Curves: Types and Tutorials

We’re just about to start week three of Sew For Fifteen, and you guys are blowing me away with your awesome curves! We’ve had improv curves, hand sewn curves, and lots of curves using templates and patterns.  I will be working on a template pattern this month – the Picnic Quilt by Color Girl Quilts.  I cut it out last summer, so it’s definitely time for me to get working on it! Which is your favorite type of curve?

Template Cut Curves

There are many patterns written for curves using printed templates or rulers specifically for curved piecing.  The following blog tutorials and videos are just a few of the great resources that you can use for template cut curves. One of them advocates using ALL THE PINS, one suggests skipping pins altogether, and the rest explore both options. I use a few pins when I’m sewing curves, but you have to find what works for you. Check out these tutorials and videos for guidance.

Color Girl Quilts: How To Sew A Full, Set-In Circle

Sewing Curves by Suzy Quilts (This video features the Propeller Quilt pattern, which has since been improved and renamed Modern Fans.)

Sometimes Crafter: Options For Sewing Curves

Pile O’ Fabric: Easy Methods To Piecing Curves

Art Gallery Fabrics Blog: Alice’s Tulips Block Tutorial

Sewn Up: Curved Piecing Video Tutorial

 

Improv Curves

Improv curves are typically cut without a template, though one of the tutorials listed here describes a great method for sewing improv curves with a freehand template. Most of these tutorials show you how to layer fabrics, cut a few curves into the layers simultaneously, then sew them together where they match up. Improv piecing is an art in itself, but we’ll cover that later in the year.  The spirit of most of these tutorials is to leave the templates behind and just go for it.

Red Pepper Quilts: Cutting And Sewing Free Hand Curves

Man Sewing: Curved Piecing Tutorial Video

Spontaneous Threads – Caution: Curves Ahead

Quilting Jet Girl: Improv Quarter Circle Tutorial

Night Quilter: Steps To Sewing Perfect Curves (This tutorial describes the method used by Stephanie at Spontaneous Threads, but with different photos and sample blocks.  Both are super helpful.)

 

Sew For Fifteen

If you’re just finding out about Sew For Fifteen, I’m glad you found it! We’ll be working together to learn some new techniques and check things off our quilting to-do lists, fifteen minutes at a time, for the whole year.  The community, tutorials, and prizes are bound to make this year productive and tons of fun! You can find all the information about how to participate here. Each month has a different theme.  January is all about curves.

So, which kind of curvy quilter are you – template or improv? If you’re just trying curves for the first time, tell me in the comments which type you think you’ll try first.

 

Reflections and Looking Ahead

Yvonne of Quilting JetGirl is throwing the #2019PlanningParty again, and since I hate to miss out on a party, I’m here reflecting on 2018 and looking ahead to 2019.  My goals for last year were:

Participate in more design challenges and calls for proposals: I met this goal somewhat, though not to the extent that I had hoped.  I had an amazing experience working with the Quilter’s Planner team, and very much enjoyed working with a few designers on their blog tours.  I intend to keep at it this year by submitting at least two patterns to quilting magazines and continuing to put myself out there for design challenges.  I learn so much each time I take a risk and put myself out there.  Sometimes I don’t hear back and I have the opportunity to reflect on why, and other times I’m lucky enough to dive into the experience of working with a publication or fabric designer. Either way, there’s progress to be made.

Sew from my stash: I made two or three projects using only what I had in my stash, and it felt great to do that.  With regard to new purchases, I’d say no comment, but I’m here for accountability and reflection, so the honest answer is  – my stash has grown and I’m okay with it.  I made some investments in my growing pattern business and acquired some bundles that I plan to use for pattern samples.  I also purchased some fabrics at great prices for skirts that I plan to make and quilt backs that I will definitely use.  Finally, I bought some fabrics that I loved, had my eye on, and wanted to play with.  This year I plan to continue to be thoughtful about fabric purchases, and to use what I have when I can.

Garment sewing: This year I made a cardigan and a triceratops halloween costume (3T, not for me). My garment sewing goals for 2018 definitely took a back seat to quilting goals.  I have a handful of garments waiting to be made – shirts, skirts, and coats – and hope to get to them in 2019.  I love having handmade garments to wear – they often fit better than off the rack, and the feeling of accomplishment from making my own clothes is the best!

