It is that time of year again Australia where our beautiful country displays some of its darker side. Bushfires are raging in Western Australia and a member of one of my Facebook pages ‘Nanny + friends Charity Sew’ has asked for help in the form of 9 patch blocks that will then be made into quilts to provide some comfort to the victims.
Some members of the group are not quilters and have asked for direction so let’s look at how to make a 9 patch block for Fire Victims.
What you need:
9 squares each 4.5″ x 4.5″
What you do:
Check your 1/4″ seam
This may sound like a funny thing to say, but when you are sending quilt blocks, it is so important that you get the basics right otherwise it can create a real headache for those trying to join things together. It is important for your own quilting as well, but when you make all the blocks in the same way on the same machine , differences may not be so noticeable.
You can do this quite simply by taking two measured pieces (I’m using 2 of my squares) –
Sew them together (use a big stitch so it is easy to remove), press and measure and it should be 1/2″ less than the two separate pieces measured (or in my case 8.5″)
A lot of people, when starting out, like to mark their seams and cant understand why their finished block doesnt end up the correct size – so let’s take a look at that.
I will mark 1/4″
Now here’s the trick – In quilting you will often hear the term Scant 1/4″ – this simply means that you sew just a couple of threads to the seam side of the seam line so that when the seam is pressed open, that tiny amount that the seam ‘takes up’ will not affect your measurements.
Press the seam to the side and measure – Perfect!! 12.5″
Once you have your 1/4″ seam sorted, you might like to mark your machine with tape or a large rubber band or a pile of stick it notes – anything that gives you a guide to keep your fabric pieces moving under the needle at the correct distance.
Now the sky’s the limit!!!
I just have to change my thread – I use a light grey when piecing as it blends in to all colours and I also must remember to change my stitch length back ready for sewing.
Take your 9 squares and organise how you want them to look
Now take the first two from each row and join them – I am going to press my seams towards the floral. To do that, put it on the ironing board or pressing board with the floral on top. Press the seam as it is first (this helps set the seam) and then flip it open and press the seam. NOTE: I said PRESS not IRON – we don’t want a lot of back and forward motion of the iron, just up and down!
Now join the 3rd one onto each row and once again press to the floral
Now to join the strips
You will notice now why we press the seams that way – you will notice where they join, one will go to the left and the other to the right and this allows us to ‘nest’ the seams or if you like, butt them up against each other.
If you ‘nest’ the seams, then place under the foot and sew holding the nest together, you wont even have to pin!!! AND you will end up with lovely joins!
You will also see how spending that little amount of preparation time pays off in a perfectly sized block!
So, let’s see how many blocks we can get made and as we make a 9 patch block for fire victims, let’s reflect on how generous the quilting community is and how wonderful it is, as a group, to be able to help each other in a time of need.
If you need any further details please message me.
Until next time