WARNING: PICTURE-HEAVY POST
**A little birdie told me that they only have a small amount of the MDP fat quarter bundles left…so if you are wanting to make a quilt with the exact same fabrics as mine, you'll need to snap one up quick! You'll find the bundles under their Pre-cuts tab.
In case you missed them, here are the links to Part 1 and Part 2 of the quilt-a-long. You will also find links to each step under the Country Village QAL tab as they are published.
I wanted to talk a little about the difference between directional and all-over prints. The stripe on the left is definitely a directional print as the stripes run in one direction. You have to show more care when piecing a block using directional prints as you want the stripes to all run in the same direction(i.e.: up and down or side to side…but not both!).
It is much easier to piece blocks using an all-over print(at right), as once cut into squares it will make no difference which way you orient your squares in the block.
I thought you would like to see my thread/fabric trimmings bowl! It is actually a dip bowl, but I when saw it at Value Village I had another use for it! I keep it at the side of my sewing machine so that I can put stray threads in it. I did have one of those thread-catcher bags that hang over the edge of the table, but I found it was more of a pain than a pleasure to use.
Here we go:
I wanted to start off with the block center, which is an Hourglass block(basically a quarter-square triangle block).
Now that all of your fabrics are cut and you have drawn the sewing lines on the backs of your 6.5" squares of center fabric, it should go very smoothly. I used my Quick Quarter ruler(shown near the end of Part 2) from Connecting Threads do this and my sewing lines were nice and even.
I also wanted to show you how to orient(above) the one pieced square we have of the center fabric.
Note: My "center" fabric is the pale orange print.
Lay your 6.5" square of block fabric(from one of your fat quarters) face up, being careful to orient the directional print so that it runs up and down. Put the pre-lined 6.5" square of center fabric on top, right sides facing. Place your center square so that your drawn sewing lines start at the top left, then end at the bottom right.
Pin near each end and in the middle of the drawn lines. Sew along your right drawn line, then turn the sewn square 180 degrees and sew along the left drawn line. Do not sew on the center line.
*I am showing 2 block centers here*
Cut your sewn square in half, using the drawn center line as your guide. You will now have 2 half-square triangles. Press your seams closed first, then open up these hst's and press the seam allowance towards the fat quarter fabric(away from your center fabric).
Draw your two sewing and one center line on the wrong side of one of these half-square triangles. When you pin the two hst's together, right sides facing, use your fingertips to help to align your upper and lower seam allowances so that they nest snuggly. As before, sew on your 2 sewing lines. Do not sew on the centre line.
Cut your square in half using the center line as your guide. Press the seam, then open up your two quarter square triangles and press the seam allowances either up or down.
Take your 6" x 6" ruler and trim these squares to measure 5.5" square. All you have to do is find the 2.75" mark on your ruler and place that at the center of your qst(see arrow). You want the diagonal line on your ruler to match up with one of your diagonal seam lines and do the same for each of the 4 sides.
Measure again to be sure that your block is 5.5" x 5.5". You only need one of these squares, so pick the best one and put the other one to the side for another project. I am thinking about sewing them into a strip and piecing them into my backing fabric.
Just as a reminder…for each block you will need your pieced HST in one specific print, 4-4.5" x 4.5" squares of another print, 4-3.5" x 3.5" squares in the same print as the 4.5" squares, 12-1.5" x 5.75" strips of tone on tone, 4-1.5" x 4.5" strips(t-o-t), 8-1.5" x 3.5" strips(t-o-t), and (not shown…oops, I forgot!!!) 4-2.5" x 2.5" squares(t-o-t).
Lay all of your squares out as they will look when sewn. You will have a 4.5" square at each corner, a 3.5" square in the top center, middle sides and bottom center, plus your pieced hst block center( I put the one with the same fabric there by mistake…sorry!). If you are using a directional print, please make sure your stripes are all running the same way as the above are.
I'm a graph paper gal when it comes to designing! Please refer to this drawing when it comes to placing your "pathways" rectangle strips and flippy corners(tone-on-tone fabric for me).
Place your 8-1.5" x 3.5" rectangles at the top and bottom of each 3.5" square, as shown. Now position your 4-1.5" x 4.5" strips on the side of each 4.5" square. It is very important that you place your strips as shown.
