Make a “Slice and Swap” Quilt with Rob

My favorite thing about quilting is taking
stuff apart and putting right back together, well I also enjoy playing with color. And
today’s simple slice and swap block is just that. Let’s get started. That’s right, ever since I designed my original
Slice a Block quilt my brain has been playing with like a double slice approach. But I also
wanted to mix colors around and stuff. So we’re kind of calling this a Slice and Swap
because we’re going to take four different fabrics and make a block that looks just like
this. So before we get too far along I’m going to ask you to bounce down into that
description below and print out your free printable. This will help you stay organized
while you’re working through all your fabrics, right? So for supplies, get yourself a ten
by ten pack. I love using batiks and solids together. So I used Island Batik fabrics for
this. And then I used a Moda 1 ½ inch skinny strip set up so that I didn’t have to pre
cut all of my own 1 ½ inch strips. White, cream against the blue, something like that
is going to be awesome for your color choices, right? Before I race into the construction, join
me here at the quilt. I want to show you what you’re getting yourselves into today, right?
Now if you look real closely you’ll see all 40 squares were used in the layout. I’ve
got five by eight. And here’s an individual block we’ve created. So you’ve got kind
of those diagonal slice strips. But we also have regular squared up sashing. And I’ll
be showing you how to get to those towards the end of the video today and we’ll get
those all in a fast and efficient method. Now I also want to point out real quick, as
I was working on the blocks I was never real concerned with all of this center part lining
up because I knew how square this was going to be. I wanted it to look like a fractured
glass or like a mosaic of some sorts so I’m going to kind of show you a little bit more
of a free piecing technique today as well. You can work on your own personal level of
accuracy. It’s all about getting it done and having fun, right? So in order to do that, take your ten inch
square batik pre cut pack and just undoing it. And now what I did in this one is I had
multiples of each fabric. So I just built piles around on my table. Some of these I’ve
already used because I have some parts I’ve already built up for us. And I did just kind
of unpack it in the order in which the manufacturer sent it to me, right? But then after that
what I started doing is I just randomly grabbed a square and a square. And I’ll just dive
in here and grab a couple of different colors. Like I love this green sand dollar print.
And let’s get really a light and bright one. So I choose four individual squares.
So I do that for all of my piles first before I start cutting into anything. But today I’m
just going to do it through four pieces so you can follow along. I have a lot I want
to show you. Now with that, in order to keep these accurate we are going to want to take
a moment and hit them with our iron because we’re going to stack them up really nice
and square to each other before we cut them. So let’s just press this down. Move these
over here like this. And as we come in we’re just going to line up these squares real nice.
And I choose to press them one at a time instead of trying to get them all at the same time.
Just because I feel like it helps keep it crisp enough. And another thing I’d like
to point out actually, especially with Island Batik, they’ve figured out a really cool
way to screen print on some of their Batiks. So not all batiks are universal anymore. So
take this print for example. When I look in here, I want to make sure that I see the level
of saturation that looks good to my eye. So with something like this, I might see some
spotting in one spot. If I flip it over it looks a little bit brighter, more intense
to me. So I’m going to choose this as my right sides. And my right sides in all of
this project are just always up. Now some of these, and this was not one of them will
actually be screen printed and you really see a big color difference. And so if you
see that, make sure you have the value up that you want. And of course it’s a batik
so you really can use either side. Ok so back to work here. We’ve got them
all nicely stacked and ready to be sliced. Mathematically, geometrically speaking. And
I don’t want to get too confusing here. But I don’t want you to cut a straight line.
And I really don’t want you to cut a really big diagonal line either because if we cut
a gradual, kind of across the middle line like yay, we can actually get all four of
these squares made with just two of those skinny strips we’re using, because of the
math. So anyway we’re going to make a gradual angled line here. And then I’m going to
go ahead and do another angle, top to bottom. And it does not matter if I switch my angles.
And I do encourage you throughout all of the blocks you’re creating, to make slightly
different angles to add interest and character within your blocks. So I’m going to slice
this now here. And let’s just separate these so you can see right, the pieces. Now funny
enough, I found out this the hard way. If you start manipulating these just right you’ll
notice they look very, very similar in shape and size. So that’s why we’ve created
this printable. I want you to keep this handy so that you can always know we’re sewing
our seams together and you can see these angles as we go. And also it will help you for sorting
out your fabrics. So we’re going to just call this pile one for now. And you see fabric
one in all those positions. So our next move is I’m going to take fabric
from the top and I’m going to sneak it underneath everything else. So now I have two different
fabrics here. Coming over here to fabric three pile or pile number three, I’m actually
going to peel off fabric one and fabric two together. And then I’m moving them in order
below. So now fabric three is showing. And then the easiest way is then go ahead and
grab fabric four from the bottom and then just bring it to the top here. And what you’ve
done is you’ve created four blocks with all four different fabrics all throughout
each being unique, right? Super easy. Now you get to start sewing. I do not cut all
of my blocks. I only cut four at a time. But I do sort all of my blocks before I get started.
