North Pole Sampler Sew Along – Week 2 – Wreath Blocks


Hi! It’s Jen from Shabby Fabrics! Welcome
back to week 2 of our North Pole Sampler Sew Along! In our first week we did our
tree blocks and this time we’ll be making eight wreath blocks. Four will
have the light green in the upper left corner and four will have the darker
green in the upper left corner, but of course, the process is the same to make
each of the wreath blocks and then we’ll be sewing four of those together with
some sashing strips and creating a unit. So this is what the individual block
will look like and then once you sew four of those we’ll be using some
sashing strips to sew that together into a unit and you’ll be making two of these. So
of course, just like I mentioned in our first video, which was quite long and
don’t worry these are all going to be much shorter except at the very end when
we put everything together. Same thing; good good pressing habits,
using plenty of sizing, pressing everything out, cutting all your fabrics,
and labeling helps you to stay organized and you can jump right into that.
If you’ve already cut everything out you’re just pulling pieces out. You’re
opening that bag that’s labeled as “wreath” and here we go. So we’re gonna
make the top portion of our wreath block first and our instructions are telling
us that we’ll be using one piece of the red and one piece of the white. We have
two different reds in this particular quilt. One has the kind of snow dot, the
white draw on the red background, and we have the snowflake. So we have already
made the one that has the little polka dot so I’m going to do the one with the
snowflake today. And a piece of white fabric. So our instructions are guiding
us to draw a line and to sew on either side of that. So that’s something we
probably all learned and I’m going to show you how we do that, and then also
show you a new tool to give you an option if you prefer to use the tool. And
I always like to bring tools to you that I truly feel bring you value, accuracy,
fun, and precision, so it’s just something I want to be able to present to you because it’s nice to know when new
notions come out that maybe you’re like “oh if I’d only known that notion was
available I would be using that”. So here’s how we were taught, or maybe if
you have never done these before, the traditional way to make what’s called
Half Square Triangles (HST) is to draw the line corner-to-corner
like this, go right sides together, so of course, on the white it’s difficult to say
you know what’s the right side but let’s say this was a print you would have the
printed side, so it’d be the right sides together (RST) and just like we’re showing you
in the pattern here, the dashed lines representing what we would be doing for
sewing. We would take that to our machine and sew on either side of that using
this line as our reference to sew a quarter inch away. That’s how we were taught.
It works well, but there’s a new tool out there – I’m gonna erase that line with the
heat. That’s what I love about a Frixion Pen and that’s why you’re gonna want
plenty of these in your sewing room, especially if you’re drawing any hand embroidery on something, it’s nice to be able to remove the lines especially after the
embroidering is done. There’s a tool on the market, it’s called
the Fons & Porter [Quarter Inch Seam Marker]. It’s specifically made for the making half square triangles. There’s two sizes in there. There’s two sizes in this little
unit when you purchase it and what I love about that – we’ll use the smaller
one because we don’t need to be using that bigger one, but you can see if
you’re making big Half Square Triangle units, think of how big this will
actually make. So you’ve got all kinds of size potentials. So your yellow line is
really going to go corner-to-corner and I don’t even need to really have that
lined up with my red. I only need to be marking on whatever fabric I’m going
to have on top. What I love about that is once I have that in the corner here and
the corner here is I will use my Frixion Pen and I’m just gonna spin that around because it’s – you know I can certainly do
that, but that is a little bit on the awkward side. Just spin it around real
quick and let’s line that up again and let’s just draw. Here’s what I know about
sewing. When I have to visually go try to achieve a quarter-inch seam allowance, I
I usually get it pretty close but I’m a much more accurate one I get to sew
on a line, because I’m focused on the line. So I find that when I use this
tool and I’m sewing on the line to make Half Square Triangles (HST),
my HST consistently come out more accurate. So that’s just been my
experience and I wanted to introduce you to the potential of using the tool
because you, too, may find it’s just a little bit more enjoyable, more fun, and
it’s a little more relaxing when I know I only have to sew directly on my line.
