Windmill Block – How To Blog #1

It’s time to make a Windmill Block!   This is a very simple block and I chose it for the July release in the Mic’s Attic Picks series because of it’s simplicity.   It makes for an easy block to kit up and have for those snippets of time to sew up in the summer.  And with a rather large piece (or the two) in the block…well it sews up very fast.

It is also a great block for beginners but exciting for experienced hand piecers with it’s design/coloring options. 

Let’s talk about the templates.   These are ¼” windowed acrylic templates.  Which means you can mark your outside cutting line and your inside sewing GUIDELINE at the same time.   But take a look at Piece A of your set.  It looks a bit different then what you may of expected to see.   It is what I call a HINGED template.   That means that the template received is HALF of what is needed to make the shape and an alignment “hinge” is on one edge to help you line things up for successful tracking.

Why hinge the template?  3 reasons.  1. Acrylic is expensive and when block shapes are large it could add dramtically to the template set cost.  So hingiing a large template keeps acrylic waste at a minimum and cost down.  2. A large template can be very fragile so by hinging it we reduce the chance of breakage.  3. Hinging a piece can make a set fit in the lovely hard cases you will now find your templates shipped to you in. 

Let’s cover how to mark your fabric using a hinge template.   A set of general instructions covering HINGE templates are included with every template set, as are piecing instructions, but as they say- a picture is worth a thousand words.

I am tracing the template on paper using a marker for clear visability, you will be using a pencil/chalk pen/gel pen on the backside of your chosen fabric.

Trace both the outer and inner lines of the template on all side EXCEPT the HINGE.  Here you will only lightly mark the dashes indicated in the center of the hinge. 

Now flip the template over and line up the marked dashes and repeate the tracing of the outer and inner edges of the other sides of the template.

Your tracing should look like this.

I like to use my template edge as shown in the next pictures to fill in the missing lines.

connect the drawn lines
make the inner corner

And viola you have the whole shape and are ready to repeat this process 7 more times for the block.

You will notice that I indicate an Ar (meaning template A Reversed) in my written instructions included in the set.  I did this because I wanted it to be clear that the A pieces are meant to be at least TWO different fabrics.   I did not repeat this wil the B templates because I felt my point was made with the As.   The piece is truly not reversed but with only 2 pieces in the set I needed something to make the diagram make sense and not just be a sea of As and Bs.

Cut out all your pieces and lay them out in front of you. 

The first sewing that needs to be done on this block is all the B pieces attached to opposite ends of the A pieces.  These are short easy seams

Line up your pieces using a perpendicular pin thru each corner of the GUIDELINE and then pin directly on the drawn line in the center.   

This line is a GUIDELINE and not the line you will be sewing on.  You will be sewing a thread or two above the drawn line.  This is hand sewing a scant quarter of an inch and it helps recover the excess thread or two of seam width added by the drawn line as no pencil/etc. can get directly under the template to drawn the true line.  So you need to hover above the line/sew a scant quarter of an inch to get that measurement back.

This line is a GUIDELINE and not the line you will be sewing on.  You will be sewing a thread or two above the drawn line.  This is hand sewing a scant quarter of an inch and it helps recover the excess thread or two of seam width added by the drawn line as no pencil/etc. can get directly under the template to drawn the true line.  So you need to hover above the line/sew a scant quarter of an inch to get that measurement back.

Sew all 16 B’s in sets of two to each of the 8 A/Ar pieces.   This is where we will end today’s blog.   On Sunday we will tackle the next 3 steps of sewing that are all that is needed to complete this block.  

Please feel free to post any questions you may have in the comments.

If you haven’t ordered your set of Windmill Hand Piecing Templates yet you can do so by clicking this link. Or you can head to my store thru to tab above head to the Mic’s Attic Picks category to see all the blocks released.

And make note that every block is also released in an English Paper Piecing format. You will find all those products also in my webstore.

Enjoy the day,

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One Response to “Windmill Block – How To Blog #1”

  1. carole sullivan says:

    you make things look so easy! if I didnt already have many of your designs, I might have had to get this! keep up the4 good work

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