Lighthouse Quilt Along Week 2: Test Block Assembly

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Welcome to Week 2 of the Lighthouse Quilt Along! Today we are going to make our first quilt block, which I usually think of as a test block. I always like to make 1 quilt block (or even just sew 1 of each template in a foundation paper piecing pattern) before ordering and cutting all my fabric.

Why? When paper piecing a block, people have different comfort levels with the amount of fabric needed. Those that are very experienced with paper piecing may need less fabric to achieve their finished block. Those that are new to the process might require a little more. I always try to write my patterns and tutorials with beginners in mind though, so hopefully these fabric cuts will work for everyone. But again, I like to make 1 block first before cutting into fabric for an entire quilt.

After we make our first block, we will talk about determining how much fabric you need for your quilt.

Let’s get started!


Lighthouse Quilt Block Tutorial

Please note, all seams are 1/4″; Final block size 8 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ unfinished
Reduce your stitch length so that the paper template will perforate easily. I used 1.4 stitch length.

Paper Piecing Templates
Print 4 of the Paper Piecing Template below. Be sure to print them at 100% or “Actual Size” and check the scale icon with a ruler before starting.

Lighthouse Foundation Paper Piecing Template

Prepare the templates. Cut out the templates around the seam allowance line.

Step 1. Cut your fabric. When cutting fabric for paper piecing, you will be cutting pieces that are slightly larger than needed. These are the cutting amounts for completing one Lighthouse Quilt Block.

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Pattern Piece Fabric Color
A1 Cut 4 2 1/2” x 3” Green/Print
A2 Cut 4 4 1/2” x 4 1/2” White/Background
B1 Cut 4 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ Turquoise/Print
B2 Cut 4 2 1/2″ x 3″ White/Background

Tip: It can be helpful to write the fabric color name on the paper template pieces.

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Step 2: Let’s start with Template A. Take your fabric cuts for Template A and place them right sides together. Center the 2 1/2” x 3” Green Fabric rectangle along the edge of the 4 1/2” x 4 1/2” White Fabric square, as shown.

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Step 3: Place your fabric on the unprinted side of the paper piecing template, covering the entire space of A1 with your Green Fabric rectangle as shown.

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Take your fabric and template and hold them up to the light. I like to use a nearby (um, very dirty) window. Make sure at least 1/4″ of the fabric overlaps into template space A2. This overhang will be your seam allowance. This will probably feel backwards and wrong the first few times you do it. Pin into place.

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Step 4: Make sure your stitch length is now shortened to something around 1.4.

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Sew along the seam line on the template between pieces A1 and A2. I also like to backstitch at the beginning and end. Remove your pin.

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Your block should now look like this:

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Step 5: Turn your template over, open the fabric, and press your seam.

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Step 6: Using a quilting ruler and rotary cutter, trim your block around the template. I like to line up the 1/4″ markings on my quilting ruler with the lines on the template as shown.

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh LemonsQuilts

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Congratulations! You’ve just finished your first paper piecing template! Next we are going to follow the same process and paper piece Template B.

Step 7: Take your fabric cuts for Template B and place them right sides together. Center the 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ Turquoise Fabric rectangle along the edge of the 2 1/2” x 3” White Fabric rectangle, as shown.

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Step 8: Place your fabric on the unprinted side of the paper piecing template, covering the entire space of B1 with your Turquoise Fabric rectangle as shown.

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Take your fabric and template and hold them up to the light. Make sure at least 1/4″ of the fabric overlaps into template space B2. This overhang will be your seam allowance. Pin into place.

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Step 9: Sew along the seam line on the template between pieces B1 and B2. Remove your pin.

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Step 10: Press your fabric open and trim as you did with Template A.

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Step 11: You now have completed Template A and Template B. Next we will sew these together to make 1 quadrant of the finished quilt block. Carefully remove the paper from the back of your paper pieced pieces.

Layout your components as shown.

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Step 12: We are done paper piecing, so you can now change your stitch length back to it’s usual setting. Place the pieces right sides together. As you can see, when you fold down your fabric 1/4″, your seams will match. Pin in place.

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Step 13: Stitch together and press.

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Step 14: Congratulations, you’ve finished your first block quadrant! Repeat these steps to piece the other 3 block quadrants.

Step 15: Once you have all 4 block quadrants pieced, it’s time to sew them together. Please disregard the change of color in my fabrics. I took the photos for this step at a later point in making my finished quilt.