Continue to develop and discover my voice – I am very happy with the progress I made in this area, and so excited to keep at it in 2019.  I was lucky enough to pattern test for some incredibly talented pattern designers, connected with lots of inspiring and talented quilters, and had some really great opportunities thrown my way.

 

My one new goal for 2019 (for now – new ones always pop up along the way):

 

Just go for it, and work with you to do the same! There are a lot of quilting techniques I want to try for the first time (FMQ is at the top of that list), and other techniques I want to improve at.  I’m looking forward to working together to check those things off our quilty to-do lists as we inspire each other and help cheer each other on.

What are your goals for 2019?

 

 

 

 

Sew For Fifteen

Sew For Fifteen is an opportunity for us to inspire and challenge each other to get started on those quilting techniques and projects that we’ve had our eye on for awhile, but haven’t started for one reason or another.  I want to be that person cheering you on, encouraging you to get out there and try that thing you’re scared of.  Maybe you’ve been wanting to try sewing curves for awhile.  Or maybe English Paper Piecing or Foundation Paper Piecing look fun, but you never got around to finding the tools you need to get started. You can do it! During Sew For Fifteen, we’ll encourage each other, challenge each other, and of course, have the chance to win awesome prizes!

The Challenge:

Sew For Fifteen has two primary objectives. I challenge you to:

  1. Find 15 minutes to work on a quilting project of your choice (related to each monthly theme) at least once a month. Sometimes we put things off because we don’t have the time to really sit down and get into it. I don’t know about you, but looking back on 2018, I would have finished a lot of projects if I’d found 15 minutes here and there to work on them.
  2. Learn new quilting techniques that you’ve been wanting to try. Each month will have a theme.  In 2019, we will try:
    • January: Curves
    • February: EPP
    • March: Quilting (By machine or by hand)
    • April: FMQ (get those practice quilt sandwiches ready!)
    • May: FPP
    • June: WIPs
    • July: Quilt Design
    • August: Applique (of all kinds)
    • September: Binding/Facing
    • October: Quilter’s Choice: Pattern
    • November: Quilter’s Choice: Technique (Improv, fabric weaving, Y seams, etc)
    • December: Year In Review and Planning Ahead

How to Participate:

Choose a Project: You may work on any quilting project you choose that you’d like to chip away at 15 minutes at a time (or longer if you’re lucky enough to find the time).  It does not need to be related to the monthly theme, but only entries that relate to the monthly theme will count toward winning prizes.

Take a Photo and Share it: Sew For Fifteen will take place completely on Instagram. You do not need to officially sign up, but you will need to have a public Instagram account.  You will enter by posting a picture of what you did during your 15 minutes of project work using the hashtag #sbbsewfor15.  Whether you pulled fabrics, cut some blocks, or got started on your sewing, share a photo of your progress and that’s an entry.  You may enter as many times as you would like throughout the month.

Enjoy the resources: Throughout the month, I will share resources that will support you in your effort to learn new quilty things. I will post links to blogs and videos shared by experts on that month’s theme.  I will also do some Instagram live videos with our sponsors. And of course, I will post throughout the month to say hi and check in on your progress. If you find any good tips or tricks, please share them!  We’re all here to learn from each other.

What projects can I work on?

You may work on any project you choose, but only photos that are related to the monthly theme will count as entries toward the monthly prize.  We have many generous sponsors, and we’d like to highlight their work as it relates to the theme each month.

Do I have to participate every month?

We’d love to have you with us each month of the year, but you are welcome to pick and choose the months with themes that interest you.  Just post an entry during the months that you choose to participate, and you’re in!

What are the prizes?

There will be two giveaways each month.

The “Getting Started” giveaway: On the first day of each month, I will announce the “Getting Started” giveaway in a post on Instagram.  It will consist of at least one tool that will help get you started for that month’s theme.  It will run for 48 hours, after which point the winner will be announced on Instagram and here on my blog. I will send the winner a DM on Instagram to arrange for shipment of your prize.  If you do not respond within 72 hours of when I sent the DM, another winner will be chosen.

