Welcome back, Quiltketeers! Last week we were slicin' and dicin' so this week we are ready to hit the pedal to the metal, of our sewing machine that is 🙂 Ready to make all of the pretty blocks? This is when our quilt really starts to take shape.
If you are new to SQ sew alongs, check out the original post outlining all of the New Horizons sew along details and schedule. You can also view our past sew alongs in the Sew Along tab.
New Horizons Sew Along Schedule
- Week 1, June 30 - Sponsor Fabric Stork: Pick fabric and gather supplies
- Week 2, July 7 - Sponsor Global Fiber Textiles and Notions: Cut fabric
- Week 3, July 14 - Sponsor Saltwater Fabrics: Make HST and stitch-and-flip blocks
- Week 4, July 21 - Sponsor Trace Creek Quilting: Assemble blocks
- Week 5, July 28 - Sponsor Lamb & Loom Fabrics: Assemble rows
- Week 6, August 4 - Sponsor Sewing Arts Center + custom longarm quilting for a throw New Horizons quilt from Evanston Quilt Company: Sew rows together and trim the finished quilt top
Don't forget that the only way to enter to win a prize from our weekly sponsor is to use #NewHorizonsQuiltSA on Instagram AND have a public profile. If you only have a private profile, you can create a public one just for this sew along and then delete it afterwards.
Week 3: Make Blocks
Are you ready to fire up that sewing machine? This week we do a little more cutting as well as some sewing. All of my tips are specific to making the throw quilt. If you are making another size, double check the amounts in the pattern. Let's dive in!
Tip #1: Make the strongest seams possible.
Last week we made sure to use a sharp blade on our rotary cutter so that we could cut multiple layers of fabric quickly and accurately. This week we sew, which means it's important to make the strongest seams possible so that your quilts last a long time!
Here are 3 things that will help you get strong seams:
- Set your stitch length to 2.5. This one isn't complicated, just make sure your stitch length isn't much longer than 2.5 or your seams will get stretchy. Stretchy seams = loose seams = torn seams = don't DO IT!
- Use quality thread. I know it's tempting to fish out the old wooden spool of thread handed down to you from great-granny's sewing basket, but don't. Treat yourself to some thread that was made in the last 10 years. Just like a builder wouldn't use old mortar to lay bricks, don't use old thread. (On the topic of thread, you may like The Difference Between Cotton and Poly Thread: A Hard-Hitting Interview and The Best Quality Sewing Thread.)
- Press well. If you're into quilting vernacular let me tell you the difference between ironing and pressing. When you pull fabric out of the dryer and run a hot steamy iron back and forth over its surface you are ironing. When you press a seam open, first open up the seam with you fingers then lay the hot iron on top of the seam. If you're very bold you can gently nudge the seam open with the nose of your iron but ONLY if you do it gently. Pressing seams is a NO STRETCH ZONE.
Check out this post for a full pressing tutorial - How to Press Seams in a Quilt (with Video Tutorial!)
The main takeaway is not to make stretchy seams – not with a long stitch length or crummy thread or an aggressive hot steamy iron.
I use some extra supplies in this pressing tutorial, however you don't need any of these unless you like collecting sewing gadgets and notions. I do, however, highly recommend getting a tailor's clapper.
- Tailor's clapper
- Wool pressing mat
- Oliso mini iron
- Spray bottle of water (or steam function on your iron)
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Tip #2: Chain piece everything.
Especially when making the block parts and then later when assembling the blocks, if you are able to batch sew and chain piece, do it. It will save you time, thread and make the edges of your blocks stronger because they are closed from chain stitching rather than open from starting a new seam.
Tip #3: Don't forget to flip your strips when slicing triangles.
I mention this in the pattern, but even with that I still managed to mess this up while slicing my strips into triangles. Ooops! Good thing there's extra fabric left over in the FQs! Now someone hand me another cup of coffee.
If making the multi-colored version, it's important to lay out your strips like I do below so that the strips vary in location in the HSTs.
In this next picture I rotated all of my strips 180-degrees then cut my triangles by lining up the edge of my last cut with the guidemarks on my ruler.
Tip #4: Pair your triangles and pin.
The seam that you will be sewing is on the bias so you should pin and then sew a little slower than usual. I also like to raise the pressure on my presser foot so there's less drag on the fabric.
Tip #5: Pick your favorite way to trim the HSTs.
I typically opt for trimming my HSTs by using this Clearly Perfect Slotted Trimmer. However, one thing I noticed was that since my background fabric is a slightly stretchier woven, it was getting distorted after pressing my blocks open.
That discovery had me pivoting to my second favorite way of trimming HSTs – a rotating cutting mat and a square ruler the same size as the unfinished block. In this case that's 6 1/2". Luckily I already had one on hand from making the Kris Kross quilt pattern.
2 Ways to Trim HSTs:
- Trim before you press the blocks open. The easiest way is with the Clearly Perfect Slotted Trimmer. Here's a blog post with a video tutorial on using that.
- Trim after you press the blocks open. I like to use a rotating cutting mat with this technique so I don't have to cut at weird angles or move my block and ruler. Check out this blog post for a tutorial on that.
If you do not have a 6 1/2" square ruler, you can still trim your blocks easily. See below.
Tip #6: Avoid drawing guide marks by using tape.
Fig. 10b on page 8 mentions this, but in case you needed more of a visual on where to put the tape, see the pics below.
Line up this edge of the tape with your sewing machine needle, not the edge of your presser foot. I'm using this snazzy tape with seam allowance guides, but you don't need anything fancy. Masking tape or washi tape works just as well.
Tip #7: Make some extra HSTs!
