Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Mini Churn Dash Quilt Block Tutorial

Every Thursday, Quilting Mayhem posts a traditional quilt block on their Facebook. At the end of the 12 weeks of posts they are going to host a class showing how to assemble the blocks into a quilt.

I think its fun to see the traditional blocks, and its fun to make them in modern fabrics.

However, the most fun I ever have with making traditional blocks is making them teeny tiny!!

So last night, I took their block post from week 7 and made it miniature. I love how it turned out, and hope you do to.

Here is how to make it.

Cutting Instructions:

Fabric A = Coral
1 – 1″ square
2 – 1 1/2″ squares

Fabric B = Teal
1 – 1″ x 5″ rectangle

Fabric C = Ivory
1 – 1″ x 5″ rectangle
2 – 1 1/2″ squares

Sewing Instructions:

Use a 1/4″ seam allowance

Start by sewing your rectangles of fabric B and Fabric C right sides together.

Press your seam open.

***Normally I press towards the dark, but in small blocks like this, it sometimes helps reduce bulk by pressing open.***

Trim this strip to 1″ wide– 1/2″ of each color showing.

Sub-cut this strip into four 1″ squares.

***When I can I “chain cut” so that I can cut the pieces I need with as little movement as possible. In this case I trim the edge, flip it around to the 4″ side of the ruler, trim the opposite edge, and slide my ruler back in one-inch intervals until I’ve cut my 4 squares.***

To make the half-square-triangles for the corner blocks, start by marking a diagonal line down the middle of the light fabric in each set.

**You can use any marking utensil that doesn’t bleed since you will be cutting on this line later.**

Keeping your 1/4″ seam allowance **or scant seam** sew on each side of the diagonal line.

You can chain piece these squares all the way down one side of the line, and turn them and stitch all the way down the other side of the line on both pieces.

***Chain piecing is sewing pieces of fabric together without trimming the threads between each piece until the step of sewing is complete. In a lot of cases you don’t even have to lift your presser foot, though with teeny tiny pieces like this I usually do because it helps keep the fabrics in place.***

Once you have sewn down both sides of the line, trim your threads and cut on the line. Each square now has two triangle pieces that, when opened, will make a half-square-triangle block.

All of these years I’ve been pressing my HST blocks open and then squaring them up. I recently discovered the easiest way in the world to square them up in half the time!

Leaving the block folded and flat, place your ruler on the stitch line. For a 1″ block make sure the top left 1″ mark and bottom-right 1″ mark on your square are positioned exactly on the stitch line with the 1/2″ mark in the middle. (As pictured.)

Then trim the right side of the ruler and the top, and you are done squaring!!!

***As you can see in my picture, I make the HST big and then cut quite a bit off. I do that with smaller blocks like this because it leaves more room to fix and error on the stitching or cutting line.***

***This method works with ever size, you just have to match the points of your ruler the same way!!!***

Press the seams.

***I probably should have pressed these seams open as well, but I’m so in the habit of pressing to the dark that I just went with it. (You know because quilting is an exact science!!!)***

Now you have all your pieces ready to lay out.

Chain piece the first two blocks of each row together, using the 1/4″ seam allowance.

Trim the threads, open each row up, and chain piece the third block to each row.

Normally I press all my odd rows in a block or quilt to one side and all the even rows the opposite direction. For whatever reason, on this block I pressed my odd rows toward the inside and my even row toward the outside.

(There is no rhyme or reason to this, no secret mystery to solve, it just happened that way.)

The direction you iron your seams doesn’t matter so much on this block, except for dealing with bulk. However, ironing the odd rows the same and the even rows opposite of the odd makes it drastically easier to match points because it helps the seams kind of slide into each other when you put the rows right side together.

Matching your seam points sew the first row to the second.

Trim your threads, open it up, and sew the third row to the second row.

Your block is almost complete!!

Press it open.

Up to this point we were completely mathematical. Now, we are going to square it up to 2″ and its very likely your seams are not exactly straight, but they are close enough! Eyeball the difference, center everything the best you can and be done with it.

A lady at a shop I used to work at would say “It makes no difference on a galloping horse.” Meaning, when you are done, and the block or quilt is in use, no one is going to notice that little 1/16th or even 1/8th of a difference “mistake”. So be done with it, and love it because you did it!!

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