Disappearing 4-Patch–Creating the Final Block

Happy Day Fellow Quilters!

It is gorgeous here in Denver and I can’t wait to show you what I have been working on.  Without further ado I would like to introduce you to ‘Seam to Seam’!  What is ‘Seam to Seam’? They are short (~2 minute) videos showing each step along the way.  This way you can watch the next step, complete it and move on to the next set of instructions without having to rewind and find your place in a tutorial to see something over again. 

Photos and written instructions will still be there to help so if you don’t want to watch the videos you don’t have to.  Feel free to let me know what you think.

Let’s get started, today we are creating the final block.  This is the first of two big TA-DA moments for this quilt; I’m excited to show you!

Steps:

1) Cutting the four patch

Time to get cutting. First things first you will want to get your cutting mat and a ruler that is larger than the block and can measure in 1” increments. Oh, you need your rotary cutter too! Next, line up your square so it is aligned on the cutting mat.

Helpful Hint: A rotating cutting mat will make this process 100% easier.  If you don’t have one you can walk around your table or move your big mat very (and I mean very) gingerly.  DO NOT MOVE THE BLOCK.

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Now align your ruler at the 1” mark along the center of your block.  Use your rotary cutter and cut all the way through the block.

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  Carefully pick up your ruler, rotate the mat and line it up again.

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Same process as before. Align 1”, cut and rotate.  You will want to do this all the way around the block; 4 cuts total.

2) Arranging the four patch

Now it is time to rotate the cut pieces of the block.  It should go solid, printed, solid printed all the way around.  Just flip the center pieces around.  The easiest way to look at it is the before & after below.

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3) Sewing the block back together – Rows

We are going to work in rows when assembling this block.  It is very important to have you seam allowances accurate because we will be matching ~ 8 seams per block.  Yes, this block is a little more labor intensive than some of these others we’ve tackled, but we have already saved ourselves a ton of work just by cutting the four patch.  Wow, can you imagine cutting and sewing all of the little squares; talk about exponential room for error!   (…sorry for the ‘perfectly’ overuse…that word is officially off limits Smile)

Here is how to put the first row together. This may seem a little unorthodox, but we want to press to one side for this top row. I know, I know some may not be to the dark side, but trust me it will be worth it in the end. Lets press them all towards the large patterned block like shown in the photo below. Sew the next row the same way, EXCEPT you will press the opposite way.  In this example below you will press towards the teal strip.  Okay final row same as the first, but press towards the large white block this time.

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4) Sewing the block together – Final Assembly

Let’s match up some seams shall we? I think you know where this is going. Attach the top row to the middle and the middle to the bottom.  Do you see why we pressed our seams the way we did? Yep, this way we can nest and life will be so much easier.  Feel free to pin if you’d like or try it with just the nesting if you feel like you are becoming one with your machine. 

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5) Finished Block

Voila! Here is your finished block.  Let’s meet back next week and we can work on layout of this fantastic quilt.  In the mean time I have a ton of blocks to cut and assemble…and you do too! Smile

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Disappearing Four Patch–Creating the Basic 4-Patch

First off, I must say a Happy Happy Birthday to my younger and only brother and only sibling for that matter.  We are 19 months apart almost to the day (technically 19 months and 5 days apart).  Today then begins the 6 months out of the year when his age is exactly 1 year below mine.  Happy 31st DJ, you are the best brother a girl could have!

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Alrighty down to business who is ready for our next project? I know I am!  I’ve listed the materials below; let’s do this!

Disappearing 4-patch featuring Dori by Mitzi Powers for Benartex

Disappearing 4-patch

Materials:

  • 2 Printed Charm Packs
  • 2 Solid Charm Packs
    • Keep in mind white or black will have the most impact.
  • Border Fabric (optional)
  • Backing Fabric
  • Binding Fabric
    • I prefer backing and binding fabric that matches

Steps:

1) Layout all of your blocks.

Whether you choose to use the Dori charm pack or a different print you should have two printed charm packs and two solid charm packs.  Taking the printed charm pack lay out all of your squares keeping in mind that they will be a 4-patch later.  Notice that I didn’t lay out any of the the white charm pack.  That is a step that isn’t necessary since every other square will be solid. 