I also put pins at the outer corners of the 4.5" squares and on the long edges where the 5.75" strips will go, for easy reference(so I don't get confused!). Pin well, stack and transport to your sewing machine.
I like to chain-piece as much as possible, reducing the amount of time that I have to get up from my machine. I start with the 3.5" squares, then sew the 4.5" squares without cutting in between each square. I cut the chain of the sewn 3.5" squares, bring them to the front of my machine, then sew the opposite sides.
Cut the squares apart.
Press the squares as they lay to set the seams. Using the side of your iron, press the t-o-t rectangular strips to the side of the print square.
Lay your block out again, so that you can see where to add your next strips(refer to graph paper diagram above). As you can see, the pins you put in each corner and on one side of each 4.5" square make it easy to lay out your squares.
Lay your 12-1.5" x 5.75" strips on top of the pins you placed earlier. Remove these pins carefully from the squares then pin your 5.75" long strips to the squares. You will notice that you have a bit of extra length in these strips. Do not stretch your square to fit, you will trim the excess away later.
Pin your 2.5" squares to the outer corner of the corner squares. Stack and sew all 8 squares.
Bring your 4 bordered squares like the one above, to the ironing board. Press to set all seams, then use the side of your iron to press the t-o-t fabric towards the outside edges of the squares.
Trim the flippy corners of your 4 corner squares, making sure that you trim just 1/4" to the right of the seam line.
Press to set the seams, then use the side of your iron to press the t-o-t corners and the 5.75" strips towards the outer edge of each print square.
Trim all 8 squares, making sure that they measure 5.5" x 5.5". I position my 6" x 6" ruler so that the 1.5" line rests on the inner edge of the t-o-t strip, as seen above. Double check that your block measures 5.5" x 5.5" and is square.
Carefully lay out your blocks and center square, so that they match the above graph paper diagram and the photo of the block at the start of this post.
Flip the three squares at the right over to the left, so that they are lying face-down on the squares on the center column. Pin down the right hand sides of each pair of squares, right-side-together. Stack then chain-sew each seam. Do not cut the threads that hold the three sewn squares together.
This is how your partially-finished block should look.
Do the same with the squares in the left column. Do not cut the threads that hold the three squares together.
Your block should now look like this.
Fold the top row over the middle row, right-sides-together. Pin well, especially at the seams, and sew, nesting the cross seams. Fold the bottom row up over the middle row, right-sides together. Pin well as before and sew.
The back of your block should look like this. Don't press yet!
You will see little thread loops from when you joined the squares in the four inner corners. Trim these off now.
Don't press yet!
Put your quilt block on your ironing board and use your long ruler to check to see if it measures 15.5" x 15.5" square. If your block is a little short in an area or two, first measure across the top and bottom edges to make sure they are at least 15.5" long, pinning your block corners to your ironing board. Then measure through the centers, using your pins to stretch-block your quilt block in the same way that you would block a freshly-washed wool sweater before it dries on a flat surface.
Give your quilt block a spritz of water and let air dry for about 5-10 mins. Your quilt block should now measure 15.5" x 15.5" square.
Now you can press your quilt block. As you can see above, I open up the four spots at the inner corners so they lay flat, and then press one seam in the up position and the seam following in the down position. This is called "pinwheeling your seam allowances". You will have less bulk and distortion at your crossed seams if you do it this way.
Your finished quilt block should look something like this. I did a BIG boo-boo…can you see it??? The fabrics in the Hourglass block are supposed to be: center print AND a print that is DIFFERENT form the rest of the block! Oh dear…in my defence, I was rushing to get this block done and the steps photographed as we were expecting rain the next day.
I will have to un-pick the top and bottom rows, then take apart the middle row to substitute the correct center block, then sew it back up again. These are the kinds of things I do when we are watching Netflix at night. Bleck!
Oh, remember the 6.5" square of center fabric that we had to piece, at the end of Part 2? Well, this is it, and if you look very closely at the left corners of the center fabric, you will see the join, barely. It will be covered by the quilting and no one will ever know!!!
The next post of the Country Village QAL will be on May 27 for,
Part 4: Adding Sashing Strips and Layout.
This gives us 2 weeks to piece the 25 blocks needed for our Queen-sized quilt.
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Thanks for reading and have a great day!
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