I hope that makes sense for all of us. Ok. Now using those narrow strips, I’m going
to first sew together the seams and I always do this, between fabrics one and two here.
So I’m coming over, remember we were right sides up and I left the selvedge on the little
strips so I’m just starting just past the selvedge. And I’ve got a nice quarter of
an inch edge guide on. And we’re going to sew through here just like this. And when
I talk about free piecing what I’m really referring to is the method of cutting without
a ruler often and/or sew, press, trim, sew, press, trim kind of idea. So as I come over
to my ironing station I learned that I always want to press away from the white. So I have
my batik fabric up, my white fabric down. Just like yay. And I’m going to move these
up slightly so we can work right here. And then I do use my ruler to keep my hands safe
and to keep my lines accurate. And I do trim each one as I go. So I’m trimming, following
the line of the batik. And I’m just trimming off the white piece there. And I really want
to maximize as much of this white strip as possible. Literally all of my squares I was
able to get one square out of half so one strip for two squares by trimming there, ok? Now what’s going to happen is we’re going
to add on the fabric number two. And I want you to look at something really close. And
this would make sense because I’ve done enough of these. But first I kind of panicked,
right? Oh no, it doesn’t line up, that looks short down here or something. Well what happened
was it was perfect when it was cut over here. But now we’ve added this distance in between
here. So we’re going to square all of our blocks at the end down to 10 ¼ to make life
really easy for ourselves. I am going to add another strip in here so I really, to make
sewing easy is I want to get this line more accurate than the outer edge. But what I learned
to do to make life the easiest is I kind of just split the difference between the pieces.
And I come on over here like yay. And I’m going to come right into the machine. Now
that way when we come back to our ironing station, I’m going to press again, holding
the batik in the air this way so I don’t have any of the seam allowance showing in
my white strips here. And now let me show you, this is the top edge, so it’s off slightly.
This is the bottom edge so it’s off slightly as well. We split the difference. Now all
I need to do to prepare for the next piece that will come in is just find the short side,
line up to it and trim it down, ok? Sometimes they lined up perfectly, sometimes they did
not. And as I said I square down to 10 ¼ at the end. But you could even square down
to ten if you needed. At 10 ¼ we can still fit them all along the white strips. And that
was just my goal was maximize fabric. Now we’ve got fabrics one and two together.
Now we’re going to go ahead and bring fabrics three and four together the exact same way.
So fabric three is in my hand. I’m still working from that same white strip I had earlier
but there’s been an angle cut on it, right? So if I put this together like that, I can
guarantee that I’m going to make it when I trim so that’s how I like to work. That
way I can line up just the corners ever so nicely. Run over to the machine here. We’ll
do the same pressing technique all the way through the quilt. Just like this here. You
can see that I had the distance I needed for the angle but I’m not really wasting much
of that white strip at all, am I? Just the perfect amount like that. I’ve been practicing
learning to cut a little more left handed. This is a good spot to do it. A little pressure
with my right hand. It feels so awkward but if I go slow I can get it there. Now we’re
going to bring in that piece number four. Same thing is going to happen, it’s not
going to line up perfectly. You can try to line up that edge if you want to practice
it that way. Let’s do that together. So we’re going to line up that corner. Let’s
see how that comes out. And when I’m building quilts like this, I like to experiment with
the piecing so that I can offer all of you solutions. I do apologize because I’m much
more into finished is better than perfect concept because I love the machine quilting
when I’m doing that. And so I’m often making my quilt top so that I can machine
quilt them. And again I wanted that fractured glass look. Ok, not too shabby though, right?