The End of the Month giveaway: On the second day of each month, I will choose a winner from the previous month’s entries.  For example, on February 2, I will choose a winner from all of the January photo entries.  An entry is eligible to win if:

  • It was posted between the first and last day of the month, in YOUR timezone.
  • Used the correct hashtag (#sbbsewfor15)
  • Pertained to a project that relates to the monthly theme (see list posted above).
  • The person is following the Instagram accounts for that month’s sponsors.
  • The entry is from a public Instagram account.

Monthly Sponsors:

January (Curves):RJR Fabrics has generously offered to donate a bundle of Cotton Supreme Solids for our Getting Started giveaway.

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Also on offer for the Getting Started giveaway (offered by yours truly) is a set of Drunkards Path quilting templates.

Color Girl Quilts has generously donated one Classic Curves Ruler and pattern pack for our end of the month giveaway.

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February (EPP): Get your EPP journey started with some Brimfield blocks.  The Getting Started giveaway features a starter pack with papers for each of the Brimfield blocks: Brimfield, Brimfield Meadows, and Brimfield Star.

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This giveaway also includes a Liberty fabrics scrap pack offered by South Bay Bella Studio.

The rest of our sponsors will be announced as the event unfolds.  We’ve got lots of great stuff planned, so stay tuned.

I have lots of questions!  Where do I ask them?

This is my first time planning something like this, so please be gentle! If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to leave comments here and I will respond as quickly as possible.  Otherwise, get those curved projects ready for January and I’ll see you in about a week!  Thanks for joining me on this crazy adventure.

Introducing Garden Windows: The Quilter’s Planner 2019

I am a mom, a spouse, a quilter, a pattern designer and, less often talked about here, a historian.  I remember the first moment I realized I was a historian, and not just a history student or future history teacher.  I was working on a paper as an undergraduate student, and the words of our professor echoed in my mind – he stressed that the thoughts we were putting into our projects were our own and to make sure that, at least in some small way, we contributed to the overall understanding of the topic.  It was likely a simple reminder about plagiarism, but for me it was the moment that I realized I had something to contribute to the academic discipline that I loved so much, and that what I had to contribute was worth sharing.

This year, I have taken that sentiment and applied it to my quilting and pattern design.  I challenged myself earlier in the year to respond to calls for submission and to submit my patterns for publication more often.  I submitted three patterns for consideration for the Quilter’s Planner, and almost fell out of my seat when I saw the email subject line, “Congratulations, your pattern has been accepted!” I am super excited to share Garden Windows, one of the many beautiful patterns included in the 2019 Quilter’s Planner.

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Photo taken by Kitty Wilkin (@nightquilter) for The Quilter’s Planner

I made Garden Windows with Mediterraneo fabrics by Katarina Roccella for Art Gallery Fabrics. I love the vibrant colors and fresh floral prints in this line. I used Pure Elements Snow for the background, and a beautiful Mediterraneo floral fabric for the backing and binding. This quilt can be scrappy or made with just a few fabrics and focus prints.  I can’t wait to see your vision for this pattern!

Here are a couple more views of Garden Windows, photographed by the incredibly talented Kitty Wilkin (@nightquilter) for The Quilter’s Planner.

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Above photos taken by Kitty Wilkin (@nightquilter) for The Quilter’s Planner

I am excited to share this design with you in the 2019 Quilter’s Planner, along with the many other quilt, project, and block patterns featured in the planner and accompanying magazine. Pre-orders for the Quilter’s Planner are open now.  The pre-order comes with a few bonus goodies for a limited time, so head over and pick one up.  You will be so glad you did!  For US orders, you can order the Quilter’s Planner here, and for international orders, head to Fat Quarter Shop to place your order.

Mine is the tenth design to be revealed, and there are still six to go. Follow along with the rest of the reveals, and take a look at what’s already been shared:

