Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cobblestone Block Tutorial

Much of my life can be explained with a sentence that begins: 'So, I opened my mouth and words came out . . .' Which is exactly how I found myself at a local school teaching a group of middle schoolers how to sew. I had no idea I would have so much fun - unfortunately, we may have had a little too much fun chatting over colour choices, so here I am posting the steps for anyone who gets home and has forgotten what comes next.

(And for my regular readers, you are welcome to come along for the ride)

The Cobblestone Block Sample:

To begin with, you will need the following:

- A ruler

- scissors or a rotary cutter (and mat)

- needle

- thread

- cotton fabric

- a pencil or disappearing marker

- a few pins

This tutorial shows two cuts of fabric, a fat quarter and a quarter yard cut from the bolt. Cotton quilting fabric generally comes 45" wide, double-folded on small bolts. A plain quarter is a quarter yard (9" wide) portion measured from the raw edge of the bolt. A fat quarter comes from a half-yard portion cut from the raw edge, that is then cut in half across the width.

A plain quarter measures approx. 9" x 45" while a fat quarter measures approx. 18" x 22" - they are both approx. the same volume of fabric, but in different shapes. Fat quarters are available pre-cut in most quilting and fabric/craft shops.
Remember to wash, dry and press fabric before using.

The Cobblestone Block in this project provides a finished block approx 6" square, which depending how you use it, can come out a little smaller in a finished project.
First, use your ruler/straight edge to neatly trim the edges:

Next, you will cut 2.5" strips from each fabric. In this block you can see I am using the same dark fabric for the outside and a feature fabric for the inside. If you are doing the same, and your outside fabric comes from a fat quarter, you may be able to cut one 2.5" strip down the 22" length of the fat quarter and have all your pieces from there.

Next, cut a 2.5" square from the focal fabric, and two 2.5" squares of the outer fabric.
Then, cut two 6.5" rectangles from the outer fabric.

(Please ignore the extra length of skully fabric in this picture, you will only need the 2.5" focal square)

Now, lay out your fabric in the pattern you'd like and get ready to sew:

The center row of blocks will be stitched first. Pin an outer block and the focal block with right sides together (that's the front side of the fabric where the image is strongest). Mark a line 1/4" in from the right edge (based on the top of your fabric's pattern.)

Thread your needle and tie a double knot in the end. You will be sewing directly on the line you marked.
Push the needle up through the bottom of the fabric layers, back down from the top and back up from the bottom, all the way to the end. Try to keep your stitches about 1/8 inch apart. Neatness counts, but don't beat yourself up about it on your first try, either.

Tie your thread off and press your seam to one side:

And repeat the process from the other side of your focal fabric, pinning and marking the same as before:

Press your seam to one side again and prepare to apply the top and bottom.

Line up one of your rectangles along one edge of your completed center piecing and pin. You will mark a line 1/4" in from the long side of the piece, and stitch that up.

Press that seam out and repeat on the other side, ending with pressing the second long seam out.

Hey, what just happened? You finished a pieced block!

Turn that bad boy over and check out your handiwork!

Congratulations, I will see you in class.

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