Be sure to stack your fabrics one right on top of the other. Let’s head over to
the sewing machine. Now one thing I’m going to be introducing you today is
something called a starter strip. This is just a scrap piece of fabric. There’s
nothing special about it. But knowing that I’m going to be dealing with a lot
of triangles and a lot of things happening, it just kind of helps the
machine kind of get going and I can follow right up. I’m gonna get in real
close and I’m gonna follow right up and I’m just sewing on my line right now. *Sewing* I’ll turn it around and come right back
down this side. You can cut your thread if you’re not comfortable
making that pivot, that’s fine. *Sewing Okay, so let’s trim off that starter
strip. The starter strip is helpful because sometimes, especially when you’re
sewing sharp points together, like you’ve cut this apart, which we’re about
to do, let’s just go do that and I’ll be able to emphasize the point of a starter
strip. I’m just gonna put this corner-to- corner, but later on you start getting
these little points here and it’s sometimes, as I’m sewing, they kind of
dive into the feed dog of my sewing machine. A starter strip seems to help
alleviate that. If you’ve never used one, maybe you would just give it a try. Again,
it’s just a scrap piece of fabric and you can decide whether you like using
those or not. So we’re going to give a press and our instructions will say;
press toward the red. Okay, so what that means to me is I’m just gonna flip that
over and let’s press toward the red. This is the top portion of our wreath. It’s
the bow! Now what you’ll notice, when you have Half Square Triangles, is you’re
going to have what’s called little dog ears. Where they came up with that, I don’t
know, but that’s what they call them, and I just trim those away. The last thing
that you want is to have additional bulk in your seams. You just don’t need that
and certainly don’t want that. So go ahead and just trim those away. Now at
this point, as you can see, we’re going to refer to our diagram – you’re like how
does this go together? That’s why I always love to have not only obviously
the instructions in front of me, but also where am I going with this? What’s this
going to look like? So you just want to lay those out so your sight picture
looks just like what you’ve got going on here and let’s just go right sides
together with that. Now I’ve got a choice here. I can start here and I can
finish there or I can flip this over and I can start here and finish there. That’s
really your preference. I think I’ll start where I kind of have that bulk
right there and I’m gonna pin that. You saw in my first video, I kind of got a
little lazy with my pinning, and I ended up paying for that with doing a
little bit of seam ripping on camera, because that sometimes happens. Fabric just tends
to move around, slip around just a touch, and, well, next thing you know your seams
are off and you’re seam ripping. So let’s start off with our starter strip
again. We’ll use that today throughout our process of sewing our block together. *Sewing* Alright, so let’s see. We want to
continually refer to our instructions to decide and determine if it’s important
to press our seems one direction or the other or sometimes even open. So as you
can see, on the back of this, we have a lot of layers happening. If I press that
here I literally have one, two, three, four, five,
six, seven, eight layers and same here. So for that reason, it’s kind of
distributing that evenly with an open seam is the most logical decision. And we
do mention that in the instructions so again if you are new to sewing, this
emphasis on where seams are pressed is important. It does help your blocks lay
flatter. I’m going to show you the back of how this was pressed and we’ll be
following suit today so that the block lays as evenly as possible and you don’t
happen to have these ridges and these valleys for the block. I’ll just
leave that turned over so we can keep referring to that. So I’ll press that
open to distribute that bulk and I said before that’d be eight layers, I think
that’s wrong, that would have been six layers. One, two, three, actually five, but
now we have equal distribution of bulk. So this is where we are so far. Alright,
let’s go ahead and move on to the bottom portion of that. So now I want you to
note something. I mentioned it just a bit a little briefly when I first introduced
the block. Notice how light green – these two blocks had the light green in the
upper quadrant and these two blocks have the dark green. So when you lay out your
pieces, don’t get too ahead of yourself, and just make sure everything’s laid out
so you have that same orientation. We have done the bottom
portion. So this is the first one for up here.
The bottom portion is the one we’ll be making together and these two will be
identical. Okay, so this one will be coming up in this corner here. So this is
the one we’re going to be making together; this one right here. So with
that in mind, I’ll put that aside, this is the one that I will be looking at. Now I
want to point out something to you again about pressing seams, but I think we’ll
get started and it’ll be a little bit more intuitive once I get going.
