Adding an extra allowance to your block...

There is one step that I do on EVERY block whether I'm working on it or if it's for an RR --Leave an ample seam allowance. Having an extra allowance is especially necessary if you are going to make a book of your blocks.  This extra allowance allows for grommets or buttons to hold your book together.
But other reasons for extra seam allowance are:

 We mostly use fabrics that fray and that edge is the most vulnerable point.

If there is NOT ample allowance outside the exact size of the block, you are continually having to handle the edges which can easily get soiled as well as frayed..

I advise at least 1-2" allowance larger than the block because I often want to use a hoop.  If you skimp on this allowance I guarantee it will eventually cause you grief.  Having an extra allowance is especially necessary if you are going to make a book of your blocks.  Again this extra allowance allows for grommets or buttons to hold your book together.

Step 1 Cutting the pieces for the block. 

First piecing blocks is my least favorite chore.  I have tried every method and for me paper piecing the fastest and least stressful.   I use the same pattern (see note at the end) on all of them and once you embellish it is isn't even noticeable. Since I use the same pattern over and over I made templates with 1/4" allowance. 

But if I want extra allowance it is easy to add it on the patches with an outer edge.  But I would tend to  forget which were the outer edges so I marked them in red and add an extra inch on that side.

The blocks for CQJP2016 are now all pieced and are about 9 " for a finished 6 1/2" block.  They are ready to be attached to a foundation..  For a block foundation I LOVE old well-washed sheets.

Step 2: Preparing the block for embellishing. 

 Once pieced  I pin a block to the foundation. Then I do a long stitch on the machine to hold it in place.  If I had a machine which did zigzag I'd probably do that. 

I use  home-made templates to mark my basting lines on the BACK of the block.  I started cutting these squares out of old matt boards years ago and I now have every size from 6" to 12" in 1/2" increments. They make this part easier and I can recommend adding them to your list of tools.  They come in handy for other tasks also...  I use them over and over.

On the BACK of the block I trace the exact size of the finished block and inside that I trace the square that is 1/2" size smaller so I have a line 1/4" inside my outside limit of the block.. 

Without an inner line marked I see people beading right up to the edge of the actual block size...which means you will have to remove beads to finish off the block. I use two different colors and run a basting line along each line. 

When you turn it over this is what you see.

 Note:  For years and years I used a block pattern #8 from Sharon Boggon and now I am using #28 as it has a couple more patches.  These are patterns from her fabulous 2001 "I dropped a button box" quilt.  I used to find them on one page and will have to look for it.  But just type "I dropped a button box" block pattern in google and they come up all over pinterest.


margaret said...

lots of really useful information here, interested that you use just one block, think I will try that for 2016 too, hanks for all your tips

Marilyn said...

Looks like we're both ready to stitch in the new year. I was burned out after doing the last 9 Anne Stokes blocks but I'm feeling ready to start stitching again. Over the last 2 days I pieced the last 7 blocks so I now have 10 bird blocks and 12 Anne Stokes blocks ready to embellish. But I have really been enjoying my down time as I have finished off 5 sane quilts and made a bunch of project bags and sorted my scraps into them. I'm now going to make some more using black fly netting (one of those projects that never happened) instead of the vinyl for the sides because I don't like vinyl for long-term storage. Happy stitching.

kathy r said...

Great ideas. Thank you. Kathleen

Magpie's Mumblings said...

This is a great tip Gerry - it's one I had to learn the hard way and it's something I haven't forgotten.

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