I talked and stalled long enough that you can see that came out really sharp. But now
the end if off over here. When I split the difference it’s a little easier to trim
to 10 ¼ actually if what I found out. So that’s why I was teaching you that way the
first time through. Batik in the air, press and over. But this side doesn’t need trimmed any longer
so I’m going to grab the last of that strip. I”m going to check my angle one more time
up here in that top corner. I can see that that angle is not running with me so I’m
going to flip that strip over like yay. And we’re going to start again. So here we are
just going to stitch that last strip on. And I am managing the seam allowance between the
white and the batik here and the white and the batik here. So I use my finger to fold
that over as it approached the presser foot or the sewing foot there, and then here. And
you probably see the giant smile on my face. And not only did it sew together nicely but
here’s what I want to show you. There’s the fold in our white strip which means still
have more than half left and that’s all I needed for the first block. So once again
I was able to use half the strip to create one entire block. And now we’ll be able
to use the leftovers. And it’s very efficient construction for this. Now ok I have to think
this one through. I was holding the batik in the air before so I hold the batik in the
air again as I press this. Flop that open like yay. We’re going to trim this down.
And I’m trimming the edge there. I’m trimming the edge over here like that. Save that for
the next series of construction. And now I’m just going to bring this back
together right here. Now as I was trying to say at the quilt earlier is I’m not overly
concerned about the way this is going to line up in here because I want to make sure I can
get at least get a ten inch square when I’m done. So I’m going to still split the difference
over here on the edges, making sure that that helps me line up nicely as I approach the
machine. I’m looking, double checking . Watch those seams as you come through there.
It just keeps everything nice and flat later on in the project. Ok. Last to press. And
we’ve got some trimming down to do. And I’m going to trim this one for you but I
really want you to make all 40 of your squares first because when you’re doing that style
of work it’s always best to measure your squares and make sure you’re cutting all
your squares to your smallest. Think about that one for a second. I think it will make
sense. Now using a big square, the easiest thing
for me to do is to kind of find my best lines. Like this line right here is looking pretty
good. It’s running pretty good. So I would like to go ahead and bring this down to the
bottom. And then I am going to first, oop let’s get my ruler correct. Here’s ten,
ten. 10 ¼ is down here so what I really want to try to do is lay it out barely. And I’m
just going to shave. Our first cut is just a shave cut. Shave, shave. And shave along
that way there. And then I’m going to rotate it 180 degrees. So now I have that crisp corner
I just created down here at my 10 ¼ mark and my 10 ¼ mark. Looking, looking there.
And then we just shave. And we just shave. And the beautiful thing is if you had a little
bit of fabric from one of those that didn’t line up you’re still doing quarter inch
seam allowances all the way around. But again, like I said, measure all of your blocks. Make
sure you’re trimming to your smallest. Ten or 10 ¼ will work beautifully for this project. Now that we have all of our squares made we
need to start talking about how we’re going to get our sashings in place. So let’s talk
about it but let’s look at the whole quilt together. Now the only thing I did in putting
all the all over layout together on this quilt is I did not necessarily worry about always
having like a one fabric position here. What I really tried to do was make sure that none
of the same fabrics ever touched, right? So sometimes they might be close, opposite corners.
I don’t know if I found that. I’ve been looking and looking. So I spent a good 30
or 40 minutes on my design wall playing and mixing and playing and mixing until all of
my different squares had fabric that was in different positions. So if I had two fabrics
that were the same fabric coming together like this I would not have used that. I would
have at least rotated the block. Whoops, now they touch up here. Rotate again here. And
even that happened a couple of times in the quilt and that’s just fine. But you need
to do all of your layout. And as I said on the project before, I have five squares across
and eight up and down. We only need to sash in between the center squares. So what I did is I took another strip. I figured
out where my sashing pieces were going to be. And then I basically, and I’m missing
a square somewhere anyway. It’s floating around here, oh I know what I did. I added
it to my last block strip. So I’ll put these together. Sorry I’m quilt brained today.
So what we’re going to do is we’re going to put a sashing between each of these. So
I’m going to take my white strip. I’m going to take my block. And I’m going to
set it up right sides together, dodging the selvedge, meaning not using it. And this you
can actually chain piece. And not only that but after I got more efficient with the slicing
and the swapping I got a little better a little more controlled with chain piecing even in
that format. So you can do it there too if you’re good at chain piecing. But I like
handling it one block at a time just the same. So I’m going to come down here. I’m going
to backstitch to lock it in. And then the next block, that was where the sashing goes
on this side over here, right? So then I’m going to come around and I’m going to rotate
it because I was already sashing between. Now I’m going to bring this square in. And
I only need a small little gap, less than a quarter of an inch. But I’ve got a 43
inch strip or so so I can certain position them all along here. Sew this one on. Ok, that sashing would have been right here
so now I’m going to go over on this edge. I’m just going to drop right in here. And
again about a quarter of an inch distance between. You could put them right next to
each other if you’re really good with a rotary cutter. But I prefer to have a little
bit of grace in there for reasons that are obvious to everybody out there. My caffeine
and my crazy behavior I get a little crooked cutting sometimes. I wonder if they named
the expression, that will quilt out, on my behalf. I’m not sure. Ok sashing is going
to go there. Lift that up if you need sometimes. Get a little too far away. Oh my goodness.