July 23 – Cheryl Brickey Meadow Mist Designs @meadowmistdesigns
July 25 – Kitty Wilkin Night Quilter @nightquilter
July 27 – Karie Jewell Two Kwik Quilters @karie_twokwikquilters
July 30 – Mandy Leins Mandalei Quilts @mandaleiquilts
August 1 – Megan Fisher @ayragon
August 3 – Andrea Tsang Jackson 3rd Story Workshop @3rdstoryworkshop
August 6 Trinia  Braughton Penguin Feats @penquinfeats
August 8 Lee Monroe May Chappell @maychappell
August 10 Karen Lewis Karen Lewis Textiles @karenlewistextiles
August 13 Isabelle Selak South Bay Bella Studio @southbaybella
August 15 Sylvia Schaefer Flying Parrot Quilts @flyingparrotquilts
August 17 Yvonne Fuchs Quilting Jetgirl @quiltingjetgirl
August 20 Kate Colleran Seams Like a Dream @seamslikeadreamquilts
August 22 Shannon Fraser Shannon Fraser Designs @shannonfraserdesigns
August 24 Kerry Goulder Kid Giddy @kidgiddy
August 27 Kitty Wilkin Night Quilter @nightquilter
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Photo taken by Kitty Wilkin (@nightquilter) for The Quilter’s Planner

 

Windsor Garden Fabrics Blog Tour

I’m happy to finally share with you the projects I made for the Windsor Garden Fabrics blog tour. Kelly Parker Smith approached me about a month ago and asked if I would participate in the blog tour for her first fabric line, being released by Sweet Bee Designs. I couldn’t say no! The colors are really bright and fun, and perfect for summer projects. The prints are varied to give you some small geometrics and some larger florals – something for everyone!

I decided to make a tote bag and a matching wallet to carry over the summer.  The Necessary Clutch Wallet by Emmaline is a favorite of mine, so that was an easy choice.  Kelly sent us each a fat quarter bundle of her fabrics, so I needed to find a tote pattern that was fat quarter friendly.  I found a free tote bag tutorial by Caroline of SewCanShe. Once I had my patterns chosen, I got to work.

I have been wanting to make a project using the tan Kraftex I bought last year.  The greens and pinks in Windsor Garden fabrics worked perfectly with what I had. The thick paper still behaves like paper – not much give, and a little tearing if you’re not careful – but it looks a little like leather if you treat it before using it.  It is a fun alternative to cork or leather for a leaner budget.

I altered the tote pattern a bit since I prefer to attach my purse straps on the side panels, rather than a cross body strap at the seams, as the pattern calls for.  The Kraftex is a bit stiff for purse handles for my liking, so I may switch them out for coordinating fabric straps later.  For now, though, they work.

My favorite feature of the Necessary Clutch Wallet is that large middle compartment.  I can fit my keys and phone in there, and just grab my wallet and go.  There is enough room for plenty of cards, cash, and receipts for fabric…umm, I mean groceries!

I am so happy with my matching summer set, and I hope you are, too. Be sure to check out all the other fun projects being shared on the Windsor Garden Fabrics blog tour, then go out and get some of these fabrics for yourself when they’re released.  You’ll be glad you did!

June 21st                  Jessica Swift                  https://www.jessicaswift.com/blog/

June 26th                  Allison Dutton                  allison-sews.blogspot.com

June 28th                  Dylan Mierzwinski                  https://www.bydylanm.com/

July 3rd                  Isabelle Selak                  https://www.southbaybellastudio.com

July 5th                  Kaitlyn Howell                  www.knotandthreaddesign.com

July 10th                  Sharon McConnell                  colorgirlquilts.com/blog

July 12th                  Missy Luukkonen                  Thelittlegreenbean.com

July 17th                  Elise Baek                  Http://www.eliseandemelie.com

July 19th                  Stephanie Jacobson                  http://stephjacobson.blogspot.com/

Tallinn Fabrics Blog Tour

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I’m excited that today is finally my day on the Tallinn Fabrics blog tour. I was so happy when Jessica Swift invited me to participate in the blog tour. I fell in love with Jessica’s Tallinn Fabrics for Angles by Art Gallery Fabrics last Fall, when she debuted her first line at Fall Quilt Market. I’ve been brainstorming lots of fun projects to make with her fabrics since then.

I decided to make the Townsend Travel Bag by Sallie Tomato Patterns. Jessica’s designs were influenced by her travels in Eastern Europe. They definitely inspired me to dream of travels abroad. The first step to making those dreams a reality is to find the right luggage, or in my case, to make it.

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I used Odessa Dream, a large floral print – my favorite from the line – and a few coordinates, Sofia Sunrise, Sofia Midnight, and Zirkusbau Candy, a fun print with quirky bunnies and horses in bright, fun colors.

