Sew Along Part 3: Sweet Trellis Mini Quilt Skill Builder
by Ashley Fritsche
Welcome back to the Sew Along: Sweet Trellis Mini Quilt Skill Builder Part 2! If you are just joining us, catch up on Part 2 HERE. Today, Sarah Baker walks us through the block assembly, techniques for creating perfectly pressed seams, as well as chain piecing!
Block assembly time! You’ll notice you have 36Fabric A, 36Fabric B, and72 Fabric C. In this assembly portion we will sew aFabric Csquare to each of theFabric AandBblocks. I never really knew that quilting would make me do “math,” but you see how 36 + 36 = 72. It all makes sense now, right?Howwe sewFabric Cto each piece will be shown here. The pattern gives a tutorial on Nadra’s method, but I find I have better piecing using a different technique. Feel free to follow either method that works best for you.
Block assembly time! You’ll notice you have 36 Fabric A, 36 Fabric B, and 72 Fabric C. In this assembly portion we will sew a Fabric C square to each of the Fabric A and B blocks. I never really knew that quilting would make me “math,” but you see how 36 + 36 + 72. It all makes sense now, right? How we sew Fabric C to each piece will be shown below. The pattern gives a tutorial on Nadra’s method, but I find I have better piecing using a different technique. Feel free to follow either method that works best for you.
The technique for this next step is often called “snowballing corners.” This pattern calls it the Easy Corner Triangle method. This is a basic and very common technique used in many quilt block assemblies. Essentially, two pieces will be sewn together on the diagonal from corner to corner, the excess “dog ear” will be cut off and you will have a new 2” x 3 1/2” piece, with a fancy little corner. Easy peasy, right? I like to use a specialty tool by Creative Grids called the Folded Corner Clipper. I first learned of this handy dandy ruler in the Farm Girl Vintage Sew Along. April used this method in her Farm Girl Vintage quilt blocks! I quickly tried this ruler and have never looked back! I use it literally in any pattern that calls for snowballed corners, cornered rectangles (like this one), flying geese, half square triangles or squared in a square. I will also show you how to use this for creating continuous binding.
This tutorial for the folded corner clipper…..WOW I just watched this and it’s seriously life changing…..
Place a Fabric C square RST on the top of a Fabric A rectangle. Using the folded corner clipper, place this on top of your two fabrics with the ruler flush with the top left of your matching pieces. The ruler will line up exactly at 2” on your block. This is how you know you’re on the right track! Cut on the diagonal. Before I get on a roll cutting all of my block pieces, I do a test sew on the first one, making sure I have lined up the ruler correctly. I use the cut off triangles as my leader. The Sweet Trellis pattern says to press the block in the direction of the corner, but I found it created bulk. I use the seam roller by Lori Holt to open my seams and this is why I use a shortened stitch length. Check to see that your new block measures 2” x 3 1/2”. If so, continue cutting the blocks. If not, adjust your seam allowance. I use a fine glass head pin to keep my block pieces together and I set the matching triangles off to the side. After all pieces are cut and pinned, I chain stitch, alternating the cut triangles and block. I use a stiletto to aid in feeding the pieces under my presser foot as I sew. Trim between your chained pieces. After all blocks are cut apart, I use the seam roller to open the seams. After opening the seams, you may find there is a hair of fabric outside of your 2”x 3 1/2” size. In a perfect world, the block should measure exactly when you press it open. But we are human and fabric can wiggle and have a life of its own, therefore you may need to square up your block. In the olden days of Sarah’s sloppy quilting, I skipped this step. I do not skip it anymore. I used my Cute Cuts Lori Holt Ruler and quickly laid out each block, checked the measurement, and trimmed/squared up as necessary. I literally cut off a smidge of the Fabric C square from my new block. It does make a difference and following this tip will help ensure an accurate and perfect block in your Sweet Trellis Mini Quilt!
Now that all blocks have open seams and are squared up, place a Fabric B/C RST with a Fabric A/C. Note the placement as shown in the pattern. Sew 36 of these. You do not have to keep track of the reds and pinks because they are all sewn to the same Fabric B/C. As suggested in the previous steps, I sew one set together, open the seam and check my measurement, make any adjustments necessary and continue chain piecing the remaining pieces. Clip these banner pieces apart after all are sewn, roll the seams open and trim any excess, squaring your block. This unfinished block should measure 3 1/2” x 3 1/2”. Even though the seam roller creates a flat block, I will give each block a quick press with my iron.
You should have 36 squared up, flat blocks ready to be sewn into your top. Notice there is a perfect ¼” seam on the top and bottom of your block. This will create beautiful points in your top. Lay out the blocks in a 6 x 6 grid, pleasing to your eye. I find taking a quick picture and studying the photo helps me find any blocks that stand out or need to be moved. Once you’re satisfied with the layout, sew the blocks, RST in sets of two and then in rows from top to bottom. Press the seams open. If you forget the order of your blocks in the row, refer back to your photo to help keep them straight.
When you match up your blocks, here is a tip to keep your points and blocks properly aligned. Take a pin and place it in the seam of your point. This should be ¼” from the raw edge. Theoretically, the pin will exit the bottom piece of fabric in the same ¼” allowance. To keep the pieces from shifting, pin on either side of the matched seams. You will follow this same technique when stitching the six rows together. I prefer using fine glass head pins because they create less distortion and gap when pinned in your fabric. This technique is often used in paper piecing when matching odd seams, and a number of other diagonal seamed patterns. One designer showcased this method and called it a “hang pin.” It is a valuable seam-matching technique to have in your arsenal. In addition to pins, I use my stiletto to feed the blocks under the presser foot. The sharp point of the stiletto acts like a pin and I can easily ease the fabric if necessary.
Press open all seams. When I was young and taught to cross stitch, my mentor told me the back should look as neat as the front. If you have followed along, your quilt back should look as neat as the front at this point. You should be so proud of yourself! We are almost to the finished product!