This is completely optional, but if you want to have some finished HSTs after trimming your stitch-and-flip blocks, sew a second seam 1/2" away from your first seam. Trim right down the middle between the two seams and presto!
You have two adorable HSTs. Pillow party anyone?
Finish a Pillow 3 Different Ways!
Week 3 Sponsor & Prize
This week's prize is a $100 gift card to Saltwater Fabrics! Wahoo! Currently they are having a summer sale, so even if you don't win the prize, you can still grab some beautiful fabric at a great price.
How to Win
- Post a pic to Instagram. The photo prompt for Instagram this week is to post a picture of your cutting or sewing progress. Use #NewHorizonsQuiltSA in the caption.
- You must have a public Instagram profile to participate.
- Each photo posted is an entry and you can enter as many times as you want in a single week. Once the week is over, those posts do not count in the next week's giveaway. Every week we start fresh.
- Your photo must be posted between NOW and 1:00 p.m. CST on Tuesday, July 20. The winner will be picked randomly from all qualifying posts and announced at approximately 4:00 p.m. CST on Wednesday, July 21.
- This prize is open to internationally.
18 thoughts on “New Horizons Quilt Sew Along Week 3: Make Blocks”
Would you mind telling me what brand your sewing table is ? It looks perfect!
Of course! It’s from Tracey’s Tables and I absolutely love it!
On week two cutting instructions, we separate Pile 1 into a and b sets. We then cut THREE strips from pile a and TWO strips from pile b. Done. Check. But when I’m glancing through this post and seeing your strip sets, I see three of the same strip set sewn together (when you talk about flipping strips to get equal number of triangles in both color ways). What am I missing? Should I have cut three strips from both a and b? (not urgent. . .)
Hi Pamela! Tip 4 from the previous blog post has been edited for better clarity and explains the two piles in more detail now. It should clear things up! One pile is for fabric cut three times, and the other pile is for fabric cut two times. You can also send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, or join the Suzy Quilts Patterns facebook group! Those are both also great places to get help with SQ patterns, and the Suzy Quilts Patterns group is a lovely and supportive community 🙂
Sooo. . .in the week 3 photos, 8 see three completed strip sets of the orange/blue fabric combo. Yet, we have strips for 2-1/2 (3 from a, 2from b piles). Will it become apparent what we are to do with the leftover strip from group a fabrics? (If I trim them down a bit they will make dandy scrappy binding.) Excuse me if I’m overthinking. 🤦♀️
Hi Pamela! There was some confusion about the way the piles were named in Tip 4 of the previous blog post. The two piles correspond to the fat quarters that are cut two and three times in the pattern. Take a look at Tip 4 in the Week 2 post and it will be much more clear now!
Hi I have read this week’s blog post twice and watched the video. I am still a little uncertain what size my triangles from the strip sets should come out at. Suzy advised in the video to ask additional questions in the FaceBook group so that others can also answer. I am not on facebook and don’t intend to create an account.
When cutting these triangles we are measuring them in angles rather than height, if that makes sense. So instead of measure from the base of the triangle to the tip, we are cutting a 45-degree angle, and then flipping the strip set and cutting another 45-degree angle. That will make the sides of your triangles 6 1/2″ and the base (or the side of the triangle that runs on grain along the strip) 9 1/4″.
Hi! I have just finished cutting the strip sets into triangles. And was pinning them to the background fabric triangles as I went along. I have extra strip set triangles… don’t know how to figure out how many of each color strip set triangles I need! Help
Am making the multi color throw quilt. Thanks
Hey Poonam! Check out Step 5 on page 8 of the pattern. It explains that depending on the size quilt you’re making, there will be some extra triangles from the strip sets, and refers you to the diagrams on 11-22, where you can look at a diagram for quilts to see how many you need. The throw diagrams are on pages 14 and 15. Those should be a big help!
Thanks so much! Getting there. All the tips, videos are super helpful.
I am flummoxed! I sewed strips 1/2, 5/6, 9/10, 13/14 and 17/18. I cut out triangles.
Question 1. Do I sew all A and B strips paired? As in 3/4, 7/8, 11/12, 14/15 and cut those into triangles as well?
I have more questions about making blocks but will take this one step at a time.
Thank you, Claudia
Hi Claudia! Colors 3/4, 7/8, 11/12, 15/16, and 19/20 are made into stitch-and-flip blocks. The instructions for those begin on page 8 of the pattern under “Stitch-and-Flip Square Assembly,” and you can see a list of the colors used in step 1. Hope that helps! We always recommend reading the entire pattern before beginning a quilt because it helps to catch things like that. Here are some more tips we put together about reading a pattern! https://suzyquilts.com/how-to-read-a-quilt-pattern-7-tips-for-beginners-and-pros/
For the stitch and flip blocks, it says to press to the corner. I was just curious why to the corners. I’m an open press girl so I just wanted to double check. Also, it looks like we don’t need to trim these to 6.5 inches like the half-square triangles, correct? Thanks!
Hey Heather! Pressing to the side creates a stronger seam, so generally Suzy Quilts patterns only have press open instructions when it is to reduce seam bulk. Another reason to press to the side is to nest seams for greater accuracy, but in the case of the stitch and flip blocks, you don’t need to nest those seams. So if you’d prefer to press them open, go for it! And you are correct that the stitch and flip blocks do not need to be trimmed down. Hope you’re having fun making your quilt!
Thanks Laura! My stitch and flip squares seem slightly smaller than my HST. It means when I assemble my two HST and two stitch and flips it’s slightly smaller than 12.5 inches finished. Should I redo my stitch and flip squares?
Hi Heather! I don’t think you need to redo them. It’s ok if your blocks aren’t exactly 12.5″ finished!