I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the block is called Belle and that’s the name of the main character in Beauty and the Beast because this block was a beast for me to make. Over the course of the next year I’m going to be making a number of the blocks for various exciting reasons so I know Belle and I will get to dance again. Which is great because I’m not happy with either of the blocks I’ve made.
Throughout the sew-along we’re going to show you a number of ways to make the blocks and today, because this is the first block that involves a Y Seam, I’m showing you how to made a “cheat” version of the block using From Marti Michell Patchwork Templates Set A. (I’ve also included some measurements that are not in the book so you can make it if you don’t have the templates. You’ll still need the measurements in the book so you can’t make this book without them.)
I call it a “cheat” because it won’t follow the same seam lines as the block in the book, but it will look like the block. This is a bit like mixing your fabric placements, technically it makes a different block then the one in the book but as I said last time it’s up to you how you want to make your blocks. I’m not the quilt police and you need to be happy with your quilt so make it as you want to. I’m positive it will look great whatever method you choose!
Because it’s a tricky block and a lot of you might like to paper piece this block I’ve asked Melissa (of Ms Midge) to publish her tutorial on how to paper piece the block, you can find it by clicking here.
Thoughts on the Letter
Christmas is my favourite time of year because it means we get to catch up with friends and family. I love spending time with the people who make me laugh. The only thing I dislike about Christmas is how much pressure there is to spend money and put on big elaborate parties. But my best memories of Christmas have nothing to do with how much food there was, whether the table centre pieces were Pinterest worthy or whether we got expensive gifts. My best memories involve laughing until I thought I was going pass out from lack of oxygen, dancing to really bad music that someone had been given as a gift and just spending time with my loved ones.
I love the idea of doing a BYO Christmas Lunch. We’ve done it before and it’s always so much less pressure and so much more enjoyable. We’ve also done the Secret Santa Christmas gift exchange and it’s been so much more enjoyable and cheaper. Really, the only people that love gifts are the kids. (I mean, don’t get me wrong if someone was to wrap up a fat quarter bundle of anything Heather Ross, Lizzy House, Tula Pink, Joel Dewberry, Alison Glass, Kate Spain… the list goes on… I wouldn’t be upset, but it won’t make or break my enjoyment of the day.)
Like most things in life it’s the people that you spend your time with that really make the memories.
Tutorial: Block #13 “Belle”
- I pressed my seams open.
- I used a Schmetz 70/10 needle.
- I used 50wt Aurifil #2600 (Dove) thread for piecing.
- I used the From Marti Michell Patchwork Templates Set A.
- I used Flatter by Soak in Yuzu 248ml as my starch.
- Fabrics shown in the tutorial are from the Gnome Angel Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Bundle from Fat Quarter Shop.
Measurements for the pieces needed to construct this block will not be provided in this tutorial. It is a pre-requiste of making this block that you have a copy of the book, The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them. Measurements can be found in this book and it’s associated media.
On Point Blocks
Please note I am not doing my blocks on-point. If you are fussy cutting your blocks please be mindful of your fabric placement so that the motif will sit correctly if you decide to put your blocks on-point.
You can find the From Marti Michell Patchwork Template Conversion Charts by clicking here.
Helpful Links & Videos
Marti Michell shows you how to cut using your ruler and templates:
How to Make the Block
- Tolerance Levels: you need to decide what is an acceptable tolerance level for “mistakes”. For example if your blocks are consistently 6¼” instead of 6.5″ are you ok with this. Or if your seams matching are less than an eight of an inch “off” are you ok with this. There’s no hard or fast rule and it’s different for everyone, so remember it’s your quilt so make your decision for you.
- Press your seams at each step. Click here for a great article on how to press your seams for patchwork.
- You can iron and starch your fabric prior to cutting. I also starch when pressing bulky seams.
- When pinning, pin away from you so that you don’t move your pieces when pinning.
- Where possible I chain piece all the pieces I can in one step. If you’re unsure of what chain piecing is, click here for a tutorial on how to do it. However, for the purpose of the tutorials I will step you through all the seams individually.
Special Note: The instructions on the conversion chart provide two methods of construction using the templates. One for hand piecing and keeping to the exact seams of the block and the other for using the templates to create a block that looks like the block in the book but has different seam lines. This tutorial is showing you how to make the “cheats” version of the block using the From Marti Michell Patchwork Templates Set A.