For this project, I used Sallie Tomato zippers by the yard and hardware. Zipper yardage is my new favorite way to buy zippers. The ability to custom cut a zipper to my desired length eliminates the need to hunt down a zipper in the right color and length. Sallie Tomato offers a variety of tape and teeth colors, which you can find here.

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The thing I enjoy most about bag making is checking off each step as I go. First step, cut all the pieces. Next, fuse the interfacing, and soon the pieces you’ve cut start to resemble a finished bag. Add zippers, assemble straps, bind the unfinished edges, and before you know it, a pile of fabrics and foam become a travel bag.

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This bag has a number of useful features, including internal pockets, a separate traincase compartment, and an optional adjustable crossbody strap. I was sure to add my favorite finishing touch, a “Handmade” tag by Emmaline Bags.

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I made a couple accessories to complete my travel set. I used the Jewelry Travel Pouch tutorial on the blog, A Happy Song. The drawstring pouch features eight small pockets. The exterior fabric is the vibrant coordinate from Tallinn fabrics, Sofia Sunrise, and the interior fabrics are Sofia Midnight, and Odessa Dream in Fairytale.

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Finally, I made a quick zipper pouch, which features Zirkusbau Candy, and is lined with Sofia Sunrise.

I hope you enjoyed seeing the projects I’ve made as much as I enjoyed sharing them. Jessica has quite a list of talented designers featured on her blog tour. I hope you’ll visit each of them and enjoy their Tallinn sewing projects as well.

  1. Thursday April 19 – Mathew Boudreaux | Mister Domestic
  2. Friday April 20 – Katie Skoog | The Simple Life Company
  3. Monday April 23 – Sharon Holland
  4. Tuesday April 24 – Eleri Kerian | Sew and Tell Project
  5. Wednesday April 25 – Paola Baker | Love of Fabrics
  6. Thursday April 26 – Maureen Cracknell
  7. Friday April 27 – Alexis Wright | My Sweet Sunshine Studio
  8. Monday April 30 – Isabelle Selak | South Bay Bella Studio
  9. Tuesday May 1 – Cassie Massolia | Lily Shine Creates
  10. Wednesday May 2 – Becca Plymale | Sunflower Seams
  11. Thursday May 3 – Alisa Kutsel | A Stitch In Between
  12. Friday May 4 – Sharon McConnell | Color Girl Quilts
  13. Monday May 7 – Karen O’Connor | Lady K Quilt Designs
  14. Tuesday May 8 – Sarai Schuk | Sarai’s Hobbies
  15. Wednesday May 9 – Elise Baek | Elise & Emelie
  16. Thursday May 10Jessica Swift
  17. Friday May 11Gwyn LaSpina
  18. Monday May 14 – Loni Jakubowski | Havin Sew Much Fun

 

Looking Ahead to 2018

2018 Planning Party

Yvonne of Quilting JetGirl is throwing a fabulous linky party. She has challenged us to look ahead to the new year and share our thoughts. As usual, I’m jumping in, just under the wire. Maybe I should add punctuality to my list of goals for the year! 
Participate in more design challenges and calls for proposals: This kind of goal really motivates me to try new things. With an assignment and a deadline, I’m game to try lots of new skills. Doing this alongside the rest of the challenge participants really enhances the learning experience for me.
Sew from my stash – In the last few months, I’ve unearthed lots of planned projects (read: piles of fabric) and so many fabrics I had forgotten about – fabrics I was dying to own at the time, but made the mistake of organizing them into the back of my fabric closet, behind a handful of totes holding more fabric. My ultimate goal is to sew completely from my stash, except when I’m completing a sponsored project or custom order. If I absolutely need to buy something to get the project just right, I will. That said, I’d love to use more of the beautiful fabrics I already own. 
Garment sewing – Toward the end of the year I made two knit shirts. They are super comfy and such a joy to wear. There’s just something about wearing a garment you made yourself. I have everything I need to make another knit shirt, two cotton blouses, three cotton tank tops, and the one I’m really afraid of – a wool coat. I’m determined to make at least one of each this year. 
Continue to develop and discover my voice – I’ve had so much fun sewing and sharing with all of you this year. There is so much inspiration to be had. It pushes me further as a quilter, a new blogger, and as an artist. I look forward to trying new techniques, honing my pattern writing and photography skills, and blogging more in an effort to share and reflect on what I’m up to. 
That’s it for now. I’m sure I’ll come up with lots more as the year goes on, but I’m happy with this as a starting place. What are your goals for 2018?

