Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Economy Block Quilt in Progress & Tutorial

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).
For each block you will need:
  • 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,
Rita


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57 comments:

  1. oh I love your fussy cuts!

    wonderful!!!

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  2. Thanks for the tutorial! I just used your flying geese tute on the weekend to make my first ever flying geese (never thought I would!). I appreciate you sharing your expertise :-)
    And lovely quilt top, as always.

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  3. so pretty & lovely~~thank for your share~

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  4. Thank you for sharing, you make it look so easy. The colours are beautiful..as always!
    Therese.

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  5. This is such a fun way to show off special fussy cuts and cherished prints. I love that you called your work 'the best of times'. Aren't we lucky?!

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  6. Your work is always so amazingly neat! Thanks for the tips, as a very new quilter I'm soaking up as much as I can!!

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  7. Wow that's a great process. Thank you so much for sharing Rita!

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  8. Just delightful--I'm really enjoying the progress of this one!

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  9. Hi Rita, your blocks look great, I do like a bit of fussy cutting, and have enjoyed the odd glimpse on IG. Thanks so much for the tutorial. Do you press towards the outside each time when making the block? And how about when you sew the blocks together? Thanks again.
    Hen x

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    Replies
    1. Hi Hen - thank you for stopping by. Yes, when making the block press seams away from the center of the block.

      When sewing blocks together I pressed seams together to one side, alternating direction for each row.

      When sewing rows together into a quilt top I pressed seams open. I very rarely press seams open but in this instance it was useful to do so as it spread any bulk in the seams and allowed the point to remain sharp.

      Rita

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  10. Busy and happy. Great photos.

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  11. love the center fabrics you chose. so beautiful.

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  12. Thanks for sharing the "how to" much appreciate the time and effort. Great quilt top looking forward to seeing the finished quilt.

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  13. So pretty, Rita, as always! Thanks for the explanation of how you went about doing these blocks. I've recently started over sizing & trimming my triangle units (before I'd used an easy angle tool) and am much happier with the results.

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  14. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I definitely will give this block a try now. Your quilt is beautiful!

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  15. Thank you for this! Reading your blog and seeing your quilts are like a breath of fresh air, and the highlight of my day :)

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  16. What an interesting 'I Spy' quilt this will be! Thanks for your detailed instructions!

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  17. Gorgeous Rita! Love the colour choices. Thanks for the free tutorial and pattern. Have a great day.....Marie

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  18. I love it! Thank you for the tutorial.

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  19. ..As a newby to quilting, I am grateful for your tutorials and inspiration!

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  20. gorgeous!!! thanks for sharing.

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  21. how long does it take for you to cut all those fabrics? Do you just cut until you have enough? :) I go crazy cutting and have to stop for a while, lolol

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping by! I cut fabric for blocks in batches - up to 12 blocks at a time, and then sew them. I rarely cut all fabric for a quilt before sewing. I like to see how the quilt is looking and make changes if need be.

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  22. Did this beauty do any serious damage to your scrap basket(s)?

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  23. Very good tutorial. Thank you. I have made this quilt using up scraps from my stash similar to yours trying to make a fussy cut centre block. For the inner triangles I used white and then a print for the outer triangle pieces. It really pops the centre square.

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  24. Great tutorial. I usually oversize and then trim also but I do love the idea of paper piecing. It's a simple but versatile block! Thank you!

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  25. Thank you for great tutorial, Rita !! those Red Pepper block is so YOU .. awesome..

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  26. A great tutorial. I love the bright happy colours you use in your quilts. Thank you for posting.

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  27. Oh, Rita, you're the bomb! Not only do you sew incredible, inspiring projects, but you help others so generously! Thank you...

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  28. This is one cheerful quilttop! Looks great

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  29. Thanks for the great tutorial. This will be great in making a lovely scrap quilt.

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  30. Nice! I don't do as much quilting as I would like but this looks like fun. I need to get busy and generate a stash of scraps I can use up with this block lol.

    Thanks for all of your quality tutorials!

    Lisa
    imperfectseams@gmail.com

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  31. Your fabrics are so charming. This is one of my favorites. I am trying to think of what I might have for this. The quilt is very cheery and needs to go to a child or young adult. It says a lot Rita: you are special, get well, congratulations. Thank you for the pattern. I need to make one for someone special.

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  32. So pretty! I don't understand the trimming in step #4 and #6 though.

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  33. This quilt is just incredible! I'm wondering how many years you collected those fabrics. I could never be this creative!
    I wish I could look up close at each and every block!

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  34. Love your quilt! Thanks for the tutorial and free pattern :)

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  35. That is such a delightful quilt. You are such an artist. I really admire your talents and appreciate your generosity in sharing the pattern and method for making this. I also would love to spend hours poring over each and every block! Love the 'red pepper' one!!

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  36. Was there any color you didn't use in this quilt? I love how bright and vibrant it is. I see brown and black in there. I'm just curious how you picked the fabrics. Even though it's scrappy I'm sure you had some game-plan.

    Also, when you join the blocks together in rows how do you nest the seams? Would it work the same if I pressed the seams open? Thanks!!!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jamie Lee - the overall feel of the quilt is scrappy but I did play with the color of each individual block (I wanted to like them all!).

      When sewing blocks together I pressed seams together to one side, alternating direction for each row.

      When sewing rows together into a quilt top I pressed seams open. I very rarely press seams open but in this instance it was useful to do so as it spread any bulk in the seams and allowed the point to remain sharp.

      Thanks, Rita

      Delete
  37. Thanks for the excellent tutorial!

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  38. In step 4, will the actual size of the block be 4.5"x4.5" including the seam allowances, or 4"x4"???

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    Replies
    1. In Step 4 the block after trimming will measure 4 inches x 4 inches - that includes the seam allowances.

      Rita

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  39. WOW, I love it, so full of happy color!!!

    Thanks for sharing the tutorial!

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  40. another well written tutorial - are you a lefty? that would explain your brilliance :)

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  41. Thanks for the great tutorial! I could spend hours looking at the centers of your blocks :) So fun!

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  42. Thanks so much. THis will make a great charity quilt.

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  43. where do you get your centre fabric pieces from? did you just buy lots of fat quarters and collect?? lovely quilt!

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  44. Thank you so much for the tutorial ! A wonderful way of using lots of scraps. Your quilt is Beautiful.

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  45. Rita, thank you so much for your tutorial! I made my first ever quilting block today and I am in love with it. So simple and easy but the result is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your skills!

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  46. Great tutorial, thank you for sharing. Love the quilt.

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  47. Thanks for sharing your very detailed and well written tutorial... excellent,
    Love the choice of fabric, really made me smile!
    Bye, Jay x

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  48. Thank you for sharing - I have just made one, it is a bit wonky but I'm very pleased with myself, thank you again.

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