Saturday, May 2, 2015

Sixteen Patch Block Tutorial

Welcome to my first quilty tutorial! :) 

These directions will create a 12.5" unfinished sixteen patch block. This is classic, simple patchwork that would be great for beginners. 

For my Quilting Bee girls - you will be making one of these blocks and one of my Modern Dog blocks (tutorial here). 

Fabric choices should be based on this fabric pull (some of my favorite colors!) - aqua, turquoise, mustard, bright blue, and navy. Use one colored fabric (top row) and one low-volume gray/white or black/white background fabric (bottom row).  

Make sure your fabric choices have good contrast - that's what makes this block look awesome. 

2 strips color - 3.5" x 15"
2 strips background - 3.5" x 15" 

Sew the two sets of color + background strips, right sides together, and press toward the dark. Seams are always the standard 1/4" for quilting. (I don't use pins here - they don't have to be perfect.)  

(Don't be thrown off by the color change - I was making two blocks at once and forgot to take a photo of the yellow). 

Sew the strips, right sides together, and press toward the light this time (this keeps seams all pressed in same direction). 

Trim a little off the left side to square up the block - lining up the center seam as your guide. 

Cut four 3.5" strips from the strip set. 

You may need to square up again (using that center seam) after cutting a couple of strips. 

Now flip two of the strips upside down. 

Sew together - pinning at the beginning, end, nesting seams and pinning at those points. 

Here's my tip for matching seams:  I know it's against the rules, but...I sew over my pins. 

I know you are NOT supposed to do this, but I never could get good results when I pulled them out. I have found that using very fine pins, and sewing over them very slowly has made all the difference in the precision of my patchwork. I have hit a pin once or twice when I wasn't watching carefully. But...because I was sewing slowly, I have yet to break a needle (or end up with a pin jammed into the machine). 

Press all seams the same direction - I have pressed mine to the left of the block (from the front). 

You now have a lovely, finished sixteen-patch! If your seam allowance was accurate - it should measure 12.5" square.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions - or if you wish to ridicule and scold me for my bad pin habits. That's fine too. 

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