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I decided that I didn’t want to go super random on this quilt.  I like the idea of having similar prints together, but not matching.  It will give it dimension without turning into a hot mess.  We’ve all seen them right? The girls that had a great style going, but added that one accessory that took it from cool to ‘oh honey!’.  That is what I am trying to avoid here.  There is such a thing as too random.  Anyway, I digress. Note, these are just for initial block lay out; no need to decide where the final blocks need to go yet. 

Yes, you caught me…I did a couple of the blocks ahead of schedule, but hey I really wanted to see what they looked like!

Take your photo! Time to get sewing…

2) Chain stitching 2×2.

I found it easiest to lay out both charm packs and just chain stitch them together. Honestly you can skip step 1 if you don’t want to match them up yet as you can do it after these are completed as well.  I just love seeing all of the fabrics laid out before I begin.  As always we are using a 1/4” seam (per your individual machine’s specifications).  This step goes pretty quickly even though you have ~80 pairs to get together.

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3) Step 3 – Setting & Pressing.

Time to set your seams and press.  Make sure you are always pressing away from the solid fabric.  This will allow us to ‘nest’ the seams and will almost always ensure a perfectly matched block. Nifty right? I fell in love with this tip when I learned it too!

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4) Step 4 – Matching Seams & Completing the Basic 4-Patch

Once you have all of your seams pressed you will want to consult your photo or lay out all of your blocks on your work surface wall, carpet, spare bed…you know the drill.  (here’s just a few…)

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Then, gather them all up in corresponding tops and bottoms. I made one pile of tops and one pile of bottoms like the photo below.  You should be able to pull one top and one bottom from each pile, match them and stitch.

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You guessed it, we are going to chain stitch these as well. The beauty of pressing to the dark side above means that in this particular 4-patch we are able to ‘nest’ out seams. What this allows you to do is match your 4-patch centers with little to no effort.  All you need to do is nest the seams  by rubbing them together and they will settle into their natural place which also happens to be where the seams line up perfectly.  Just remember to stitch the correct side.  You will read in the outtake below that it is easy to stitch the wrong side and then things get a little off kilter if you know what I mean.

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Alright, we are down to sewing 40 blocks.  Let’s meet back here next week (sorry for the couple week hiatus, back on track now) to cut and assemble the final blocks. Exciting! Check out the center matching using ‘nesting’, ah perfection! One thing to note when pressing.  Usually you would split the center seam and press both to their consecutive dark side, but since we will be cutting this block up and moving pieces around just choose the darker of the two printed squares and press to that side. (it will make more sense next week)

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Oh! Before I forget;  I have been working on something really great that I think will take this blog to the next level (also another reason why you haven’t seen a post in a week or so). Stay tuned! I can’t wait to reveal it…hopefully next week & hopefully you like it!


Outtake:

I thought I would show you that, yes, I have to rip out too. I started pressing some of my blocks and realized something was off. You see I was trying to line up straight edges and lost the block integrity.  I think those vines are supposed to run up and down?! I had to not only take out 1, but 10 different blocks, but it didn’t take too long. Winking smile

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Have a great week!

Ever wonder how much fabric you need for the back of your quilt? Mystery Solved!

A couple of weeks ago I was on the phone with my mom and she mentioned that she stopped in to our favorite quilt store back home, Patchwork Quilts.  She stated that the woman working (who also happened to do Make It Yourself With Wool when we did & gave us a VHS of the fashion show…remember those? Oh and yes, I now remember her!?) mentioned a new app that she found that takes the mystery out of measuring for binding and backing.  Once she told me about it I thought ‘why didn’t I think to even look for one of those on my phone?!’. 

I am not sure about you, but I am constantly guessing, measuring, and second guessing how much fabric I need for binding and or backing.  Well, mystery solved!  All you need is a smart phone and the Quilting Calc app brought to you by Robert Kaufman Fabrics and Quilter’s Paradise.  It is made for iPhone and iPad and, yes, you can even find it on Google play.

Here are a few screen shots so you can see what it looks like first hand.

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This app is free! Stop reading and start downloading!