Thank you so much for joining me on my first ever “sew-along”. I’ve been wanting to try something like this for awhile now but never found the time to develop patterns that could be posted for you all to use. I was delighted when Moda Fabrics announced their Sampler Block Shuffle because they had done the work for me of designing 30 six inch block patterns that I get to share with all of you! Here are the basics: I will post a new set of 2-3 block patterns every Friday from now until January 8th, 2016. Be sure to stop back each week to download and print the patterns. I would love to see your blocks that you create so I hope you will use the #modasamplershuffle when you upload your images on Facebook or Instagram. You can find me on both of those just look for Bay Window Quilt Shop on Facebook or @katiehennagir on Instagram.
Let’s get started!
Let me begin by saying I’m not usually too concerned with accurate piecing while I sew. I’m not saying I don’t pay attention at all it’s just that I don’t worry if things turn out perfectly. I’ve figured out my own tricks for making my blocks as perfect as possible. Things like where I need to mark my 1/4″ seam on my machine because my 1/4″ foot isn’t really exactly 1/4″. And, I’m aware of the thread that I sew with being either 50 weight or 60 weight so that it blends into my seam nicely and doesn’t add any bulk to it. I also know that I need to pay attention when I press, making sure I don’t pull on my seams. These tiny tips can make a big difference when it comes to whether or not your 6 1/2″ block is 6 3/8″ or even 6 5/8″. I’m not going to try and solve every sewers problem through my computer, but I do hope you can pick up a few tips along the way that will help you with your accuracy while sewing.
Here is my ultimate accuracy kit:
The Perkins Perfect Piecing Seam Guide is a small ruler that has a hole in it for your needle and a 1/4″ seam allowance marked on the ruler. Simply place it in your machine and mark where your scant 1/4″ seam is. Aurifil thread is my favorite thread to piece with. It is a perfect 50 weight thread that will disappear in your seam leaving you with a more accurately pieced block. I use a neutral color in all of my piecing (although I even used red to piece my first blocks at home because I was out of a neutral and I didn’t want to use any other brand of thread in my piecing). Clover’s Patchwork Pins are so fine you won’t even know they are in your fabric. You can sew right over them with no fear of hitting them with your needle. I don’t pin much, but when I do these are my absolute favorite. I’ve put together this little kit on our website too, so we can send one to you if you like! www.baywindowquiltshop.com
The first block in our shuffle was designed by Pat Sloan. It features half square triangles and only two colors in her block. The fabrics I’m using throughout my blocks are by Zen Chic for Moda- For You and Modern Backgrounds. The patterns will show you the blocks in gray-scale so that you can pick whatever fabrics you like. They also give you a couple of options for color value placement.
With this block accurate pressing is important. Have you ever noticed your triangles start to “rainbow” if you pull too much when pressing them? It can happen really easily and it will throw off your block completely. Be careful to only press down on the seam, don’t pull your iron across the fabric as that adds to the stretch.
In this pattern they have you trim your pieced blocks down to 2″. I am usually a bit too lazy to trim down my blocks. I always figure I can eyeball it and get it pretty close. With this block I decided to do what I was told and I trimmed a miniscule amount from each side to make it 2″. I will admit this really helped when it was time to sew the 2″ blocks together into my finished block! I think whenever you are sewing something small, every little bit makes a difference. It is easier to hide the flaws in larger quilts!
Click on the link below for the Block One Instructions!
I loved making Block Two which was designed by Me & My Sister Designs. Okay- maybe because it was a bit easier than the rest but I think it was also because you get to see more of the cool fabric I’m using. My only tip for this block is to pay attention to which direction you press your seams so that you can alternate the direction when you sew the sections together. Do this by bringing your block pieces over to your ironing board and figure out which way they need to go.
Click on the link below for the Block Two Instructions
Can I just say when I first looked at Block Three I cringed a bit? Then I took a deep breath and reminded myself that I am doing this to learn how to piece better and also to try new things. It’s also a bit easier to swallow when you only have to make 1 block! So, here’s what happened when I sewed up Block Three designed by Sandy Gervais. The pattern shows you how to make something they call “Easy Corner Triangles”. I’m usually a just look at the picture and don’t read the directions type of gal, but for the sake of doing what I’m told I decided to read (or kind of read) their directions.
Here is a link to their directions for making Easy Corner Triangles
You should download it and read it. BUT DON’T MAKE YOUR BLOCK THREE LOOK LIKE THE PICTURE IN THE EXAMPLE! I figured the instructions on the Easy Corner Triangles were showing me how I needed to make my Block Three unit. WRONG! When I tried to sew my block together the pink diagonal piece was going the wrong way. SOOOO, you should instead follow the diagram on the Block Three Instructions because that is showing you the correct direction for sewing your triangles onto the rectangle. The Easy Corner Triangles instructions are just giving you an example in general. Aside from that it was actually pretty fun to construct and it really has a lot of different ways you can play with fabric placement for different looking blocks.
Click on the link below for the Block Three Instructions
Finally, I’m also going to include the instructions for making your Inner Border on the quilt. It is made entirely of flying geese units, so you may as well sew a few as you go each week. I found that I could use some of the scraps from cutting out my first three blocks for this. I think I am going to use a variety of background colors and also not have them match. You could do this, or use all one fabric if you prefer.
So that’s it for this week. Remember to stop back next week Friday for more blocks! Happy sewing~ Katie