We want to have what’s called interlocking seams. I can actually show
you in this block. It’s easier to sometimes focus on it when the block is
whole. You will notice that on the light green we pressed our seams toward the
green. Our white – see that where that seam is? They’re pressed toward the light
green. On the dark green, they’re pressed away. What that does for us is give us an
interlocking seam when we sew those together. Let’s make the block together
and we’ll be able to emphasize that in real time as we’re making the block and
again we’re going to be doing this one. So we have our piece E and out comes a
piece D. And our instructions are showing us to again, we’re going to put that
piece up here and just like we did in our tree block, you can just take a ruler
and draw a line and sew directly on that line right? Once you’re sure it’s where
it is, you’re going to press to the outside, make sure you love it, trim away
the excess. Repeat the same down in the bottom corner, putting a second piece
down there. Remember this would be pressed away. Draw
on the line, sew on the line, press away, make sure you love it, trim it away. I’m gonna
be using the Corner Clipper because I think it makes my blocks more accurate. I
just love what it does, so let’s go ahead and bring out the Corner Clipper right
now and we’ll start up in this corner here
just like our pattern is telling us. We’re gonna follow this little example
right here. So I’ve decided, you know what? I don’t want to use the – I don’t want to
draw the line, I’m gonna go ahead and use my Corner Clipper. So looking at where
this would happen, this is our two-and-a-half inch line, and you see
this dashed line, right? That’s where you would have normally drawn that line. You
don’t need to do that. The Corner Clipper is gonna take care of
that for you. We’re gonna go ahead instead of drawing that line, we’re gonna
just trim that fabric away, and I’m gonna pin that real quick because I don’t want
that going anywhere. If you were feeling confident and you
want to go ahead and put that other one down now to maximize your time at the
sewing machine, again, understanding okay where does this line need to happen? Well
we would know that this line, that solid line, is the line that you would have
drawn with your ruler. When that line goes from that corner to that corner and
you’re sewing on this side, you know you’re on the proper side. I’m going to
go ahead and do that. I’m gonna prepare that and I’m gonna pin it. And I’m going
to take this to the sewing machine and I’m going to sew on one side and then
come back up the other. Let’s go do that now. *Sewing* Okay, so before I make all of my blocks,
remember how I said we’re gonna make eight blocks and you saw in the first
video how we started doing some economy sewing, right? We would get all of our
Corner Clippers trimmed, pin, pin, pin, make a trip to the sewing machine… before you
get too crazy, I always encourage you to do one block, make sure it’s going together
the way you think it is, the block is measuring the way it’s supposed to be,
and then you can think about some economical and time-saving approaches to
how you can be doing multiple steps without compromising, you know, accuracy,
so I definitely have learned that it’s always good to complete a block all the
way through before you start doing a whole bunch of block trimming especially
with the corner clipper because you need to make sure it’s right. Now remember how
I said that on the dark green we were pressing toward the white. So
let’s look at our block again, let’s just double check. We’re pressing toward the
white. Once we do this step again with the light green we will be pressing
toward the light green. But for now we know we are going to go ahead and press
to the outside, so let’s do that. And you see how beautiful that Corner Clipper is
just – I love it. It saves me time, increases my accuracy. Okay, so we know
we’re gonna do another one with the green, so I’m going to
continue this process getting these ready to go with my other dark green and
my light green. I’m going to be sewing those. *Christmas Music* Okay, we have our units with their
corners on, remembering that with the dark green we’re gonna press to
the outside toward the white, and with the light green we’ll be pressing toward the
light green. So let’s move that out of the way and let’s get that going. To the
outside. *pressing* Out. *pressing* There’s that and now here. How do I do it
is I kind of flip it over, kind of just finger pressing. This is when you’re more
likely to take a tuck, so you kind of almost need to press it from this side,
too, so you don’t get just a little bit of a tuck. We kind of had that happen in
the first block. *pressing* And you’ve got bias here, right. It’s on
the angle so I don’t do too much of this. But I do want to make sure I get it flat
and I don’t recommend steam at this point. Okay, so there’s that one and one
more. Again, let’s warm up those seams, they’re
just a little more compliant when they’re warm. *pressing* And we’ll press from the
front side, making sure everything is nice and flat. No, we didn’t take any
tucks in the seams. And this is when I like to refer back to my pattern and
make sure that I lay everything out properly. So this is what I’ve got going
on here and this is really when I’ll move everything over and start using my
Pressing Mat really as a design board too, because now it’s really helpful
to me. I needed the Spinning Mat before so I kind of kept this out of the way
and I’m gonna lay everything out before I do my final assembly and make sure I
don’t want to make any adjustments. Is everything as it appears? Well I can
already see right now I’m missing some pieces out here, right? So let’s get that.
Yep, there they are. Let’s print – Let’s put that here and I have a feeling
she has a very specific pressing instructions that we can read all about
here and we can also just refer to our block and see what they did.
