tutorial might be in order for these Corner Store blocks, so you can start on your own. Why would you want to make these blocks after I felt so miserable about the top I made? Because you can choose a different background. You can make the pieces larger. You can do a better job. I have laid the groundwork. Go forth and do better!
Basic sewing kit
Square rotary ruler in a size slightly larger than the cut size of your blocks (I used a 6″ x6″ Creative Grids ruler)
Leftover triangles or squares cut in half on the diagonal. There is no particular size, though larger triangles will be easier to work with.
Background fabric to accommodate the size of your quilt.
First cut some 4×4 squares of your background fabric. Note, you do not have to use white (or Kona Snow as I selected). I would, in fact, suggest something not in the white or cream realm. I think a nice light yellow or creamy kind of grey would look better. Yes, if you choose something else you may need to eliminate triangles in that color range. It will be worth it, because the triangles will show up better against a background that contrasts well.
Nota bene: The triangles you will cut are right triangles. You can take some squares and cut them in half on the diagonal.
Also, you can choose a different sized background square. You can start with a large square to accommodate very large prints in the triangle portion. The directions are the same regardless of the sizes you use. Experiment and see what look appeals to you.
Next: find scraps or cut triangles from yardage. Cut different sized squares in half on the diagonal or use a triangle ruler to cut the shape. You do not have to be precise and there is more movement in the quilt if the triangles are different sizes. The only guideline on size is to make sure that a little bit of the background shows once you sew the triangles to the background.
Once you have your triangles and background squares, it is time to prepare to sew.
Next: Position a triangle on your background square, right side of the triangle down on the right side of your background fabric, and prepare to pin in place.
Before you pin, you will need to fold the triangle back on itself, approximating a quarter inch seam so you can ensure that your triangle covers the foundation/background fabric.
If the ears of the triangle are about a quarter inch over the edge of the foundation/background fabric, you should be in good shape.
If you have the Judy Martin Point Trimmer, you can trim off the ears of your triangle and position the now blunt edges of the triangle against the two sides of the foundation/background square.
Sew along the hypotenuse (the long side) of the triangle using a quarter inch seam allowance, then press the triangle back along the seam line.
Once you are sure your triangle has covered the foundation/background fabric, you can fold back the triangle and trim the excess foundation/background fabric away.
You will need to put two triangles on each square, so follow the directions above for the second triangle. Once both triangles are sewn to the foundation, use your square ruler.
After while, you will have a big stack of blocks. My quilt has 288 blocks. It is large enough to top a double bed, but my BIL uses it as a large nap quilt on the couch. You can make more or less blocks, depending on the size you want. (Nobody pays me to do this so you’ll have to lay out the blocks as you make them and figure out your perfect size on your own.)
Layout the blocks. Shuffle them around so different colors are touching each other and you have a pleasing layout. Using my tutorial on Chunking, sew your blocks together.
I wanted to give the quilt blocks some space, so I added an inner border that matched the background fabric and then added my outer border.
And this is what you get if you make a whole lot of these blocks!
I am linking up with Jenny over at Quiltin’ Jenny blog
This is more of a guide than a true tutorial. It is also as much for myself as it is for you.
Fabric (3 different if you want trim, two different if you will not use trim)
Main body: 3/4-1 yard
Cuff: 1/3 yard
Trim (accent fabric): 1/8 yard (will be way too much, but you can find a strip wide enough in your fabric collection, if you don’t want to buy fabric for this part. This is optional. You can make fabulous pillowcases without trim.
Basic sewing kit
Rotary cutting kit
Pins or Wonderclips
Trim: 1.5″x width of fabric (WOF) strip
Cuff: 12″x WOF strip
Main body: 27″x WOF
In the example below the following fabrics are used:
Trim: lime green
Cuff: black with white dots
Main body: red with white motifs
Press your trim in half the long way, so you end up with a piece that is 3/4″ wide and WOF long.
Lay cuff fabric right side up on your worktable (or ironing board).
Lay your main body fabric right side up on top of the cuff fabric. Cut edge is up, selvedges are hanging down.
Lay trim fabric on top.
Fold main body fabric up towards trim, keeping it well away from where you will be sewing.
Bring cuff fabric up and around main body fabric.
As you lay the cuff fabric on top of the trim, line up the edges of all the pieces you have layered and pin them all together. You will end up with a tube filled with fabric. The tube will look like a burrito with the cuff fabric forming the flour tortilla. All of the other fabric will be wrapped inside it.
Nota Bene: the selvedges are NOT pinned
Take your burrito to the sewing machine and position it so that the pinned edge is underneath the presser foot.
Starting sewing, stopping after a few stitches and backstitching, then continuing on until the entire seam is complete.
