September 13, 2013

Petal Block - The Six-Minute Circle Way

Here's my method for sewing these cute drop shaped petals in such a way that prints aren't all chopped up. This is an obvious knock-off of a commercial pattern, so please don't spread the link to this little tutorial around anywhere as I don't want to step on any toes. My goal with this block was to allow our bee to learn (or practice) a new technique while at the same time getting blocks for a quilt I'm excited to finish (let's face it - I don't really need another circle quilt). If I forgot something or anything is unclear, please let me know. Here goes nothing!

Included in your kits:

- freezer paper template
- glue stick
- white fabric for the back ground (approximately 9" x 35")
- a colorful print for the petals (at least 16" x 16")

Prep

- cut four 8.5" squares from your white fabric
- cut four 8" squares from your colorful print

Instructions

1. Using regular paper scissors, cut out the petal shape from the freezer paper to make your template.  (Don’t cut through the edges - it should look like a stencil when you’re done.)

2. Iron the template to the middle of a background square, shiny side down (template and fabric should be about the same size - if they're a little off, just focus on lining up the edges along the straight sides of the petal).  Don’t use steam to prevent the paper from getting all wrinkly.



3. Trim the fabric out of the middle of the stencil, leaving ~½” of seam allowance (it doesn’t have to be perfect - you’ll trim it down later).

left: scrap, right: keeper
4. Clip around the curve every ½” or so.  You want to get close, but not all the way to the edge of the freezer paper.  Also clip diagonally into the tip of the petal. There's no need to clip the straight edges.




5. Press the fabric back over the edge of the stencil with your iron.  Be careful not to burn yourself!

Pretend there's an iron in my other hand pressing those little tabs down.

This is what it will look like when you're done pressing.

6. Center a square of your printed petal fabric over the opening, right side down.


7. Lift up a section of the petal fabric, carefully spread the glue stick onto the little tabs you clipped (try not to get it onto the freezer paper, since you’ll be removing that in the next step and don’t want it to get too stuck), and press the petal fabric down to secure it.  Do a small section at a time (so the glue doesn't dry) and work around the whole petal until it is all glued in place.



8. Peel off the freezer paper.  (Be careful not to tear it since you’ll need to use the template for your other three petals too.)



9. Time to sew!  Start at the right angle of the petal tip (backstitch at the beginning and end to secure everything) and work your way around, sewing right along/in the folded edge of the background fabric.  It can be hard to see sometimes, so you may want to shine some extra light on your sewing area.  

Work slowly around the curve to make it go smoothly, and you may need to lift your presser foot and readjust periodically to keep going in the right direction.



10. You did it!!  Now just trim off the extra fabric in your seam allowance down to a little less than 1/4" all the way around.


11. Repeat to make four petal blocks, reusing your freezer paper template each time (you should be able to get four uses out of it, but it will start to get less “sticky” by the end).

12. Sew the four blocks together with a 1/4" seam allowance and press your seams open.



13. Congratulations, you finished the block! You're now a pinless piecing expert, so pour yourself a celebratory glass of wine. You deserve it!

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