Saturday, February 19, 2011

My Block 7 how-to

Here's a quickie tute for anyone who wants to make their own alternative 'palooza Block 7, like this one:

First, select five fabrics from your stash. You will need:
  • 1 MEDIUM PRINT with low contrast for the edge pieces: 4 8.5" x 2.5" pieces
  • 2 PRINTS for the "geese"; one DARK, one LIGHT. From each print: 4 2.5" squares; 4 4.5" x 2.5" rectangles
  • 2 contrasting SOLIDS for the corners that pick up colors from the prints. From each solid: 4 2-7/8" squares

Pair up the solids and make your corner half-square triangles by drawing a diagonal line (I use a mechanical pencil) and sewing 1/4" on either side:
Cut apart along the pencil line, and press your seams. I always press my seams open (the seams lie flatter than way, and it's much easier to match up points), but if you're a side-presser do it your way. Set your HSTs aside while you prepare the Geese units.
Take 2 of your LIGHT print 4.5"x2.5" rectangles and pair up with 4 of the DARK print 2.5" squares. Pair 2 of the DARK print 4.5"x2.5" rectangles with 4 of the LIGHT print 2.5" squares. Make these sets into four Flying Geese units by sewing on the square's diagonal, just as you have for previous blocks.
BTW: If you are making little extra HSTs out of the goose trimmings, sew 1/2" away from the first seam (toward the outside corner) and cut between the two seam lines. It's easier to make those little HSTs now than to pair up and sew tiny triangles later. I draw the second seam line at the same time I do the first one, and sew them both then snip apart before doing the other side of the goose.

Finish up your four goose units. The extra four rectangles go together to make the center. Place your 2 LIGHT rectangles face down and measure in 2" from each corner on one side and mark that spot with a pencil. Then draw a diagonal line to the farther corner from each mark. You'll make a little "X" at the center of one side where the seam lines cross:
Pair up your LIGHT and DARK rectangles right sides together and sew ONE corner seam on each pair (sew two right corners or two left ones, doesn't matter, but be sure to sew the SAME corner on each pair). Trim and press. Make two of these:
Now place these units right sides together, matching the seams. (It's a good idea to use pins here, to keep everything nicely lined up. I rarely pin anything, but you might want to.) With your ruler, line up on the light-side pencil line and extend it across the dark end. Sew up that seam, and trim the corners. (Somehow I did not manage a pic of that step, sorry). Press open.You'll end up with a quarter-square triangle unit for the center of the block:
Yes, you could just cut a larger square of each fabric, slice on the diagonal, sew up and trim... but then you wouldn't have more little extra HSTs like the ones you make from the other geese to add to the pile, which is entirely why I did mine this way.

Okay, all the bits are done, now we just have to sew them together. Add a goose unit to each side of the center (light to dark, or dark to light, doesn't matter), and a HST unit to each side of the other two geese units. Line them all up in orderwith an edge piece on either side, and sew the seams:
Sew the other HST units to either end of the other two sides (make sure you get the colors in the right place), and sew up those seams and you're done.

Keep in mind it's easier to get sharp points and neatly aligned corners if you press your seams open. Here I'm adding one of the the side geese to the center unit, using my 1/4" foot. With the seam pressed open I can see exactly where the tip of the goose is, no guessing:
The best thing you can do for your sewing is to invest in a really good iron. Good heat and a lot of steam will help those bulky seam allowances stay open. (And if you prewash all your fabric, as I do, you can press with as much heat and steam as you want or need, without concern that the fabric might shrink.)


1 comment:

  1. Not sure why it took me until halfway through Blockapalooza to come find you, but I'm glad I finally have! Thanks for the "tute!" I was thinking today that I really just can't learn to love that damn 9x9 patch block. I thought I might try a variation of one of the other blocks and throw that one out. This would make a great substitute! Thanks!