Dollhouse by Amy Sinibaldi ~ Free Quilt Pattern

When I first saw a preview of Dollhouse by Amy Sinibaldi for Art Gallery Fabrics, I knew I wanted to make something with the line.  The soft pinks and grays are just so gorgeous, and those butterflies and flowers are adorable.  Add a few geometric prints, and I’m definitely sold.

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I designed a lap quilt with my favorite quilt design app, Quiltography, and used my Quilter’s Planner to keep organized as I checked off the steps of making my quilt.

After a few block and color changes, I decided to make Deco Tiles, a quarter log cabin quilt using Dollhouse fabrics and a selection of Pure Elements and Floral Elements fabrics by Art Gallery Fabrics.

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The Deco Tiles block was designed to echo the print from Rooftop, one of the fabrics in the line.  I wanted to make the whole quilt a closer match to the Rooftop print, so I set the blocks on point.  Click here for a free PDF copy of the Deco Tiles Pattern if you’d like to make this quilt yourself. The pattern includes a detailed list of fabric requirements, and a  diagram for constructing the quilt top on point. If you do make a Deco Tiles quilt, I’d love to see it!  Please tag it on social media using #decotilesquilt so I can find it.

Now that the quilt is done, I’ve moved on to using the scraps in as many ways as possible.  I’ve got a set of butterfly wings for my daughter and a small purse for myself on the to-do list.  First, though, I’m making a wallet for Santa to deliver to a friend of mine.

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What projects do you make with your scraps after finishing a quilt?  I’d love to hear in the comments.  I’m always looking for new, fun projects to add to my ever-growing project to-do list.

Star Catcher Quilt Block Tutorial

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Block Size: 16″ finished (16.5″ unfinished)

The fabrics used in this tutorial are from Libs Elliott’s three collections for Andover: True Love, Tattooed, and Wild Side.  I’m using them for my Honey Pot Bee quilt, so I used them for the tutorial as well.


Cutting Instructions

For Corner HSTs:
       Two background squares: 4 7/8″ (I use 5″ squares and cut them down)
       Two Corner Color squares (purple in the photo above): 4 7/8″
For Blue Corner Bars:
       Four rectangles: 4.5″ x 2.5″
       Four rectangles: 6.5″ x 2.5″
For Triangle in Rectangle units:
       Center Star Color 1 (green in the photo): 8 rectangles : 3.5″ x 4.5″
       Background fabric: Eight 3.5″ x 2.5″ rectangles
       Center Star Color 2 (red in photo): Eight 3.5″ x 2.5″ rectangles
For center square unit:
       One center square (green in photo): 4.5″
       Four center corner squares (red in photo): 2.5″


Piecing Instructions

Use a scant 1/4″ seam allowance for nearly all steps, except the final construction of the block.  Look for further instructions near the end of the tutorial.