Layout your 4 block quadrants as shown.

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Step 16: Place 2 block quadrants right sides together. Match your seams and pin. Stitch together and press. Repeat for remaining 2 quadrants.

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Step 17: Place 2 block halves right sides together. Match your seams and pin. Stitch together and press.

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts

You’re done! Admire your finished Lighthouse Quilt Block

Lighthouse Quilt Along by Fresh Lemons Quilts


Determining Fabric Required

Now that you’ve made your test block, you should know what size cut fabrics you need for your quilt. We will be determining the fabric requirements based on the tutorial above. Adjust accordingly if you found you needed larger cut sizes for your blocks.

Yep, here comes the math. Brace yourself!

NOTE: My quilt math assumes a yard of fabric is 36″ x 42″ width of fabric (WOF)

Step 1. Determine the number of pieces you need to cut for your quilt. For each block, you need to cut (4) of each A1, A2, B1 and B2. To determine the number of pieces to cut for your quilt, use the following equation:

Number of Blocks x 4 = A1 Cuts
Number of Blocks x 4 = A2 Cuts
Number of Blocks x 4 = B1 Cuts
Number of Blocks x 4 = B2 Cuts

I’ve gone ahead and done the math for you for the sizes we discussed in last week’s quilt along post.

Baby Quilt / 25 blocks / 40″ x 40″ Finished / Print 100 Copies of Templates
A1 Cut 100 2 1/2” x 3” Focal Fabric
A2 Cut 100 4 1/2” x 4 1/2” Background Fabric
B1 Cut 100 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ Focal Fabric
B2 Cut 100 2 1/2″ x 3″ Background Fabric
 
Lap Quilt / 63 blocks / 56″ x 72″ Finished / Print 252 Copies of Templates
A1 Cut 252 2 1/2” x 3” Focal Fabric
A2 Cut 252 4 1/2” x 4 1/2” Background Fabric
B1 Cut 252 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ Focal Fabric
B2 Cut 252 2 1/2″ x 3″ Background Fabric
 
Twin Quilt / 88 blocks / 64″ x 88″ Finished / Print 352 Copies of Templates
A1 Cut 352 2 1/2” x 3” Focal Fabric
A2 Cut 352 4 1/2” x 4 1/2” Background Fabric
B1 Cut 352 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ Focal Fabric
B2 Cut 352 2 1/2″ x 3″ Background Fabric
 
Queen Quilt / 132 blocks / 88″ x 96″ Finished / Print 528 Copies of Templates
A1 Cut 528 2 1/2” x 3” Focal Fabric
A2 Cut 528 4 1/2” x 4 1/2” Background Fabric
B1 Cut 528 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ Focal Fabric
B2 Cut 528 2 1/2″ x 3″ Background Fabric
 
King Quilt / 156 blocks / 104″ x 96″ Finished / Print 624 Copies of Templates
A1 Cut 624 2 1/2” x 3” Focal Fabric
A2 Cut 624 4 1/2” x 4 1/2” Background Fabric
B1 Cut 624 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ Focal Fabric
B2 Cut 624 2 1/2″ x 3″ Background Fabric
 

Step 2. Next it’s time to calculate how much fabric we need for the focal and background of the quilt. This if where the width of fabric (WOF) measurement of 42″ comes in to play.

For each template piece (A1, A2, B1, B2), you need to calculate how many pieces you can cut per WOF strip.

For example, template piece A1 is cut 2 1/2” x 3”. To calculate how many can be cut per WOF strip, use the following equation:

WOF / Length of Template Piece = Number that Fit in WOF
42″ / 3″ = 14 pieces

Because I know I need 100 cuts of Template A1 for my baby quilt, I need to calculate how many 14 piece strips I need to cut.

100 / 14 = 7.14 (round up to 8)

Now I know I need to cut 8 strips that are each the width of Template Piece A1 (2 1/2″) to account for all 100 A1 cuts.

8 strips x 2 1/2″ = 20″

This means I need a total of 20″ x 42″ (WOF) to account for all A1 pieces in my Baby Sized quilt. If I am using a scrappy layout, or multiple colors, that is the amount of fabric I need in TOTAL.

Using these equations, I’ve determined the amount of TOTAL fabric needed for the basic sizes of quilts that we covered last week.

