Friday, April 4, 2014

Kansas Dugout Quilt Block - Tutorial and Templates

Those dreaded inset seams. Let's demystify this traditional patchwork block!

Kansas Dugout Quilt - tutorial and templates with step by step directions and photos
Kansas Dugout Quilt Block
To assist in cutting the fabric pieces for the Kansas Dugout Block I have made templates available as a FREE download (pdf file) from my Pattern Store:

Please print ACTUAL SIZE.  Do not reduce or scale to fit.

Kansas Dugout Quilt Block templates
Included in the download are templates for three different block sizes: 6 inch, 9 inch or 12 inch finished block. I have used the 6 inch block templates for my quilt project and for this tutorial. The sewing process is the same for all sizes, however if this is your first project with inset seams I suggest that a larger block size is easier and less fiddly when it comes to sewing the quilt top together.

Download, print and carefully cut out your templates. Choose the block size that suits your needs: 6 inch, 9 inch or 12 inch.

Fabric requirements for one Kansas Dugout Block (6 inch x 6 inch finished block)
- 1 center square measuring 2.5 inches x 2.5 inches (you really don't need the square template for this).
- 4 rectangles 5 inches x 2.5 inches
*see below for fabric requirements for other block sizes.

Mark (on the wrong side of the fabric) a 1/4 inch seam allowance along the long sides of all four rectangles. (I use a 2B pencil with a 7mm lead as it is soft enough to lightly mark the fabric without breaking the lead).
Kansas Dugout Quilt Block Tutorial

Place the paper B template on the rectangle fabric piece.Trim off the excess fabric by placing the 90 degree edge of your ruler on the paper template. Match the 1/4 inch line on your ruler with the 1/4 inch line on the paper template. Ensure that your ruler is at the correct angle by also matching the line on the ruler at the opposite point (see the red dots).

Trim with your rotary cutter.

Slide your ruler across to the opposite end and repeat step 5. A rotating cutting mat is handy for this step but is not a requirement.

Trim all of the rectangle pieces the same way.

With a pencil finish marking a 1/4 inch seam allowance around all of the four fabric pieces. All of the sewing will be done between the points were the lines intersect ~ ensure that they are clear/accurate intersections.

Ready for sewing.

Align and center the fabric to be sewn onto the center square. There is no need to mark the center square as you can easily see if you have correctly centered the fabric by the matching the size of the opposite corners.

With a short length stitch start sewing where the lines intersect and stop at the next intersecting point. Back-stitch at the start and end of the stitching line to lock the stitches in place.

Finger press the seam away from the center (white) fabric.

Repeat steps 9, 10 and 11 for the piece on the opposite side of the center square.

The third fabric piece is going to fit right in between the first two pieces.

At this point you will appreciate the lines on your stitch plate a little more so.
Kansas Dugout Quilt Block Tutorial

Notice how I have lined the folded edge of the green polka dot fabric with the horizontal line on the stitch plate (above). This is the starting point for your stitching -  stitch one or two stitches, back stitch - and continue on till the next intersecting point.

Kansas Dugout Quilt Block Tutorial - inset seams

Stop stitching right at the point where the lines intersect again. Do not stitch into the seam allowance of the next fabric (the blue floral fabric). Stop at or before the line as indicated with the red arrow. Don't stitch past the marked line. If you have accidentally stitched too far use a seam ripper to undo those stitches.

Repeat STEP 13 for the last piece of fabric.  Your block will now look like this with the four side seams yet to be sewn.

Sewing the side seams.

With the right side of the block facing your fold over the center square diagonally in half (wrong sides together). The side seams that need to be sewn will lie flat together ready for sewing. Start stitching at the intersecting point.

Here (below) is a closer look at what that looks like - with the center (white) fabric neatly folded, line up and start stitching where the marked lines intersect.  Stitch to the next intersecting point. You may prefer to stitch right to the end of these side seams but it will affect the way your press your final seams.

