Today I have another quilt block tutorial to share with you. I'm calling it the Staggered Strips Block. The effect is a stack of different bright patterns framed by a common background. For my blocks' background I chose a tree bark pattern, but you can definitely use a solid with fun results. This tutorial illustrates how to make a 6x10 block. However, because of the simple construction, you can alter these directions to make blocks of any size.
Here are the directions for making one block:
Begin by cutting your background fabric (A) into 1.5" strips and 2.5" strips.
Trim the 1.5" strips into eight various lengths from 2" to 4". (For best results try to get some really random lengths in there like 3.25" or 2.75".) Set those aside. Do the same for the 2.5" strips but you only need six lengths of that one.
Take your bright pattern fabrics (B) (great place to use random scraps if you are looking for something funky) and cut them into 1.5" strips and then trim four pieces random lengths from there in the same manner you did with the background strips. Repeat the process making three 2.5" wide strips.
At this point, organize your 1.5" and 2.5" strips into piles. Take your pile of 1.5 strips to your sewing machine. Choose a colorful pattern (B) strip and grab 2 lengths of background (A) fabric that will go on either side of it.
The idea is to come decently close to the 6.5" horizontal measurement that you will need in the end, but an inch or two on either side that will need to be trimmed on your strip is all part of the process. You might want to choose a long background strip for one side and a short one for the other mixed in with strips that are more evenly distributed. You want your center row of bright blocks to playfully stagger up the middle.
|An example of how you would choose the proper lengths. To make a finished strip that is close to the measurement you want.|
You can definitely use the faster chain piecing technique when sewing a bunch of these strips together. How I would recommend doing that is to get your pieces all matched the way you would like them and then make them into stacks in the correct order so you will ensure that your strip in the end will be long enough or, on the flip side, not too long.
Repeat the process for the 2.5" strips. Press the seams to the side of the darker fabric.
Now you have the strips you need to construct your block. Each block is made up of four 1.5" strips and three 2.5" strips. (On my quilt I wanted the order of these to be random so each block is different, but you could do it more orderly if you'd like.) Take your strips and lay them out in the order you think they look best.
- Keep in mind that the design should look like a wonky stack of colored blocks up through the middle.
- Take special care when pinning your two strips to sew together that you match up the fabrics where you want them. You are most likely sewing together two strips that are different lengths.
- Make sure you have a clear vision of the desired width of your block when putting your layout together. You want to make sure that you leave yourself enough background fabric on the sides to be able to seam to the block next to it on your quilt and leave enough of that background fabric so that it doesn't look strange.
Press your seams to one direction. Like this:
|Wrong side of finished block. You can see the seams are all going upward.|
|Mine is wonky and woodsy!|
P.S. For more quilty fun, please check out our pinwheel block tutorial and scrappy log cabin block tutorial.