Baby Quilt / 25 blocks / 40″ x 40″ Finished / Print 100 Copies of Templates
A1 20″ x 42″ (WOF) Focal Fabric
A2 54″ x 42″ (WOF) Background Fabric
B1 30″ x 42″ (WOF) Focal Fabric
B2 20″ x 42″ (WOF) Background Fabric
 
Lap Quilt / 63 blocks / 56″ x 72″ Finished / Print 252 Copies of Templates
A1 45″ x 42″ (WOF) Focal Fabric
A2 126″ x 42″ (WOF) Background Fabric
B1 70″ x 42″ (WOF) Focal Fabric
B2 45″ x 42″ (WOF) Background Fabric
 
Twin Quilt / 88 blocks / 64″ x 88″ Finished / Print 352 Copies of Templates
A1 65″ x 42″ (WOF) Focal Fabric
A2 180″ x 42″ (WOF) Background Fabric
B1 100″ x 42″ (WOF) Focal Fabric
B2 65″ x 42″ (WOF) Background Fabric
 
Queen Quilt / 132 blocks / 88″ x 96″ Finished / Print 528 Copies of Templates
A1 92 1/2” x 42” (WOF) Focal Fabric
A2 265 1/2″ x 42″ (WOF) Background Fabric
B1 147 1/2″ x 42″ (WOF) Focal Fabric
B2 92 1/2” x 42” (WOF) Background Fabric
 
King Quilt / 156 blocks / 104″ x 96″ Finished / Print 624 Copies of Templates
A1 112 1/2” x 32” (WOF) Focal Fabric
A2 315” x 42” (WOF) Background Fabric
B1 175″ x 42″ (WOF) Focal Fabric
B2 112 1/2” x 32” (WOF) Background Fabric
 

To determine yardage for the above amounts, simply divide the first number by 36″. For example, if the required fabric amount is 20″ x 42″ (WOF):

20″ / 36″ = .555 yards

In which case, I would round up and buy 2/3 yard of fabric.

Now chances are, you are not using the same focal fabric throughout your entire quilt for A1 and B1. That’s ok. Now that you know the TOTAL amount needed, you can buy fat quarters, fat eights, etc. Just make sure it adds up to the TOTAL amount of fabric required for each template piece.

You probably are just as exhausted as me after all that math! Don’t worry if it takes a bit of time to let it all absorb. Spend the next week determining how much fabric you need for your planned quilt. Go shopping! (Or hunt in your stash). Feel free to get going on the blocks for your quilt top and we will check back in next week.

Happy Sewing Everyone!

Partial Seams Tutorial

Partial Seams Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

This tutorial is a long time coming. Last year at the Sewing Summit, I taught some of you how to sew partial seams. I’ve been using this technique quite a bit lately, between writing the Starfall quilt pattern and my upcoming book. I hope you will find this tutorial helpful – if not today, then in the future when you run across a block needing this technique.

My usual disclaimer…this is how I personally sew partial seams. I am self taught, I’m sure there are a thousand ways to do this. This is mine.


Partial Seams Tutorial

The partial seams technique allows you to partially sew one piece of fabric to another, and then come back at a later point to finish the seam.

For example, at first glance this block looks like a log cabin. But upon closer inspection, you see that each of the “logs” is the same length (and longer than the center piece). Using partial seams, you can easily sew this together.

Partial Seams Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

If you’d like to work along with this tutorial, cut 1 square and 4 strips as listed below. (These are the cut sizes, not the finished sizes.)

Center Square – Cut (1) 4-1/2″ x 4-1/2″
Side Rectangles – Cut (4) 1-1/4″ x 5-1/4″

Partial Seams Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

1. You can start on any side of the block. I started on the left side and worked clockwise. Place your left strip, right side together with the center block. Align the top edges. As you can see, the strip will hang off the bottom of the block.

Partial Seams Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

2. Sew your seam down the block, stopping and backstitching about 1″ before the end of the square.

Partial Seams Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Your block should look like this so far:

Partial Seams Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Press your seams as desired.

3. When you lay your top rectangle against the top edge of the block, you should notice it is now the exact length of the block.

Partial Seams Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

4. Right sides together, sew the top strip on as normal.

Partial Seams Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Press your seams.

Partial Seams Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

5. Repeat this usual piecing process for the right and bottom strips.

Partial Seams Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

6. Now we are ready to finish the original seam. Fold your unsewn left rectangle back over the sewn block, aligning the unsewn edge. Pin into place.

