Bright New Day: Block 12 Tips Video
Hi! I'm Beth with American Patchwork & Quilting and we're on the last block in our Bright New Day Block of the Month. Today, I'll share how to assemble Block 12 and give tips for fixing previous blocks that didn't quite come out the right size! The link to the free pattern download is in the video description.
We saved a nice easy one for last – this one just consists of triangle squares and squares! Check out the Block 5 video for more triangle square tips if you need those.
Once you have your triangle squares assembled and trimmed, lay out your block. Assemble the center pinwheel first, then sew together in rows. We're pressing seams open on this one since there are multiple seams coming together in several spots.
Here are the two completed blocks. The first one is Heartsong by Gabrielle Neil for Riley Blake Designs. Such a fun color palette on this one!
The second one is using My Country by Kathy Schmitz Studios for Moda Fabrics. This fat quarter bundle came with a panel. A fun way to use a panel is to cut it up and use it as accents in your blocks. I chose the small star for the corners and this adds such a nice touch.
When you have all 12 of your blocks completed, it's a good idea to go through and check all your blocks to see if they are the right size. They should be 12 ½" square, but what if they're not?
I have some tips for fixing those!
It can be tempting to just find your smallest block and trim all blocks to that size, but keep in mind this may alter the finished quilt quite a bit! Most of the blocks in this quilt have points on the edges. So if you trimmed off even 1/8" of an inch, once you sew the block to your sashing, you'll lose the points in the seam allowance. And if you trim all your blocks down, that's also going to mean you have to adjust the sashing and borders too. Since this quilt has multiple borders, those small changes can really magnify throughout the quilt top.
I typically find my blocks are too small by varying degrees. If this is the case for you, you can add borders or "coping" strips to blocks to bring them to a uniform size. If you use the background fabric, it will blend into the block. I ran out of my background, so I'm using the replacement fabric I ended up using for the sashing and borders. You could also use a contrasting fabric as a design element, the strips would frame the blocks nicely, but will be more noticeable if they are different widths. My block ended up about 12 1/8" so I don't need to add too much fabric. I had some 1" strips leftover from cutting my other pieces, so these will work in my case. I'd err on the side of cutting these larger than needed, just to ensure you get enough added! I like to cut these strips a little longer than necessary, then once sewn, you can square up the block as needed. I like to use a large square ruler to trim these and this one is 12 ½" square, which is the size we need, so this is extremely helpful in getting it centered. Once you trim, this is what it looks like. You can see once you add the sashing, this will blend right in.
If you're off by just a small margin, let your sewing machine ease in the difference. When you go to join the blocks to the sashing, layer the two blocks on the bed of your machine with the smaller one on top; do not engage the even-feed foot on the top. The feed dogs (the teeth on the bottom that feed the fabric through) will help ease in the excess fabric as you sew the blocks together. This will only work if the blocks are just a little off, though. You can't ease in a 1" discrepancy!
In extreme cases, you can discard blocks that don't measure up and make replacements or rip out the seams and re-stitch the blocks. Be sure to check your ¼" seam for accuracy. If your blocks are consistently too small, your seam allowance is likely too large. If your blocks are consistently too big, your seam allowance is likely too small.
Stitch up block 12 and then get the rest ready to go for finishing! We'd love to see all 12 of your completed blocks! You can post your photo to our facebook group or on Instagram with the hashtag APQBOM2021. Happy sewing!