Sewing Your Quilt Block, and The Confetti Block Tutorial

If you’re just getting started (or even still toying with the idea of getting involved in the quilt block challenge), the most basic method of creating a quilt block is to create or choose a pattern and sew it.

If you didn’t catch my post yesterday – let me invite you to join in the fun!  I’ve been really wanting to start another quilt project, and I would love for you to get involved.  The challenge is for everyone – seasoned quilters, and newbies alike.  This week I’ll have ideas ranging from traditional and customary to innovative and original.

If you haven’t ever quilted, we’re starting small with just one square, which is a really manageable project.  If you find it’s not for you – no problem.  If you love it, it’s my hope that it’s the first square in your first quilt!  If you quilt a lot, it’s your chance to get really creative, and perhaps try a technique you haven’t used before.

Today we’re talking sewing.  Traditionally, quilt blocks are a combination of geometric shapes – sewing triangles, squares, rectangles together.  It’s very formulaic and math-oriented, and traditional patterns carry history and heritage.  Pretty cool, right?  This is a method that is really appealing to the left-brain types out there.

Butterfly Block at McCall’s Quilting
A few resources I like if you really enjoy the geometric designs:
McCall’s Quilting – lots of free patterns
Free Quilt & Block Patterns links to over 2,500 free quilt and block patterns.
Quilt Blocks Galore! has many original patterns with tutorials.
For something more interactive, I like the Quilt Block A Day Facebook page who challenges you do create a single block every day.
Geometric designs are honestly not my strong suit, personally.  Although there are some very gorgeous quilts out there that make me strongly reconsider that stance, like this one from married to a bmw!  Sooo pretty!
Scrappy String Quilt at married to a bmw
Blocks can be made to be sewn together to form a pattern, like the one above.  The stripes from each block line up with the other blocks to create a larger pattern.  Sewn blocks can also be a whole picture on their own, and they don’t have to be geometric!  I love the whimsical piecing ideas out there – these sites have several patterns they offer for free for personal use.  Check out how clever these are:
Adorable Giraffe block, at Sewhooked
Struttin’ Chick and Easter Egg at Patchpieces.com
Carlson Pine at Forest Quilting
Snowmen at Carol Doak
Today I’m going to show you a sewn block of my own.  It’s a great scrap buster, and all you need are the most basic of sewing skills.  This is one that will really appeal to you if you just like to get creative and wing it.  I’m calling this one the Confetti Block.

First, gather your scraps.  Get a good mix of at least 3 colors – more is even better!  Cut them into strips.  They don’t have to be symmetrical or even.  The crazier you cut them, the more random the look you will achieve.

I didn’t bother to measure these because I am not really concerned with conserving my scrap supply.  The idea here is that these will be cut and sewn in a few different rounds, and at the end, we will be trimming the block down to 12″ square and getting rid of the excess – so we’re going to make it bigger to account for the seam allowances.  Each time you cut your square and sew it, you will lose some of the length into the seams, so it will get increasingly smaller as we work with it.  Make sure your strips are at least 15″ long.  If you are really planning to make them uneven, you might want to play it safe and make them more like 16″-18″.

If your strips aren’t somewhere between 15″-18″ when you start, then you will want to sew a few end-to-end to get them long enough.

Then, you can begin sewing them together side-by-side.   If you are still very new to sewing, remember that when you add a piece on to sew, you place the right sides of the fabric together and sew on the backside.  Then you open it up and sew another piece onto the new end.  Your block doesn’t need to be as wide as you made it long, because the seams are already accounted for.  You can get away with making it about 13″ wide.

Once you have all your pieces together in a stripey block, press them with a warm iron.  Be sure to press all the seams the same direction.  It will make your next step much, much easier and will help your block to lie flatter.  And pardon the lighting in these photos – the time I had to work on this was late in the afternoon, and I get a lot of glare.  I put this block together in about 30 minutes while Raya was eating her dinner.

Now, cut your block into strips again, either perpendicularly (hey, spell-check says that is a word) or diagonally.  You want to cut your long color blocks so that they are now small squares, rectangles, or diamonds.

Switch up the directions that your strips are facing, and sew them back together.  Press your block again.

Now you should have a square that resembles a wonky checkerboard pattern.  If you like it how it is, trim it down to your finished size of 12″ by 12″ (or whatever size you’re using for your own quilt), and you are done!  If it’s still not random enough for you, you can make a few more cuts, turn the pieces different directions, and sew them back together again, pressing your block each time.

Now you have a crazy and colorful confetti block!

Stay tuned tomorrow – we’ll be talking about applique!

I link up to these great parties!

Comments

  1. Full Circle Creations says

    I love it. This is one thing I've never tried and have always wanted to. Thanks for sharing at the All Star Block Party!

    Holly

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