Don’t forget to check Jen’s blog post where she talks about her fabric choices! And also, don’t forget the 15% off all your fabric orders from the Little Fabric Store for the duration of this QAL, with the code ‘curiouser’. Happy sewing!
It’s time to get cutting and sewing! How exciting is that?! So grab your fabrics, your tools and let’s go!
This week, we are making a very simple block with 4 patches and a border. It is really straightforward and if you have any experience in patchwork, you might want to skip my very detailed instructions. If you are new, don’t worry, I’ll show you how to make it, step by step!
Here’s the list of materials and tools that you’ll need to complete this block.
- Cutting mat, rotary cutter and ruler (I used my 6.5″ x 24.5″ and my 16.5″ square rulers)
- Sewing machine and thread (or hand sewing needle and thread)
- Iron and ironing board
- Seam ripper or pointy scissors (it’s ok, I still need mine even for a simple block like that!)
- 4 – 5″ squares from your print fabrics (I chose all red fabrics, but you can mix colours, of course!)
- 2 – 2.5 x 10″ rectangles from your plain fabric (the white for my block)
- 2 – 2.5″ x 13″ rectangles from your plain fabric
If you’ve never cut squares of fabrics, this first step might feel a bit daunting, but don’t worry, I’m going to show you how to cut! If you remember last week’s post, I showed how to prepare your fabrics for cutting, so do that first with your choice of fabrics for this week’s block. If you have done everything as I’ve shown you, you should have 2 edges with a right angle.
Step 1: Align your 5″ line of your cutter on the right angle of your perfectly straight edges. Being mindful of your fingers, apply pressure on the ruler and cut along the edge of it, away from you.
Now, you should have a long 5″ strip, about 5″ x 20″ if you are using a fat quarter. Turn the strip, align the cutter on the 5″ line and cut again. That’s it, you’ve cut a square!
Repeat 3 more times with the fabric of your choice!
For the 2.5″ strips, instead of aligning with the 5″ line of your cutter, you align to the 2.5″ and that’s all there is to it!
If you have difficulties with this step, ask me or Jen and we’ll happily post more pics either here in a blog post or in the Flickr group!
Step 2: To the sewing machine, we go! Pick 2 blocks and put them right sides together (so the wrong side is facing you!). Using a 1/4″ seam allowance (Jen showed you how to check for it last week), sew these 2 blocks together on one side only. Repeat for the other 2 blocks.
Step 3: Time for some ironing (it does help if your ironing board is in the same room as your sewing machine, less walking around the house!!). With your blocks still right sides together, press on each side for 3-5 seconds, that will set the seam and make the next step easier. Once that is done, with your first 2 blocks, open and press the seam to the right side. For the next 2 blocks, open and press the seam to the left side.
I choose to press seams to the side as it makes it easier to line up the seams. But with practice, you might choose to press the seams open. It’s down to personal preference.
If you choose to press to the side like me, just make sure your seams are going to opposite directions!
Step 4: You now have 2 strips made of 2 blocks each. Put those 2 strips right sides together and pin well (to make sure your seams line up properly, why not check the tutorial I posted a couple of weeks ago). It should look like this where your seams meet:
You are all set, so sew along one of the long edges.
The centre of you blocks should look like that.
But don’t worry if it’s not perfectly aligned. It’s ok. Unless you are miles off (like more than 3mm), I wouldn’t unpick it. And I’m OCD with my seams. Sometimes.
Your block should now look like this.
Pat yourself on the back, you’ve made a 4-patch block! Well done! It should be 9.5″ square. You can trim it down if it’s a bit too big. If it’s too small, that’s ok. That’s why we have borders!!
Step 5: I’ve made you cut borders that are larger than necessary in the likely case (it still happens to me) that your central block comes out at not quite the right size. Grab your 2 – 2.5″ x 10″ strips and pin them at the top and bottom (or sides, doesn’t matter) of your 4-patch.
Sew, remove pins and press to side (the direction of the seam doesn’t matter here, you can press open if you want to reduce the bulk).
Line your ruler with your central block sides (where there’s no border) and trim excess border. It should look like this:
Step 7: Time to trim down your block. For this, I used my big 16.5″ ruler, but it isn’t necessary. I could have used my 6.5″ x 24.5″ ruler too. You could also trim your block down by using the lines on your cutting mat.
Line up the 6.25 line of your ruler with the centre seam of your 4-patch and trim off the excess. Make sure that you follow the right angle of your seams.
Repeat for all sides.
That’s all there is to it!