Partial Seams Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Starting where you backstitched in Step 2, finish sewing down the seam to complete it. Press your seams.

Partial Seams Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Congratulations! You just finished your first partial seam block!

Farmer’s Market Totes ~ A Pattern

Today I’m excited to share with you a new tutorial, the Farmer’s Market Tote. Andover Fabrics was kind enough to send over some of Marisa of Creative Thursday‘s upcoming line Locally Grown for these bags. I am absolutely in love with the little sheep and strawberries.

It does feel a bit strange making bags for fresh veggies when it looks like this outside.

But I think that is partially what motivated me – I’m ready for summer! And anyway, it doesn’t need to be warm to need a big bag to carry our fabric around in, right? Let’s get started!



Farmer’s Market Tote

Please note, all seams are 1/2″ unless otherwise noted

Fabric Requirements
Outer Panel – 1/2 yard
Outer Pockets – 1/2 yard
Pocket Lining – 1/2 yard
Inner Lining – 1/2 yard
Straps – 1/4 yard (not a fat quarter)
Interfacing, (I used Pellon SF101) – 1 yard

Step 1: Cut your fabric.

Pattern Piece Size Number to Cut
Outer Panel 17-1/2″ x 20″ 2
Outer Pockets 14-1/2″ x 20″ 2
Pocket Lining 14-1/2″ x 20″ 2
Inner Lining 17-1/2″ x 20″ 2
Straps 4″ x 26″ 2
Interfacing 17-1/2″ x 20″ 2
 

Step 2. Iron your interfacing to the wrong side of your outer panel fabrics according to the manufacturers directions.

Step 3. Now we are going to do a bit of trimming. Take your 17-1/2″ (tall) x 20″ (wide) Outer Panel rectangles and trim a diagonal line from the top left corner to the 1-1/2″ marking on your cutting mat, as shown.

Step 4. Repeat on the right side of the fabric, cutting from the top right corner to the 18-1/2″ marking on your cutting mat.

Step 5. Once your fabric angles are trimmed, cut 2″ squares out of the bottom left and right corners. This is for your gusset later. Because there is a slight angle from steps 3 and 4, you won’t be removing an exact square. Just be sure to line up your ruler as shown below.

After cutting out the squares, this is what your Outer Panels should look like.

Step 6. Repeat steps 3, 4 and 5 for your Inner Lining.

Step 7. Now it’s time to trim the Outer Pockets. Just like you did for your Outer Panel, we are going to cut the fabric at an angle on the left and right sides. Line up your ruler from the 17-1/2″ marking on your cutting mat, to the 1-1/2″ (when cutting left) and 18-1/2″ (when cutting right) measurement on the bottom of the cutting mat, as shown. This will get you the same angle you cut on previous pieces.

Alternatively, you could use your previously cut Outer Panel as a template and trim along the already cut lines.

Step 8. Just as you did in Step 5, trim 2″ squares from the bottom corners. Your Outer Pockets should look like this.

As you can see, the Outer Pocket fabric has the same angles now as the Outer Panel fabric.

Step 9. Repeat for your Pocket Lining.

Everything is now cut – yay! Pat yourself on the back.

Now let’s sew it together!

Step 10. Take one of your Outer Pockets and one of your Pocket Linings. Pin along the top, right sides together. Stitch along just the top, using a 1/2″ seam allowance.

Step 11. Flip right sides out, and press. Top stitch along the finished seam.

Step 12. Repeat for your second Outer Pocket and Pocking Lining.

Step 13. Place your finished Outer Pocket Panel on top of your Outer Panel, as shown. Pin together along sides and bottom. Machine baste along the sides and bottom of the panel, using a 1/4″ seam allowance. ** Do NOT sew the cut out squares! **

Step 14. Now we are going to split the pocket into two sections. Using your ruler and a marking tool, measure halfway across the panel. Mark a sewing line lengthwise down the panel, as shown.

Step 15. Starting at the bottom of the panel and working your way to the top of the pocket, stitch your marked line. Cross over a bit from the top of your pocket onto the Outer Panel and backstitch. This will reinforce your pocket at the top.

Step 16. Repeat for the second Outer Pocket Panel and Outer Panel.

Step 17. Place your finished Outer Panels right sides together and pin along the sides and bottom. Take care to match up the top of the pockets when pinning. This sort of attention to detail will make your tote bag look professionally made.

