Beth shares how to customize the center of your block by fussy cutting or adding an appliqué shape. Get tips for stitch and flip blocks here. Find more information on our 2021 Block of the Month project here. Download the block instructions here. Join our Facebook group here.

Hi! I'm Beth with American Patchwork & Quilting and today I'm sharing tips for personalizing your blocks! We're on month 10 of our Bright New Day Block of the Month. The link to the free pattern download is in the video description.

Block 10 uses the stitch and flip technique for many of the units, we shared some tips last month for those, so check the video description for the link if you need tips for that!

This block has a large center square (and several of our previous blocks do too), so I thought it would be fun to show how you can make the most of those center squares by adding an applique shape or fussy cutting.

First up, we'll talk about fussy cutting. This is a technique where you are very selective about the portion of fabric you want to feature. So if there's a specific motif you want in the center of your block, this is a great way to showcase that. I like to make a viewing window in the size of the square. So I just cut a 4.5" square out of a manilla folder. You could just use paper but I like it to be a little more sturdy. This way, you can move the window around on your fabric to decide the exact square you want to cut. If you don't want to make a viewing window, you can also just add some tape to a square ruler too. So I have two fabrics here from the Carolina Lillies by Robin Pickens for Moda Fabrics and I'll check with my viewing window which one I like best. I love this lilly print, but after trying a few of the flowers, I think the scale is just a little too big for this size square. Keep in mind you'll also lose a ¼" all the way around in the seam allowance. This is my next option, I like this spot with the butterfly. Now I can center the butterfly or move it to a corner. Once I have the spot I want, I can use the window to make some marks so I know where to cut.

Another way to customize your block is to add applique! I love using my AccuQuilt fabric die cutting machine because it makes it so much easier to cut out complicated appliqué designs. And they have so many cute options! So for this block, I thought a snowflake in the center would look really cute with this fabric!

When I use applique shapes, I love to use Heat N Bond on my fabric first. Iron the heat n bond onto the wrong side of the fabric and then cut with the AccuQuilt. This will give you a nice clean cut and ensure the adhesive is completely covering the shape. Which adhesive is right for your project? That depends on if you're going to sew through the shape or not. If you plan to stitch the shape down, be sure to use the purple package, which is Lite and marked as "sewable". If you don't plan to sew through the shape, use the Ultrahold in the red package, marked as "no sew".

I've laid out my block with the center square and other units. This snowflake is just a tiny bit big for the center block, so I'm just cutting off the end circles to make it slightly smaller!

Once you're happy with the placement, iron your shape on to your fabric. If you used the ultrahold, you're done! If not, stitch around the shape. Then assemble the block with the center, corner units, and tall flying geese units. Sew together in rows.

Here are the two completed blocks. The first one is Into the Woods by Lori Whitlock for Riley Blake Designs. What a cute collection that reminds me of winter at a cozy cabin!  

The second one is using Carolina Lillies by Robin Pickens for Moda Fabrics. This line is like walking through a garden with its lovely lilies and ferns.

It's so fun to add custom details that make your block just a little bit different! I can't wait to see your versions of Block 10.  You can post your photo to our facebook group or on Instagram with the hashtag APQBOM2021. Happy sewing!