Tuesday, January 4, 2011

January Log Cabin - 6. Lets sew!!!!

OK, I'm assuming that you are ready to rock and roll!!
Get your strips out, here we go.

Step 1:  Take your hearth and your smallest piece - both measure 2.5".
Right sides together, pin the small piece on at each end, making sure the edges line up.
 Step 2:  Sew all the way along - remember no backstitching and a 1/4" seam allowance.    If you leave your threads longish here, your seam is less likely to unzip.
 Step 3: Remove pins, open seam and press open.  You should always press to the darkest side, but with this block I usually find it easier to press outwards.
 Step 4: Turn your block 90 deg clockwise (or anticlockwise, which ever way you like, just make sure you always to the same thing...)  Pin the next sized piece on, right sides facing, ensuring edges line up.
 Step 5:  Sew from one end to the other.  You will notice here that my seam goes a little wonky here.  Not ideal, but it doesn't seem to make too much difference in the middle of such a short piece, and its not at the ends, so I'm leaving it.
 Step 6:  Press open.  You can see the seam looks straight, so again - I wont unpick it.
 Step 7: Change stacks, and move to the other fabric/colour.  Turn the block 90 degrees again (in the same direction you have done already).  Right sides together, match edges, pin and sew.
 Step 8:  Press open.
 Here you can see what the back is looking like - lots of nice 1/4" seams and pressing.  I started off pressing to the dark side, but its just naturally easier to press outwards, so I went with it.
 Step 9: 2nd Dark piece, follow the system above.  Right sides together, match edges, pin, sew and press open.
 Step 10: Continue on with 2 pieces from each stack until you get to the end!  I always look at my block to double check what the next step is.  If you look below, you can see the creamy piece on the right hand side is bound on both sides.  That means its next to get a top up!

Its really important to keep an eye on your pieces and the length.  If you are working inaccurately (or your strips were cut poorly) your block will get more and more out of proportion.  Your next piece wont line up on the edges, and you'll introduce a skew.  You can't fix this by chopping off the uneven end.  You have to go back and fix your mistake to ensure your block stays square.

IF YOU MAKE A MISTAKE..............................

 So you have made a booboo - want to see one of mine?

In this case I pinned too far away from the edge.  At some point you need to use 3 pins with this block, and I was being lazy.  The fabric shifted as I got to the end, and the blue piece moved inwards.  Worst place for it to happen - specially when you start doing small triangles in your blocks!

So to fix this , I used my unpick and picked back as far as I needed to in order to realign the pieces.

I put the block back on to my sewing machine, and started back an inch or two from where I had unpicked to.

Sewing more carefully this time (with my tongue sticking out of course) I resewed the partial seam, overlapping the good sewing and merging into the new seam.  I am totally confident this will hold, it won't look odd ironing because I did a clean overlap, and it saved me a couple of minutes.

So if you have done everything right, you can measure your completed block, and it should measure 12.5" by 12.5".  If its a bit more, your seam allowance is too small, if its smaller than 12.5", your seam allowance is too large.

Voila!!  You have finished the first block of your sampler.  Now the tough decision....  Do you make more of these?  Or do you sit back and wait for next month.  It is such a quick easy block, and a brilliant stash buster, I reckon you might want to crack on with a few more this month.  And if you make any you don't want to use, lets put them all together and make a charity quilt - as long as they measure 12.5".......

Enjoy!  And please remember to leave a comment if you have any queries or you want to point me to your finished product.

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