Saturday, April 16, 2011

Little Squares Tutorial

 Good morning! How are you doing? We are good, but there is a big grass fire just north west of town. I hope the firefighters manage to contain it. It is so very dry and windy that the conditions are perfect for wild fires.

Let's not think about about we make some tiny squares instead? OK, you are going to need a bunch of fabric for a scrappy look (or just 2 would make a really cool checkerboard). You can cut any width but for this tutorial I cut 1.5 inch strips. Lots of 1.5 inch strips. I cut most of them selvedge to selvedge. Don't cut the selvedges off,  you will cut them off later.

 Here they all are in a pretty pile. At this point I cut them in half with scissors. I think it is easier to work with 22 inch lengths as opposed to 44 inches. Sometimes shorter is better.

 Now just pick the combination willy nilly. I am sewing the strips into groups of 6.

***Here is an important tip. Keep in mind that if you have an odd number of strips when you flip them to sew them all together you will get one dumb looking center of the same fabric throughout your little squares. That may or may not be important to you.

 Here you have your new piece of "strata" (I still don't know if that is the right word or not. I don't think it is, so please don't quote me on the name of fabric strips all sewn together to make a new fabric)

 Now you need to press your work. Press all the seams the same direction on all the pieces of strata you make.

 You may find it helpful to firmly secure the selvedge edge while you press from the top right hand corner to the bottom left hand corner.

**Notice that I keep all my selvedges at the top of my piece. That way I know what side I am to begin with and all that stuff. You will cut them all of in a minute so don't frett yet.

 Make several of the strata fabrics. I do try to vary the fabric groupings. I don't want the same fabrics touching all the time. Once in a while is fine, but I want it to be more busy.

 This is when I trim off the selvedges. You can do this next step one strata at a time or you can do several at once like I do. I am not a very fussy quilter, I just want the piecing finished.

So cut the strata in more strips of 1.5 inches

 You will have a nice little pile.

 I intend for these squares to be a boarder of about 4 inches, so I am just sewing 4 pieces together. Then I will trim them and sew them to the next block. You can make them as wide as you want.

So put your little pieces together but make sure you alternate the direction of your seams so they will butt right up against one another.

 I don't pin (but you are more than welcome to), I just monkey with the pieces until the seams butt up together. See? The seams on the top piece are all going up and the seams on the bottom piece are all going down. This is the most tricky bit of making these squares.

 After you have pieced your little strips, press your seams again all in the same direction.

And Viola! You have a REALLY easy and super fast boarder that looks like you spent ages on it and that you are a very patient and accurate piecer. I will trim this before stitching it to the next piece so some of the squares will be more rectangles, but all their corners will match up at least.

Does that make sense? I will do a couple more later to show you what they all look like together, but now I need to go drive my husband to work. Isn't that nice of me?


silversmith said...

you've got the right word for the strip fabric... that's what gwen kept calling it and it's in her book too.

i've got to make a bunch of these for borders or for ones on point. i love the way they look, but just haven't make any. of course, doing it this way makes it easier than each little teeny block at a time!

the Campfollower said...

These are so fast and easy! You will have your boarders in no time.

Simon - aka Bloke said...

Nice tutorial, I can see that this would work a treat and be easy.

I have a fun tiny squares project that I am working on that I am piecing by hand as I am raiding all the scraps in my various stashes.... check it out if you get a chance..

Best regards Simon

Katie said...

Looks good! Thanks. :-)

I would call them strip sets but strata sounds just fine to me too.

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