Sewing inset seams

Work your way around the block by re-folding the center square and sewing all four of the side seams. Your block will then look like this:

Press your block. 

Press two opposing center seams in towards the center square and the other two seams away from the center squares.  The points where the fabrics come together will simply twist open.  Gently press.

Kansas Dugout Quilt Top and tutorial

Arrange your blocks and sew together.  It is easier to work in sections of four blocks at a time.  Join the four blocks together with a center block first, THEN sew the side seams. This will make more sense when you get to this point. There is nothing different about piecing the blocks together, all seams are sewn in exactly the same way.

  • Reducing your stitch length will help you to stop on or before the point where lines intersect.
  • Back stitch at the start and end of all seam lines to lock stitches.
  • If you have puckers on the front of your block it is usually because your have stitched too far and into the seam allowance. It is not too late to fix this. Simply turn your block over and unpick those extra stitches.
  • Press all blocks the same way to ensure that all seams will nest together when sewing your quilt top.
9 Inch Finished  Block: 3.5 inch center square and four rectangles 3.5 inches x 7.5 inches
12 Inch Finished Block: 4.5 inch center square and four rectangles 4.5 inches x 9.5 inches

Kansas Dugout Quilt Top and tutorial with free templates

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask by leaving a comment, and I will explain/clarify as required.

Happy Stitching!

Kansas Dugout Quilt Block Templates - available as an instant download $4.00 
Kansas Dugout Quilt in progress
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  1. Thank you Rita- not just for the templates but for your clear and accurate photos of the whole process! You even tell us what the best pencil is! Brilliant!

  2. Aw Rita you are an absolute sweetheart to give us a tutorial for this beautiful quilt! Thank you for being so kind. I love it!!! Marie x (

  3. Excellent tutorial Rita, thank you so much!

  4. Thanks SO much Rita! This quilt is a definite starter in the near future. Your tutorial is so clear and easy to understand - thanks heaps :-)

  5. Wow, I didn't realize that block was so much work! It's beautiful...thank you for the tutorial.

  6. Your piecing is incredible. This block, and quilt, so well done! Thank you so much for sharing the tutorial and templates, Rita. Gorgeous quilt top!

  7. Wow. Not sure if I'm to all that tracing. But I sure do admire your work!

  8. Beautiful!! Your talent is amazing! Thanks for taking the time to share the tutorial with us :)

  9. Thank you for the beautiful tutorial. :)

  10. Thanks so much for the tutorial and templates, Rita! Your instructions and photographs are so clear and easy to understand. I've been wanting to tackle Y seams for awhile now. Thanks for an easy to follow tutorial. You are a rock star!! Your quilt is stunning, as always!

  11. Oh, my goodness....Thank you so much! Now can you send me all of your fabulous fabric!!! I'm just saying......

  12. Thank you for the tutorial and templates. Its a beautiful quilt and I look forward to following these instructions someday.

  13. Thank you for the tutorial - this is the very clear tutorial and step by step pictures ever, I can't imagine how busy you are between quilting and willing to share your knowledge to us ... you are such a generous person. I notice that your sewing machine is heavy machine, though .. my husband using this kind of machine in his upholstery shop.. I still can't handle that ...
    Happy Friday , Rita

  14. This tutorial is amazing! I was looking for a new quilting project to start this weekend and I found it! Thanks so much!

  15. Your tutorial is perfect. Thank you for posting it and for all of your generosities to the quilting community. We appreciate you!

  16. This quilt is absolutely beautiful. I have looked through all the steps and I think I am not understanding how the blocks join together. I see the triangle piece for the corners in your templates -- but it looks like you have pieced this using full squares which would require a little fiddling to join the blocks together. Is there something I missed in your directions? Thanks again for the inspiration. You do gorgeous work.

    1. Hi Kathy - the triangle goes along the outer edge of the quilt top, filling in the gaps where otherwise a whole square could have been.

      The triangle is inserted in the same way the square is sewn in. I cut my triangles larger - cross cutting a 5.5 inch square diagonally twice to ensure that the bias edge did not end up on the outer edge of the quilt.

