The nature of a bias seam on woven material, such as quilter's cotton, is way more elastic than when you are sewing with the direction of the weave. That bias can be a great thing when you are easing a curve in a wearable garment, but when you want exact quilt blocks with straight seams...well, that takes some finesse.
For the quilt I am making, I wanted to add some blocks with angles. After experimenting with a few slightly complex designs, and getting mixed results, this newbie opted for to go simple. Discovering that I needed to master my skill level with the bias and go on from there.
After doing some digging around in books and online, I decided that my solution was a pinwheel block. It's cute, colorful, and great for beginners.
|Some of my finished 8"x8" pinwheels.|
This is how I did it:
For an 8" block, cut two 4-7/8" squares of 2 different fabrics.
Take one of each of those squares and place them right sides together with the light fabric on top:
Using a water-soluble marker and a ruler, mark the diagonal from point to point. Place pins on either side to hold in place:
At your sewing machine, using a straight stitch and a presser foot with a 1/4" seam allowance, stitch on each side of your drawn line. (Note the placement of pins.):
At you cutting mat, slice through both layers on your drawn line:
Back at your cutting table, make sure that your block is square and nip off the two little "dog ears" of seam allowance sticking out:
Do this same process until you have four 2-color blocks. Lay them out in the pinwheel pattern that you prefer:
Take the block in the upper right hand corner and turn it over top of the block on its right. At the sewing machine, using 1/4" seam allowance, stitch the seam indicated in photo below:
Repeat the same process for the bottom two blocks. Then you will have 2 strips:
Flip the top strip down over the bottom strip and sew a 1/4" seam indicated on the photo below:
The success of a block such as this means the center points of the pinwheel all come together. If you are of a little bit off on the points, it could be your cutting, seam allowance, or maybe your fabric is slipping around a little bit when you sew. Don't be afraid to rip a few seams out, press and resew. No one is looking! :)
P.S. -For more quilty fun, check out my log cabin block tutorial and staggered strips block tutorial.