Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Fireworks Quilt "No Waste" Piecing Tutorial


I've been hoarding a fat quarter bundle of Wee Wander fabric for my daughter's "big girl bed" quilt for almost a year. Have you ever had fabric that was almost too pretty to cut into? (You're reading a quilt blog. Of course you have.) Wee Wander is one of those lines that is that pretty. Wild horses, blossoms, children exploring, fireflies... it really doesn't get much more adorable. It's such perfect fabric that I was petrified to cut into it until I had just the right pattern.

After months of searching, I finally settled on the Fireworks pattern by Thimble Blossoms. I love their patterns, and this one had everything I wanted: vintage-modern style, lots of white to make the bright colours pop, and blocks big enough to show off fussy cuts of the whimsical illustrations by Sarah Jane.

However once I read through the pattern, I started to panic when I saw the amount of fabric that would be wasted if I followed the cutting and sewing instructions exactly. My treasured Wee Wander! I couldn't bear to waste even the tiniest bit of it (regardless of the fact that scraps are always put to good use around here). There had to be a better way.

A quick Google search told me I wasn't the first quilter to think so. I came across two great tutorials by Two Feet First for parts of the Fireworks block: No Waste Flying Geese and No Waste Long Half Triangles. I used them both, and then figured out my own "no waste" method for piecing the remaining part of the block.

(Edited to add: I changed the "No Waste Long Half Triangles" method a bit by cutting my pieces 1/4" longer than she calls for - I cut the white piece 7.25" x 2.5" and the print 3.25" x 2.5". This way you get a full 1/4" seam allowance when you cut the pieces apart. You'll see what I mean if you read it.)

Using these three tutorials, along with the Fireworks Quilt pattern, you will be able to make a beautiful Fireworks quilt a bit more quickly and using less of your precious fabric than the pattern calls for!

Fireworks Quilt "No Waste" Corner Block Tutorial


This method makes the four "corner blocks" required for one Fireworks quilt block.  (I've outlined what I mean by "corner block" in the bottom right of the block pictured above.)

CUT:


From "accent" fabric (pink, in my case): Two 4.5" x 5.25" rectangles
From white fabric: Four 2.5" x 3.25" rectangles
From "main" fabric (green, in my case): Four 2.5" x 2.5" squares

(Please ignore the four smaller white squares beside the pink pieces in the photo. They are for another part of the block, and I forgot to move them!)




SEW:


Start by chain-piecing the 4 main-coloured squares onto each of the 4 white rectangles, right sides together, matching the 2.5" sides. Press seams open.



Arrange the pieces in two sets of two as shown below, with the coloured squares at opposite ends from one another. Place RST and sew each set together. Press seams open. You will have two rectangles that look like this (but sewn together in the middle):



On the wrong side of each piece, use your clear ruler to draw two lines. Align your ruler through one corner of the rectangle, right next to the corner of the coloured square, and 0.5" from the opposite corner, as pictured below, and draw a line using a pencil or water soluble marker.


Repeat to draw the second line 0.5" away from the first, through the other corner of the rectangle and passing just beside the corner of the other coloured square. You should now have two blocks that look like this:


With right sides together, lay this block on top of the "accent" fabric rectangle. They should be exactly the same size (which is why you can't see it in this picture). 

Sew a seam along each of the lines you've drawn. 

Then, line up your clear ruler in between the two lines, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance on either side.


Cut using your rotary cutter, and press seams open.


Repeat with the other set of blocks, and you will have made four corner blocks - with no waste!


I hope this is helpful to someone else! Please feel free to comment or email if you have questions, and I will do my best to help out. 

I still have a few blocks left to sew before I can share my finished quilt top (each one is taking me about an hour to piece). In the meantime I'll likely post some WIP photos to Instagram, and you can drool over Megan's stunning king-sized Fireworks quilt for inspiration. 

Happy Firework-ing!

1 comment:

  1. You are a genius! I thought this would never work - but happily, it's perfect! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete

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