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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Emboridery 101: Contstructing the Blocks

Questions? Missed a post? Find the index here.

Welcome to the next installment of the Stitch & Quilt Along: Block Construction! I tried to choose an uncomplicated block pattern for this quilt along because I wanted the focus of the quilt to be on the embroidery, not the complicated blocks {and to help make it an easy, summer quilt!}. I've also tried to simplify the construction as much as possible to allow for less confusion, waste of fabric, and cutting errors.

You should have cut your fabric according to the cutting directions in this post.

Before doing any sewing, fuse your interfacing to the back of each of the nine 5 1/2" squares.

We'll start with the white squares to be embroidered. I added half square triangles to the corners of the white blocks to give the appearance of photo corners, and add some interest to the blocks.

Once your interfacing is fused on the wrong side {there isn't actually a wrong side of the solid, but once the interfacing is fused, it will be the wrong side}, sew each of the four corner pieces right sides together to the corners of the solid square. Stitch from point to point on the corner pieces {it may be helpful to draw a light pencil line as a stitching guide. Using your ruler, 1/4" from the seam, trim away the excess fabric. Then press the corners out to make a square.

Then, using the 1 1/2" strips of white, following the cutting diagram, stitch the white borders on two opposite sides of the square and trim {see below for images of sewing then trimming}. Repeat for the other two sides to make a complete square. Your block now measures 7 1/2" square.

I found it easiest to complete all the white blocks together so that the white 1 1/2" strips do not become frayed.

Using the two 3" x 20/22" strips, follow the same sew-then-trim method as for the white strips until your block measures 12 1/2" square.

For the largest square, first use the two 3" x 13 1/2" strips for the side {I've allotted extra fabric on each edge for trimming to square the block}, then use the remaining 3" x 20/22" strips for the final pieces of the block. When you're finished your blocks should measure 18 1/2" square and look something like this:

Didn't I tell you this was super easy construction? Again, if you have questions, please let me know and I'll do my best to have a prompt answer!

Don't forget to show and tell in our Flickr Group! Blog about making your blocks? Share your post here {Note: You must link to a specific post about the QAL, otherwise your entry will be deleted.}:


  1. What is the size of the squares for the triangles?

  2. Jennie, Do we sew this layout with all nine of the 5 1/2" squares?

  3. @Angie, yes you do, so you should make 9 identical blocks!

  4. Hi, Jennie! I'm so excited to start cutting and putting some blocks together but I had one question. Do you recommend washing the white squares before embroidering on them? I usually would pre-wash the embroidery fabric but I wanted to get your opinion as well. Thanks!

  5. @Lisa Ann, I'm using Moda Bella solids for my white, and as I generally don't prewash designer fabric, I am not prewashing mine. I would do the same if using some Kona white. However, if I use a regular fabric from JoAnn or something similar, I usually do prewash it, as it seems to have a little more shrinkage than the designer fabric. But, since we're ironing fusible stabilizer on them, it probably isn't too important either way, more of just a preference kind of thing. I also plan to machine quilt the white square about 1/4" from the edge when I'm finished, so that should reduce any shifting as well!

  6. Have made a start on my blocks and sorting out some threads as we can't get the ones you are using over here :( will post a piccy soon.
    Dawn xxx

  7. Ok, I have a white block almost done and I'm already down .25", my white block is 7.25" square. What size seams are you using? Should I continue on doing all the same, or trash what I've got and start over before sewing anymore? I don't mind if my finished product ends up smaller, I just don't want to mess up the whole thing.

    Thank you!


  8. @PT_Sarah, First, you problem may be your 1/4" foot... I know that my seam allowances have the tendency to be a tiny bit bigger than 1/4" because of the way I use my foot. However, what really matters is that your center block with the corner squares is close to 5" because I've made the embroidery designs to fill up most of that white space. As long as it is about the right size, the rest of the sizes don't really matter. I hope that helps!

  9. It definitely does help, thank you!! This is so much fun, by the way, thank you for organizing it!


  10. I know I might be asking a lot, but would it be possible to make these directions and patterns into .bmp or .jpeg or something that could be downloaded easily?
    Thanks for sharing of your talents with us.

  11. Did all my cutting and just stitched my first block...it looks small....it's only 17" (I think? def. not 18 1/2). I think there is a discrepancy between a couple of the pages for the middle strip. One page says 12 1/2 and one say 13 1/2. Just an FYI for anyone further behind than me & not done cutting yet. I'll be making a smaller quilt or adding another border :oP Is there a flicker group or place to share pictures as we go?

  12. Hello,

    I found your blog too late! I have never tried embroidery before, but what you posted for the quilt along tutorials are really lovely and seem 'easy' to follow. Love 'Just wing it' fabric as well. If you don't mind, I would want to take this opportunity to learn something new (all those different stitch techniques) and be a big copy cat (follow the fabric and thread color choices of yours). Thank you so much for sharing your talent with us. First thing-- need to buy myself a hoop, threads, needles and stabilizer.

    Rita from Montreal


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Jennie & Clara