Finished size = 9” x 15”
Designed by Abbie Searle
*Please read through all of the instructions before you start whether you are going to make this quilt by hand or machine or a mix, you may pick up hints and tips throughout that can be used…
This block is a slight variation on the traditional ‘9 patch’ block, instead of using 9 squares, we will be using 9 rectangles. The technique is exactly the same.
Firstly, choose your fabrics, you could use 2 colours or 9 colours, it’s totally up to you.
By machine & rotary cutter/scissors – remember for now and future blocks, you need to include your seam allowance within the cut size. So, we want each rectangle to measure 3” x 5” after they have been sewn together (finished size) so the calculation would be finished size + ¼” seam allowance all around each piece, this means on this occasion you are cutting each piece 3.5” x 5.5”. If you are used to using a rotary cutter/mat/ruler, then all well and good. If not, please find someone to show you, *remembering at all times to cut away from yourself, never across or towards yourself and always put the blade away before putting it down anywhere, even if it’s only for a few seconds, it should soon become a good habit for you! Or you could just use a pair of scissors, but remember whatever your style, accuracy is majorly important from the very outset!
We don’t usually mark sewing lines on the backs of our pieces when machining (but you could if you wanted), we generally use a ¼” machine foot, or judge ¼” from the edge of the fabrics when sewing. You get the first 2 pieces to sew together, place them snuggly right-sides together, make sure the edges match exactly, then sew down the edge ¼” from the edge.
*I always liken block joining to building blocks. Always look to sew a straight line, try never to have to sew around a corner. The order of joining should be the easiest available. With this principle in mind…….
Join 1 > 2 > 3 to make a strip.
Join 4 > 5 > 6 to make another strip.
Now you can join the 2 strips together, make sure you pin from the middle of the strips, using your corner markings as an accuracy guide throughout, ensuring that your seams fit neatly together whenever they come together.
Now join 7 > 8 > 9 to make a strip.
Now join this strip to the previous 2 to make a block.
By Traditional Hand Piecing –
We would normally mark a sewing line on the back of each of our fabrics before cutting. *This can be done in several ways, but my preferred method is to make myself a template using card or template plastic, to the size of the finished piece. I try to re-cycle, so use card (old mountbord) if I’m not likely to use the template often, or I use old butter tubs and any flat pieces of plastic that I can mark my actual size design on and cut, these will last a very long while!
I draw around my template on the back of my fabrics, I cut each piece out adding my ¼” seam allowance all the way around each piece as I’m cutting, if you feel you may not judge a ¼” very well by eye, draw a second line around and use it as a cutting line. You could also cut 2 templates, one with a seam allowance added, draw around this first, then use the second template at actual finish size and draw your sewing line from this within the seam allowance line.
Or, you could use a ruler directly onto the back of your fabric to draw your sewing lines, again remember to add your seam allowances when cutting, your choice.
*make sure you mark around your corners carefully and clearly, do not let the template move when you are drawing around it.
Joining – you now join each rectangle together in the same order as above for the machinists. Use a small running stitch, make sure you stay on the sewing lines of both pieces of fabric!
*to pin your pieces’ right sides together – put a pin through your first fabric in the top right corner sewing line from the wrong side. Now put that same pin through the corresponding corner of the joining fabric from the right side, leave it dangling!
Pull your two pins away from each other so the fabric is taught between them, now pin on the middle of the sewing line, pin through to the other side and back, it should pin exactly along the sewing line on the back piece of fabric….. if not, adjust it slightly to ensure it does.
Use as many pins as you need to ensure your 2 fabrics are stable.
Big gaps between pins, can cause issues when you are sewing. It may allow the back fabric to slip, your sewn line will then not be accurate.
*always pin from the corners
*just out of habit, I tend to turn my far-end pin downwards onto the adjacent sewing line to ensure my corner is square.
*I also place an extra pin under my first pin just below the sewing line. (red pin head in the picture coming up) This enables me to take the first pin out as I start sewing and keeps my fabrics from shifting. I then move that pin along under my sewing line as I sew.
* each of my running stitches tend to be between 1/8” and 1/4” long.
Both Machinists & Hand workers – ‘Nest’ your seams as you go – this means to make sure that where joins meet on each other on both sides of your stitching (when you’re joining strips which are made up of more than one fabric) ensure that they interlock tightly for wonderful ‘points’ / ‘corners’ on the right side of your work.
You should hopefully have enough information to complete your first block. These instructions will apply throughout the making of the quilt and I will refer to them on more than one occasion, so if you are confused, which is quite possible, please message me within the Help Group on Facebook or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org .
Above all else, please enjoy your creativity, Abbie xxx
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