Step 18. Sew down the sides and bottom of the fabric, using a 1/2″ seam allowance. ** Do NOT sew the cut out squares! ** Press your seams open.

Step 19. Now it’s time to sew the gussets! If you have never done this before, this is probably the trickiest step. I took a lot of photos to help explain.

“Open” up your bag in the corner where you cut the squares, and place the fabric back together matching up the side and bottom sewn seam, as shown.

Step 20. Pin as shown.

Step 21. Sew using a 1/2″ seam allowance.

Step 22. Repeat on the other side to make the second gusset. This is what your bag should now look like.

Step 23. Attempt to press your seams and flip your bag right side out.

Step 24. Repeat steps 17 – 22 to assemble your Inner Lining. **Leave approximately 5″ open along the bottom however, for flipping the bag right side out later.**

Step 25. Place your Outer Tote Section right side out, into the Inner Tote Section wrong side out, as shown.

Step 26. Pin along the top of the bag, and sew together along the entire top, using a 1/2″ seam allowance.

Step 27. Flip your bag right side out through the opening in the bottom of the lining.

Step 28. Stitch the bottom of the lining closed.

Step 29. Press your bag and top stitch around the top.

Step 30. Almost there! It’s time to make the straps. Fold the short edges of your strap fabric in about 1/4″. You can optionally stitch these down, as shown. Now fold your strap fabric in half, lengthwise. Iron to make a crease and then open.

Step 31. Fold your strap fabric in lengthwise towards the center crease line, as shown. Press.

Step 32. Fold in half again. Press.

Step 33. Stitch around each side of the strap. Repeat for the second strap.

Step 34. Measure 3″ on each side of the pocket line you stitched earlier. Place your strap ends at this point, 1-1/2″ down from the top of the tote bag. Pin in place.

Step 35. Stitch in place, around all sides and then diagonally, as shown.

Step 36. Repeat until all 4 strap ends are attached.

You’re done! Fill up your tote with all sorts of fun stuff!

Cutting Equilateral Triangles ~ A Tutorial

Cutting 60 Degree Triangles ~ Tutorial by Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts

Next month, Kati of From the Blue Chair and I are going to be teaching a class at the Sewing Summit called “Shapes and Angles”. Kati is going to show everyone how to sew Y-Seams using Hexagons and Diamonds. I’m going to focus on Partial Seams and Equilateral Triangles. Because our class time is limited to 1 hour 15 minutes, we are asking everyone to cut their fabric at home ahead of time and bring the pieces to class.

Kati has posted cutting directions on her blog (here and here). Additional class details can be found in the Sewing Summit Google Group thread titled Shapes and Angles Class.

Let’s dig deep and try to remember Trigonometry class. I know, it’s painful. You probably remember that an equilateral triangle has three 60° angles. In order to cut your fabric for these triangles, you will need a ruler with 60° angle markings – there are two lines that represent 60°. The ruler does not have to be a special ruler for cutting triangles. Just needs the angle markings.

60Degree Line Markings

Let’s get started!


Cutting Equilateral Triangles

Step 1: Cut a 4″ tall strip of fabric.

60DegreeTriangle-Step1

Step 2: Using your quilting ruler, line up the 60° line marking along the bottom of your fabric strip.

60DegreeTriangle-Step2

Step 3: Using your rotary cutter, cut your fabric on the ruler angle.

60DegreeTriangle-Step3

Step 4: Next we are going to cut the third side of the triangle. Remember how your ruler has a 60° marking line going to 2 directions? This time, use other 60° line marking that you did not use the first time. (You will alternate marking lines, every other time you cut.) Make sure the ruler is lined up properly to create the top point of the triangle. Cut your fabric along the ruler edge to create your first equilateral triangle.

60DegreeTriangle-Step4

Step 5: Continue down the strip of fabric, lining up the 60° line marking and cutting additional triangles.

60DegreeTriangle-Step5

Enjoy all your pretty triangles!

60DegreeTriangle-Step6

A Special Note for Those in my Sewing Summit Class:
Bring at least 20 of these triangles to the Sewing Summit class. Although you are welcome to just bring triangles cut from one 42″ strip of fabric, you may want to bring a variety of prints/colors for fun.

Please bring the below additional cut fabric pieces for the Partial Seams portion of the class.
(32) 1.75″ x 5.25″ rectangles in various colors/prints
(8) 4″ x 4″ squares in neutral color/print

We will be beginning work on these sample blocks in class: