Christa’s Quilt Along 3.4 – Charming Chevrons Block Tutorial

This is the week where our Charming Chevrons quilts really start coming together! We will sew all of the blocks and start laying them out so that the top can get finished by next week. Be sure to scroll to the end of this post for the complete tutorial schedule.

It took me a total of 2 hours, 15 minutes to sew and press all 42 of my Chevron blocks.Chevron Blocks

Step 1 – Sewing the Half-V’s (1 Hour)

Each chevron looks like a V and each half of the block is a mirror image so keep that in mind while assembling your units.

Block UnitsFirst, separate all of your triangle squares from last week  into 4 equal piles, orienting them to form a V.

Note that each half of the V is made from two triangle squares of the same fabric. You should have a total of 42 sewn triangle squares per pile.

Since each half of the block is a mirror image,  I will be sewing one half at a time.

Starting with the left half of the block – the left V – I laid a stack of units next to my sewing machine. They are oriented in the direction I will sew them. Chain piece all left V units.

Chain Piece the VsStacked Units Chain Piecing means sewing pairs of blocks with no stops.

After sewing all of your left V stacks, finger press (or use a wooden seam roller) from the back and then again from the front. Press them all to the same side and repeat for all halves.

Press Front SidePress Back Side

You should have a total of 42 left V units.

Now, repeat the steps above for the other half of the blocks, the right V units. Be sure to press the right halves in the opposite direction so they nestle when sewing the blocks.

Press OppositeRight V Units


Repeat for a total of 42 right V units.

Step 2 – Joining the Halves (1 Hour, 15 Minutes)

Pin the two halves of each block together. If desired, you can flip over any seams so that they will nestle with the other side of the block – look at the pin on the far right below.

Pin the Chevron Halves

The key to sewing crisp points on these blocks  is to hit the “sweet spot” when sewing your seams. Sew from the side where you can see a little “x” made by previous seams. This is right where my pin intersects the block below.

Sew Through the X

When you have sewn all of the blocks together, press or seam-roll them again on both front and back. When finished, you will have a total of 42 blocks.

Finished Chevron BlockPress the Chevrons

Because of the way this quilt is laid out, you will want the major seams in your blocks to alternate. To do this make sure you press 18 blocks in one direction and 24 blocks the opposite direction. You’ll have 3 rows of block seams one way and 4 going the other way.

Seams Pressed Opposite

Once your blocks are complete, you can start laying them out in a pleasing color arrangement on your design wall (watch which way you pressed the seams).

Kona Solids Kit

Kona Solids Kit

You’ll notice that in my original drawings I started with the  Chevrons pointing up first. But now that I’ve laid them out, I think I prefer them as shown in the photo above with the points starting down. It’s your choice! I have kits available for all 3 colorways shown.

American Jane Kit

American Jane Kit

Coquette Kit

Coquette Kit

Sewing Schedule (All links will be active once each step has been completed.)

Christa’s Quilt Along 3.3 – Trimming the Triangle Squares

I am very glad I decided to take some time putting together my Charming Chevrons Do-It-Yourself Quilt Tutorial, and spread it out over several weeks. This week’s step of making the triangle squares is a very simple process; however it was a little time consuming.

It took a total of 3 hours to complete the steps below. That’s not bad considering I’m giving you a whole week to complete it, but I suggest you break it up over a few cutting sessions. It’s too tedious to do all at once! Scroll down to the end for the complete schedule.

Step 1 – Cutting the Squares in Half (20 Minutes)

With your ruler, rotary cutter and mat, slice each pair of sewn squares in half on the diagonal, down the middle on your previously drawn line. You may use scissors instead, but rotary cutting them is definitely faster.

Line up Your Ruler

Cut the Squares ApartEach pair of squares has been sewn together 1/4 inch away from the drawn line, yielding 2 half square triangles per each pair of charm squares (following last week’s instructions).

I like to stack them up as I cut, keeping the same pairs of colors together. They look like little fabric sandwiches. Yummy!

Sewn Triangle Stacks

Step 2 – Pressing the Triangle Squares (1 Hour)

It took me longer then normal to press the squares because I starched each block first.

Press the BlocksI am not sure if I’m happy with the results so I mention this with caution – test on the back side or some scrap fabric first or just skip it.

I got starch marks on the front sides of several of the blocks.

I had to soak them in water to get the marks out.

And yes, I used Mary Ellen’s Best Press which was not supposed to leave any residue.

So I’m not sure if I had my iron on too high of a setting, or perhaps it doesn’t work well with solids?

Press Seams to the Darker SideIs anyone else familiar with this? I’m still a starching newbie.

This is why I’m making this quilt in real time – so I can learn these things!

So if you just press your squares without worrying about starch or sizing, it will be quicker!

I pressed all of my seams toward the darker fabric.

Once my stacks were all pressed, it was time to trim them to size!

