Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Celebrate Christmas Quilt-Along (Do not fear the y-seam!)

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It's that time!  It's my turn to post my tutorial for the Quilting Gallery's super cute Christmas quilt-along.

My block is called "Bountiful".  I have to tell you that even if you're afraid of y-seams, just read on.  I promise if you can't make this block you have my permission to... hug... me.  It actually goes together really quickly (the math is what takes forever and I did that part for you!) and I am planning to make a whole quilt of these blocks.  So here we go!

You only need two fabrics for this block.  Of course you may change it up however you wish. I also suggest having at least an 8 1/2"x24" ruler, or a 12" square ruler with 30, 45 and 60 degree lines.

Since this block is largely done on the bias, I want you to repeat after me:

I will not stretch my fabric.  I will press my fabric.  I will not *iron* my fabric.  I will not stretch my fabric.

Good?  Good!

From your focal fabric, cut a 3 1/2" strip x WOF.

With your strip laid out flat, line up the 30 degree line with the top raw edge of your fabric.  (I'm left handed, if you're right handed, I believe you line it up on the bottom edge and cut from the right!)  Cut off your selvage at this angle. 

  Flip your strip around, and from the raw edge that you just cut, sub-cut three diamonds at 3 1/2".

Lay your diamonds out in a cube:

Sew a simple seam from raw edge to raw edge on the bottom two diamonds of the cube:

On the top diamond of the cube, flip it over to the under side and draw a line 1/4" from the edge on two sides, forming an intersection at the point:

Now, take the top diamond of the cube and line it up with the raw edges of Unit1 similar to the picture above.  Match the raw edge of the top (the piece we're sewing on) to the very right side of Unit1, and the line you drew should line up with the seam of Unit1.
Now sew a seam, starting at the intersection point (DO NOT stitch into the seam allowance of either the top or Unit1) and backstitch at the intersection (beginning of the seam), out to the outside raw edge.

(Unit 1.1)
(Forgive my crappy seams.  I used black thread so you could see and my new sewing machine hasn't arrived yet.  Aaaaahhhhhh tension!!)

Now.  You should have three diamonds sewn together.  But you still have one more seam to sew.  Take Unit 1.1 and flip the seam you just sewed so that your raw edges of your next seam match top to bottom.

I am anti-pinning in my piecing, but you're welcome to put a pin at the top of where your seam will be and at the intersection if it helps you hold things in place.
Repeat the last step.  Starting at the intersection, be sure not to sew through seam allowances and sew a seam along your line to the outside raw edge, backstitching at the intersection (beginning of the seam):

When Unit1.1 is opened up, it will look like this:

From here I usually finger press my seams from the back, making sure that all of the seams lay flat.  Then I flip it to the front side and press with the iron.

Next, from your background fabric, cut a strip of fabric 3 3/4" wide.  Again, lay your ruler's 30 degree line along the edge of your fabric strip and cut the selvages at the angle.

From the raw edge that you just cut, sub-cut two (you will only use one) 3 3/4" diamonds:

Cut this diamond in half along the short side:

Lay your newly cut triangles out along your block:

Sew each triangle to the side of the cube with a simple seam.  You should have 1/4" (depends on the seam allowance you use if this is accurate or not) extending beyond the cube on each side.

Press seams out.
Now, from your background fabric, cut another 3 3/4" strip.  Once again, line up the 30 degree line with the edge of your strip.  Cut selvages at this angle.

Sub-cut two diamonds from the raw edge you just cut at 7 1/2" (if you want to make more than one of this block, you may cut the strip at 7 1/2" and make your sub-cut at 3 3/4" to make more out of one strip.  For the purposes of a single-block tutorial, you save more fabric with a 3 3/4" strip!)

Cut these diamonds in half on the "short" side.  It doesn't look short.  Just make sure when you cut, from point to point you have a 7 1/2" edge!

Lay out your block:

For the first frame, lay out your background on top of Unit1.3 right sides together.  The outside edges should be flush and all overlap should be over the point at the seam of Unit1.

Repeat on the opposite side, forming a V at the seams:

For the next two frames, we sew a little differently.  Rather than meeting the new piece at the outside raw edges, you extend the new piece of the frame out 1/4" from the edge of the block (which will actually meet up with the seam allowances of the seams you just sewed, and the other end will still overlap beyond the point):

Sew both of the final half-diamond frames in this manner.

This is a good time to square up your block.  Trim it so that your raw edge extends 1/4" outside of the points of your seams.  Measure your block when you're finished.  Mine measured 7 1/2" x 12 1/2".

For my final frames I sewed a 3 1/2" x 12 1/2" strip along the top and a 2 1/2" x 12 1/2" strip to the bottom for a finished block of 12 1/2"x12 1/2".  Wheeee!  That was fun.  Now for the bow!

For the bow, it is best to have plenty of ribbon (I bought a couple rolls since I'll be making a whole quilt) that isn't too decorative because you want it to look the same on both sides. You'll also need a little bit of craft wire or a twisty tie.

Leave yourself a long end and eyeball the size you want your ribbon by holding it up to your block and make a loop to one side.

Make a loop the same size (again, approximate) to the opposite side.

Repeat, making loops over one another until your bow is as full or as bare as you'd like.

In the center where you're holding it together use the craft wire or twisty tie and wrap it around the center.  Not too loose so your bow doesn't fall apart, but not too tight so that you can't manipulate the bow.  At this point you can start spreading your loops to make the bow more dome-shaped if you'd like. 

I use my sewing machine to run a basting stitch on each side of the twisty tie or craft wire.  I then run a seam right down the center of the bow, then remove the basting stitches once I'm sure the bow is secured.  AFTER your quilt top is quilted, attach the bow by hand or machine sewing it to the center of your cube.  You can even add embellishments like buttons or beads to the center of the bow to make it a little more fun.  If you'd like to make it removable for laundering and storage purposes, you could always attach it with a safety pin (quick and easy all the way).  And you're done!

***If none of this made any sense to you at all, please let me know!  I've been thinking about making this into a video blog to better show the steps and techniques.  If I need to, I absolutely will!


  1. Just reading the directions makes me want to ***hug*** you, but face our fears and learn.

  2. Very Nice. It says to click on PRINTER FRIENDLY but that doesn't work! Any ideas?

  3. Beautiful block especially with the bow adding a new dimension to it. You have good instructions so it doesn't look too hard to attempt. I just ordered some Chritsmas fabric today that will be perfect for this block. To anonymous if you click on the print friendly link on the left and then enter the url from this blog it will work.

  4. Awesome Block! I had to "pin" it to my fabric eye candy board. Definitely plan on doing this one in the future.

  5. I'm sorry but I am very computer illiterate and I do not know what a URL is!!!! I hate to admite how dumb I am but I need and want this really cute block in my quilt!!!!!!! Thanks.....

  6. I'm sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you on this. I've been trying to figure out a way to get a screen cap to post for you so that I could easily point it out to you. But I can't do that in comments and I can't email you directly! Anyway, the URL is the address of this blog post. So when you're on this blog post, go up to the menu bar and copy and paste the link. It should be
    I hope you see this!

  7. Well I love videos! 😃

    Karen in Ohio

  8. how can I get this to print. I keep getting a message saying my current account ( does not have access to view this page.

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  9. @Lisa Marie This is Taylor from The Print button has a problem. Could you remove, then reinstall? (Select Blogger for first option).

    Contact me with any questions or help needed. Support at

  10. I still can't get this to print out a pdf copy.

  11. guess just not meant to get this one now when I press print it says file unavailable.