April "Sew Easy Block of the Month"- Simple Tulips!
For the April block of the month, I wanted something that made me think of spring!
We have had some really odd weather this winter, and spring is proving to be a bit unhinged as well.
I’m not sure if we’re coming in like a lion or a lamb, but living in the Utah mountains means that some days I get both!
In the last week we have had snow, rain, and sunshine – with 70 degree weather that drops 30 points the next day! Welcome to Spring in Utah!
Finished Simple Tulips Block
So to help you dream of spring on these unpredictable days, I give you:
There are a *lot* of tulip block variations out there. I’ve dubbed this one “simple tulips” because, well, the tulips are pretty simple!
You can definitely dress them up with different colored scraps or even add the tiny middle point in each flower by making the corner block into a smaller four patch with a colored square in the corner.
That’s the beauty of doing a block of the month. I give you a suggested block and you get to make it all your own!
Cutting instructions for the 12″ Simple Tulips
Some things to know before starting this block:
It is perfect for scraps!!!
I’ve made this block up with all the same colors, but you can mix it up and use up some scraps at the same time At the end of this post I’ve included a download for printable instructions. On those instructions are some blank blocks for you to color in – to test color ways or just have fun using crayons!
WATCH YOUR SEAM ALLOWANCE!
Because this block has odd measurements and we all have slightly different seam allowances, really aim for a *scant* quarter inch. This means you do a hair or two smaller than an actual quarter inch seam allowance.
I tested the measurements by cutting 3″ blocks and sewing up the pattern, and the block came out at 13″ unfinished. We are aiming for 12.5″ unfinished!
With the 2 7/8″ fabric piece, the final quilt block comes out to about 12 3/8″ unfinished, which is a smidge shy of the 12.5″ size we are aiming for. So be sure to do a scant quarter inch seam so your block ends up the right size.
(4) 2 7/8” squares
(4) 3 ½” squares – for HSTs
(4) 2 7/8”x 5 1/4” rectangle
(4) 2 7/8” squares
(4) 3 ½” squares – for HSTs
Coordinating fabric – for the center square:
(1) 2 7/8” square
Start by making Half Square Triangles! HSTs are a basic for many blocks, so it’s good to know how to make them!
We will make them two at a time.
Mark a diagonal line from corner to corner on each of the (4) 3 1/2″ background squares.
Place one background square, right sides together with a 3 1/2″ colored fabric block. Sew 1/4″ away from the diagonal line on both sides.
Repeat with all four squares.
After you’ve sewn two seams on each square, carefully cut on the diagonal line that you marked.
Press the seams to the colored fabric.
You should now have eight HSTs!
Square up the HST blocks to 2 7/8″ square. It helps to use a Bloc Lock ruler if you have one! If your blocks are exactly the right size, then just trim up the dog ears so the block will lay flatter.
The next step is to layout two HSTs with colored 2 7/8″ blocks and one background 2 7/8″ block, as shown below.
Layout all the tulip sections at the same time so you can chain piece them!
After you have sewn all four tulip sections together, press!!
(Pressing really is very important. It allows the block to lay flatter when you machine quilt it, it helps the block measure at the size it is supposed to, and it makes it easier to sew blocks together!)
Layout the tulip blocks in each corner, rotating as shown, so that the tulips all point outward.
Place the 2 7/8″ x 5 1/4″ background rectangles between each tulip section. Place the coordinating color square in the center of the block.
Sew everything together!
It’s easiest to sew the top left tulip section to the top background rectangle, and then sew the top right tulip section to the same background rectangle on the other side.
I find it helpful to sew a seam and then place the block back on my table with the other unsewn pieces so I can keep track of what goes where. This tip isn’t as important for this type of block because all the tulips are made the same way, you are just rotating them a bit.
But when you get to some really intricate quilt designs with lots of small pieces or lots of variations in color, it is extremely helpful to keep the blocks laid out as you sew them.
For the final step of pressing, I usually press my seams open.
(I am a longarmer, and I like to reduce the bulk in my points and corner seams as much as possible!)
But press however you like! It’s easiest to press the seams either open, or press them in opposite directions so the seams with “nest” when you line them up to sew to the next section.
And now your Simple Tulips block is finished!! Square it up if you need to – it should measure 12 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ (or 12 3/8″ x 12 3/8″).
But Shauna, I thought you said this was a 12″ block??
It is!! When patterns say a block is 12″, they are usually referring to the “finished size”. This means the size the block will be when it is sewn into the rest of a quilt top.
So the “unfinished size” is actually 12.5″x12.5″ for that exact same block. It is a half inch bigger to account for seam allowance. But you wont have to worry about adding in seam allowances because I’ve already done that for you!
In fact, most blocks and quilt patterns have the seam allowance figured in so you wont have to do any mental gymnastics while you sew!
(The only exception would be if you are doing embroidery and have to copy a pattern by drawing it onto the fabric or fusible interfacing – but those patterns should all say to add in your seam allowance!)
Thanks for joining me for the April Block of the Month. Post your progress on social media using the hashtag #seweasybom – because I would love to see your pretty makes!