That was the nitro booster in my machine just kicked in I guess. And you’ll be able to
put four blocks on every one strip. Lock those down again. Just like you see here. Like I’m
making party flags, right? Nice and fun. And the key is always we’ve been holding the
batik in the air while we get ready to press. So we’re going to do the exact same thing
when we come over to our strips. But what I found was kind of fun. In order to keep
the strip from twisting when I had it all across my big long ironing board is I actually
started to pre flop the batiks over. So that way when I come in here I can hold them and
press. Hold it, press. Slide this down a little bit. Hold and press. Always trying to push
the white fabric onto the batik. I know I’m being a little sloppy right now but I’m
excited to show you how to cut these up. There you go. And then just bring them right back
in line. And I am going to use my ruler. I’m going to keep these as square as possible.
So here I’m going to trim. Come down here. So this is what I learned to do. Look I’m
so right handed as you saw earlier. I’m going to trim this one first, ok? Then I’m
going to spin this one around so I can get a really nice trim on this side too. Just
like that.. And so now we’re going to start to have sashings on all of your squares. Reminder
you only need it on four of the squares because there’s five in a row, ok? Once all of these squares are sashed like
this, let’s trim the rest of these out real quick. You can then go ahead and start to
marry them back together. So you do want to keep them in order while you’re working.
Right, so this was number two in that row. This one here is that number three in that
row. I shouldn’t tell you a story. I shouldn’t confess, but I will today. Somehow I noticed
I had two squares that actually still had one piece of fabric that was the same touching.
And I already had all my rows built. So I just moved my rows until I was able to get
away from it. And it worked, you can’t catch it in the quilt. It’s awesome. You don’t
see it. It’s not there anymore. But it started to develop. I don’t know how I did it. Anyway,
so you’ll have a no sashing, a block, sashing, and then the next block. So then I would just
take these together and at this point you really want to take the time to line up your
edges because they’re all the same length. We’re going to go over to the machine. I’ll
show you this one. Make sure you care for this little seam allowance as it goes through.
And I’m just making sure these last corners line up beautifully. Just like that. And then
again of course I would hold my batik in the air as I begin to press like this. And now my rows are beginning to develop.
The row after row after row will develop like that. And then as you can see, you’ll need
five, I just put those four together because that’s what we had ready. Here’s all of
the other rows built with the sashing in between coming together. In order to finish that off
all you need to do then is take a couple more of your skinny strips, whoa that was a tongue
tier. Take a few more of your skinny strips. Stitch them together like yay. And now those
will go all the way through the sashing as you need, just like that. Ok. So one more
trip back to the quilt here. And you can see. There’s the small sashings we were building.
Here’s the long sashings all the way across. I did try to take the time to rotate those
seam allowances in the sashings so they’re in different spots throughout the quilt so
it doesn’t look so similar over and over again. And now I want to talk a little bit about
how I did the free motion machine quilting. In each square I simply loaded a variegated
blue purple thread. And I started here in the middle of each square, in the middle of
the quilt itself. And then with kind of an echo quilting or the distance of my presser
foot against the edge of the seam here, I basically stitched a box, tied off. But I
did a jump stitch in the next square, around you see. Tied off, jump stitch, around the
square. Tied off, jump stitch, around the square here. And then I knotted and then from
that point on I moved into another square that was the next one over but I still started
in the middle and went all around. So the entire quilt is simply straight line quilted
about a quarter of an inch on the interior of all the white sashings. None of the white
is quilted as well. And literally I timed myself. It only took a couple of minutes per
block. So believe it or not this whole quilt only took me a few hours to machine quilt.
And it helped me also practice my free motion machine quilting in straight lines which a
lot of you know is something that is a personal goal of mine. Oh, I know that’s a lot of
information on what I promised you would be a simple quilt. But it’s really, really
fun and easy, easy to make. I just wanted to make sure you got to see each and every
step as I went along the way. I hope you love this project as much as I do. And as a matter
of fact, why don’t you let me know in the comments below what your first color combinations
will be on your Slice and Swap quilt. We’ll catch you next time right here at Man Sewing. Thanks for being a Man Sewing fan. It’s
great to have you out there encouraging me to create fantastic new content. If you’ve
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