Posts Tagged ‘hand sewing’

Michigan Beauty Block – How To Blog #2

Sunday, May 19th, 2019

Let’s jump right in where we left off on the last blog. This is where your block quarter units should be. All diamonds and the lower half square triangle sewn together. Now we are ready for the multi piece complex length of sewing.

This length of sewing will attach three units to the diamonds and will complete the quarter square of the block. It will also involved several roundabouts that may test you but once you get into a rhythm you will see it looks much harder than it truly is. And the results are crisp points and beautiful set in squares.

Start with one edge of the first triangle. Use pins to line up the start and stop points. Place a pin on the guideline to assure that is matched up between the triangle and diamond. Sew you seam.

Now it is time to make a roundabout in the concave corner where the top point of the triangle meets the two diamonds. Once this move has been completed it is time to line up the next length to sew. I have taken to using my needle in place of the first pin in this exercise at this point.

Don’t forget to sew one or two threads above your drawn seam guideline. You are hand sewing a scant quarter of an inch.

The quarter unit of your block is done! Now make 3 more and let’s get to finishing this block.

This is where the remaining sewing takes on the sequence of making a 4 patch. Pin and sew (with roundabouts) the two shorter vertical lengths of the units

NOTE: I did press the units at this time to make for prettier pictures for the blog. I usually do not press any hand pieced block until the very end as it is a portable project and an iron is not always available.

Here is the backside of the block. You will note that I allowed the seams to fall where they did so naturally for pressing. But I did press the center triangles in a manner that would allow them to snuggle nicely when sewn.

And now for the final long center seam.

Pinned and ready to sew!

Michigan Beauty is done!

Hand Piecing gives you so much control that sharp points, y seams and complex piecing are a breeze.

You can purchase a set of hand piecing templates for the Michigan Beauty block in my webstore (see tab at the top of this page). Please note that this block and all the other blocks released are also available in English Paper Piecing products. Just click on that category in my webstore to see the list.

Later today, on my MDQuilts facebook page I will be doing a LIVE segment for all the new handpiecers who have found my page this month. The How-To sew-a-long LIVE segments will start next week. Be sure to watch the facebook page for event announcements.

Enjoy your day,

Lady of the Lake Block – How to Part #1

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015


Let’s begin!  As I said previously this block really has intriqued me.  Don’t let the slightly curved seams scare you.  Hand piecing makes that a breeze and the design elements that they give are awesome.

I am not going to go over marking your fabrics using the acrylic templates as that has been covered already under the general info blogs at the beginning of the year and a very detailed blog here (yes it is for the Castle Wall block but the same info applies to all blocks).

Here are the templates.  There are six shapes in the Lady of the Lake Block.

Fabrics chosen for the block.  Remember what is tying together all my block in my 2015 On The Road Project is the use of red in each and every one.

I am not going to go over marking your fabrics using the acrylic templates as that has been covered already under the general info blogs at the beginning of the year and a very detailed blog here (yes it is for the Castle Wall block but the same info applies to all blocks).  But I will do a few quick pics to help refresh/guide an newcomers…and we have many!

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Ok it’s time to sew!.

Here is an orientation guideline for the templates.  NOTE: Piece B is used flipped over (in reverse) for half the pieces in the block.

You can find a PDF of this orientation guide on the 2015. O.T.R page under the Lady of the Lake Block.

Be sure to keep checking this page periodically for useful/information PDFs.

Let’s break down this block into sections.  There are three.

Br-A-B (4 units)

D-E-D-C (2 units)

C-E-F-E-C (1 unit)

Let’s start with the Br-A-B section.  There isn’t any continuous line sewing in this unit so it will be quick seams.  But there are slight curves, so let’s tackle how to make those happen.

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The pinning for these curved pieces is a bit different than what we have done before in the Castle Wall, Paris Flight and Jim Dandy blocks.   The templates have the corners knocked off on the points so that lining things up will be easier.   You want to line up each corner edge of B to the corresponding edge of A.


In fact I suggest laying out your pieces in front of you orientating them correctly before you pick them up to sew.

I pin in a vertical manner as shown  in the seam allowance using an ultra fine pins on each edge.  Then I gently ease in the curve of each piece to each other and put a third pin vertically directly thru the center.   You may wish to check that your seam lines line up with a quick needle check before you begin sewing.  But if you take care marking and cutting your pieces you will find that a little extra time/care in doing so makes life sweeter when sewing.

Now you can begin to sew

IMPORTANT!   Sew two or three threads above your drawn line!

This compensates for the fact that getting into the exact edge of the template with your marking pen/pencil is

nearly impossible.   TRUST ME this is how you end up with a 10.5″ block (unfinished) and not a 10.25″ or smaller block at the end.

Make a backstitch to start off.

And backstitch every inch as you are sewing and always finish a line with a backstitch even if you are going on to another piece without knotting off.

Running stitch.    Remove pin when you reach it with your needle and thread.

Sew to the end of the seam, back stitch and knot off.

Now in order for the curved seam to lay flat we need to make some cuts into the seam allowance.

Three small cuts will do it. Be sure to leave several threads between the end of you snip and the sewn seam.

Viola!  a lovely flat gently curved seam!  SEW EASY to accomplish with hand piecing!

Now continue on with the other side (Br) and then finish up the remaining three Br-A-B units.

Tomorrow we tackle the rest of the block.

’til then,