Step 3 – Trimming the Triangles (1 Hour 40 Minutes)

This was the tedious part because you will be trimming a total of 168 squares 1 at a time! So set aside a few afternoons and enjoy the process!

With a square ruler and a sharp cutter, trim the blocks so that they measure 4 1/2 inches. Line up the diagonal line of your ruler on the seam of the blocks.

Trim the Blocks

Then trim the sides. You may be able to trim only on 2 sides, or you may need to trim all four sides depending on where you need to slide your ruler so that the diagonal line stays in the center of the block.

Half Square Triangle Blocks

Block TrimmingsWhen you are all finished trimming, you will have a leftover pile of cuttings.

I think it looks rather pretty, don’t you?

You can use it as colorful stuffing or confetti.

Or how about wrapping up used needles or rotary blades with these scraps, put them in a bag, and safely throw away these sharp objects!

Sewing Schedule (All links will be active once each step has been completed.)

Bungle Jungle Charm Quilt Week 4 – Ditch Quilting

Bungle Jungle QuiltI didn’t make a ton of progress on my Bungle Jungle modern quilt this week, mostly because I was packing up to go on our family vacation and getting all my ducks in a row ahead of time.

(They are quacking nicely now!)

But, I did get all of my stitch in the ditch quilting done so I’m ready for the best part, the free motion quilting next week!

I think my plan will be to quilt a different motif in each charm square, to practice a bunch of free-motion quilting designs.

Stitch in the DitchI want to add tons more quilting. By pressing the Quilt Back with Grid Quiltingseams open, stitching in the ditch in between the charm squares was a breeze. It created a grid over the surface of the quilt which you can see on the back side of the quilt. Click for closeups.

Sewing LineI used an acrylic ruler and a blue washout pen to mark straight lines where needed to complete the grid.

The quilt is now anchored so I can remove the rest of my basting pins and it’s ready for more quilting!

Be sure to join me tomorrow as I launch my new tutorial series: Do It Yourself Quilts!

Christa’s Soapbox – Pressing Your Seams Open

In two words: do it!

The idea of pressing seams always to one side is pretty old school. It comes from when seams were hand pieced; the double seam pressed to one side gave strength. Also, when hand quilting, it was easier to stitch in the ditch if the bulk of the seams was out of the way.

Block With Seams Pressed OpenHowever, with so much modern quilting going on, using lots of solids and white background space, there’s more of a need to press seams open to prevent shadowing.

Moreover, it’s much easier to machine quilt if all of the seams are pressed open.

When I first began doing free motion quilting, I took a class from a teacher that recommended planning all of your quilting ahead of time so you would know which way to press your seams. (For machine quilting stitch-in-the-ditch, it was conventional wisdom to always quilt in the low side of the ditch.) My first thought was, what a pain!

Seams Pressed OpenI want the freedom to be able to quilt how I want when I want without being limited by piecing decisions. I also like how much flatter the quilt lies when all of the seams are pressed open. So yes, you have my permission to press ’em open as much as you want!

By the way, the quilt seams shown in this post are from my Bungle Jungle modern quilt I’m currently working on. You can read this week’s earlier post about making this quilt here.

Bungle Jungle Charm Pack Quilt – Week 2

I finished my version of a modern quilt top this week:

Bungle Jungle Charm Pack Quilt TopUsing one Bungle Jungle charm pack and 2 1/2 yards of White  Solid , I whipped this puppy up in just a few days! I started working on this quilt last week.

Random Scattered Block PlacementI started off by making a total of 42 blocks since there are 42 charms in a pack.

I arranged them on my design wall randomly, turning each block in a different position.

While I like this arrangement, I didn’t love it, so I tried laying out all the blocks in the same orientation. I liked that better.

It must be my OCD kicking in!

Block PairsNext, it was a simple feat to sew the blocks into pairs and then join the pairs into rows to complete the top.

Each row had 6 blocks (or 3 pairs), and I sewed a total of 7 rows. I pressed all of my seams open so it will be easier to quilt and fabric won’t shadow through the white.

Rows of Charm Pack BlocksOnce I finished sewing all the blocks together, I realized  I needed to add a strip of white to the left of the quilt top and one across the bottom to balance the design.

This would create a continuous border of white all around the quilt with plenty of negative space for creative quilting.

Instead of cutting one long strip for each border, I cut 13 rectangles, 4″ x 8″ each and made 2 pieced borders. The left border required 7 rectangles and the bottom row needed 6 plus a 4 inch square for the corner.

Pieced Borders

I’m pleased with the quilt top and will start machine quilting it next week. It will finish around 52″ x 61″ which will make a nice sized baby-throw.

I have a few ideas that I’m going to think about over the next several days before I begin quilting. I really want to incorporate this hand stencil in the white areas:

Precious Hands StencilI’m thinking I might randomly quilt the hands in the white areas, joining them together with loopy stippling designs. I’d like to quilt something fun in the charm squares too, like perhaps a different shape in each block. If you’ve got any suggestions, please send them my way!