Sunday, 1 March 2015

'Siblings Together' Quilt Block Tutorial

...Apologies for taking my sweet time with this (I know a few people are raring to go already!).

My last post laid out my plan for our first collaborative quilt for 'Siblings Together' but knowing a few people won't be available to come along on Sunday 29th March I thought I'd whip up a quick how to (also enabling people to contribute a few blocks via the post!).

I've thrown it together pretty swiftly this morning to get it out there so it's not the best, but hopefully it's clear enough to give you a good idea of what we're after. This brilliant tutorial by Ashley at 'Film in the Fridge' was my initial reference point so do have a little look over there too.

You will need...

Four 5" squares of standard paper
I reused some off cuts from a pdf pattern -gotta love a little recycling, only note here is not too thick as we'll be tearing it from our finished block later.

Glue stick
Check first that it's a fully washable one like 'Pritt', though I think most are.

Fabric scraps cut into strips of varying widths
I'd recommend sticking between 3/4" and 1 3/4" for the size of our block, and we're looking for one consistent main colour (albeit different shades and prints) across the 4 squares making up one larger block.

Start with one of the four 5" paper bases. To ensure that the strips are pieced at a 45 degree angle draw a line corner to corner. This is where our first strip will be placed.

Grab a glue stick and using just a tiny amount, secure your first strip along whichever preferred side of the marked line.

In order to easily remove the paper later, shorten your stitch length to around 1.5. You may have to play with the tension a little. Seam allowance doesn't matter too much at this point but in the interest of consistency and accuracy when we come to assemble I'd stick with 1/4".

This is a bit of an 'improv' technique as the width and placement of each piece is totally up to you! Just be sure that whichever strip you use is long enough to fully cover the paper at that point. So moving on to whichever you'd like to place next, lay it right sides together on top of the central glued strip and sew from one end to the other.

With a dry iron, press this out flat and repeat, placing the next strip right sides facing. Continue working in the same way, outwards from the centre until the whole 5" square is filled. Easy peasy!

*Tip - Don't go too narrow with your corner strips as when the 1/4" seam allowance is taken later the impact of these will be lost*

This is the satisfying part! Flip your square so that the paper is facing upwards and using a rotary cutter and mat (or simply shears if you don't have one at hand) trim away all of the excess fabric using the edge of the paper as your guide. This leaves you with a nice accurate 5" square.

Ok phew, one down -now for the other three!

Make them up in the same way. The beauty of this 'improv' style is the diagonal seams don't have to match up at all, so don't worry! Get creative and have some fun with it.

So onwards...

When you have your set of 4 squares ready to go, carefully tear off the paper backing. I've found a good way to do this is to fold the paper back at the stitch line and run your nail over the crease to help perforate the paper then hold the end of the seam whilst you tear it away to avoid undoing all of your stitches.

When you're happy with your arrangement take two squares and place them right sides together. Stitch, then press both 1/4" (important!) seam allowances to one side.

Repeat with the remaining two squares only this time be sure to press the seam allowances to the opposite side. This will help with the next seam.

Ok, last step! Place one pair of two right sides together onto the remaining pair and stitch (again, 1/4"). If you've pressed your seam allowances in opposing directions they will butt up against each other giving you a good sharp point at the centre of your finished block.

Give it a last little press et voila!

If you'd like to post a contribution I'd suggest leaving your paper intact and posting them prior to assembly for a little extra protection in transit. The address is as follows:

Stokes Croft Stitching
c/o Make & Do
83 Sandy Park Road

Thanks again for everyone's support! I can't wait to see them all come together. x


  1. What a great scrap buster block, this will make a great quilt.

    1. Thanks Mara! I think they'll look really effective when they're all pieced together, and everyone loves a good scrap buster! :)

  2. That's a really good way of using lovely scraps of fabrics and small bits of wadding. A lucky child will be really pleased to receive this quilt. Will look in to see the finished quilt too.
    Thanks for visiting my blog,
    Kind regards,

    1. That's just what I was thinking, a good way to use up lots of small scraps. Lot's of lovely ladies contributing so fingers crossed it turns out as I hope it will! Thanks for stopping by Sue x