Tuesday, March 1, 2011

4sq tutorial, part two

once your fabrics are nicely pressed, you have two options for cutting. if you own a cutting mat, rotary cutter, and quilting rulers and are comfortable squaring off fabric this way, then square each fat quarter piece to approximately 18" x 21", or whatever similar size you can get out of your fat quarter.

if you don't have these cutting tools or don't know how to use them to square fabric, you can simply get some large paper (or tape some together) and use a ruler to draw yourself a pattern piece of a square that measures 18" x 21". pin your pattern piece to your squared fat quarter and carefully cut out the square. you won't get it as precise as using the rulers and rotary cutter, but it will be good enough for this blanket. remember, small imperfections are part of handmade's charm.

now you are ready to sew!

lay out your four squares in an arrangement that is pleasing to you. then pick the top left hand quarter and lay it face down on the top right hand quarter.

you want the "right" side of each fabric touching the other one. pin them together along the left side where they will be sewn together, if you are not comfortable sewing unpinned pieces. once you have them pinned together, flip them over so the bottom piece is now on the top.

sew the two pieces together along the right side of the fabric, using a 1/4" seam allowance.

when your seam is complete, lay the fabric down on your ironing board, darker material on top, seam away from you. heat up the seam by pressing along it for about 5 seconds in each spot, moving down the seam until all of it has been heated. heating the fabric like this makes it easier to manipulate.

once you've heated the seam, open it up and press it flat. use your iron's nose to push the fabrics apart, giving you as much available area out of your fabric as possible. before i knew to press as fully open as i could get my seam, i used to think that nice little lip hid the seams wonderfully. turns out you're supposed to get it as open as possible. go for it - no fat lips. (there is a good reason for this, i just don't remember what it was. but i'm not being a stickler about an arbitrary rule.)

if you look closely, this seam has the fat lip and isn't fully open.

see how i can still pull it a bit further open?

use that nose to gently nudge it all the way open.

when your top two pieces are sewn together and pressed, do the bottom two panels. again, flip the bottom left panel over onto the right panel, right sides of fabric facing together.

pin and flip panels again. sew along the right seam with a 1/4" seam allowance. press the seam open.

next, lay out the top panel and the bottom panel. flip the bottom panel on top of the top panel. line up your seams as follows:
you want the seams you already made on the two panels to line up right next to each other so you have a nice meeting of the seams in the center of your blanket top. here i've shown them a bit offset so you can see what i'm talking about. the bottom piece (brown) of the fabric placed on top is butted up right against the top piece (brown) of the panel laying on the bottom.
wow, all the bottoms & tops are rather confusing. hope you got that. it's really not that complicated, i'm just trying to be very clear, which may actually confuse you!

if you were to pick up the materials, this is what i looks like from the side. get that line created when you sewed your panels together to match up. that's all i'm saying.

now pin those seams together and then pin up and down the side to the ends. your top is one seam away from finished. sew the panels together with a 1/4" seam allowance.

at this point, if your pieces are not the same size as each other while it's still folded in half (which could happen for a great number of reasons) then go ahead and trim off any excess that might be on any side.

then open up the blanket top and press your seam open.

getting your backing on is next!

1 comment:

  1. I just found your blog, and as a beginner in quilting I truly appreciate how great your instructions are. I am having a bit of difficulty finding the final step, attaching the backing. You are a great teacher.


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