1. Use your rotary cutter and ruler to cut all pieces required for the block as per the instructions in the book. Cutting instructions can be found on the disc that came with the book. Block directions are located on page 172. You can also use the cutting instructions on the conversion chart. I have used the From Marti Michell Patchwork Templates Set A and accompanying conversion chart to cut all my pieces for this block. I am using the alternative method for making this block on the conversion chart.
Tip: If you don’t have the From Marti Michell Patchwork Templates Set A templates you can still use this method. Cut pieces 13B, 13C and 13D as per the book’s rotary cutting measurements and templates. To make piece A4 you can cut a 3 6/8th inch square and then cut in half diagonally from one corner to the other to make 2 triangles. You will need to do this twice as you need 4 triangles.1a. To make piece 13D you need to cut a square using the From Marti Michell Patchwork Templates Set A Template A1 (the numbers of the Marti Michell template are printed on the template – I’ve circled the number for Template A1 in diagram 1a to show you where they are.). Once the square is cut, place the From Marti Michell Patchwork Templates Set A Template A3 on the square as shown in diagram 1a and remove the top 2 corners. The flat corners of Template A3 will line up with the edges of your block (as per the arrows in diagram 1a).
Please note: I have removed the backing paper off my templates as it makes it easier for me to fussy cut this way. It’s completely up to you whether you want to do the same or not.
2. Join 13D to A4 as per diagram 2. Repeat to make 2 units.
Please note: Step 2 is not covered in the book as it is an alternative way of making the blocks based on From Marti Michell Patchwork Templates Set A.3. Join these two units together on the diagonal. Look at diagram 3 to see how to pin this. Pay attention to lining up the seam in the middle for sharp points.
Tip: The engineered corners of the templates will help you to line up the edges of your seams. The arrows in diagram 3 point to where the flat corners of the pieces will line up to make your piecing easier.
4. You’re going to make Flying Geese units now. There’s 2 of these in the block when made with this method. Each unit is made with one A4 triangle and two 13B units. You need to line up one 13B piece against the side of one A4 piece, as pictured in diagram 4. The engineered corners will make lining these pieces up easy. the arrows in diagram 4 point to how these shapes line up with the engineered corners.
5. Attach the remaining 13B unit to the A4 unit to complete your flying geese unit. The arrows in diagram 5 show you how to line up the engineered corners. You’ll need to make two of these units.
6. Join one 13C square to each end of the flying geese units as per diagram 6.
Tip: Pay careful attention to the seam lines – this is where the impact comes from. I pinned in the seams (see diagram 7a) so that I knew they were lined up.
7. Join the three rows together to make your block. Pay careful attention to the seams of your flying geese units as you’ll want to make the seams line up to appear like an on-point square. Once done put Belle in the naughty corner and come back to her when the memory of the pain of making this block has dulled.
Tip: Those of you paying attention to my block will notice that my bottom on-point square doesn’t match up “just” right on the right hand side. I unpicked this seam twice and couldn’t get it to work so in the end I decided to put it aside and maybe come back to it later. Or, you know, I might just leave it and let the quilting hide it for me in the end product.
The Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sew-along Blogger Line up for Month 1
The Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sampler Quilt Sew-along Official Bloggers will be posting their tips, tricks and tutorials for the blocks as they are released. You’ll be able to find them at the following links.
29/09/2015: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com
01/10/2015: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com
02/10/2015: Jodi @ Tales of Cloth
06/10/2015: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com
07/10/2015: Alyce @ Blossom Heart Quilts
08/10/2015: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com
13/10/2015: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com
14/10/2015: Melissa @ Ms Midge
15/10/2015: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com
16/10/2015: Erin @ Why Not Sew
20/10/2015: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com
22/10/2015: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com
23/10/2015: Tina @ Emily Ann’s Closet
27/10/2015: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com
28/10/2015: Rachel @ Wooden Spoon Quilts
Blog posts will be published as per the timezone of the blogger. Why not subscribe to their blogs via their mailing list or a blog reader such as Bloglovin’ so you don’t miss a post!
The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them by Laurie Aaron Hird for Fons & Porter/F+W; RRP $28.99 – Click here to purchase.
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