Pull out pins as you sew
Backstitch at the end to secure the seam.
Carefully pull all the ‘filling’ out of the burrito so that you have a piece where the cuff, trim and main body are all sewed together.
Lay the piece flat on the ironing board with the cuff fully on the ironing board and the main body hanging down the front.
Press, carefully smoothing the fold of the cuff away from the trim and the main body, so it is neat and tidy.
Fold the piece in half with WRONG sides together. The RIGHT side will be facing towards you (you will be able to see the right side)
The selvedges will now be touching each other.
Trim the main body after measuring 28″. That is the measurement of the main body fabric and does not include the cuff or trim. If you were to open the piece, your main body would be WOF x 28″. You can adjust the 28″ to fit the size of your pillows.
Pin at strategic points
This step will start the process of making a French seam (completely encloses the seam with no raw edges).
Using a 1/8″ seam allowance (or smaller), start sewing at the top of the cuff, down the side. I sew it this way to have the best chance at matching up the trim.
After a few stitches, stop and backstitch the top. This is important because the top seam will get a lot of wear from stuffing the pillow in and out.
Remove pins as you get close to them.
Stop at the corner and backstitch, then turn and sew the bottom of the pillowcase closed.
Press the seam from the right side.
Turn the pillowcase inside out so the wrong side of the fabric is showing.
Place the full bottom of the pillowcase on the ironing board
Smooth the fullness of the pillowcase towards the seam.
Press the seam so it is neat and tidy.
Repeat with the side.
This is the section where you create a French Seam, which means that you will encase the raw edge of the previous seam.
Starting at the cuff again, sew with a 1/4″ or larger seam along the side. You want to use a seam allowance large enough so that the entire raw edge that you sewed int he previous step is encased.
After a few stitches, stop and backstitch the top. This will further reinforce the top seam, so it can withstand the wear and tear from stuffing the pillow in and pulling it out.
Sew down the side neatly as this seam will be seen
Remove pins as you get close to them.
Stop at the corner and turn and sew the bottom of the pillowcase closed.
Backstitch neatly at the edge of the bottom.
Press the seam from the wrong side.
Turn the pillowcase right side out.
Place the bottom of the pillowcase on the ironing board with the seam away from you
Smooth the fullness of the pillowcase towards the bottom seam.
Press the seam so it is neat and tidy. I often press starting on the main body of the pillowcase and moving the iron towards the seam.
Repeat with the side.
Shake out your pillowcase and show it off!
Width of fabric means from selvedge to selvedge. Example: If you cut a strip 1.5″ wide for the trim, there will be a piece of the selvedge on each end of the strip.
Main body: I straighten a 1 yard piece of fabric and cut it to size AFTER I sew on the trim and the cuff. This leaves me with a strip about 6″ wide, but it keeps me from getting confused about which side is up.
Main body: the selvedges will be on the sides. Do not sew the trim and cuff to the selvedge.
Main body: I trim the selvedges from the sides after I sew the cuff and trim on.
I have used trim sizes from piping to 1″ cut. You can make the trim whatever size gets you the look you want.
Twiddletails tutorial – I like the burrito method. Print out these directions and use them as a guide. Most of the way I make my pillowcases are from this tutorial
Fabric scissors (see note on using a rotary cutter**)
Design wall or sandpaper board
Wooden kebab stick or similar item you can use with your iron
Mary Ellen’s Best Press
hand sewing needle
hand sewing thread
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.
1. Prepare pattern for your hexagon template by printing two copies of pattern.
Place one copy of the pattern in your binder, but you can use it as reference first. Rough cut the hexagon pattern out of the other pattern.
Nota bene: Sometimes the seam allowance don’t print out, so you may need to add 1/4″ seam allowance to the pattern before rough cutting.
Glue the paper pattern (with seam allowances) using the glue stick (or other suitable adhesive) to the template plastic.
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 deal with the bias.
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.**
**Do not cut around your template plastic template with a rotary cutter. There is not enough protection for your fingers. I want you to be able to finish the block with no blood. 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 19 of those will still 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 from your fabric.
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.
Line up your ruler in every angle and 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.
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 your hexagons in a pleasing manner on your design wall or on a sandpaper board.
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.
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.
Now you are ready to sew the last seam to make a piece of 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.
I keep my pieces on the design wall (you can also use a sandpaper board) as I sew them in order to keep them in order.
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.
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.
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 from the back, one seam at a time so all of the seams look like they are pressed in a circular motion. The center where the patches meet will look like a mini hexagon.
When finished the block will have a lot of mini hexagons on the back.
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.
I suggest pressing the seam allowance on the outer edges in to make a clean edge.