It looks like, and this is logical right? You can see there’s a lot of bulk in
there so naturally you’re going to want to press away from that. I’ll show you
what I mean we talked a little bit about this in the first video, how usually a
block is going to really tell you what it wants to do as far as pressing goes.
Now I am going to go ahead and pin both of those and sew on each side just to
save us a little bit of time. *pinning* So let’s go sew that together. You know
what, while I’m at it, I’m going to sew these together, too,
because we’re gonna cut – we’re going to make our trips to the sewing machine
count. This is where pressing the seams in the opposite direction helps. See how
this seam goes here and that goes here and they just nest beautifully? This is
what makes a quilt block lay flat; all the seams come together the way you want
them to. Pin the beginning, pin the end, and really this is very important that
that comes together just where it’s supposed to. And boy they just kind of
lock in like a puzzle piece and I’ll put my pin right along that. Okay, so
that’s going to go to my sewing machine, I’m going to sew down that direction.
Same here. I love how that clicks together. Put a pin here, down there, and
right along here. We’re just gonna visually check. *no speaking* If you’re uncertain, you
can put a pin in, kind of take a peek, insert it into the fabric beneath, it
also in the seam, and kind of rock those up so that they’re really just locked in.
Alright, so let’s go ahead and take all this to the sewing machine and let’s get
started. *sewing* Okay, again, we’re doing some chain
stitching, save some thread, save some time, and we’ll just trim off our starter
strip and separate our pieces. And I like to lay out again, make sure “did I
actually sew that together properly?” Gosh, I’ve sewn together plenty of blocks
in the wrong direction, I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I think we’ve all done
it. Now keep in mind, that block is in the upper corner so we’re not mimicking
that. It’s this block right here. This is the block that we’re mimicking and
trying to make again. So let’s just double-check that that’s what we have.
Yes and yes right so that looks like this. Now let’s look at that block again.
Notice now how here you’ve got a lot of bulk. Obviously, we’re going to press to
the outside here and as we did here, again, there’s no advantage, it’s actually
a disadvantage to press this direction or this direction because now you have
lopsided bulk, so we’ll be pressing those seams open. So let’s press accordingly. *pressing* Away from the bulk. *pressing* Away and away. And then here we’re going
to go open with that. Sometimes just getting it open and if you kind of
wiggle the point of your iron it kind of helps open the seam. That’s something I
guess I’ve learned along the way. And I like to press from both sides
again making sure to not take a tuck. *pressing* Warm it up. *pressing* And let’s try to get in there.
Wiggle-wiggle-wiggle. helps to open it up, press, and again here. *pressing* Alright, so as you would suspect, we’re
going to sew, rather than sewing this to here now, I’m going to work on just
getting this put together beautifully because we really need those points to
come together beautifully. When that’s the case, I don’t pin on either end first,
I pin here first. Because this must happen and I’m gonna pin right along
that seam coming right up. Sometimes I’ll also just pin a little bit more,
just to support so nothing shifts along the way and then I’ll go over in those
corners. And I’m gonna press – not press, but pin rather – I’ve got pressing on the brain!
Let’s go sew that seam right now. *sewing* Okay, let’s see how we did. The goal, of
course, is to have that seam line up exactly where we want it to. If it
doesn’t, we’ll seam rip and do it again! Right? I showed you that in the first
video where my fabric was off, I seam ripped it, pinned it, sewed it, and it was
exactly where it should have been. So it looks like that is good! I’m happy with
that. Let’s press that. Again, seam open seems
to be the thing to do. *pressing* So let’s look at our block. Okay, I’m very
happy with that and now comes the top portion. Same thing, we’re gonna repeat
those steps where we’re going to pin through this, down into this, you can
rock that pin back up through the seam, and back up this seam. *pinning* Let’s pin over here real quick. *pinning* Having good pins – now that you understand, pinning is important! Pinning is really
important! Things can go awry when you don’t pin. Invest in some good pins. These
are the Clover Patchwork Pins and I can’t say enough about them. Super sharp,
durable, and a glass head so they’re not going to melt if you accidentally touch
it with your iron. *sewing* Okay, let’s see how we did with sewing on
the top portion. Okay, I’m happy with that! These things are lining up here, they
line up here, good! Let’s warm up that seam allowance.
