For this months edition of our “Quilt Block of the Month” we are going to show you how to use a PLAIN, SQUARE BLOCK to make a quilt.
That’s it…a block…a square piece of fabric…no cutting, ironing, or fancy moves…just a bunch of squares sewn together to create something fabulous.
So, if you are ready to give quilting a try check out some of these ideas. I swear if you can sew a (semi) straight line you can sew up one of these quilt tops!
If you haven’t sewn quilt tops before you may not have some of the tools that quilters frequently use like a rotary cutter, cutting mat, and quilting ruler. If that is the case well, it’s no problem! All you need for these quilt tops are a pair of scissors, thread, and your sewing machine.
Now let’s get started!
Really the only important thing that you NEED to know when making a square block quilt is that all of your squares need to be exactly the same size. That’s it. Just make sure all your squares are the same size. Whether they are 12 inches by 12 inches or 3.75 inches by 3.75 inches it doesn’t matter just as long as they are all the same.
Ok now that we have the one and only rule out of the way let’s make these quilts even easier. Now and days most quilt shops (both brick and mortar and online) sell a wide variety of precut squares in packs! Sizes may vary but the standard packs are either 10 inches by 10 inches, 5 inches by 5 inches, or 2.5 inches by 2.5 inches.
So just decide what size blocks you would like to build with. (As for me..I usually choose the 5×5’s…and that is the size I would suggest starting with. It’s small enough that you can have a lot of fun creating patterns but large enough that they aren’t time consuming to sew together.) And then it’s time to pick a pattern.
The easiest layout is a random pattern.
Just layout your fabric squares in a random pattern. There is no right or wrong way to do this. When I lay these out the only thing I try watch for is making sure that no two of the same patterned pieces are placed side by side in my layout.
Another easy layout is to follow any variation of a 9 patch pattern.
A 9 patch block is exactly what the name implies….it’s 9 patches. 3 rows of 3 blocks. Easy enough…but when we start mixing them up interesting things start to happen!
Let’s look at a few variations:
All white 9 patches in between patterned 9 patches.
8 white squares surrounding a colored square.
8 colored squares surrounding a white square.
4 colored and 5 white.
4 colored and 5 white with solid white 9 patches in between.
Can you see how the possibilities here are endless? (And I didn’t even show you my favorite one….that one is coming up later in the month!)
So let’s recap: Squares all the same size laid out in a pattern of your choice. Easy!
Now…let’s sew it together.
If you have never sewn a quit top together before an easy way to begin is like this:
Pretend you are reading a book…top to bottom and left to right….and that is exactly how you will sew your squares together. Start on the top row on the left hand side and sew each of the squares together one at a time working from left to right. Then move to the next row and the next. When all your rows are finished it’s time to sew the rows together. Sew the top row to the one underneath. Then sew those to the ones underneath that. And so on and so forth and before you know it you will have finished your first quilt top!
Now, I’m not going to lie…there are other ways to sew these together…and I should have talked to you about things like pinning and pressing. But I don’t want you to be overwhelmed…because you can do this. And your quilt can look amazing even if it’s only built from plain old, ordinary squares.
More tutorials are coming that will cover pressing and pinning but for now…I’m going to leave you with one last piece of advice….you’ve made sure that all your squares are the same size so when you sew them together make sure your seam allowance is the same on all of them as well. A good seam allowance rule of thumb is 1/4 inch.
Ok! That is all for today. You can do this.