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.
Get your fingers out of the way and press using a hot iron so the edges is pressed permanently in. You a chop stick 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 12.5″ x 12.5″.
Fold in quarters and finger press just so you can see the lines. DO NOT press with an iron.
Using your finger pressed lines, center the hexagon piece, right side up, on the background.
This method is a great way to rotary cut large hexagons. You might be able to cut smaller hexagons, but I think it would be really fiddly. It is also a great way to get practice with Y seams as well as impress your friends with your machine sewing prowess.
I decided that I would do a more detailed post for those of you who might want to use this shape for a project of your own. That is not to say that you shouldn’t go and look at Little Bluebell’s blog. She has a lovely blog with lots of creative ideas.
Next, unfold the strip, turn it so the long way is horizontal. Fold it so the crease is longways along the bottom (closest to you). In the picture above, you can see the curve of the fabric on the left hand side of the picture, which indicates where the crease should be.
In the photo above, I have marked my ruler at 3″ and 8″ using Post-it notes. You really only need to mark the bottom line, that which you place on the crease. I marked the top just to help me line up my ruler. Painter’s tape is another way to mark your placement line(s).
Now it is time to cut. If you are right-handed, line your ruler up on the left. Make two cuts to form your half hexagon shape.
Next, line up your ruler to make the next cut. The left side of the ruler, at the end of your marked line should be placed where the arrow indicates. Cut along the whole strip. Do not turn the ruler upside down. You will end up with a weird shape that looks more like an hourglass. Little Bluebell has much better pictures of this step in her tutorial.
I am going to show you how to do this with 3 hexagons to start. Once you sew three hexagons, you can just sew the rest in groups of 3 then sew them to the other groups, sew them in rows or sew one hexagon to the group you have made. Let’s start with 3.
Put them on your design wall or on your floor and gaze at them. See the V formed by the top of the 2 bottom hexagons? Pay attention to that. You will need it later.
First, you sew two sides together. These will be two separate hexagons that you have already marked. Remember, you can mark with the Jinny Beyer Perfect Piecer and a Sewline pencil or with your favorite ruler and marking tools.
Put the first 2 hexagons right sides together and sew between the marks. Don’t sew into the seam allowance. If you did sew into the seam allowance, rip out the stitches outside of the marks.
When you open those pieces you will have 2 hexagons sewn together. YAY!
Second, for the third piece, you have to do a Y seam. Remember that I told you to pay attention to the V? There will be a V where the two already sewn hexagons meet and that is where you will place the 3rd hexagon.
You will need to sew 3 seams total to completely add the third piece to the first 2 already sewn pieces.
Third, you line up the third piece with piece 1, right sides together, so that one side of piece three will be sewn to one side of piece 1. The side of piece one to which you sew should be one part of the V referenced above.
Fourth, once you have sewn one side of piece three to one side of piece one, you fold the neighboring side on piece three right sides together to the adjacent side of piece two. You will fold it on to the other side of the V. It looks awkward, but should line up exactly if you have not sewn into the seam allowance.
Fifth, sew the second side of piece three to the second side of piece two.
Now you have 3 hexagons sewn together. AND you did a Y seam. That wasn’t scary, was it?
Sixth, press from the back so all of the seams twirl in the same direction.
1. Select a layer cake or cut 10″ squares of foreground fabric.
2. Cut 10″ squares of background fabric. Make sure it is a good contrast to your foreground fabric, unless you want a blendy-low volume look.
3. Place 1 foreground square and one background square right sides together.
4. Sew around the outside 1/4″ from the edge. No openings are needed.
5. Starch two squares heavily. I use Mary Ellen’s Best Press. Once I have sprayed the starch, I change the setting on my iron to dry.
Nota bene: the project takes a lot of MEBP to keep the bias edges under control, so have some refills on hand.
You will not always be able to cut exactly corner to corner. I found that when I starched, the layer cake fabric shrank. Trimming later helps square things up, so just cut to the corners of the background if you can, or line the ruler up with the sewn corners.
6. Cut sewn 10″ squares on the diagonal.
Nota bene: pay no attention to the different fabric in the photo above. The steps are the same.
You will end up with some Half Square Triangles (Triangle Squares)
7. Lay the HSTs out so they form a pinwheel.
8. Put half square triangles together to make the top and bottom half of a pinwheel block. Pin the side you will sew as a reminder.
You can see from the photo above that my HSTs were not lining up with each other. I did worry about that, but finally decided that trimming later would solve a lot of sins. I nested the middle seams together to help make the point in the center of the final pinwheel.
