This week I have been busy making Economy Blocks. It seems this traditional patchwork block is well known but perhaps not as an Economy Block but rather as a Square in a Square block. Either way it is a fun block to make!
I have pieced my blocks by rotary cutting the pieces, slightly over-sizing the triangles and trimming for accuracy. I thought it might be useful to share with you a tutorial for this process.
ECONOMY (or Square in a Square) BLOCK TUTORIAL:
These instructions are for piecing a 5 1/2 inch Economy Block (including seam allowances).
- ONE 3 inch center square
- TWO 3 inch squares for inner triangles
- TWO 4 inch squares for outer triangles
Step 1 Cut squares for the inner and outer triangles in half on the diagonal.
Step 2 Using a 1/4 inch seam allowance sew a small triangle to the top and bottom of the center square. Press seam allowances away from the center square. Trim off excess fabric.
Step 3 Using a 1/4 inch seam allowance sew remaining inner triangles to the remaining sides. Press seam allowances away from the center square.
Step 4 Trim the unit to measure 4 inches x 4 inches. Place the 2 inch line of your ruler directly on top of the center point of the unit adding a quarter inch allowance all around:
Step 5 Using a 1/4 inch seam allowance sew the outer triangles to the unit (in the same manner as described in step 2 and step 3 above).
Step 6 Trim the unit to measure 5 1/2 inches x 5 1/2 inches by placing the 2 3/4 inch mark of your ruler on what will be the center point of your unit (where the seams intersect), adding a quarter inch all around (see the black arrow). You will notice also that the center square is framed by the 1 1/2 inch and 4 inch lines on your ruler (see the red arrows).
And now you have a perfectly pieced 5 1/2 inch Economy block.
Of course there are other ways to piece this block including by cutting the exact size triangles and therefore avoiding the trimming process however I tend to prefer over-sizing and trimming units, especially when it comes to triangles. There is no right or wrong way, do what works for you and what you are comfortable with.
The Economy Block can also be paper-pieced. Foundation Paper Piecing is easy and very accurate. In case this is your preferred piecing method I have made the Foundation Paper for this block available as a PDF file - free to download - from my Craftsy Pattern Store. If you don't already have a Craftsy Account you will need to create one and this too is free. The download is ONLY for the 5 Inch Foundation Paper Piecing Pattern and does NOT including any paper piecing or assembly instructions but be sure to over size your pieces so ensure easy fabric placement : ~
I have made 80 Economy Blocks in the last few days; a fair amount of fussy cutting center squares, pulling out fabric from stash to work with, and sewing. The best of times really.
And so my quilt top is finished - the blocks pieced together into a quilt top without any stress. I am now ready to start basting and quilting.
If you have any questions regarding the tutorial above please don't hesitate to ask by leaving a comment and I will clarify by reply so as to benefit everyone.
Thank you for stopping by,