Let’s look back here. There’s a lot of bulk going on so again that seam, you
know where do we want to press it? There’s just a lot
going on in both directions so we opted to go ahead and press open on this one. And our block is complete! Our block
should now measure eight-and-a-half by ten-and-a-half. And as I mentioned, you
know, four of one and four of another, and you have sashing strips. The pieces that
connect the blocks together are called Sashing Strips. So let me take this over
here. So you’ve got two shorter sashing strips and one longer so you’ve done
that unit for the upper portion and we’re going to make that again. So let me
just put that over here and just to save time we did go ahead and put the bottom
portion together, where we just sewed a sashing strip and we can do that right
now. So let’s look at what we have. We’ve done
the bottom portion. We know we need the light green in that corner and this one
here so the sashing strip will go in between here. So make sure your sashing
strip is the same size of your block. If the sashing strip is longer than your
block that means your block is just a little bit shorter than it should be.
Press it! You can usually make your block grow maybe an eighth of an inch by just
pressing it a little bit flatter. Once you’re satisfied with that go ahead and
pin it. Again pin in the beginning and pin in the end. It’s very important that
your units come out the right size because this quilt really blocks
together as a puzzle. Each section needs to be its
designated size in order for it to fit in with the rest of the quilt. So let’s
take this to our sewing machine. Let me grab my starter strip and let’s sew that. *sewing* I think I mentioned it already but we’re
going to go ahead and press toward the white and you’ll see momentarily why
is that. There’s so much bulk going on over on this side that watch as I
kind of turn it to the back. You can see it’s asking to please press in
this direction. Press away from all of that bulk and kind of activity I guess I
would call it, the bulk of the block. So we are going to agree that that is a
good idea. And now we’ll just be lining up our other block, right? Looks correct,
right sides together (RST) and we’re going to do the same thing.
Pinning beginning and end, a couple in between, sewing a quarter-inch seam
allowance. *pinning* That’s one of the other cool things about this
pin caddy, you probably hear that little click. It’s magnetic, right, so if I have
pins all over all I do is just kind of and it lines them up which I love so and
there’s a little place to scoop up and get your pins. I just love the inventions
that really have made quilting you know more fun, you’re not losing your pins, if
you do knock them off your table, well first off, they’re not going
anywhere. If you put your pins back on the magnetic pin caddy, they can’t fall
off, so it’s just safer that way. I have definitely stepped on a pin and that was
not fun at all so I religiously use my pin caddy and really keeps things safer
and my pins all together in one location. So that’s how we’re going to do our
sashing. You did that for the bottom portion as well and as you can see, now
comes the upper portion. As you can imagine, you want this part, these two
pieces, to have this uninterrupted visual line. So keep that in mind right there
that this is up here but you kind of want to mentally have an
uninterrupted visual line and if I line up my edges right here and right here, then
thank goodness, it’s all going to just line up anyway. So I can see if I’m going
to pin here and pin here that this will be where I want it to be. So just like
we’ve been doing, we’re gonna pin the beginning, we’re gonna pin the end, *pinning* and my attention right now is going to
see; is that lining up? Do you see that right there? Let me get my head out of the
way. See how those are lined up? I’m gonna lay that down right there and I’m gonna
put two pins, one on either side of that, because I don’t want that to move.
Because I want that to visually line up. Put a pin in here and one down there. *pinning* Maybe I’ll put two in there. You really
almost can’t pin too much. I’m sure someone out there saying “yes
you can!” Well, that’s probably true, but the idea being you’ll only regret if you
underpin. That’s when the regret comes in. And seam ripping. Okay, let’s go sew that
final sashing strip on and our block unit will be done! *sewing* Let’s see how we did. So we’ll bring our
Pressing Mat, our iron is good and hot, this block has gotten –
this is block units gotten big! Let’s move that over here. Let’s see how we did.
I like it! Things are lined up where they need to be, this is stacked on top of
this, these are right above our points, this is what we’re kind of checking as
we go. Let’s warm up that final seam and as you can see the bulk is obviously on
this side of the block unit with nothing on this side. So we’re gonna press toward
that white long sashing strip and our block unit is done! So fun! I hope you
guys are having a good time! I’m having a blast just teaching you stuff, as funny
things come along I’m just gonna, this is reality quilting, right? I’m just gonna
show you what happens. If it happens in my sewing room I’m sure it happens in your
sewing room from time to time and so I hope you’re enjoying that. Join the
conversation! Leave a comment, jump in the social media on Facebook of course, and
there we have our to wreath units. So already we’re making great progress! I’ll
see you back for week 3 when we work on our gift blocks! you