    2. Thanks. That makes sense. The quilt really is quite lovely.

  17. Great tutorial! You covered all the bases technique, supplies and templates.

  18. Great tutorial. You really broke down the steps into simple manageable pieces. You can easily do the steps en masse for quick assembly. I am looking forward to making a baby quilt out of this to try it out!

  19. Thanks so much for the templates and the tutorial! So generous of you to share. I so do appreciate the time you take to share all your lovely projects and want you to know you really inspire me!

  20. Fabulous tutorial and thanks you for the templates.I admire your work!!

  21. wow! I am completely bowled over by your piecing after looking at the tute.

  22. Such a fantastic tutorial!! Thanks so much for sharing, I'm not TOO intimidated by this block now :)

  23. You are soooo awesome! Thanks for sharing.

  24. Excellent tutorial! Your quilt top is so beautiful! This is one of my favorite blocks! Thank you for sharing not only the tutorial, but the templates too! You rock! :)

  25. Thank you so much for this great tutorial! I need to try this! Best Barbara

  26. excellent tutorial but far too complicated for me quite new to quilting to do justice too,

    1. Hi Margaret - I agree, this is not a newbie beginner project.

  27. Great tutorial, thanks a lot!

  28. Thank you for another wonderful tutorial and beautiful inspiration, it is greatly appreciated!

  29. Great, well organised tutorial! thank you for sharing!

  30. Awesome tutorial! Thanks south.

  31. Rita....this is so beautiful. I am curious to know what type of white fabric you use?

    1. The white fabric used here and for almost all of my other projects that have white fabric in them is Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton in White. I also like to use Robert Kaufman Pure Organic in White.

  32. I want to say how much I enjoy your work---it is BEAUTIFUL! Love the patterns, love the colors. Thanks for what you've generously shared FREE on Craftsy, too!! Keep on quilting so we have more to enjoy!!

  33. Very cool block! Thanks for the free pattern and tutorial!

  34. Thank you for the free templates. Your pictures & tutorial are great!

  35. Thank you sooooo much!!! Very clear info & templates.....really think I can do this! Yay!

    Ohio Hugs!!! :)

  36. thanks for such a detailed tutorial Rita - love all the fabrics you've used in your quilt !

  37. Just had to add my thanks - such a clear and easy to follow tutorial together with templates, so generous of you. I love all your quilts and always leave your blog thoroughly inspired. Thanks again for sharing.

  38. This is such a beautiful block! I can't wait to try this out! Thanks for the tutorial Rita!

  39. Thanks for the great tutorial!! Not sure i will try this any time soon but I still learnt something. Who knew about the lines on the stitch plate!!

  40. Wow Rita, that's some awesome piecing skills ... thank you for the tutorial.

  41. You are too sweet to share this, Rita. I love the finished quilt to pieces!! Thank you! xx

  42. Such a lovely quilt! Love your work and yes! You are reliable - I know that when I open your page there will be wonderful patchwork there! Thank you for the tutorial and templates - I think with your clear instructions I am willing to tackle this block!

  43. Such a lovely quilt! Thank you for the great tutorial and templates! I think with your help I am now ready to tackle this block!

  44. You make it look so easy! Thanks for this great tutorial. These blocks look so good. They're now on my to-do-list!

  45. Bravo! I love to see others do set-ins or Y-seams. I understand it can be difficult for many but I have noticed that it is considerably easier if you use an open toe foot for your machine so you can see where you are stitching. With a bit of practice you don't have to mark a thing. Simply eyeball that intersection and insert a pin in both pieces at the precise spot. Remove the pin immediately before sewing and since you can see things with the open toe foot, you can actually see the hole left by the pin in the precise spot to lower the needle. Thank you for encouraging others to try them.

  46. Is the pattern free? When I try to download the pattern, it redirects me to Craftsy.

    1. Hi Jackee - the templates are $2.00 and available from my Craftsy Store. It is a pdf file ready to download/print.


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