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Quilt Block-Making Steps
Quilt block-making steps
- Choose a pattern. Each person will be constructing a 12 ½” by 12 ½” block. You have pretty much free rein in choosing the pattern for your block. You are required to combine at least three fabrics either by hand or machine. You may also use fusible interfacing to help hold appliquéd pieces together. You are also required to have a block that you can creatively relate to Bentley in an essay. You may find a traditional block pattern or invent one of your own. Our finished “Bentley Quilt” will be the result of combining all our individual blocks and represent a part of Bentley 2014 history!
- Make templates if necessary. This step involves tracing patterns (with ¼” extra for seams) onto clear template plastic or cardboard and cutting them out accurately. It is not necessary to do this step if you are using a traditional patchwork block pattern that only uses straight lines.
- Choose your color scheme and fabric. Old time quilts were traditionally made of 100% cotton, and this is still the fabric most quilters prefer. Cotton has less distortion and irons flatter than many other fabrics. In addition needles move through cotton with ease as opposed to some synthetics. Prewashing and ironing fabrics is standard procedure to prevent puckering and running of colors when the final quilt is washed.
- Cut your fabric. After ironing your fabric, lay it straight and flat on the cutting board. You will want to use the straight sides of the fabric as much as possible. Trace around your template it you have one. Cut using a ruler and rotary cutting tool. Cut slowly and carefully. As they say in carpentry work, “measure twice, cut once.” Mark the stitching lines exactly ¼” from the cut edges.
- Sewing the block. Before starting to sew a block, lay out all of the pieces that will be needed for that block. Make sure all pieces are well-ironed. All pieces will be sewn using a ¼” seam. It is extremely important that the seams are always exactly ¼”, otherwise the pattern will not fit together. (Imagine a jigsaw puzzle with each piece just a little bit off!) REMBMER: when you are sewing a seam combining two pieces, you must have the pieces right sides together so that your seam doesn’t show in the finished product.
If sewing by hand, use a “running stitch.” Thread your needle with a single strand of cotton thread approximately 18” long. Place the two pieces of fabric to be sewn right sides together and use pins placed at right angles to the sewing line to secure. Starting at the beginning of the marked sewing line take two small backstitches, leaving a 1” tail. Then continue across the line with small running stitches. At the end of the marked line take two backstitches. Cut the thread. Do NOT make knots.
If sewing by machine, place your two pieces of fabric to be sewn right sides together and use pins placed at right angles to the sewing line to secure. Make sure there is at least a 2” length of top and bottom thread coming through the needle. Pull the threads to the back and place the fabric under the foot of the machine with the edge of the seam against the masking tape that is ¼” from the needle. Sew slowly forward and continue to the end. Do not lock the stitches by sewing backwards. Cut the threads at the end, leaving a 1 ½” – 2” thread at the end
- Press each seam to one side using an up and down motion with the iron.