Step 1: Construct the Corner HSTs
Using the “two at a time” method, make four HST’s for the corners of your block. Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the back of the two background squares.
Place two 4 7/8″ squares right sides together – one background fabric square and one outside corner color square –  and sew a quarter inch line on both sides of the diagonal line. Cut on the diagonal line, creating two HSTs.
Repeat with the remaining 4 7/8″ squares, creating four HSTs total. Press and trim to 4.5″.
Step 2: Sew Corner Bars to HSTs
Lay out your HSTs and the four 4.5″ x 2.5″ Corner Bar rectangles to match the photo below.  (Ignore the red and green center square for now.  I took the photos a little out of order.) Lay the two pieces right sides together and stitch using a quarter inch seam.  Press.
Lay out the units you just created to match the photo below, on the left.  Add the 6.5″ x 2.5″ corner bar pieces as illustrated.  Sew with right sides together.  Press.
You should now have four complete HST/Corner Bar units. Set these aside for use in the final construction of the block.
Step 3: Create the Center Square in a Square unit
Draw a diagonal line on the back of each of the four 2.5″ corner squares.
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Place two squares over opposite corners of the 4.5″ square.  Align the corners and edges of the smaller square with those of the larger square, right sides together.  The diagonal line on the wrong side of the smaller square should not intersect with the corner. Stitch on the line, right sides together.  Trim the excess, leaving a quarter inch seam allowance.  Your center unit should match the photo on the left after you’ve sewn two of the four corner squares. Press open. Sew the remaining two corner squares in the same fashion as the first two.  Press and trim.  Set aside for use in the final construction of your block.
Step 4: Create the Triangle in a Rectangle Units
For each triangle in a rectangle unit, you’ll need one Center Star Color 1 rectangle (3.5″x4.5″) and two smaller rectangles (3.5″x2.5″).  You’ll make four units with Background rectangles and four units with Center Star Color 2 rectangles. Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of your background rectangles in one direction, then draw a diagonal line in the opposite direction on the remaining four background rectangles.  Do the same with your Center Star Color 2 rectangles.
Start with one 3.5″ x 4.5″ rectangle and one 3.5″ x 2.5″ rectangle. Your instinct may be to line them up as you would for a flying geese block.  Don’t!  You will end up with a wonky looking thing like this polka dot and green block below.
Instead, take your large rectangle and make three small marks across the top at 2″, 2.25″, and 2.5″.  Then, arrange the small rectangle over the big one as I have it in the photo below, with right sides together. The top corner is aligned with the 2″ mark, and the bottom corners are aligned.  Pin or hold in place, and sew on the diagonal line marked on the small rectangle.

Trim and press open. Your second background rectangle will have a diagonal line going in the opposite direction as the one you just used.  Mark the 2.5″ line (as illustrated below) on your background fabric to help with aligning the second rectangle.  Stitch on the diagonal line, trim, and press open.

Repeat until you have four Triangle in Rectangle units made with background fabric and four with Center Star Color 2 fabric.  Lay out one of each as illustrated below.

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Stitch the two units right sides together with a 1/4″ seam to create one diamond unit.  Repeat with the remaining Triangle in Rectangle units to create four matching diamond units.

Step 5: Final Block Construction
Lay out all 9 parts of your block.
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For the final construction, you will use a seam that is just under a quarter inch (about 1/16th of an inch under).  The geometry of the Triangle in Rectangle units is tricky, similar to Half Rectangle Triangles.  There are a few ways to deal with this in the construction of the block, but my personal preference is to reduce the seam allowance. In order to keep our diamond points, we need to use a super scant seam allowance.  In the photo below, you can see where I have aligned my block with my presser foot to achieve this.

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Sew the block together in three rows, using the super scant seam allowance.

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Lay the top and middle row right sides together.  Align the seams and pin or clip in place. Stitch together using the same super scant seam allowance.  Repeat for the bottom row. Press.  Trim evenly on all sides to 16.5″.

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Enjoy your finished Star Catcher quilt block!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial.  Please be sure to share your finished blocks on social media using #starcatcherblock.  Be sure to leave questions or feedback in the comments.  I’d love to hear what you think.

 

Enjoy The Journey

Do you EPP? I tried English Paper Piecing for the first time at the #EPPParty hosted by Mister Domestic and Pat Bravo over on Instagram. It’s been such fun learning new hand sewing skills and trying new blocks and shapes with each new block they introduce. The most recent block was #7: Chrysanthemum. I decided to go pretty literal with this one and found this photo for inspiration: 


I’ve been wanting to try improv sewing for awhile, and thought this was just the block for it. I selected a few pinks and yellows for the center and got to work. After a few hours of work, 8 Y seams, and a fat eighth worth of fabric invested, this is what I came up with:


I loved the way the improv turned out, but the stitches on the yellow strip were coming really loose at the curves. I might have been able to save it by cutting out a bit of the fabric at each of the corners, but I was afraid it might fray and come apart even more in the end, so back to the drawing board. I turned to one of my favorite techniques, weaving with my WEFTY needle (learn more here), and wasn’t disappointed. Here is the final version of my block:


One thing I’ve learned as a teacher, a crafter, and a mom is that “failure” is such an important part of success. I learned so much about improv, worked on a few Y seams, and enjoyed some unexpected fabric weaving on my journey to a block that I really love. Have you had any sewing “failures” that led to success? Maybe you sought out a new piecing technique? Or learned how to use a new notion? I’d love to hear about your journey.