Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Multi layered blocks

Another way of improv piecing I showed at the workshop was cutting multiple layers of fabric to make blocks. Here is how we did it. The how to pictures are from a previous quilt I made, but it is exactly how we I did it.

For this particular block I took six fat quarters of coordinating fabric. I pressed them and layered them all face up.

Next, make a straight cut thru all the layers on the top and on the right side. The reason for doing this is so you can match your starting point for sewing the pieces together. You don't have to do it for the other two sides because they are going to come out uneven anyway.

Now I sliced the layers up from the trimmed edges. Since I had six layers I made five cuts to end up with six pieces. This way each block will have one of the six fabrics in it. If you use five fabric you would make four cuts, etc.

Now it is time to shuffle the fabrics. I take one stack of six fabrics and lay each in its position. Then I take the next stack and lay it next to the first fabric, but not putting the same fabric next to it. I continue until I have built six blocks.

Sew the blocks together again using the straight cut sides as you guide to matching up the pieces. At the workshop everyone helped to lay the pieces out with these blue and tan fabrics and then one of the ladies had the brilliant idea for each of us to sew a block together. I sewed two together so when I came home all the blocks were already sewn together! Here is one of the blocks we sewed together at the workshop. You can see how uneven those two untrimmed edges come out, but that doesn't matter. I take my big square ruler and trim the blocks to the biggest size I can.

So I trimmed all the blocks - they came out 16" x 16" - and sewed them together.

This makes a quick baby quilt that looks like you spent hours and hours piecing. Tonight I will make a piano key border to finish it off and post tomorrow how I go about making a piano key border quickly and improvisationally. Here is a completed quilt done like this that I posted last year I think, but for any new readers here it is again. The workshop ladies really liked this piece. You could cut more blocks and make a bigger quilt also so don't think this is limited to only a baby quilt. Also don't think you need to cut more blocks exactly the same. Cutting another set of six fabrics different from the first set, then mixing the all the blocks after they are sew together will give you a completely different look. Have fun and experiment!


QuiltSwissy said...

This is sort of like Buggy Barn does it with their homespun patterns like chickens, dogs, hearts and tractors.

Thanks for the mini tutorial on using it with a modern slant! I would like to experiment with different settings to see how different they look.

Elaine M said...

Thank you for sharing this method with us, great photos. I may try this with 12 FQ. Great way to get a large quilt fast.