Don't be a square — be a square IN a square! In Week 3 of the Starling sew along we encourage square-like behavior while sewing, pressing, and trimming these units. So lace up your tidy white sneakers, tuck in your shirt, and let's get to work!
I've got some great tips along with a lot of photos of my process. Plus, a hot steamy video tutorial to help keep both of your squares looking press-tine! As we focus on some quilting basics this week, challenge yourself to find the beauty in those small sewing moments. Maybe put on a podcast, some music, or a much-loved movie and find your quilty flow.
If you're just popping into this sew along — welcome! You can find all of the posts in the Sew Along tab forever and always. Even if you can't make this quilt during the schedule time listed below, that's OK! Follow along at your own pace whenever it works for you.
However, if you are following along in real time, don't forget to post your progress on Instagram using #StarlingQuiltSA so you can be entered to win prizes each and every month. Skip to the bottom of this post for the sponsor and prize this week.
Starling Quilt Sew Along Schedule
- Week 1, March 31: Gather fabric
Sponsor: Lamb & Loom - Starling Quilt Kit (Gemstone) + surprise backing
IG LIVE - @suzyquilts: Monday, April 3 @ 2pm Central - We discussed fabric selection + Q&A.
- Week 2, April 7: Cut fabric
Sponsor: Global Fiber - Flowering Trees by Oana Befort fabric bundle
- Week 3, April 14: Sew square-in-square units
Sponsor: Art Gallery Fabrics - two winners getting two FQ bundles 🙂
- Week 4, April 21: Sew flying geese units
Sponsor: Thai Charm - throw size quilting
- Week 5, April 28: Assemble blocks
Sponsor: Sewing Arts Center - $100 gift card
IG LIVE - @suzyquilts: Tuesday, May 2 @ 2pm Central - We will discuss block assembly + a demo on 3 different ways to pin a block to get your seams to align.
- Week 6, May 5: Finish quilt top
Sponsor: Trace Creek Quilting - throw sized quilting
Week 3 Assignment: Sew Square-in-Square Units
You know what's great about these square-in-square units? The inside square gets to float around lava-lamp style, making it incredibly forgiving during the trimming process! This also means that when we assemble our blocks in a couple weeks, we don't have to line up any points. We've got enough of those from the flying geese!
OK OK, now onto the tips...
Tip #1: Crease with your iron.
I hate straining my eyes when sewing, so I need really defined, easy-to-see guidelines. The best way to get the creases for these units is to use a hot iron. I've found that if I stack 4-5 pieces of fabric, I can fold and crease them all at the same time with the tip of my iron. If you do it this way, a potentially tedious task will be finished in a few minutes!
Tip #2: Lower the pressure on your presser foot.
The default pressure setting on my presser foot is 50. When sewing along bias edges, I lower it to 25. This allows the bias edge of the Background triangles a gentler ride through the feed dogs — causing less pulling and distortion of the fabric. I also like it because I can sew faster without my fabric stretching!
I'm sewing on a BERNINA 770 QE. If you don't know where to find the pressure setting on your machine, do a Google search or look in your machine's manual.
Tip #3: Pin, at least in the beginning.
I started pining and then once I got into a sewing flow, decided I didn't need to any more. I think especially if you've never made these blocks before, pinning in the beginning is a good idea to make sure your creases line up.
Tip #4: Chain piece.
Get comfy in your chair and then sew, sew, sew away! Don't snip the threads in between units until you have sewn all of the triangle pieces to one side of each square. Once you are finished sewing those, snip all your threads, and do it again on the other side.
If you're curious about my magnetic pin bracelet, it's fantastic and I love it and you can get one here!
Tip #5: Press with a tailor's clapper.
It's been a minute since I filmed my clapper in action, so here you go! I highly suggest using it when pressing your seams because these units are the center part of a quilt block that we aren't going to assemble for a couple weeks. Do you know what that means?
Not only are they the foundational part of your Starling quilt block, they will be sitting in a pile for a bit — giving them ample opportunity for their seams to get unpressed and untidy. How unsquare like!
Tip #6: Sew through the mountains.
Do you see how your two Background triangles (or mountains) come together to form a narrow passageway? That's where you sew! Since we're trimming these blocks it's not a huge deal if you get off a bit, but if you hit that intersection right in the middle, your triangles will line up perfectly when pressed open.
Tip #7: Use the guides on your ruler when trimming.
Do you see how my horizontal guidelines are lined up with the seam? That's how I know I'm keeping my units straight so they will maintain maximum squareness!
Tip #8: Use any tape you have on hand.
I actually like using the same masking tape I use when basting my quilts. I like it because it's wide and helps give me a really clear visual of where to cut.
Tip #9: Draw a mark in the center of your block.
After sewing and pressing all of my units, the creases were hard to see. I used my Dritz tailor's marker to add a clear guide mark in the center of each unit. This made it way easier to line up the mark I made on my ruler.
And that's it! Trim your square-in-square blocks, set them aside, and start mentally preparing yourself for Week 4 (GEESE!) Ask any and all questions in the comments below or in the Suzy Quilts Patterns FB group.
Week 3 Sponsor & Prize
This week we will pick TWO winners! Art Gallery Fabrics is our sponsor and both winners will get TWO FQ bundles that have been recently released. Wahoo!
How to Win
- Post a pic to Instagram. The photo prompt for Instagram this week is to post a pic of your Starling progress. Use #StarlingQuiltSA 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 Friday, April 14 and Friday, April 21. The winner will be picked randomly from all qualifying posts and announced at approximately 4:00 p.m. on the 21st. Good luck!