9. Sew the HSTs together to make two halves of the pinwheel block.
10. Lay the piece down so the foreground fabric is on top.
10a. Press. I press from the front towards the foreground fabric. It doesn’t matter as long as you are consistent.
11. Put squares together, once again, in a pinwheel configuration. Pay special attention to getting the center to line up.
12. Pin so that center nests together nicely.
13. Sew all the pieces together so you end up with a block in the Pinwheel configuration.
14A. (Optional) Add more starch (I use Mary Ellen’s Best Press), if desired. I like my pieces and parts to feel a bit like cardstock. I get assurance from that feeling that the bias edges will be under control.
15. Trim to 12″. This will get rid of the uneven edges seen in the previous photo. I don’t know if others do this, but I decided to do it to keep my pieces square.
16. Since I trimmed my blocks to 12″, I used the 4″ line on my ruler to cut the block into 9 pieces. I started from the left and cut the vertical lines first.then moved my body around my cutting cutting table to finish this step by cutting the horizontal lines.
Photo above shows the pinwheel cut into 3 equal parts – 4″ each, but not yet rearranged.
17. Rearrange the 9 parts to suit your aesthetic. You can create a look of the Churn Dash block configuration above or you can switch the corners and the centers in the opposite direction (foreground on the outside) for more of a flower/circle arrangement.
18. This block is now a 9 Patch and you can sew it together like you would a 9 patch. If you do not know how to make a 9 patch, see my tutorial.
Fold part #3 onto part# 2, from chart above, on top of each other and sew inside seam. do this for the rest of the parts, like you would a 9 patch, to create the rows.
19. Finish the rows by sewing the final part to the two parts already sewn together. You will have 3 rows of 3 parts each.
20. Sew three rows together like you would a Nine Patch.
In the above photo, the bottom row is not involved. Place the center row right side down on top of the top row (right sides together) and pin at the intersections, along the seam closest to the bottom row in the picture.
21. Press to the “bars.”
22. Once the two top halves are sewn,place the bottom row on top of the middle row. Pin as needed and sew to the center row.
23. Voila! Good job!
I didn’t make this block up. I first saw it in a video put out by the Missouri Star Quilt Company. The tutorial above is how *I* make the block.
You might want to take a look at the post I wrote a few weeks ago. Included in that post is a link to a video that shows how to make a Disappearing Pinwheel by the Missouri Star Quilt Company
Nota bene: I may update this tutorial or make clarifications, changes as necessary
This segment discusses sewing the block together. In order to get to this point, you should have completed parts 1 and two 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. so, inventory your templates and make sure you have a fabric patch for each template. If you don’t, go back to part three.
In part 4 you also pinned:
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.
Once those two patches are sewn, they might look a little rumpled, but once you turn them both right side up and press the section, they will look great.
Press which ever way you think will work best for your block.
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.
Take your quarter circle corner piece and your small foundation pieced strip and pin them together. I, first, line up the straight edges on the ends and pin them together (horizontally). 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.
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 would leave it on until the very last second I could, 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.
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.
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.
After all that work, you have a beautiful foundation pieced block. Pat yourself on the back!
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 can be 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.
For any templates that do not have matching fabric patches, cut your fabric.
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.
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.
Your patches should look similar to your template once cut out. All of these templates have an element of bias, so handle them carefully.
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.
Lay your fabric right side down and place the corner template on top, also face down. Draw around it with a Pigma Micron, or similar, pen.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 😉
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.
We are midway through the foundation piecing class. This is a long tutorial, but there are a lot of steps and I want all of the parts to be clear. This would be a great tutorial for a video, but A) I don’t have a crew and B) I don’t do video.
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:
Next, we need to foundation piece the small strip called Section D.
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. (Please ignore the messy cutting table)
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.
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.
Flip Section D back over and position the second piece of fabric over the first.
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.
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.
Once you have sewn on the line, your piece should look like the above photo.
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)
Flip your Section D over again, so you are 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.
Line up your ruler’s 1/4″ mark on the seam/fold line and trim your seam allowance to 1/4″.
Trim seam allowance to 1/4″.
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.
Take the piece to the iron and press carefully towards D2.
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.
Pin in place.
Get ready to sew on the line between D2 & D3.
Once sewn, your piece should look like the photo above.
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.
Now, get ready to trim. Put your piece on the cutting mat pattern side up.
Fold your pattern to the left again, like you did before.
Line up your ruler’s 1/4″ mark on the seam/fold line and trim your seam allowance to 1/4″.
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. No ironing!
We are heading to the home stretch!
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.
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.
Once you have the placement finalized, go ahead and sew.
Now you have to fold back the pattern one last time and prepare to trim the seam allowance.
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
It is too difficult to sew the untrimmed Section D, so you will have to trim.
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.