You will need some heavy template plastic to cut out the pieces needed for both fussy cutting and any odd pieced patches in the blocks. Copy the template image, cut out around it and place it on the template plastic. Cut on the outside lines. Using a ruler, draw in the 1/4" seam allowance. Then place some rolled up tape on the back of the template so that it will stick to the fabric. Use that template to place on your fabric to determine which design you want to use. Once you have determined where you want to place it, use a smaller rotary cutter (I sell the 18mm and 28mm cutters on my website) and cut out around the template. If you want perfect repeats, leave the fabric on the template, find that same design, line up your template so that the background fabric disappears into the design. Then cut out your next repeat. I did this with Block 1b. Continue to cut out the number of repeats that you need. I cut out different designs for Block 1a.
If you would like to see what your design would look like when pieced together, you can use a set of mirrors. I use Marty Michell's Magic Mirrors. Place your template in the mirrors, close the sides of the mirrors around the template and put a piece of tape over the top of the mirrors to set the angle. (The tape is difficult to see but it is towards the folded end.)
Then place the mirror on your fabric and move it around until you find a design that you like. If the fabric is an overall print, this will give you an idea of what it will look like, but you are seeing a mirror image so it might not look exactly like the images in the mirrors once you sew them together. If you are using a symmetrical fabric (one that has a center line and is exactly the same on both sides) and line up the mirror on the center line, what you see in the mirror is what you will get when you sew the patches together.
1/4" seam allowance
When I first started quilting, I had difficulty with consistency of my seam allowance plus I was not sure exactly what a "scant" 1/4" was. Everyone has their own definition of a scant 1/4" so if you ever do blocks with other quilters, none of the blocks end up the same size. After taking some classes from Sharyn Craig and Sally Collins, who showed how to get a consistent seam, I devise my own method. I have designed a seam guide that is used just for this purpose. It has a hole at 'exactly' 1/4".
If your sewing machine has a needle right position, use your regular sewing foot and move your needle over to the furthest right position. Place the needle in the small template hole. Using a small piece of molefoam (I use Dr. Scholls Molefoam Foot pads), place it snug against the ruler. Now you have a guide for the edge of your fabric. If it is touching the foam, your seams will always be at 1/4". If your machine does not have a needle right position, place the foam in front of your foot along the edge of the guide.
Now you are ready to begin!!!!! The next blog will give you fabric requirements, cutting instructions, and piecing instructions for the next two blocks.
SPECIAL.....If you do purchase something on my website for this challenge, I will include a FREE seam guide with every purchase of $25 or more. Just mention that your purchase is for this challenge in the comment box to receive the guide.
As always: Do what you love and love what you do. Thanks for reading, Toby Lischko (Please share and forward to your friends.)